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The 2018 Holiday Gift Guide: 22 Ways to Go Faster, Drink Better, Travel More and Live Fuller

 

Written by Pasquale Casullo, Christina Gonzales, Jayne Ashley Heaton, Tiffany Leigh

The end of the year marks a time where many find themselves in the trenches of gifting anxiety. What do you get the person that’s impossible to shop for this time? Do you even bother trying to think of something original?

Fret not; we’re here to help. We’re of the mind that sometimes what’s needed isn’t more, just better. So whether you’re out in search of a gift or simply looking to treat yourself (because damn, it’s been a long year and you deserve it), we’ve come up with a list of upgrades that you can refer to, regardless of the occasion, which include unforgettable experiences down to elevated everyday items. Enjoy.

Channel Your Inner Queen

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Up your fine jewellery game with pieces from Carrera y Carrera, an international Spanish jewellery firm hailed as one of the most prestigious in the world. The iconic brand's sculptural style combines precious stones and matte-gloss gold; each item is crafted with extreme care. When you wear Carrera y Carrera, the pieces come to life. But if there's one word that describes a woman in these jewels, we'd say it's regal. The Aqua Ring, made of 18 karat white gold, blue topaz, and diamonds is an artistic masterpiece and graphical tribute to the streams and springs that bring life to every corner of Spain. The Circulos de Feugo Bracelet in 18 karat yellow gold, green agate, and diamonds is decorated with dragons, the universal symbols of power and strength. Aqua Ring with Blue Topaz, $15,135 and Circulos de Fuego Bracelet, $6,815  – CG

 

Learn the Way of the Ninja

Japan is a nation overflowing with culture and perfect for the adventurer in search of an unconventional getaway. Kick off your 10-day trip in the land of the rising sun by learning the alluring ancient disciplines of the ninja – or shinobi – taught by a master sensei (famous for taking on thirteen Yakuzi at once), complete with throwing stars and blowguns. You’ll then head over to a sumo stable and watch the wrestlers undergo their morning training for a behind-the-scenes look. The trip isn’t all high-adrenaline, either. From Tokyo to Kyoto, you’ll stir-up ramen, brush up on calligraphy and flower arranging, master meditation, explore temples, and discover hidden city gems – all while being pampered in Japan's top hotels for an experience you’ll never forget. Black Tomato, $14,900 – PQ

Get A House for Your Watches

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A magnificent timepiece is indeed precious cargo and deserves a secure, cushioned spot while in transit. Louis Vuitton, the OG of luxury luggage purveyors, are the ones to trust for the job. Outfitted in their signature Damier Graphite canvas, with an 'S-lock,' your watches will be safe wherever you go. Louis Vuitton 8-watch Trunk; $7,250 – PQ

Promote Your Office Look

A trim, espresso-dark, soft-leather tote is a smart substitute for a heavy briefcase. Featuring Gucci's signature red-and-green web-detail and antiqued brass hardware, it is the perfect size for stashing a few files, a laptop and any other essentials needed for your work. And just like a classic Gucci loafer, you'll use this bag forever. Gucci work tote, $3,465 – PQ

Sign Off Like a Boss

A re-interpretation of Montblanc's first fountain pen model developed in 1906, this precious resin-barreled beauty celebrates the distinguished company's spirit. With a straightforward operation (no need for dipping into an inkwell), and sporting a snake-head clip with green spinel minerals for eyes, you'll make a statement with every deal that you sign. Montblanc heritage collection rouge et noir special edition coral ballpoint pen, $680 – PQ

Grab Life by the Wheel

Those looking for a winter thrill ride should pay a visit to Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit. It’s a playground for performance driving enthusiasts, and the only motorsport facility that’s open in Canada year round. Its rebellious, extra challenging tracks, which combine 19 corners, incredible elevation changes (91 metres of changes per lap, to be exact), and an off-roading course, are an adrenaline junkie’s dream. Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit; prices vary. - CG

Commute in Style

For the daily commuter or weekend cyclist who loves style as much as speed, Pierrot’s ultra-chic bicycles are absolute eye candy. Frames come in colours and finishes to suit any rider’s personal style. Punchy coral or neon suits the trendsetter nicely, while always-pulled-together types will love the unique look of the all-black “The Onyx” or mod white “The Mono” frames. Our favourite, “The Chrome”, is a futuristic glimmering number perfect for just about anyone who likes nice things. Pierrot Bicycles Inc., $580-$640 - JAH

Get iNTO the Christmas Spirit

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The Scottish craft brewer from across the pond, Innis & Gunn, has created their ale with literal gold, frankincense and myrrh. There's no better way to get in the Christmas spirit, than imbibing the three gifts, straight from the manger. Even for those who don't celebrate the holiday, having a drink infused with actual gold will surely make your toes tingle and warm your heart. Innis & Gunn Frank and Sense, $8   

