It feels like yesterday I was compiling our Holiday Gift Guide 2018, but here we are—just two weeks away from 2020!
As always, the holiday season is a time when I do extensive research to review and recommend some of the best, most coveted gift items that anyone on your shopping list would be delighted to receive. This year, I spent 2 months sourcing products, before personally reviewing them for at least 2 weeks prior to this story going live (I recruited family members to assist me with reviewing products that were for men).
This year, the products range from footwear to fragrances and tech items. Here is the list!
1. Tiffany & Co’s Tiffany & Love fragrances
If you are looking for an ultimate couple’s gift, this is the winner. Tiffany & Co is one of the world’s leaders when it comes to luxury gifts, and it’s also one of my personal favourite go-tos for any holiday or special occasion-themed present.
Released globally on October 1 this year, Tiffany & Love for Him and Tiffany & Love for Her is the next chapter in perfumery for Tiffany & Co., and honours the brand’s legacy of celebrating love and commitment. The two fragrances perfectly complement each other, and are a tribute to emotional connection, and the many ways love is defined and expressed.
This is the first time the brand released a dual fragrance category. The packaging features Tiffany & Co’s signature blue colour with cylindrical flacons. The designs are very similar in their colour scheme, yet have small distinct touches. Tiffany & Love for Her is a beautiful combination of notes, featuring blue basil, blackcurrant, grapefruit, jasmine, cedarwood and tuberose flower. It’s a very classic, floral, woody scent, created by renowned perfumers Honorine Blanc and Marie Salamagne. Tiffany & Love for Him, on the other hand, features citrus with a wood-infused base. The notes of this fragrance include oils of ginger, mandarin, cardamom, vetiver and sandalwood, as well as juniper-cypress blend, which is an exclusive co-distillation process created for Tiffany.
Retailing for $160 (90ml for her) and $120 (90ml for him).
2. Dr. Martens Vonda floral boots
We all tend to wear dark colours in winter, and I was craving a splash of funky in December. I like to wear a lot of bright coats, so I was looking for a pair of boots that would contrast nicely against them. This lovely pair by Dr. Martens did just that.
The 1914 Vonda is a twist on brand’s renowned floral prints, offering a distinctly feminine spin on their classic 14-eye boot, with soft leather and a rose applique. The great thing about this design is that although it has laces at the front, the side of the boot has a zipper for easy and fast wear. This provides a nice aesthetic that’s paired with a functional touch. I wore these boots for several weeks in rain and snow, and my feet stayed dry and comfortable the whole time. It’s a refreshing feeling to have when you live in Canada!
1914 Vonda was designed with Dr. Martens classic touches, such as grooved edges, yellow stitching and heel-loop. You’ll feel like walking on a cloud thanks to the iconic Dr. Martens air-cushioned sole, which is oil and fat resistant with good abrasion and slip resistance. The boots are leather and lightweight. Whether you wear all-black or have a more eclectic, colourful style, the roses make this design truly stand out.
Retailing for $175.
3. Dr. Liza’s pumps
I’ve heard a lot of great things about Dr. Liza’s shoes (whose celebrity fans include Kate Winslet, Kristin Booth and Gillian Jacobs) and was excited to try them out. As a journalist, I focus on facts in my reviews and never exaggerate, so let me be perfectly honest here: these are by far the most comfortable heels I have ever owned in my 36 years of life.
I started wearing heels when I was 11 or 12 years old. I still remember my first wedge-heel pair that I wore proudly back at home in Spain. As years went by, my body got so accustomed to wearing stilettos, heels and pumps that I just can’t imagine wearing anything else now. Certainly, this can get painful quickly, especially if you are on your feet for more than a few hours at a time. But not with this pair. I tried it out at a conference a few weeks ago, and not only loved the feeling of comfort but also loved the compliments (I received 7 in one day; I counted!). The pumps feature a comprehensive orthotic insole and a shock-absorbing platform—you’ll notice the difference from other pumps as soon as your put these ones on.
Another thing you will love about these shoes is that they can be worn with straps or without, and are available in many beautiful colours. My pair is in fuchsia, but I also love the sapphire, sky blue and chilli red styles. Dr. Liza also has flats and booties, which are available in a variety of colours, including the latest bubble gum release. I love that the brand is located in Canada, and that the shoes are made in Brazil, which is renowned for the quality of its footwear.
