Sure, it’s easy to get your nearest and dearest the latest online games or a piece of high-tech gear for the holidays, maybe too easy, so why not think outside of the box and go old school with your gift-giving this year? We’ve picked prezzies for every budget that celebrate the thoughtful, the handmade and the straight up nostalgic – because really, isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
Low-tech gifts for an old-fashioned Christmas
FOR THE WELL-GROOMED GENTLEMANForget the high-tech electric razors with the crazy rotating blades; this three-piece shaving kit by the venerable Baxter of California features natural ingredient products that smell amazing, paired with a badger hair brush that feels as decadent as a hot towel shave at the barber.
Baxter of California Shave 1,2,3 Kit, $88 at FendrihanFendrihan
FOR THE CLASSIC COCKTAIL FANThe classic cocktail trend isn't going anywhere, and these handcrafted, zingy rhubarb bitters produced in small batches in Beamsville, Ontario will make the perfect addition to the bar of the creative mixologist on your list.
Dillon's Rhubarb Bitters, $18.95 at AlambikaAlambika
FOR THE CULTURE LOVERIt's easy to stick a gift card in an envelope and call it a day, but with a little advance planning, you can wow your favourite arts-loving urbanite with a pair of paper tickets to a local concert, play, or cool cultural event. Include a heartfelt handwritten note and you might even get invited along as their plus one. Win-win!Thinkstock
FOR THE HERITAGE HOMEBODYIs it any surprise that the Bay's classic striped point blanket is still in high demand more than 200 years after it was first commissioned? With its heirloom quality craftsmanship and iconic Canadian design, it's guaranteed to keep its lucky recipients toasty warm for many years to come.
HBC Collection Point Blanket Multistripe, $325-$550, at The BayThe Bay
FOR THE CLASSICISTTote bags are a dime a dozen, but few are as timeless and gorgeously crafted as this classic leather version by Toronto's Apogee Goods. Hand sewn with sturdy English bridle leather and 4-cord waxed thread, it's perfectly practical, super-durable and still pretty enough to field tons of compliments.
Structured Daily Tote in Chestnut, $299 at Apogee Goods Apogee Goods
FOR THE OLD-FASHIONED CORRESPONDENTNothing's quite as nostalgia inducing as a handwritten notecard, and this super-cute set, cleverly divided into correspondence types and embossed with gold foil accents, will appeal to both aspiring writers and their delighted audience.
Kate Spade All-Occasion Notecard set, $34 at Indigokatespade.com
FOR THE DISCERNING GOURMETLocal, artisanal and totally delish: this sweet selection of seasonal Ontario preserves, raw linden honey from Quebec and premium loose leaf tea ticks all the boxes and transforms even the most ho-hum post-holiday breakfast into something pretty special.
Jam, Tea, & Honey gift box, $66 at Kitten and the BearKitten and the Bear
FOR THE CELLPHONE SKEPTICWhat, you don't have a landline anymore? Us neither, but the Luddite on your list will adore the simplicity, heft and clean lines of this 1930's-inspired desk phone. What's more, this beauty scores bonus points for having the decency to hide its technology inside a nostalgia-inducing case.
Crosley Kettle Classic Desk Phone, $88.73-$103.53, at Pottery BarnPottery Barn
FOR THE AVID PUZZLEREntice your favourite people away from their screens with this dig-right-in 1000-piece puzzle featuring a vibrantly graphic pop illustration by famed midcentury artist Charley Harper. In addition to providing a happy hit of colour in darkest December, it's a guaranteed way to get the family working together, if only for a few hours.
Charley Harper Birducopia 1000-piece Jigsaw Puzzle, $23.95 at Urban Nature StoreUrban Nature Store
FOR THE SLOW FASHION FANThe tacky Christmas sweater isn't going anywhere, but maybe it's time to swap it out for something more substantial. We're loving this 100% wool Mountain Range sweater by Granted Clothing, hand-knit in Vancouver and built to last (it comes with a lifetime minor repair and depilling service - really).
Granted Clothing Mountain Range sweater in Navy, $435, at grantedclothing.comgrantedclothing.com