I love the holiday season and its magic—we get a chance to relax, look back at the year behind us and spend quality time with those we love.
During these final weeks of the year, we also treat everyone around us (and sometimes ourselves) to special gifts. With this in mind, I compiled a special list of a few of my favourite things in no particular order.
This list is focused on 12 luxury items to cover 12 months of the year. Many of these are limited edition, and should help you cover gifts for him, her, colleagues, friends and even children!
1. FOR HER: Gucci—Bloom fragrance
Although this creation by Alessandro Michele first became available in late summer, it’s a perfect scent for winter too. Opening the bottle of this fragrance is reminiscent of standing in the middle of a huge garden, surrounded by flowers. It’s light, delicate and very feminine.
Michele has infused Gucci Bloom’s idea of lushness, life and vigour in its fragrant notes, the dreamy campaign and its unconventional design. Natural Tuberose absolute harvested from India is interlaced with natural Jasmine absolute. Jasmine bud extract used in Bloom was obtained through an exclusive method of co-extraction that blends a natural quality of jasmine and captive molecules to impart a fresh petal scent on the skin. Bloom also features notes of another plant used in perfume-making for the first time: the Rangoon Creeper. Discovered in South India, the Rangoon Creeper embodies the new scent’s concept and name, as it changes colour from white, to pink, then finally to red when it blooms. Retro and tender because of its colour, the bottle features clean, slender lines, and was crafted in porcelain, a material that Michele admittedly loves.
2. FOR HIM: Hennessy—Hennessy V.S.
An excellent gift for an important man in your life: Hennessy is the number one selling cognac in the world and in the U.S. The V.S. acronym in the name stands for Very Special—with its unique style, Hennessy V.S. is the modern-day equivalent of the original Hennessy Three Star. With its union of warm-hearted and full-bodied flavours, this cognac has endured through the ages.
After several years of maturation in French oak casks, the eaux-devie are then blended with the mastery and consistency unique to the Maison Hennessy. Hennessy V.S. brings together an intense and fruity character with pleasantly oaky notes. Its palate features powerful flavours that suggest grilled almonds, supported by lively notes reminiscent of fresh grapes. Savour this unique blend neat, on ice or with a mixer. The bottle also includes a special recipe for the Hennessy Holiday Punch.
Retailing price varies across Ontario and Canada.
3. THE SPECIAL CELEBRATION OPTION: Veuve Clicquot—Extra Brut Extra Old
Veuve Clicquot is certainly the king—or should we say the queen—of all champagne. The House paid homage to its heritage when it launched an entirely new wine: Extra Brut Extra Old, a premium cuvee blended exclusively from its old reserve wines’ collection. With Extra Brut Extra Old, Dominique Demarville created a champagne using only these prized wines, diving into the essence of Yellow Label.
Extra Brut Extra Old is composed of wines from the years 1988, 1996, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010. According to the tradition of the House, and reflecting its long history of blending expertise, the wines in Extra Brut Extra Old have been aged a minimum of three years in vats, on the lees. Another turn of aging comes in Extra Brut Extra Old bottles, which mature in the cellars for another three years before disgorgement. In addition, this blend of rich and complex wines calls for the exceptionally low dosage of 3 grams of sugar per liter.
Tasting highlights include: very fine bubbles, intense colour with flashes of gold, and the aromas of candied citrus and ripe stone fruit. This champagne would pair well with matured comté cheese, sea bass, crayfish, veal and mushrooms. It’s an excellent choice for any celebration, especially a New Year’s Eve party.
Retailing price varies across Ontario and Canada.
4. THE TECHNOLOGY OPTION: LG—G6 smartphone
When it comes to tech options, LG takes the lead as the creator of one of the sleekest, most stylish smartphones on the market. And, their incredible smartphone cameras inevitably result in much admiration, since they rival many DSLR options on the market.
LG’s smartphone features a bold new display format with a cinematic viewing experience, exceptional screen-to-body ratio, and a wide-angle camera that many of LG’s fans have come to love through LG G5. The rear cameras (both normal view and wide angle) are 13 megapixels, while the front camera is 5 megapixels. There is also a square-camera mode, advanced selfies’ option, a video studio and a GIF generator.
Designed in response to consumer feedback and user opinions, the G6 offers a back-to-basics approach to premium smartphones: most notably, a big screen that fits in one hand within a sleek yet durable, premium smartphone. It’s perfect for gaming and videos, without being too oversized, and is available in both platinum and black colours. Undoubtedly, an ideal gift for someone you love.
Retailing at $900; price may vary based on carrier.