Retailing for $495.
4. Tilley’s extra-fine turtleneck sweater
You can’t go wrong with extra fine merino wool, and Tilley is a wonderful Canadian brand that creates elegant and sophisticated designs. I own one of their hats and was looking forward to put this sweater to the test. I wore it for several weeks at a variety of places, including conferences, the office and at home. The beauty of this design is that it’s available in black or grey, and so can be paired with pretty much anything. I chose the black turtleneck and wore it with pants, short skirts, extra long skirts and blazers. I also paired it with oversized jewelry or statement earrings, to take the look from simple elegance to a dressier style.
The yarn is highly twisted for durability and to resist pilling, which results in a durable, breathable and moisture-wicking sweater. This turtleneck is also naturally insulating in wet conditions and, most importantly: it is very warm! It also features a hint of nylon on the neckline and cuffs, so they won’t stretch out over time.
Retailing for $160.
5. Ardbeg 10 Year Old Islay Scotch Whisky
This product is revered around the world as the peatiest, smokiest, most complex single malt of them all. In fact, it was named World Whisky of the Year in 2008. And it’s true – if you are looking for an ultimate, extremely sophisticated gift: this product should be on your must-have list!
I remember going on a trip to Scotland with my husband in 2014. He was very curious to find the best scotch and spent some time doing research and asking our tour guides and local connections what they thought. We were told that nothing could compare to Ardbeg.
The palate for this scotch features a very soft entry, until the spices and peat make their grand entrance. It’s a powerful scotch that has a balancing sweetness. The smoke and pepper finish are also lovely. The packaging of this bottle is stunning too and looks like a present on its own, thanks to the accompanying box. Just add a bow, and voilà!
Retailing for $99.95 at LCBO.
6. Burberry Cat Lashes Mascara
Most women, even those who don’t wear much makeup, love to wear mascara. It’s a simple way to add a feminine touch to your natural look. I like the natural look too and so decided to test out the Ultra Black mascara from this series.
This particular product takes mascara to the next level. The best part is that, following application, you won’t even feel like you are wearing mascara, even though you would be able to see the gorgeous results. It’s completely weightless, doesn’t clump and has a spectacular application brush. Cat Lashes’ long-lasting formula is infused with carbon black pigments to give the darkest ink-like intensity, with volume from root to tip. Lashes are fanned-out from corner to corner with a fuller looking lash line, as if intensified by a kohl contour.
Like all Burberry beauty products, the packaging is extremely classic and very elegant. It’s a sophisticated choice for a lovely holiday gift.
Retailing for $35.
7. Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL
Pixel phones have long been among the best on the market, due to their incredible cameras and user-friendly interface. Year after year, and review after review, experts agree that Pixel’s biggest strength and advantage is its camera capabilities. The latest model is the first Pixel device to feature two rear cameras, including a 12MP primary camera and 16MP telephoto camera. This means more options to take portrait photos as well. Pixel 4 also lets you adjust the exposure balance of different parts of the photo separately, which is a huge bonus.
And one word: Astrophotography. You read that right. Pixel 4 is one of the world’s first smartphones that can capture high quality images of the night sky, including stars and planets. It accomplishes this with a long exposure and some software magic.
Once the photos are taken, you can share content to social media like Snapchat and Instagram directly from the camera app, by tapping “+” and then swiping up on the thumbnail icon after capturing a photo, or from the apps themselves.
Whether you are buying this for a tech-savvy family member or someone who just enjoys photography, the Pixel is the ultimate luxury gift this year. Trust me: you will love it!
(You can also read our in-depth review this month.)
Retailing for $999+.
8. Fitbit Versa 2 Special Edition
Holiday season is a perfect time to buy anything and everything special. Gifts that are limited edition always spark my interest, and this release by Fitbit is one of my top picks in 2019. This smartwatch is an excellent device that will help set and accomplish all your fitness goals, this year and in 2020. It automatically tracks your calories burned, steps taken, heart rate, sleeping patterns and more. It also has the big bonus of wirelessly syncing with your smartphone for at-a-glance notifications on everything from texts and emails, to social media and your calendar.
