The Awesome Guide to Gift Giving

Last year we compiled a series of detailed gift guides for the host/hostess, the sports nut, the person who has everything, the fashionista, the foodie, the world traveller, and the music lover.  This year we’re going to let you in on our favourite places to pick up unique and specialty gifts, both in store and on-line.  Some of these shops win huge bonus points for helping you check off multiple recipients all in one go and if you’re not a fan of the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, not to worry, you won’t find a single one of these places in the mall.  Yay for (quasi) independent retailers!


Etsy: This site gets mentioned in what feels like every other post, and for that reason, needs no introduction. We love Etsy for just about anything handmade, but in particular for accessories, art prints, stationary and small home decor items. Check out Pomp & Ceremony for awesome Liberty of London pocket squares and ties, Shay D Design for funky bohemian jewelry, Alexandra Ferguson for cheeky throw pillows, Arkens Jewelry Box for microthin gold and silver stacking rings, LoVintage Finds for awesome vintage decor, and JM Barclay for affordable photographic prints.

PicMonkey Collage

Uncommon Goods: This site is home to a huge array of unique and unusual gift ideas at a variety of price points. Many items are quirky and highly specialized, so if you’re looking for a gift for a music loving wino or a sailing chef, this is the place. Uncommon Goods has something for everyone, from your free spirited sister to your introverted uncle.  I am personally a fan of the wide array of fun foodie focused gifts, from a molecular gastronomy kit to an epic artisal salt chest.

In Toronto

The Distillery District Christmas Market and Distillery Shops: I have purchased some of my best gifts ever (last year’s tin can banjo was a major point scorer) during the holiday market in the Distillery District. On now until December 15th, the market opens the district up to small retailers and artists who sell their wares in huts placed along the cobblestone roads alongside the permanent shops. I’m a big fan of Blackbird Vintage for pretty vintage inspired gifts and Jacob & Sebastian for amazing high end bath products and candles, but the district is yet another goldmine for hostess gifts and food lovers. The beautiful, rustic decor, mulled wine, and gourmet food huts also go along way to making this a prime holiday shopping destination.


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Father’s Day Gift Guide

You’ve shown your Mother some lovin’ and now it’s time to take the time to appreciate Dad! In case the beginnings of summer have crept up at a crazy speed allow me to remind you to call your Father this Sunday! Whether it’s your own father or your partner you’re shopping for, I’ve got a few ideas to get your creative gift-giving juices flowing. For holidays like Father’s Day, I personally lean towards gifts that encourage spending quality time together or gifting a special experience to be enjoyed.

fathers day

Tickets to a baseball game (and an offer to buy the first couple of rounds!), a round of golf to a specific coveted course, or a few laps around a racetrack in the car of his dreams are awesome experiences to gift. Ladies love to be pampered at the spa, but so do men (sometimes secretly, though) and Truefitt  & Hill (Barbers to British Royalty since 1805) is a gentleman’s only barber shop that offers haircuts and shaves like no other. Wine tastings or a bottle of scotch is always a hit, this is a fact. Socks to help make him make his work attire more fun or fancy cuban cigars to be enjoyed with the summer weather are fun, too. I’m sure you’ve been inundated with ideas of BBQ tools and sauces to gift the fathers in your life, but how about a small wood chip smoker box for some experimenting on the grill? Consider pairing it with some different types of wood chips for an extra special touch.

And finally my favorite: a cute, witty card. In Toronto, my go-to is the Blue Banana in Kensington Market for awesomeness like this:


Happy Father’s Day to all, but especially to my awesome Dad! xo