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2014 Holiday Gift Guide

by Guest Writer

2014 Holiday Gift Guide by Dana Dougherty Reinke

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my little corner of the world and that means it’s time to get shopping. This year my 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte, and I decided headed to Burlington for a little quality time and to check out what the unique stores had to offer. I’m thrilled to report that after a few hours of serious spending, I’ve pretty much wrapped up (pun intended) my holiday shopping —time to sit back, relax and drink some eggnog.  Charlotte is happy to report that Kelly’s Bake Shoppe (401 Brant St.) is, like, her new favourite place.


My sister Kilby is an artiste and her home is her masterpiece of choice. There are no ticky-tacky tchotchkes in Kilby’s condo and any gift must be the perfect combination of function, style and beauty. When I walked into Fairhome (468 Brant St.) I knew I’d come to the right place. After much oohing and ahhing, I finally settled on a beautiful three-wick Himalayan soy candle ($70). The mistletoe fragrance is intoxicating and the mercury glass vase is stylish enough to display all year long.

Holiday Gift Guide - Fairhome











When Charlotte entered A Different Drummer Books (513 Locust St.), it was like my little bookworm passed through the gates of paradise. The cozy reading corner was the perfect place for her to curl up with Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan ($24.99) — guess I have one sure-fire gift! For seven-year-old Peyton, I chose the Giant Game of Sculptures by Hervé Tullet ($35), she’ll love creating unique works of art from the pre-cut pieces.

As much as Charlotte loves books, eight-year-old Carson does not. At Hobby and Toy Central (2455 Appleby Line and Mapleview Mall) I found the Totally Gross Science Game ($14). Learning about biology and chemistry is so much better when it’s gross — to Carson, nothing is funnier than bodily functions and toe jam.

holiday gift guide - different drummer











My husband loves nothing more than playing chef on weekends, so with him in mind I grilled the uber-helpful staff at ECS (1515 North Service Rd.) about gifts a true cook would love — heaven knows I haven’t got a clue. Together we chose the Le Crueset cast iron French oven ($299), which is ideal for making my favourite winter staples like stew and osso bucco. I have to admit, as the designated dishwasher, I’m particularly pleased with the enamel coating which apparently makes cleanup a breeze. P.S. This pot is going to look so great on my stove, I might just have to leave it out all the time.

Holiday Gift Guide - ECS Coffee











What to buy the man who has everything? Canadian-made GV snowshoes ($199) are just right for my hard-to-buy-for father-in-law, who loves nothing more than spending time at his remote fishing cabin. Lightweight and easy to master, these snowshoes will make his springtime treks through the woods way more fun.  To be clear, I know even less about the great outdoors than I know about cooking but the staff at SAIL (2208 Industrial St.) was very knowledgeable and happy to enlighten me.

Holiday Gift Guide - SAIL






Music Lover

Shannon, my oldest sister has been playing the piano since before I could talk and teaching it for almost as long. Needless to say the musical gift theme has been a little played out — I mean how many treble clef coffee mugs can one woman use? That’s why I did jumpy claps when I found refurbished turn tables ($90) and vast selection of new and used Vinyl, CDs and movies at Looney Tunes. (425 Brant St.). Finally, a musical gift she can actually use!

Holiday Gift Guide - Looney Tunes











I found this decadent cashmere fur-trimmed poncho ($415) at Joelle’s (457 Brant St.). It’s soft and luxurious and the perfect choice for my fashion-forward mother-in-law. Besides, I’ve always heard the best gifts to give are the one’s you want to receive yourself and man, do I want this baby! Finding the perfect gift for the ladies in your life is always a cinch at Joelle’s because of the wonderful mix of cool, affordable pieces and luxury brand names, such as Michael Kors and Laundry.

Holiday Gift Guide - Joelles











Without a doubt, the toughest gift on my list is always my Dad’s.  Practical and a bit frugal, he used to be a pretty stylin’ guy but lately his wardrobe isn’t always up to his fashionable daughters’ standards. Case in point: he buys his reading glasses at the drug store. Functional? Absolutely. Fashionable? Weeeeell. When I happened upon Eyebobs reading glasses ($80) at Scrivener’s Men’s Apparel (389 Brant St.) I considered my quest over — for this year at least. I know they’re going to look great on dad and while he might never have treated himself to a pair of rockin’ reading glasses, there’s no reason I can’t.

Holiday Gift Guide - Scriveners











headshot (1)Dana Dougherty Reinke is a blogger and freelance writer from Oakville, Ont.. She is a self-diagnosed shopaholic and a recovering depressionista.  Before Dana embraced the glitz and glamour of stay-at-home motherhood she worked as an editor at Canada’s number one parenting magazine (Today’s Parent) and Canada’s number one bridal magazine (Weddingbells). Her work has appeared in Canadian Family, Parents Canada, Glow, and Read about her trials — and errors — navigating suburban life at



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