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Let it snow
If you can’t actually go over and do the shovelling for someone, the next best thing is gifting them a Snow Joe electric mini snow shovel. Designed to clear snow up to six inches deep, the lightweight shovel has an ergonomically designed handle that makes lifting and moving snow easier, while its 10 AMP motor and dual 13-inch-wide blade gets the job done efficiently. This model has a cord; more expensive cordless variations are available.
Snow Joe 13” Electric Snow Shovel, $150, Rona, rona.ca
For those looking for an alternative to digital everything, consider this whimsical analogue clock designed by Mr. Smith Studio. Available through the international design and furnishings company Calligaris, which recently launched a new location in the Castlefield Design District, the ceramic Osvaldo has a quirky, rakish lean to it, not unlike one of Salvadori Dali’s melting watches. Available in three matte-finish colours with thin black hands, the clock has a beguiling simplicity, perfectly suited to the minimalist on your list.
Osvaldo Table Clock, $187, Calligaris, calligaristoronto.ca
Worth their weight
For the chic fitness enthusiast, the Canadian fitness equipment brand Lifted elevates basic workout gear. Its high-quality, ergonomic, eco-friendly free weights and kettlebells are too beautiful to hide away when the workout is done. The weights range from five to 25 pounds (smaller two-pound weights, well-suited to yoga and Pilates, will be introduced after Christmas), are made from white powder-coated, recycled steel with silicone grips and are finished with Carrara marble ends. The line also includes a space-saving storage cart that is stylish enough to be kept in the living room.
Lifted workout equipment, from $100, liftedmovement.com
For the trendsetter with a conscience, the Liberté scarf, designed by Sophie Brussaux for Carriage Trade Shop, not only comes in a versatile 140X158-centimetre size but supports a worthy cause. All of the proceeds from sales will be donated towards two women’s charities: Rethink Breast Cancer and HART, the Human Anti-trafficking Response Team. The scarf is made of a luxuriously soft modal-silk blend and features a colourful, modern abstract design.
Liberté Scarf By Sophie Brussaux X Carriage Trade, $325, Carriage Trade Shop, carriagetradeshop.com
So much sew
Entrepreneur and needle arts expert Juliana Miranda is a lifelong embroidery enthusiast who grew up in the textile industry, learning the art from her mother at an early age. Her company, Mia Rose & Frank, features hand-embroidered linens — guest towels, dinner napkins, alpaca throws and baby gifts like blankets, bibs and change pads — that are made to order. Fabrics are sourced from European linen houses; each piece is hand-embroidered to order with a monogram or a choice of delicate designs and arrives packaged in a white box tied with blue grosgrain ribbon. Allow about four weeks to complete each order.
Hand-embroidered linens, $70 to $200, Mia Rose & Frank, miaroseandfrank.com
Hot Pocs are the world’s first reusable portable hand warmers. They’re available in two configurations: a set of four rechargeable packs in a metal storage box, or inside a quilted sleeve suitable for keeping a cellphone warm in cold weather (it looks like a tiny sleeping bag). The Canadian-produced packs are made of non-toxic material enclosed in a silicone pouch, which you activate by pressing a metal coin inside of it. To recharge one, simply boil the pouch in water for five minutes and allow to cool. Hot Pocs are great for winter hikers, skiers or anyone who frequently needs to keep their hands or phone warm.
Hot Pocs Reusable Hand Warmers, $38 for a set of four, MEC stores or hotpoc.ca
You can never have enough garden gloves, especially when they are tough but beautiful ones like these. Featuring an authentic vintage 1930s-style design, Ethel gloves are rugged enough for pruning, raking, digging and mowing, while the waterproof, form-fitting Trek-Dry synthetic leather is pliable enough for delicate work and is even touch-screen compatible.
Ethel Gardening Gloves, $27, Rona, rona.ca
Style to burn
Vancouver Candle Company’s rich scents and attractive packaging have made their products a cult classic. The all-Canadian company’s candles are made from soy wax, which burns cleaner and longer than paraffin. Fragrances, which are custom-blended using essential oils and fragrance bases, include White North, a blend of amber, heather and moss; Muskoka, with notes of pine, cedar and eucalyptus; and Neighbourhoods, which nod to Toronto and Vancouver enclaves like The Beach and Kitsilano.
Premium candles, $48; diffusers, $68; and gift boxes, $150 to $295, Vancouver Candle Company, vancouvercandleco.com
All shook up
This stylish Trombone Collection of stainless-steel cocktail barware by British industrial designer Nick Munro has a 21st-century look, but also harks back to the work of classic barware designers from the mid-20th century, like the Danish master Georg Jensen. The full collection includes a cocktail shaker, ice bucket, wine cooler and water pitcher.
Trombone Collection Barware, $195 to $265, Hopson Grace, hopsongrace.com
Let it roll
For the home baker, how about a French-style rolling pin from Etsy for rolling out homemade pasta, pie or cookie dough. Handmade in P.E.I. from patterned flame birch dowels, the pins are available in three lengths from 16 to 22 inches. They’re lighter and easier to handle than standard-handled rolling pins and look lovely on a counter.
French tapered rolling pin, $85 to $95, Cattails Woodwork/Etsy, etsy.com
For the foodie or home chef, Muji’s hand-carved acacia tray has an artisanal look, rich in colour and grain; and unlike other tropical woods, acacia isn’t endangered and grows quickly. The hand-rubbed finish and attractively imperfect shape is unique to each piece, complete with knots and sap spots. At about 10 inches in diameter, the tray can be used for serving drinks or as a centrepiece on a holiday table.
Acacia tray, $25, Muji, muji.ca