Ottawa Magazine‘s acting senior editor offers her holiday finds, along with gift ideas to impress even the pickiest hosts and hostesses
Host and hostess gifts (shown in the suitcase above):
For the think-outside-the-box cook: Salad for Dinner by Jeanne Kelley ($35) and Put ‘Em Up!, a guide to drying, freezing, canning, and pickling by Sherri Brooks Vinton ($24.95) are cookbooks for the chef who wants to try something new. The Great Glebe Emporium, 724 Bank St., 613-233-3474.
For the Ottawa expat who’s feeling nostalgic: VersaTile travertine coasters are handcrafted by a husband-and-wife team in Almonte and feature vintage-style maps of various neighbourhood streets. $34.95 for four. The Village Quire, 312 Richmond Rd., 613-695-2287.
For the game-night-obsessed family: The card game Spot It! can be played multiple ways, meaning it never gets old. Comes in four versions — regular, NHL, animals, and travel. $11.99-$15.99. Mrs. Tiggy Winkles, 809 Bank St., 613-234-3836.
For the 40-something sugar fiend: Fill a customizable gift box with retro candy or something more gourmet — or a bit of both. Three sizes, starts around $25 and can be customized to taste or theme. The Candy Store, 350 Richmond Rd., 613-728-7500.
For the romantic girly girl: Triple-milled Gianna Rose lovebird soaps and soap dish from France are très adorable. $33.99. The Cuckoo’s Nest, 291 Richmond Rd., 613-729-6378.
Ornaments: Swirl lollipops. $6.50-$10. Tinseltown Christmas Emporium, 1096 Somerset St. W., 613-680-7557. Painted ball,$8; filigree snowflake, $15; and decorative snowflake, $10. All from Ten Thousand Villages, 371 Richmond Rd., 613-759-4701, and 1174 Bank St., 613-736-0401.
When you’re a kid, all you really care about is what presents under the tree have your name on them. But as you get older, you learn it really is more enjoyable to shop for others. Though I had to slip one item onto this list for myself, I also love thinking about what would make someone else’s life a little more fun, funky, or fashionable.
1. For me, the newlywed. My husband and I want to stave off “the newlywed nine.” To do that, I’ll need to lug my workout gear from work to the gym. Making it easier? The stylish Daily Om Duffel from Lululemon, with an exterior zipper pocket for shoes and a removable pouch for sweaty clothes. $128. Lululemon, Rideau Centre, 50 Rideau St., 613-230-6633, and 340 Richmond Rd., 613-761-1839.
2. For my stylish BFF. She once spray-painted her sneakers gold so that they would match the gold low-rider bike she rode around town, so I know she’ll get a kick out of these sparkly flats that are akin to what a modern-day Dorothy would wear. $16. Available at select Joe Fresh stores.
3. For my hard-working mom. Mom will adore Bare Love Beauty, a new line of all-natural skin-care products from local entrepreneur Rebecca Cook. With body, face, and hair treatments that boast yummy ingredients like coconut and passion flower oils, she’ll be glowing head to toe. $38-$78. Queen Mother Maternity, 877 Bank St., 613-695-4727.
4. For my music-loving dad. Dad’s old record player has been relegated to a box in the basement, so I think the Crosley Archiver USB Turntable would be a great replacement. This nifty device lets you rip and edit your vinyl to digital audio format, plus you can spin records, play cassettes, and listen to radio. $249.99. At select Sears stores and online.
5. For my brother’s girlfriend, the young professional. She needs a stylish timepiece that makes a statement. This rose gold Michael Kors watch straddles the line between masculine and feminine and has just the right amount of bling. $270. Watch It!, St. Laurent Centre, 1200 St. Laurent Blvd., 613-741-4144.
6. For my law-student brother. As a lawyer, he’ll have many opportunities to sport a tie — and this paisley affair by Tino Cosma is the perfect combination of business and pleasure ($125). Plus, when work calls for travel, he can carry his ties in this posh leather case with silk interlining ($185). E.R. Fisher, 199 Richmond Rd., 613-829-8313.