'Tis the season for all things gingerbread. From dioramas to sweet treats, these gingerbread recipes will have your house smelling like Christmas in no time.
No ugly sweater party is complete without these themed cookies! The gaudier the better, so let the kids' imaginations run wild with endless candy and colour combinations.
Get the recipe: Ugly Sweater Cookies
This impressive gingerbread house is a treat to decorate. Use any leftover dough to make gingerbread people, animals and other decorations for your house.
Get the recipe: Gingerbread Diorama
Use silver dragées (hard edible candy decorations) to add a classy touch to these show-stopping ornaments.
Get the recipe: Elegant Gingerbread Ornaments
These sparkly ginger owls are an adorable take on gingerbread men. We've chosen to decorate with snowy colours, but there's enough icing for you to play around with different shades.
Get the recipe: Snowy Ginger Owls
Soaked in rum and layered with juicy cinnamon apples and vanilla custard, spiced gingerbread steals the spotlight in this holiday favourite.
Get the recipe: Gingerbread Apple Trifle
You will need a 23- x 17-inch (58 x 43 cm) cake board or other sturdy surface for the base. Having a few cottages means three sets of little hands can personalize their own houses, making it a great family project!
Get the recipe: Gingerbread Cottages
The combination of molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cream cheese icing gives these blondies an unmistakable gingerbread flavour, without being overly rich or sweet.
Get the recipe: Gingerbread Blondies
Designed to resemble crafty felt gingerbread men, the recipe yields half white and half brown cookies. Decorate with candies to resemble buttons, eyes and hearts as desired.
Get the recipe: Buttery Gingerbread Men
These ornaments are not only fun to prepare but also make beautiful gifts and decorations for the holidays.
Get the recipe: Stained Glass Gingerbread Ornaments
Enjoy these spiced confections on their own or take the flavour a step further by topping your latte with them—instant treat!
Get the recipe: Gingerbread Marshmallows
These gingerbread house façades are an easy alternative to the traditional gingerbread house. Decorating sugar adds sparkle to simple snow-covered rooftops, and candies add a fun pop of colour.
Get the recipe: Gingerbread House Cookie Ornaments
Buttery shortbread gets a warm hug from spiced gingerbread dough in this mash-up of two favourite holiday cookies. A nutty brown butter glaze brings the two flavours together.
Get the recipe: Two-Tone Gingerbread and Shortbread Cookies
Photography by Luis Llerena/Stock Snap
We’ve all been there, you know, scrambling at the 11th hour to get an extra-special present for someone important on your list. These last-minute gifts are so thoughtful, they’ll never know you just picked it up.
If you’ve exhausted your options for a gift for that special guy in your life—because he’s either too picky or has almost everything—consider a portable Bose speaker. This one is water-resistant (great for camping and hiking), has full-range sound and is durable and simple to use.
Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth® Speaker II, $181.
Most ornaments go on sale in early December, so this is the kind of gift that’s perfect to pick up last minute because it will actually save you money. Sweeten the deal and give an ornament hanging from a bottle of wine.
Glitterville Antler Ornament, $7.50.
Still missing a gift for your Mother-in-law or your dear aunt that always bakes you fruit cake? Head to Shoppers Drug Mart and give her the gift of Amazing Grace. This best selling fragrance from beauty brand Philosophy smells clean and beautifully feminine with a powdery floral air of sophistication and polish. This collection includes Eau de Toilette, shampoo, bath and shower gel and whipped body crème.
Amazing Grace Holiday Set, $60.
What do you get someone with sophisticated taste and a thirst for the finer things in life. Easy; Champagne.
Veuve Cliquot Yellow Mailbox, $70.
Need a gift ASAP, but don’t have time to leave the house? Simple, order online and give the gift that keeps on giving with a new pair of socks every month, for a year! These vibrant and graphic socks are available for both men and women.
One pair every six months, $78. One pair for a year, $146.
Need a little something special for your child’s teacher or your next door neighbour? Pick up a tin Voluspa candle. The packaging is beautiful and the two wicks give off a rich glow. This scent smells of sweet apricots muddled withs superfine sugar and crisp Prosecco.
Voluspa Prosecco Bellini Two Wick Tin, $16.
There are few places that are open on Christmas day, but Starbucks is one of them. If you’re on your way to your holiday dinner and realized you forgot something for that caffeine loving cousin of yours, make a pitstop at your local Starbucks and grab one of their festive drinkware cups. We love the ceramic sweater cup with a swivel lid.
Sweater double wall traveler, $27.
Headed to one of your besties for your annual friends holiday dinner and need something clever to bring? Gift something useful and beautiful with a little bit of whimsy, like this marble cheese board. Crafted from creamy white marble, the cool surface is ideal for serving cheese and charcuterie.
Expressions marble and copper cheese board, $37.
Nothing’s better than a fresh pair of jammies on Christmas morning.
Men’s plaid sleep set, $20.
Need something for your teenage niece, but have absolutely no idea what she’s into? Whether she’s artistic, sporty, goth or one of the "popular girls" at her high school she’ll be into something from NYX Cosmetics. We especially love these palettes, choose from one of seven that houses eight shades of shadow and one liquid matte lipstick.
NYX Cosmetics Wanderlust Lip & Eye Collection, $25.
Pick out one of these international cookie recipes to make for this year's cookie exchange.
Snowy white cookies, double-rolled in icing sugar, melt in your mouth and, if you don't watch out, will deliciously dust your holiday outfit.
Get the recipe: Walnut White Chocolate Snowball Cookies
These beautiful cookies make for an elegant holiday gift. Bake them in small batches, keeping a watchful eye so they don't brown too quickly. To achieve the delicate curved shape, drape the cookies over a rolling pin while still warm.