This special edition model includes an extra silicone band and a 90-day free trial of the new Fitbit Premium™ subscription program that uses unique data to deliver Fitbit’s most personalized, actionable guidance and coaching to help you lead a healthier lifestyle. Other functions include vibrating and illuminated alerts for incoming or missed calls, a 40mm full-colour touchscreen display with a 300 x 300 resolution, water resistance that makes this Fitbit resistant to splashes and drips, and small and large bands to ensure the perfect fit.
This is a sleek, elegant product that can be easily gifted to anyone of your list, regardless of their age. I can guarantee it will become one of their favourite devices.
Retailing for $279.95.
9. Estée Lauder’s AERIN Evening Rose fragrance
Aerin Lauder began her career at Estée Lauder in 1992 and held various executive roles including Senior Vice-President and Creative Director. She currently maintains her role as Style and Image Director for Estée Lauder. Lauder is the creative mind behind AERIN Beauty, which is a luxury fragrance brand inspired by her signature style. All fragrances under AERIN are created with the finest ingredients in distinctive combinations. They are well-known for fabulous, floral scents that make you feel like spring is all-year-round: and that’s what I love about them the most.
The Evening Rose eau de parfum edition features notes of Blackberry and rich cognac with Rose Centifolia and Bulgarian Rose Absolute. This is a more exotic and sensuous fragrance than AERIN’s other editions and it has a deep and luxurious scent of rose that can be worn all day long – be it at the office or a night out.
This is a very elegant, sexy perfume that also features a fabric pattern on the box, which was adapted from the Lee Jofa archive. It would make a stunning and very memorable gift for a special person.
Retailing for $150 (50 ml).
10. Guerlain’s Goldenland palette
I wear Guerlain makeup on a daily basis and was excited to try out this gorgeous palette from their holiday makeup collection. Each collector’s edition Goldenland piece is filled with vibrant tones, burnished golds and light-infused textures. The Goldenland palette is a lovely gift, and the packaging is truly festive, with the case reminiscent of a small clutch. The case is also wreathed with multiple golden facets.
The palette features 10 matte and metallic eyeshadows, all ready to be dusted onto the eyes depending on your mood or occasion. I particularly love the gold and pink shades. Quick tip: each eyeshadow can be applied with a dry or damp brush, so it offers everything you need to seamlessly layer any look, create incredible effects, and play with different intensities or undertones.
Retailing for $106.
11. Nespresso’s limited-edition holiday capsules and Gran Lungo cups
As a die-hard Nespresso fan, I always look forward to the annual limited-edition holiday collection of capsules. Trying new coffee flavours is one of my favourite activities in winter.
This year is no exception, and my favourite release is the Nordic Black Pods. They are a solid choice with a nice hint of sweetness that isn’t overpowering. Nordic Black is an aromatic African and South American Arabica blend, full of elegant fruity notes, and a smooth and lingering cereal aftertaste. It has a medium intensity of 5, so is a good option for an afternoon coffee, especially if you have more than one a day.
For a gift, I recommend getting a box of these pods and pairing them with 3 sets of Gran Lungo 270 ml cups (to have a set of 6 mugs). These cups were created with a double-walled porcelain, designed by India Mahdavi. Their form is inspired by the shape of a coffee bean and they are very elegant and minimalistic, with a matte white exterior and a varnished coloured interior. I have them at home and they double as my cups, or my pod dispensers.
Retailing for approximately $124 (1 box of pods + 6 cups).
12. Philips’ OneBlade Face and Body
For an ultimate gift for a man in your life, opt for this incredible gadget. It will trim, edge and shave any length of hair, and includes a blade for the face, and one with a skin guard for the body.
Philips is always at the forefront of technology and this product is no exception. OneBlade Face and Body has a revolutionary new technology with a dual protection system – a glide coating combined with rounded tips – that makes shaving easier and comfortable. Its shaving technology also features a fast-moving cutter (200 times per second), so it’s efficient even on longer hairs. Another great advantage is that its blades are designed for lasting performance, and you will only need to replace them every 4 months!
Retailing for $64.99.
Enjoy it all, happy shopping and have a lovely holiday season!
Photo credit: images courtesy of each brand.