5. THE ELEGANCE OPTION: Estée Lauder—Pleasures Favorite Destination set
This limited-edition gift box is a lovely present for any age. It features three ballet-dancer-like illustrations on the cover of the box, which were created by fashion illustrator Katie Rodgers. The promotional campaign stars Kendall Jenner in a red evening dress, with a tutu-like skirt. It’s all very whimsical, fun and pretty.
The set focuses on Estée Lauder’s signature scent Pleasures: think a sheer, shimmering floral blend of lilies, white peonies and jasmine, with a rare essence of exotic Baie Rose. Created in 1995, Estée Lauder Pleasures launched the trend for uplifting, airy fragrances and introduced the Sheer Floral fragrance type. Pleasures captures the clarity of flowers just after a spring rain, and has been one of Estée Lauder’s bestselling fragrances for many years. “Whatever the fragrance was to be, I wanted it to have an elusive, textural quality,” said Evelyn Lauder. “And we have achieved it with Estée Lauder Pleasures. For the first time, there is a fragrance that unfolds like a flower in the warmth of the sun, surrendering its scent little by little.”
The 4-piece collection includes a 100 ml eau de parfum spray, a 100 ml body lotion, a 100 ml bath and shower gel, and an elegant 6 ml eau de parfum rollerball, which is a handy on-the-go addition to any woman’s purse.
Retailing at $115 at the Hudson’s Bay.
6. THE COMFORTABLE STYLE OPTION: ECCO—women’s Noyce Lite HM boots
This is a real gem in ECCO’s latest collection—a pair of Noyce Lite HM boots is perfect for days spent on your feet, whether you are travelling, hiking or just heading to the office. The navajo brown colour is a standout, although these are also available in black and birch/coffee.
The boots are comfortable, very warm and provide excellent cushioning thanks to the ECCO RECEPTOR® LITE Technology that delivers dynamic support with every step. Soft nubuck leather and fur lining make them a solid choice for winter, in terms of both look and feel. Inside, cleverly incorporated air channels keep the environment fresh, while the ECCO HYDROMAX® treatment to the soft leather uppers keeps the worst of the winter weather at bay.
Plus, a rubber outsole adds excellent traction and grip on slippery surfaces. It’s a lovely combination of everything you need to look and feel good this winter.
Retailing at $295 at ECCO stores and on their website.
7. THE NATURE OPTION: Kérastase—Aura Botanica holiday trio
This holiday Kérastase gift set is a perfect spa-like experience that you can enjoy at home. The collection is gentle and indulgent, with formulas composed from an average of 98% natural ingredients. It features a 250 ml Bain Micellaire, a 200 ml Soin Fondamental and a 50 ml Concentré Essential, essentially creating a full three-step haircare system for your hair.
Aura Botanica channels the pure luxury of nature with hand-pressed coconut and argan oils, and no silicone or sulfate. The first step in the process is cleansing with Bain Micellaire, which is a 96% natural origin gentile cleansing shampoo. Due to its natural origin, the product transforms into a luxurious lather to cleanse away impurities, while preparing the fibre for optimal conditioner penetration to preserve a healthy glow. Onto step two with Soin Fondamental, a 97% natural conditioner treatment, made with organic coconut and argan oils that will provide a soothing and health-conscious experience. To wrap up the treatment, the last step features texturizing your hair with Concentre Essentiel, a multi-use 99% natural oil blend that nourishes and boosts shine for thicker or lightly sensitized hair. This powerful formula is composed of Samoan coconut oil, Moroccan argan oil, avacado oil, jojoba oil, sweet orange oil and rosemary extract.
Retailing at $110 at select salons and on Kérastase’s website.
8. THE CREATIVE OPTION: Shu Uemura—Super Mario Master Wax paste
It’s beauty with a funky twist and great results. This season, Shu Uemura has collaborated with none other but the legendary Japanese Super Mario video games (the latter was launched back in 1985), to create a limited-edition range of holiday products. One of the highlights from the collection is their Master Wax paste, which is an excellent styling choice for all hair types.
This cream-to-wax formula offers powerful high-hold styling with a high-shine finish. The innovative texture allows for styling simplicity, and is easy to work and rework through the hair to achieve multiple styles and looks. This means that the common side-effect of wax is avoided, and the hair is never stiff or greasy.
A truly excellent choice for all the holiday parties, whether you are opting for slick styles, high-hold updos or texturized blow outs.
Retailing at $42 on Shu Uemura’s website.
