Gift Guide: Ultimate one-of-a-kind gifts
Every year we go through the same gift angst – how do you find the perfect gift? Especially for someone of a certain age, who might be described as already having one of everything.
This year, give yourself a break. There is no perfect gift, but there are some very cool, truly unique presents that we can almost guarantee will be unexpected. Our list might make them laugh and they might make them grateful, but we’re fairly sure they won’t already have these.
Don’t dismiss the Beardski – this is really a practical gift for the person who loves being outdoors in the winter. A hilarious, fake beard, the Beardski is made from cozy thermal fleece, designed to keep chin and lower face toasty warm on the coldest day. But the look is pure funk – think ZZ Top or Duck Dynasty. It will have them – and everyone around them – laughing all the way to the ski slopes. And down them! It comes in different styles and colours from Merlin or Santa to full-on Pirate of the Caribbean. ($35-$40). www.beardski.com
The one thing most condo dwellers miss is the garden. Even those who don’t miss raking leaves would admit to longing for the joy of one’s own fresh herbs and veggies. The Modern Sprout planter was designed for style savvy and space-conscious city dwellers, absent-minded gardeners and organic-focused home cooks. This simple, sustainable planter is self-watering/self-feeding and will give the wannabe gardener the joy of cultivation without the work. Herbs, flowers, even small vegetables can be grown in a sunny window all year round in these attractive containers. Don’t have a sunny window? No problem. They have a solar version that makes the best of the light available. ($129-$259) www.modernsproutplanter.com
Breakfast Muffins made easy
We all have hard-working friends who make Timmy’s the first stop en route to work. Whether it’s an Egg McMuffin or a Timmy’s Breakfast Sandwich, an English muffin with eggs and ham has become breakfast for many. Making these at home is a hassle, but homemade means control of the ingredients – healthy bun, free-run egg, organic ham, artisan cheese. Enter the Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich maker. This one small gadget cooks the egg, slides in the ham and cheese and brings it all together. The ingredients could include whole-grain English muffins, bagels, even pancakes, and toppings can include healthy options like low-fat cheese, egg whites, veggies, or lean meat. It’s done in five minutes, less time than it takes for the morning line-up at Timmy’s. ($29.99 in stores).
Good to the very last drop
Wine lovers have two problems. An unfinished bottle is never the same the next day, even with wine savers. And buying by the bottle is pricey. Give the oenophile in your family a Boxxle, a 3-litre premium box wine holder that automatically compresses the bag to dispense the wine down to the last drop. The key is keeping the wine fresh; Boxxle preserves it for up to six weeks. It’s shatter-proof, portable, will never have cork taint, and it's environmentally conscious. ($100) www.boxxle.com
Kick this one around
This one will give friends with kids a real kick. The Play & Freeze ice cream ball lets them make their own ice cream, and they can enjoy a game of catch or kick the can while doing it. Fill with the ingredients, add salt and ice to the other end, seal, and toss it around – literally! The action of tossing turns it into ice cream. No electricity needed to produce a pint of homemade goodness. ($32.95) at Bath & Beyond and other stores.
Lights, camera, action
Move over Mark Darcy. The tacky reindeer sweater worn by Bridget Jones’s boyfriend doesn’t come close. John Kaplar designed his first tacky sweater collection and launched Skedouche in November, 2009 to overwhelming response. After all, how can you resist a seriously tacky sweater? And what a cool gift especially when you add lights and action! For your Jewish friends, light a menorah – right on their sweater. It’s 70-per-cent acrylic and 30-per-cent wool, and preshrunk. There’s also a fireplace of flickering, glowing logs ($70-$73). Just for fun, go to their website and see what seriously tacky looks like. www.skedouche.com