To put together City By Heart’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide, I asked some of Toronto’s top tastemakers, style insiders and experts for their recommendations. Read on to hear from Gracie Carroll, Jen Kirsch, Steve Dolson and me, Michelle Pinchev, on this year’s top picks for holiday gift shopping!
This holiday season, it’s easier than ever to support local Canadian business without sacrificing style, quality or taste. Just last month I launched The Chic Canuck: A Tastemaker’s Guide to Canada, a blog and online shop aimed at curating the best of Canadian culture. The Chic Canuck offers amazing holiday gifts at every price-point, from stocking-stuffers to unique statement pieces, and as a bonus, you get to avoid the lineups and crowds at the mall! My top picks are the Jacqueline Poirier Painted Stag head plate (who doesn’t love Plart?), Essential Oils from Province Apothecary, the cozy and luxurious Cambie Design blankets or the quintessentially Canadian coffee table book, The Maple Leaf Forever. The ladies in your life will love our extensive collection of locally made, hand-crafted jewelry by Blackbird Jewelry, Nelle Han, Dolorous Jewelry and Michelle Ross.
Jen Kirsch – Relationship columnist, expert and on-air personality
For me, gift giving is all about the experience that it comes with. That’s why I’m head-over-heels for Amazing Clubs Canada, which is Canada’s premiere gourmet subscription box program. Is your man a wino? A foodie? Obsessed with hot sauce? This service offers over 22 clubs (clubs include beer, wine, chocolate, cheese, hot sauce, jerky, candles and brand new clubs being introduced for the holidays like a gluten-free box.) How it works: You select the perfect club (e.g. wine) to be delivered to the doorstep of the recipient. Each box includes a selection of gourmet, hard-to-find items sourced from around the world. Since it’s a subscription service, it’s literally the gift that keeps on giving. You can sign up for 3 months, 6 months, or even a year based on budget, and the gourmet box of your choice will land at the doorstep of the one you’re gifting.
Looking for a sweet gift that doesn’t break the bank? Then hit up your local DAVIDsTEA (in store or online) to get an advent calendar featuring 24 different holiday teas – you never know which one you’re going to get!
Want to splurge a bit more? I love gifting tea with a great book (such as this hot new holiday read – and page turner – Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand, or The Lemon Grove, a juicy beach resort read and one of my top book picks for 2014) and a personalized mug like this Cursive Monogram Mug from Indigo, or the amazing Colour-Changing Nordic mugs from DAVIDsTEA. It’s all about creating an experience to link that person to you. What’s more cozy than lying by the fireplace with a cup of tea and a great read over the holidays?
Steve Dolson – 1/2 of 2Social + Founder / Editor-In-Chief of LXRY Magazine
Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of luxury and pampering? “The Signature Full Service” at John Allan’s Premier Men’s Grooming Club, is a great gift, and includes a scalp massage, haircut, manicure, shoe shine, beverages and more. For high quality comfort, McGregor Socks make a great stocking stuffer. Founded in Canada, they carry fun patterns for men and women. To take the gift to the next level, I recommend bespoke shoes from Treccani Milano’s Yorkville Boutique. Finally, techies and gadget gurus will love the PowerShadow by Spyder which comes with a charging dock and doubles as a case – perfect for keeping up with your social life.
Michelle Pinchev – Social Media Strategist and Blogger, City by Heart
This holiday season, I recommend giving your loved ones the gift of the city itself! Walking tours are a cool way to discover Toronto and can be enjoyed year-round. I suggest a Bruce Bell Walking Tour of St. Lawrence Market and Old Toronto, or the Historic Distillery District. Foodies who prefer to explore the city with their taste buds might enjoy a culinary tour like the “Kensington Krawl” from Savour Toronto. For lovers of the arts, a gift membership is not only awesome to receive, it’s also a wonderful way to support Toronto’s cultural institutions. The Art Gallery of Ontario, TIFF and Canadian Opera Company are all excellent choices at great value.