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Holiday Gift Giving Guide 2013

by Linda Cvetanovic

The pumpkins are barely off the shelves and then it’s time to start thinking holiday shopping!  With only 46 days until Christmas (at the time of this post) it’s time to start making a list and checking it twice.  I know that some of those really organized shoppers probably already have a stash of perfect gifts just waiting to be pulled out, wrapped and presented to the lucky recipient but for the rest of us sometimes, we need some motivation and a little help.  For the past two years tourism has partnered with different writers to find the perfect holiday gifts here in Burlington.  This year we decided to video our shopping excursion and are pleased to share our gift giving guide on both video and on our blog.

We joined Andrew Gerrior for a day of shopping in Burlington and searched out some great gift ideas for everyone on your list….

Check out part one of our holiday gift guide featuring shops in downtown Burlington

Anise Apothocary
Anise ApothecaryThis wonderful little shop is a great place to find a gift that is not only lovely and useful but good for you as well.  Anise Apothecary product selection is built on the philosophy that they don’t carry things that contain “bad stuff”. From bath & body, makeup and skin care to herbal products, coffees, chocolate and teas you will find “good stuff” and be sure to spend some time chatting with Monique, not only is she a lovely lady but she really knows her stuff.

Andrew’s Pick:  Rich Hippie Organic Perfume

Rich Hippie PerfumeRich Hippie Organic Perfume is carefully made in very small batches, using methods employed by perfumers before WWII when all fine perfume was 100% natural and chemical free.  Rich Hippie perfume uses organically grown and harvested grapes. And with names such as ‘Bohemian Wedding, The Kiss, Wild Thing’ you’ll not only smell good but you’ll feel uplifted by exotic organic floral extracts such as Sumatran Pachouli, Madagascan Ylang Ylang, Indian Jasmine and more. Available in perfume, unisex perfume & eau de parfum.  Perfumes run from $48 for an eau de parfum roll-on to $105 for a full strength perfume roll-on and $265 for a full strength perfume bottle. It’s not your average essential oil perfume in that they are much more concentrated, thereby lasting much longer on the skin……or you can even add them directly to inside seam of a piece of clothing and they will last long there as well.

Why he choose this:  It’s always great to have a new smell for yourself or around the house during the holiday season. Rich Hippie is all natural too which makes for some really awesome smells!

Village Cigar Company & Barbershop
Village Cigar CompanyThis shop is filled with all things cigar related including a large walk in humidor as well as an in-house barbershop.  Styled after the classic barber shops of days gone by, men can relax in a vintage style barber chair for hot towel straight razor shaves and real barber haircuts 7 days a week.  Plus they have all the accompaniments that you need to keep you looking just a dapper as the day you left the shop.  If you want to read first hand about their services check out our blog by our travel counselor Patrick.

Andrew’s Pick:  The grooming kits

Nov13_HolidayGiftGuide007-Image-CounThe Village Cigar Company & Barbershop has amazing services for men so a gift certificate is always a great gift but if you want to keep your guy looking sauve even after he’s left the shop, consider the “Shaving Kit” (pictured) which includes a Merkur, Solingen razor, Marke Golddachs, Dachshaar badger brush, Dr. Harris & Co. Ltd stainless steel silver stand, shaving bowl and soap, Marlborough Mahogany bowl and Timeless Fragrance of Noble Character soap, and after shave by Crown Shaving Co. After Shave Tonic and all for under $250.

If you are looking for a stocking stuffer or something more moderately priced, the “Men’s Grooming Kit” (all for under $50) is a great option.  Complete with  “Layrite” Original Deluxe pomade,  “Layrite” Superior Quality for Hair grooming spray, and a Kent Hand-Made comb.

Why he chose this: OMG! I love personal grooming! This little kit has it all too. Perfect for any man that has as much facial hair as me! 😉

Olive Oil Dispensary
Olive Oil DispensaryThis newly opened store in downtown Burlington is going to be a big hit with foodies and chefs.  The Olive Oil Dispensary offers fresh, seasonal extra virgin olive oils from around the world, flavour-infused olive oils, balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy, and much more. Everything is on tap for you to taste and your favourite is bottled on the spot.  The main product types: extra virgin olive oil (mild, medium, and robust intensity), flavour-infused olive oil (e.g. lemon, orange, garlic, tuscan herb), dark balsamic vinegar (e.g. chocolate, maple, blueberry), white balsamic vinegar (e.g. peach, mango, cranberry-pear) and you can choose your bottle size 200mL ($12) , 375mL ($18), 750mL ($29) or 6-pack of 60mL bottles ($28)
*pricing is for most standard oils & vinegars

Andrew’s Pick: The “Gift basket”
Nov13_HolidayGiftGuide020-Image-CounThis beautifully arranged basket features bottles of  their olive oil and vinegars, as well as complementary gourmet food items, such as pasta, crackers, jams, spreads, tapenades, and old-fashioned handmade candy.  You can personalize your gift basket to suit the tastes of the receipient and let’s face it, you can never go wrong with good food!

