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.
Who do you turn to for help with paint colours, decorating inspiration and the occasional crafternoon? This girl. These items are what she's been Pinning.
Air Mikafleur Design porcelain jellyfish planters, $35 to $40, oneofakindshow.com.
Duo prints wall art (unframed), $35 per pair, bellopop.etsy.com.
Canadian Living Meadow Lake collection square throw pillow, $45, bedbathandbeyond.ca.
Polka-dot clock, $20, hallmark.ca.
Jo Malone London Miniatures Candle Collection, $130, jomalone.ca.
Glitterville pineapple arrow ornament, $15, indigo.ca.
Seven-inch bowl, $46, brika.com.
Metallic pouf, $70, homesense.ca.
PrimnPaper paper succulents, $13, etsy.ca.
Fair Isle throw, $30, homesense.ca.
Hosting friends and family during the holidays doesn’t have to be a chore. Prepare treats—like our simple spin on chocolate éclairs—ahead of time so all you have to do is put on a pot of coffee when your guests arrive.
Chocolate Ginger Fauxclairs
In large bowl, beat 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened, with 1 cup granulated sugar until fluffy; beat in 1 egg and 1/3 cup fancy molasses. In separate bowl, whisk together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp each baking soda and cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cloves and pinch salt; stir into butter mixture until combined. Roll dough by 1 tbsp into balls; roll each into about 3-inch long log. Arrange, 2 inches apart, on parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in 350°F oven until firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. Let cool on pans for 5 minutes; transfer directly to racks to cool completely. Melt 225 g semisweet chocolate (about 8 oz), chopped; spread 1 tsp over top of each fauxclair. Let stand until set, about 1 hour. Makes about 48 pieces.
Helpful hosting tips
- A thermal carafe is a great investment when you're serving coffee for a crowd. It will keep your coffee hot, prevent overcooking and preserve the flavour, guaranteeing that the last cup is just as nice as the first.
- Before melting chocolate, chop it so that it will melt more quickly and evenly.
- Chilled dough is easier to work with than room temperature. If it starts to become too sticky while you're working with it, pop it into the fridge.
- To make ahead, layer finished treats between waxed paper in an airtight container; store for up to five days or freeze for up to two weeks.
For more coffee recipes and other sweets that pair well with a cup of java, visit canadianliving.com/coffee.
Penguin Random House
Arianna Huffington says the key to health, happiness, success and even economic prosperity is simple: everyone needs to sleep more. Sounds great, but how do we actually make it happen? Here are her best tips.