A Little Gift Guide (2016 Edition)



(It’s not Christmas, but it is December, basically the same thing.)

Since this is The Sondress’ first Christmas, I wanted to mark that occasion with nothing but holiday-themed posts for the month of December! I’m very sorry if that’s not your thing, but it is absolutely my thing. So.

To start it all off, I present to you a gift guide. Unlike other gift guides, it’s been written by me. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing yet. Let me know.

Here’s the deal: I love Christmas shopping, I really do. I’ve worked in retail for years and I still unapologetically love almost every commercial aspect of the holidays.

Now that I’m reflecting on it, maybe that’s because I work in retail.

Anyway, here’s a gift guide, with some gifting ideas. I hope it gives you some inspiration in your gifting adventures this season.


Say you have a friend, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a family member who’s been talking bout that play or that exhibit for what seems like ages.

Be the Christmas hero this person deserves and surprise them with tickets! (Plus, if this was something you were also interested in, why not get one for yourself, too? If it’s not you’re thing, find out who’d they want to go with!)

If you’re near or in Toronto like myself, here’s some great places to start:

National Ballet of Canada

Art Gallery of Ontario

Mirvish Theatre


This is the perfect present to get for the person who you have no idea what to get.

You feel me?

Succulents are, interestingly enough, way trendy right now, but they’re also a great gift. An inexpensive, low-maintenance, tiny way to add some green to someone’s home.

It’s easy enough to find plant sellers now: if you don’t live near a market, try your local florist and see if they have recommendations.

If you don’t want to keep it in the container it was purchased in, then pick up a cute mug or cup from Value Village for a quirky touch.


Does anything get anyone going more than a holiday-themed beauty set?

Probably lots of things, but I mean, it’s up there, right?

A quick check at Sephora or Shopper’s Drug Mart can show you some great gift sets, but if you’re in the market for something special, may I make a recommendation?

This year, Too Faced has come out with holiday products set around the theme, “Christmas in New York.” It’s PERFECT.


The first set, called The Grand Hotel Cafe, is a set of three eyeshadow palettes and a mini Better Than Sex Mascara. The shadows are gorgeous and the palettes are scented, like almost everything Too Faced does.

Find the set here.

The second set, called The Chocolate Shop, also contains gorgeous matte and shimmer eyeshadows. In addition it features a few blushes and a lipstick, and everything is chocolate scented, naturally.

Find the set here.



Kinfolk Issue 22. Image Source

It’s 2016. There are magazines for literally everything.

No matter who you’re shopping for, there’s probably a lovely magazine that exists that caters to at least one of their interests.

You can find so many at Chapters, but independent book stores and magazine shops are also great places to look. If you can find one in your area, chances are they’ll have magazines you’ve never heard of before.

Magazines, especially nicely-put-together ones, are coffee table decorations and light reading material all at once.


The Coastal Table Winter 2016. Image Source

Some of my personal favourites?

For fashion and lifestyle: The Gentlewoman, Kinfolk, Hunger and Darling.

For food: The Coastal Table, Sweet Paul and Lucky Peach.

Monogrammed Accessories

If you’re on a budget, if you need to get a gift for someone you barely know or if you’re pressed for time, the clearest solution is just to put a letter on it. 

Monogrammed accessories are perfect. Who doesn’t love a little personalization? Bring out the narcissist in those around you, in a good way.

And if you’re looking for monogrammed gifts, I’ll just point you towards Anthropologie.

Monogrammed Jewellery

Monogrammed Keychains

Monogrammed Mugs

Monogrammed Journals

Honestly, just look up “monogrammed” on the website. You’ll see.

Lastly, consider the following

There’s a certain satisfaction in buying the perfect gift. If you’re like me and are a bit of a shopaholic, then you have no problem scouring store to store to find that one, right gift.

On the other hand, buying presents Christmas has given the holiday more stress than it needs. That search for the perfect gift can turn into a unending quest not unlike the Odyssey, just with less boating and more malls.

Instead of doing the buy-a-present thing, why not make one?

This doesn’t have to mean you do a full-size marble rendition of your intended giftee, we’re not all Michaelangelo. Or Martha Stewart. What I’m saying is getting a little creative is always on option. Bake something for someone. Create a photo album with some of their favourite pictures. Pick up some craft supplies at Walmart and make a wreath for them to hang up. Pinterest is a gold mine for hand-made Christmas present ideas that don’t require a fine artist’s hand. It sounds a bit cliche, but some of the best presents are the ones you take the time to make.

And anyway, Christmas is the best time of year to be a little bit cliche.

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