It’s one of the perks of the job. Lots of time spent out and about seeing what’s new and neat at the city’s shops. Ottawa Magazine’s editors bring you their gift picks for family and friends, hoping the suggestions will jump-start your holiday shopping list. On Monday, editor Sarah Brown highlighted her picks. Today, senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne highlights her picks. Stay tuned next week for food editor Shawna Wagman’s holiday wishlist.
Senior Editor, Dayanti Karunaratne
We usually keep the presents pretty low-key — it’s more a time to eat and be merry! But I do love a wintery shopping expedition: it’s fun to laugh with other last-minute types and a great excuse to reward yourself with a warm, decadent drink. Now that I live pretty far away from family — I have relatives from Gaspé to Courtenay, Connecticut to California — I am learning the finer points of shopping for lightweight gifts.
This JMB bag is unique and sturdy, and I love the fact that it’s handmade in Chelsea. I’ve been lugging around a ratty bag for too long, unable to find one that suits me. I love the funky clasp! I used to eschew leather products, but now I look for quality items that were made with love. Plus, I appreciate that this one doesn’t hide the fact that the leather was once the skin of an animal. $238. Glebe Trotters, 860 Bank St., 613-231-6331.
I had a Swatch when I was a kid — I actually felt naked without a watch when I was in first grade! My niece is a pretty cool kid and has lots of extracurricular activities like swimming and cheerleading. This will keep her on time and in style. $65. The Watch Store, 91 Sparks St., 613-236-1787.
For my sister-in-law
A former model, party planner extraordinaire, and couture designer, my sister-in-law wears things that I could never pull off. Her fashion line reflects a love of vintage style and is very feminine and flirty, just like these earrings. $20. The Bay, 73 Rideau St., 613-241-7511, plus three other locations.
For my sister
Before she moved up north, she lived right down the street from hip knitting shop Wabi Sabi. She was always making me cool leg warmers, wrist warmers, and felted creations. I would buy her multi-coloured wool from Drake by Estelle Yarns to inspire her to make something funky — but I hope she doesn’t feel pressured to send it back my way! $15. Wabi Sabi, 1078 Wellington St. W., 613-725-5648.
For my mom
She works as a ski instructor at Mount Washington on Vancouver Island and is starting to spend more time exploring in the glades and other challenging terrain. It’s kind of funny, because she was always so scared that I would get into trouble in the backcountry when I was skiing in Nelson, B.C. I think she’s smart enough to use these G3 Alpinist Elle Skins wisely — and they might take some pressure off her knees. From $145. Mountain Equipment Co-op, available online.
For my husband
Ever since he started studying horticulture at Algonquin, my husband has been an evangelical plant geek. One of his favourite topics is weeds — they’re just plants growing somewhere they’re not wanted, he says. So I naturally thought of him when I stumbled upon Weeds: In Defense of Nature’s Most Unloved Plants by British naturalist Richard Mabey. It will mean even more, even longer plant rants, but I can’t help introducing him to a kindred spirit. $27.99. Collected Works, 1242 Wellington St. W., 613-722-1265.
My father used to do short contracts in a hospital in Moose Factory on James Bay. I went with him once and remember visiting the native crafts store, where tables of women would bead moccasins. I got to choose my favourite colours, and we returned in a few days to pick them up. To this day, the smell of tanned hide reminds me of my dad coming home laden with gifts. These moose-hide moccasins with beaver-fur trim were made by Dene artist Karen Cumberland in the Northwest Territories. $325. The Snow Goose, 83 Sparks St., 613-232-2213.
For my dog
Our border collie, Foster, has so much energy that it’s hard to feel he’s ever satisfied at the end of the day. Plus, he has a bad hind leg, so too much running at the park has him limping for hours. I’m hoping this treat maze from Nina Ottosson will tire him out mentally. It wobbles, flips, and spins unpredictably as the dog tries to get the treats to slip out of the openings and should make for hours of injury-free bonding time. $20. Critter Jungle, 1405 Carling Ave., 613-729-7354.
For my father-in-law
My husband’s parents live on a beautiful acreage in Connecticut and have recently been doing a lot of work to make the yard a great place to hang out. This ground screw will make it easy to put up an umbrella, a clothesline, or a bird feeder quickly, and because it can be moved, they can switch things up as the seasons change. $32.50. Lee Valley, 900 Morrison Dr., 613-596-9202.