Why he chose this: First off, this olive oil is fantastic. Secondly, I find that gift baskets like this one at the Olive Oil Dispensary are great gifts made easy.

Joelle’s & Jeff’s Guy Shop

Joelles storefrontWith the holiday season looming you might just be looking for something fabulous for that holiday get together. From casual to dressy, at Joelle’s you are sure to find that one special piece that speaks to you.  With a wide variety of premium brands from L.A.M.B. to Michael Kors, Joelle and her staff can help you put together the perfect look for any occassion.  The store also has a reputation as the go to shop for premium denim – and we all know how important a great pair of jeans is.  For the gentlemen, head to the back of the store and outfit yourself at Jeff’s Guy Shop, where you will find the same attention to service and style.  Jeff’s features moderately priced, high quality, well branded, sensible styles for men of all ages.  Remember, everyone appreciates a “sharp dressed man” 

Andrew’s Pick at Joelle’s: The Nayme necklace.  
Nayme NecklaceNames are much more than the simple letters that construct them; they each carry a special symbolic value. The designers at Nayme, design sterling silver pendants to represent the meanings of names.  Whether you wear your own name or a loved one’s, these timeless keepsakes help you celebrate those close to your heart.- based on the meaning of your name.  Joelle’s is one of two retailers that carries this beautiful necklace and is the only one outside of Toronto.  Photos can’t do these beautiful pieces justice, so be sure to stop by Joelle’s and see them for yourself.

Why Andrew Chose this: At Joelle’s I found Nayme necklaces which are so awesome and unique. They make the perfect one-of-a-kind gift for a special someone in your life.

Andrew’s Pick at Jeff’s Guy Shop: The ‘signature’ sock

Socks at Jeffs Guy ShopYou could certainly outfit the man in your life with clothing from Jeff’s and the attention to service and ability to actually have someone work with you to choose the perfect style and fit is what sets this retailer apart from your average men’s store.  With so many great accessories at Jeff’s Guy Shop it’s hard to pick just one to focus on as a gift idea but while browsing the store we starting talking about the great socks available and the fun and funky designs and colour.  I’ve always loved that even if you have to dress “corporate” you can let your personality shine through with a creative sock.  As it turns out, we were right!  According to the style experts at Jeff’s the ‘signature’ sock is the new tie.  Great as a stocking stuffer or add to an outfit to complete the look and the gift.

Why Andrew chose this: The first thing that jumped out at me were the man’s sock selection at Jeff’s Guy Shop. They have so many cool dress socks in there!  I’ve mentioned above about how much I love the man’s sock selection at Jeff’s Guy shop and all I have to say is that you need to go there and check it out. NOW!

Check out the second part of our gift guide video features stores in mid-town & north Burlington

Mountain Equipment Co-op

MEC staffThis Canadian owned and operated company is the perfect location to find a gift for the outdoor enthusiast on your list.  No matter what your passion – hiking, biking, climbing, water sports, snow sports, yoga, camping or running they’ve got you covered.  The great thing about MEC is that they practice what they preach, they care about the earth and focus on sustainability, ethically sourced products and greening, in fact 1% of their annual revenue is invested in grassroots conservation and outdoor recreation through grants, partnerships, and outreach/advocacy programs.  The other thing you will notice is that their staff really are experts in the areas they work in.  They want to help you find the right gear and make sure you have a great experience.  Team member Kaylyn was on hand to help Andrew pick a great gift and here is what he chose.

Andrew’s Pick – The Power Traveller Powermonkey Extreme Solar Charger
Powermonkey Solar chargerIf you have someone that loves the outback or if you are just being prepared (blackout anyone?) then this is the perfect gift.  Power may corrupt, but it also keeps you communicating, computing, and clicking photos. This compact solar charger stores juice for your devices and can be topped up from a USB port, a wall, or outside in the sunshine.  This device with a fully (solar) charged battery pack will charge an iPad® or tablet 1–2 times, a smartphone 4–6 times, or a GPS 4–6 times.  The Solar panel output will fully charge battery pack in about 18 hours of strong sunlight which means you never have to worry about not having an electrical outlet when you are deep in the woods or in case of an emergency.

Why Andrew chose this: I was just so curious about this product and it did not disappoint. This solar charger from PowerMonkey is meant to be used out in the wild while on an excursion but I want to use it day-to-day in the city! Can you tell my cell phone dies often?

