Ottawa Magazine art director Jane Corbett 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 armchair hunter: This cast-iron elk can be put to good use as a doorstop or paperweight. $29.99. Domus, 85 Murray St., 613-241-6410.
For the artsy diarist: This lined journal from Paperblanks features a silver filigree cover. $29.95. Paper Papier, 18 Clarence St., 613-241-1212.
For the dog that rules the household: A regal crown-shaped pet bowl with a removable, washable dish is just the thing for the royal canine. $27. Marie Antoinette & Co., 1096 Somerset St. W., 613-680-7557.
For those who want to live longer: Chartreuse, “the elixir of long life,” is made by Carthusian monks from 130 herbs, plants, and flowers found in the French Alps. $31.35/375 mL. Available at the LCBO.
For those who long for summer: Fragoli Wild Strawberry Liqueur with whole strawberries at the top of the bottle is the perfect addition to a fruit salad or ice cream. $23.50/500 mL. LCBO.
For the fairy-tale-obsessed decorator: These glass plates by Lori Siebert showcase birds and animals in period clothing. $18 each. Tinseltown Christmas Emporium, 1096 Somerset St. W., 613-680-7557.
For the holiday-music lover with eclectic taste: Luther Vandross’ classic Christmas songs (including my personal favourite, “This Is Christmas”) on one CD. $14.99. And Tinsel and Lights, a new release from Tracey Thorn, one-half of the British duo Everything But the Girl. It also features songs written by Canadians Joni Mitchell, Ron Sexsmith, and Randy Newman. $24.99. Both available by order from CD Warehouse.
Ornaments: Vintage-look glass ball and tinsel wreath. $5. Tinseltown. Wooden laser-cut ornaments are available in many colours and shapes (mittens shown). $3.95 each. The Papery, 850 Bank St., 613-230-1313.
I’m one of those annoying people who starts playing Christmas music on November 1 and finishes my shopping by December 1. All the more time to spend baking, making my own cards and tags, wrapping gifts, and deciding on a theme for my Christmas decor. No limit to how many decorations one woman can have, right?
1. For my friend who thinks a real tree is too much bother. IKEA to the rescue with cotton fabric printed with a two-metre-high spruce tree. Attach it to a frame, and decorate with pennants made from gift wrap and cord. Cleanup will be a breeze, and it won’t take up valuable floor space. $7.99/metre. IKEA, 2685 Iris St., 888-866-4532.
2. For my sister who lives in the windy hills of Wilno. She still hangs her laundry out on the line, so she’ll appreciate these Italian-made stainless-steel clothespins. They have an extra-strong spring mechanism and are guaranteed for life. $14.50 for a package of 20. Lee Valley, 900 Morrison Dr., 613-596-9202.
3. For my coffee-obsessed teacher friend who drinks Tim Hortons. I’d like to break him of his morning drive-through habit with the beautiful design of this French coffee press. It has the classic stoneware exterior that Le Creuset is famous for and a stainless-steel plunger and mesh press inside. $79.95. Linen Chest, 2685 Iris St., 613-721-9991.
4. For my manly-man brother. His two favourite food groups are bacon and ketchup, so I know he’ll appreciate finding a bacon candy cane sticking out of his stocking. At just over 10 inches long, there’s enough to share with the whole family. $5.99. Order on-line at www.retrofestive.ca. (While you’re there, check out the reproduction leg lamp made famous in A Christmas Story and the ugly Christmas sweaters.)
5. For my great-niece who is due to arrive any day. This classic Fisher Price Two Tune TV was first introduced in 1966. It was re-released this year, so a whole new generation can drive their parents crazy. $39.99. Mrs. Tiggy Winkles, 809 Bank St. and four other locations. 613-234-3836.
6. For me, because I want to keep the art of beautiful handwriting alive. This writing set from J. Herbin includes a beautiful spiral glass pen and six tiny bottles of ink. There’s no telling what award-winning prose I’ll be able to write — if I can decide on an ink colour! $64.95. Paper Papier, 18 Clarence St., 613-241-1212.