9. THE WARM-HOLIDAY-BEVERAGE OPTION: Nespresso—festive Aeroccino3 milk frother and limited-edition Vertuo travel mug
These items are part of Nespresso’s limited-edition festive collection. This year, Nespresso created an integrated festive campaign with the collaboration of artists Craig Redman and Karl Maier, who designed a colourful interpretation of the holiday season, weaving it into everything: from coffee capsules to the brand’s accessories. The idea is to bring authenticity back into everyday life by reviving old memories from childhood, offering a full experience inspired by a candy universe. It’s a lovely gift for anyone who works in the creative sector, since Redman and Maier have a history of doing a lot of stylish campaigns (think LVMH, Sephora and Apple), and their elegant, yet happy designs will truly brighten up anyone’s day, or kitchen!
Within the range, there is something for everyone, whether they have a sweet tooth, favour bold graphic design or are a fan of milk-based coffee recipes. On this note, the Aeroccino3 is an ultra-simple and fast automatic system for preparation of a light and creamy hot or cold milk froth. Pour in the milk and press the button. In a few seconds, without noise or vibration, the Aeroccino3 will prepare a divine milk froth for pretty much any coffee recipe. It also heats up milk for your lattes.
Retailing at $99 on Nespresso’s website and at Nespresso stores.
Alternatively, whether you like coffee, tea, hot chocolate or prefer another warm beverage this season (mulled wine?), the limited-edition Vertuo travel mug is fabulously colourful and convenient. Part of the same Festive collection as the Aeroccino3 milk frother, it has a total capacity of 400 ml and can hold your Nespresso Vertuo coffee and a dash of milk.
It’s an excellent accessory for anyone who has “on-the-go” lifestyle. The design of the mug makes it look sleek, but also allows less “coffee spilling” and more “coffee enjoying” due to its curvy top and a special lid.
Retailing at $32 on Nespresso’s website and at Nespresso stores.
10. THE TRENDY OPTION: YSL—Tatouage Couture Matte Stain
This stunning make-up line is presented in trendy packaging, and available in a variety of colourful shades. Of note from this YSL collection is the bright red Rouge Tatouge, which is bound to turn heads when you wear it.
Tatouage Couture Matte Stain is a revolutionary lightweight stain that will dry almost immediately and leave a longlasting effect of up to eight hours: perfect for a full day at work. Transfer-free, the product features a matte finish. It will give you full coverage with no bleed, so forget that uncomfortable feeling that is normally associated with high-pigmentation lip product. The applicator helps ensure precision and definition. You can use the tip of the applicator to line the lips as if it were a pencil, and then turn the applicator onto its side and brush/spread the product accordingly.
11. THE CUTE OPTION: Hudson’s Bay—Hudson limited-edition charity bear
By far the cutest addition to our gift guide, this stuffed toy from the Hudson’s Bay would make a fabulous gift for any family member or friend, regardless of their age.
Not to mention that this purchase would also be for a good cause: Hudson is the 13th edition of the annual charity bear and 100% of net proceeds will support the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, through the HBC Foundation’s HEADFIRST Program. In 2017, HBC Foundation launched the HEADFIRST Program, a $2 million commitment to supporting mental health initiatives across North America. Through combatting stigma, investing in research and improving mental health programs, HEADFIRST is dedicated to positively affecting mental health across Canada. Since its launch in 2005, the Charity Bear collection has raised more than $1.6 million to help improve the lives of Canadians.
It’s a lovely, cute and thoughtful gift for someone special, and the HBC stripes make this a very Canadian item too.
Retailing at $21.99 at the Hudson’s Bay locations and on the Hudson’s Bay website.
12. THE UNISEX OPTION: Belvedere—(BELVEDERE)RED limited-edition bottle
In partnership with (RED), Belvedere Vodka created its 2017 (BELVEDERE)RED limited-edition bottle, which will continue to support the critical work of The Global Fund to fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. This is the sixth year of the partnership and, to date, sales have raised enough money to provide treatment for nearly 40,000 women living with HIV to help stop virus transmission to their babies.
The 2017 release is a creative take on Belvedere’s renowned bottle design, which features an illustration of the Polish presidential palace. Commanding attention with its bold sleek red colour and stunning pearl-matte finish, the bottle is available at select retailers around the world throughout the holiday season. It’s a festive and colourful piece that would make a perfect unisex gift.
Tasting highlights include: full and round palate with a medium-bodied weight and rich, velvety texture; and some vanilla swaying between sweet and savoury, with a hint of white pepper and spice. The finish features notes of almond, clotted cream and some faint almond and Brazil nut characteristics.
Retailing price varies across Ontario and Canada.