Get the recipe: Crispy Maple Coconut Tuiles
Crystallized ginger and shredded coconut add a delightful twist to this traditional Jewish cookie. The savoury cream cheese dough complements the sweet jam filling, which caramelizes nicely as the pastries bake.
Get the recipe: Ginger and Coconut Rugelach
These crescent-shaped cookies of German origin are elegant with a drizzle of chocolate. Or dip half in chocolate or dust with icing sugar.
Get the recipe: Butterhorns
The special press needed to shape these unique cookies is easily found in kitchenware stores. You'll want to lightly grease it before using to prevent sticking. Give this Italian cookie recipe a try at your next family get-together.
Get the recipe: Pizzelle
These chewy cookies, with their spicy dough and brandy-tinged filling, are fun and impressive. Use the lightest-coloured figs you can find.
Get the recipe: Fig Pinwheels
These fragrantly spiced cookies originatefrom Holland, where they are enjoyed at the feast of Sinterklaas (S. Nicholas, a Dutch holiday character).
Get the recipe: Spiced Speculaas
These white cookies are truly pop-in-your-mouth delicious. If you like, roll them in more icing sugar for a thicker coat.
Get the recipe: Snowball Cookies
Traditionally served during the holidays and Chinese New Year, these crumbly melt-in-your-mouth cookies have three layers of almond flavour. Ground almonds add a hint of crunch, almond extract lends a sweet aroma and whole almonds make for a pretty garnish.
Get the recipe: Chinese Almond Cookies
Each of these almond shortbreads is studded with a whole clove, a symbol of the Magi's gift of spices to the Christ Child. Kourambiedes are served in the Greek community not only at Christmas, but also christenings, weddings, name days — in fact, at all festive occasions.
Get the recipe: Kourambiedes
These jam-filled sandwich cookies are based on one of Austria's most famous desserts, the Linzertorte. For soft, chewy cookies, assemble a day in advance. For crispier cookies, sandwich the same day as serving.
Get the recipe: Linzer Cookies
Rugalahs are one of the most requested Hanukkah cookies, now popular year-round. When the nut and fruit crescents bake, they ooze ever so slightly, and this rich filling gets crisp and caramel-like around the crescents.
Get the recipe: Rugalahs
This traditional Jewish holiday cookie gets a flavour makeover with the addition of chocolate malt and almonds.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Malted Rugalach
Get the recipe: Cranberry White Chocolate Biscotti
These tender, shortbread-like dulce de leche--filled sandwich cookies are popular in South and Central America.
Get the recipe: Mini Alfajores
Melted chocolate transforms classic madeleines into a truly exquisite treat. For the best texture, enjoy them the same day they're made.Get the recipe: Chocolate Almond Madeleines
These crispy cookies are far easier to make than you might think, thanks to our simple shaping trick (hint: it involves the rim of a glass!). Write your own personalized messages on notepaper and fold them into the cookies for a heartwarming end to a festive meal.
Get the recipe: Festive Fortune Cookies
These sweet and buttery cake-like cookies have slightly crisp outsides and perfectly tender centres. You'll find madeleine pans—the seashell-shaped moulds that give these French treats their signature shape—in specialty baking stores.
Get the recipe: Orange Blossom Madeleines
The singer-songwriter and philanthropist comes clean on her ten-year job as a housekeeper, why she finds cleaning therapeutic, when she taught her daughter to do laundry and why she has teamed up with Tide purclean to launch its new eco-friendly detergent.
Canadian singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado grew up in the family business—the cleaning business. “I come from a housekeeping background. My mom ran a laundry and cleaning company, and from a young age, I would go along with her to help out on odd jobs,” says Furtado. For the Grammy-award winner, lending a hand with the housekeeping turned into her first decade-long job. “I was a professional housekeeper at a hotel for 10 years in Vancouver,” says Furtado.
So, when Tide approached Furtado to help launch purclean—their first bio-based detergent (65% of the ingredients are made using renewable energy sources, such as plants)—the decision was an easy one. This more eco-friendly option is also hypoallergenic, free of dyes, chlorine and phosphates, and is produced in an environmentally-friendly manufacturing site.
Along with using a more sustainable detergent, Furtado limits the amount of loads she does per week and uses energy-saving cold water. “Every little bit counts: I drive a hybrid car so I only have to fill up on gas once a month. I make my own cleaning products with vinegar and water. When I’m spring cleaning or moving, I donate everything from faucets and cabinets to furniture to Habitat for Humanity so they can reuse them instead of putting them in a landfill,” says Furtado.
Furtado taught her daughter, Nevis, who is now 13-years-old, how to do laundry when she was 10-years-old. “At the time, she was saving up to buy an iPad, so Furtado gave her a list of chores to do, including laundry, to save enough money for the big purchase. “I felt I was teaching her a really valuable skill that she’ll use into adulthood, but she already mastered it at a young age. She’s really good at folding, too,” says Furtado.
Along with raising a teenage daughter and managing a successful music career (she has sold 16 million albums), she is committed to her environmental and humanitarian philanthropic work. This year, she helped host We Day, an event that empowers kids to contribute to positive changes in their communities, as well as acknowledging many who do. She also remains very close to the organization, Free The Children—she has helped raise $1 million dollars for a new all-girls school in Narok in rural Kenya. This Christmas, Nelly will visit the girls at the school.
In March 2018, Furtado will release her seventh album, The Ride. Most of the songs were written outside the studio while doing other things, such as laundry or in a car ride in Kenya during one of her Free The Children missions.
These days, when she’s not travelling, Furtado continues to clean her own house as she finds it puts her in a meditative mood, giving her the opportunity to focus on her music. “It’s part of who I am,” says Furtado.