Ottawa Magazine editor Sarah Brown shows off her holiday finds, along with gift ideas to impress even the pickiest hosts and hostesses
Hostess gifts (shown in the suitcase above):
For the gourmet camper who craves the amenities of home: This rugged mini stovetop espresso maker brews a double shot over the camp stove. $37. Double-walled espresso cups $5 each. Mountain Equipment Co-Op, 366 Richmond Rd., 613-729-2700.
For the punk-rocker-turned-hipster with the fixer-upper in Hintonburg: Sud Green is part of a line of green kitchen tools made from a recycled wood and plastic blend. $12. Terra20, 2685 Iris St., 613-837-7220.
For the French-cooking devotee and inveterate reader: Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child is a meticulously researched doorstop of a bio (500+ pages of swooning detail). $33. Available at bookstores around town.
For the graphic designer with a tea fetish: Clipper Teas are natural, fair-trade, and gorgeously packaged. $5-$5.95. Available at Rainbow Natural Foods, 1487 Richmond Rd., 613-726-9200, and Red Apron, 564 Gladstone Ave., 613-695-0417.
For the left-wing crusader with a sweet tooth: Camino’s fair-trade chili and spice hot chocolate makes a tongue-tingling thank-you gift. $7. Ten Thousand Villages, 371 Richmond Rd., 613-759-4701, and 1174 Bank St., 613-736-0401.
For the germaphobe cubicle dweller: A mug adorned with their initial means they’ll never have to share again. $8. Available at Chapters locations around town.
Ornaments: Origami porcelain reindeer. $19.95. The Papery, 850 Bank St., 613-230-1313. Snowman garland. $18.50. Tinseltown Christmas Emporium, 1096 Somerset St. W., 613-680-7557.
The Ottawa Magazine schedule is such that we’re always on deadline right before Christmas, so I have no time to shop right ahead of the holidays. Luckily, browsing the city’s stores is part of my job, so I tend to pick up gifts as I see them. (I’ve learned to hide them all in one spot so that I can find them come December.) If all goes according to plan, I have everything wrapped and under the tree by the second week of the month.
1. For my childhood friends who were too young for Moon Boots the first time around. When I was a kid, the coolest teens in my ’hood all had Moon Boots and I begged for a pair — to no avail. I’d love to outfit all my friends with circa 2012 boots so that we could channel an ironic-stylin’ vibe on the toboggan hills this year. $170. Little Burgundy, Rideau Centre, 613-569-5123.
2. For all my expat family members. Local artist Andrew King has released a line of T-shirts based on iconic signs from around Ottawa. My personal favourite is the City Centre logo T, but my parents and sister, who now live in Kingston, will best remember the Civic Pharmacy — right across from the office of our former dentist. $30. www.andrewkingstudio.com.
3. For my dance-obsessed daughter. She and her friends spend countless hours each summer doing dance routines on the front lawn. The Eton Soulra XL, a portable solar-powered sound system, would keep the music flowing all day long. $250. Terra20, 2685 Iris St., 613-837-7220.
4. For my eco-conscious friend (who also happens to be bit of a francophile). Longchamp was making the classic Le Pliage line of lightweight foldable bags even before plastic became verboten. Lida Boutique carries a great selection of colours and sizes. $120-$190, depending on size. 112 Parent Ave., 613-241-4111, and 1279 Wellington St. W.
5. For my daredevil son. He will love this Summit Surfer combination sled from Sears. He’ll have the option of using it like a regular sled, hopping on and racing down the hill, or lifting up the straps to turn it into a snowboard. $49.99.
6. For me, to replace the chair in my living room that is falling apart. I love the Japanese sensibility of the Okumi Chair from Ligne Roset. I think it looks like origami, but the pleats are apparently supposed to make one think of a kimono. It’s modern yet comfy-looking and will fit with my circa 1980 Scandinavian loveseat and circa 2005 Mobilia couch. From $2,478. PhillipVan Leeuwen, 10 ByWard Market., 613-562-0700.