Snugglebugz

Prince Lionheart WheeliesThis store has long been known as the go to place for strollers, car-seats and baby gear but what you probably didn’t know is that they are also a great source for items for toddlers as well.  Since Andrew only got one gift pick per store, we have to share this other great gift idea for toddlers – Prince Lionheart wheely toys encourage gross motor skills while having heaps of fun and come in six different designs. These bright, soft, riders are a unisex design and come in two sizes for starting riders and bigger kids (up to 50lbs).  Tough PU covering, resistant to the inevitable “little accidents”, easy to clean, perfect for the active child.

Andrew’s Pick: The Ergobaby Doll Carrier
Doll CarrierThis is a great gift idea for any young girl who loves her “babies”.  Children can mirror other “moms” with the child-sized Ergobaby Doll Carrier.  It is perfect for toting beloved dolls and other toy friends and is a great gift for a new big sister or brother, so they can be just like mommy or daddy.  The Doll Carrier can be worn in the front or back position and we had a perfect product tester join us and she seemed pretty happy to have her favourite dolly in tow.

Why Andrew chose this:  I wanted to feature this product in the Holiday Gift Guide this year because it’s just so cute and it’s great for families and moms to use!

Mrs. B’s Gifthouse

Mrs. B's gift presentationsUpon arrival at Mrs. B’s your tastebuds are tempted by the delicious smells of fresh baked biscotti.   Mrs.B’s Gifthouse has been selling and baking it’s own unique biscotti’s in house, one tray at a time for almost 20 years.  Other products made in house also include chocolate items such as a variety of chocolate barks, unique chocolate bars, coconut cookie macaroons, soft chocolate licorice, and more.  You can expect a warm greeting from Angelo and his staff as they offer up a biscotti sample and a cup of coffee while you peruse the store.  Don’t call it a gift basket – it’s a gift presentation and it’s what they do best  With over 20 years experience, a seasoned staff and a convenient location, this family owned business will provide you with that special gift that’s right for any occasion.

Nov13_HolidayGiftGuide041-Image-CounAndrew’s Pick: EVERYTHING

From the house-made biscotti to the chocolate dipped licorice, you will not be disappointed.  Made fresh in store these delectable treats are delicious on there own or add to a gift basket with some other gourmet products or mix it up a bit with selected spa and gift items.  No matter what you choose, it will be packaged and presented beautifully and your gift recipient is sure to appreciate it.

Why Andrew chose this: Just walk into the store and let your nose take over. You will end up walking out of there with everything they sell. If you want to spend a little less, don’t go there hungry. Plus Angelo is awesome! Make sure you say hello!

Bronte Creek Provincial Park

FB_BronteCreekBronte Creek Provincial Park is a great four-season destination.  Open year-round the park consists of over 10km of multi-purpose trails, 11 picnic shelters, a turn-of-the-century living history museum (Spruce Lane Farmhouse), nature centre, a campground, children’s playbarn, 1.8 acre pool, Olympic size skating rink and a farm. The park itself is 684 hectares (1690 acres) in size, which makes it as large as Central Park in New York City!  In addition, one of the great features is the leash free area for your four legged friends to burn off their excess doggy energy.  Bronte Creek is also home to many events including their signature Homestead Christmas in December and Maple Syrup Festival in March.

Andrew’s Pick:  An Ontario Parks gift certificate
Ontario Parks certificatesOntario Parks gift certificates come in $20 denominations and can be used toward any purchase (merchandise, day-use, camping) at any Ontario Park although we suggest a visit to Bronte Creek.  If you are feeling a bit more generous, consider a season pass to Ontario Parks.  At only $150.57 this pass will allow unlimited day use (for everyone in the vehicle) at any Ontario Park and with so much to do at Bronte Creek you will want to visit again and again.

Why Andrew chose this: GETTING OUTSIDE IN THE WINTER IS SO IMPORTANT! Sometimes we forget going outside during the cold months is an option for many reasons! First reason is because we have to layer up! The second reason is because we forget what to do outside in the snow! This Ontario Parks pass and gift certificate gets you out enjoying the winter wonderland!

We had a great day exploring some of the wonderful shops around Burlington but there are so many we couldn’t get to.  We encourage you to visit our shopping page for a list of local retailers and don’t forget a restaurant gift certificate always makes a nice gift as well.   Be sure to mark your calendars for these “shopping events” as well:

Burlington Art Centre – Christmas Show and Sale – Nov 14-17
Royal Botanical Gardens – Christmas Show and Sale – Nov 14-16
Downtown Burlington – Shop the Neighbourhood Day – Nov. 30. Downtown businesses will be offering great promotions, sales and events. if you are on twitter you can follow #shopthehoodburl.

If you’re planning to visit Downtown Burlington to shop, we have some exciting news …Free Parking in Downtown Burlington from December 1st, 2013 through January 1st, 2014.  A gift to you for the 2013 holiday season, enjoy complimentary parking on the street, and in all Municipal lots, in Downtown Burlington for the entire month of December!

Wishing you a happy holiday season!

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