Rock Out

Made for the individual on the go, these foldable bluetooth headphones are powered by a drive unit as well-crafted as those found in the British brand's loudspeakers, ensuring that your music sounds its best even in the worst conditions, from flying in a buzzing plane to strolling in a humming city. With black sheepskin-leather ear pads and a seventeen-hour battery life, you'll always be listening in comfort, no matter where you’re going. Bowers & Wilkins P7 foldable wireless headphones, $450 – PQ

Warm Up in Something Other than Canada Goose

Ask your mother: nothing is cooler than keeping warm. Created with urban living and warm comfort in mind, Moose Knuckles is changing the way we look in subzero temperatures. Constructed with tough workwear fabrics, but tailored for contemporary living, these cheeky jackets (see: cherry-red fox fur hoods) look great worn over a sharp suit or sleek dress. Moose Knuckles Stella canvas parka, $1,895 – PQ

Stand Out on the Slopes

Wagner has no off-the-rack models. Every ski is customised with a unique shape, flex pattern, and material composition for you and your style of skiing. Designed from your 'Skier DNA' fitting process, it takes twelve-hours and an additional two weeks for one pair to be made. And while a standard colourway may be chosen (the tree-like marble ako is particularly fetching) you can even use a graphic of your own design for your sticks. Wagner Skis; starting at $1,750 - PQ

Find Yourself

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It’s important to know where you come from, and AncestryDNA is here to help. Discover more about yourself with a DNA test that analyzes your data for 700,000 genetic markers to uncover your ethnic background, and your family’s history and origins. Boasting the world’s largest online consumer DNA database means you’ll uncover tons of living relatives you didn’t know you had. The more participants, the richer the database will grow, so this experience will keep getting better. AncestryDNA, $130 - JAH

Sail the Seas

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Exploring the shores of St. Martin, Antigua, French Polynesia, Fiji and more from the deck of a private yacht with only your family and a private staff on board might sound like a treat reserved for the billionaire set, but TradeWinds Luxury Yacht Rentals brings the dream to life for the rest of us. Book a seven-day all-inclusive adventure, and lounge onboard sipping cocktails, or work up an appetite discovering deserted beaches and uncharted shorelines by kayak – a private chef will have dinner awaiting your return aboard. TradeWinds; prices vary.  - JAH

Boost Your Selfie Game

It was Instagram before Instagram – and far more fun. Used in the 1970s by everyone, including photography greats (Ansel Adams, Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton), the reissue of the first instant SLR camera shows that keeping a memory private amongst friends is more special than spreading it all across the internet. Polaroid SX-70 camera, $550 - PQ

Treat Your Feet

Whether on a business trip or with the family, you'll feel a touch closer to home while shuffling around a hotel room wearing these soft, handmade leather slippers by England's masters of nightwear, Derek Rose. Add natty striped pyjamas, a plush robe , a fresh-cut cigar, and a Hemingway novel for an extra domiciliary effect. Derek Rose Morgan leather slippers, $165 - PQ

Unplug in a Desert Oasis

Found in the middle of the Colorado Plateau, there are over six-hundred acres of protected 180-million year-old land to explore by foot, helicopter, horseback, or an early morning hot-air balloon ride. Accommodation is contemporary, luxurious and soothing; the desert-view spa, and locally-sourced, seasonal dining may keep you inside, but not for long. Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah; starting at $1,500 per night – PQ

Step Up Your Staycation

The Adelaide Hotel in Toronto’s financial district is looking to elevate their guest visits by launching Exquisite Experiences. As a series, Experience Number One jetsets you to Niagara-on-the-Lake in 12 minutes. Highlights include intimate tastings with winemakers, a visit to10 Below Peller Icewine Lounge for martinis, and a wine luncheon with Two Sisters Vineyards founders. The Adelaide Hotel, Exquisite Experiences, pricing upon request. – TL

Take It To Go

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Crafted in Italy’s historic Navigli district, this bespoke wine carrier is elegant, functional, and made to last. Made of fine mahogany leather, it’s an ideal gift for wanderlusters and wine connoisseurs who always want a fine glass of red, white, or bubbly nearby. Lorenzi Milano wine box, available at Mr. Porter, $3460 - TL

Stay Hydrated

Designed by the iconic Canadian design duo at Yabu Pushelberg, the Avenue Road gin lane bar cart, is all-at-once minimalist and striking. Made of a smoked brass frame and a Carrara marble surface, it’s the perfect addition for any libation connoisseur who prefers to entertain from home. Avenue Road gin lane bar cart$7,490 – TL

Elevate Your Top Shelf

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The perfect type of whisky this winter? Think dark chocolate and spice. That’s what you get when you sip on a Bowmore 15 Year Old Darkest, aged for 12 years in second-fill bourbon casks and finished in another oak cask for three more years. The result is a delicious and rich flavour. If you’re looking for something that will transport you to another world entirely, pick up The Vault Edition No. 1 Atlantic Sea Salt. Made in casks that are placed close to an ocean-facing wall, the alluring Scotch captures the very essence of the North Atlantic ocean, all within the confines of a beautiful dram. Bowmore 15 Year Old Darkest, $95, and The Vault Edition No. 1 Atlantic Sea Salt, $200. - CG