What to get the party host

NOW Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - By MIcHELLE DA SILVA, SAMAN­THA ED­WARDS AND NATALIA MANZOccO

Ge­or­gian Bay Gin

Lo­cally sourced wa­ter and ju­niper is used in ev­ery batch of Ge­or­gian Bay Gin, made just a few hours north of Toronto. The dry gin has notes of lemon and pine as well as deeper flavours of cin­na­mon and car­damom. Sim­ply tie a sea­sonal bow on the sleek glass bot­tle to dress it up for the hol­i­days. $39.95, LCBO (var­i­ous lo­ca­tions), lcbo.com

Wild North Flow­ers Par­lour Palm

Us­ing strictly On­tario-grown flow­ers, Wild North Flow­ers – win­ner of best florist in NOW’s Read­ers’ Choice two years run­ning – cre­ates beau­ti­ful ar­range­ments that are de­liv­ered to you (so you can save on run­ning around this hol­i­day sea­son). But in­stead of show­ing up to a party with a bou­quet, why not pick a pot­ted plant with a lit­tle more shelf life? This pretty palm comes in a white ce­ramic pot with fes­tive gold polka dots. Best of all: it’s not poi­sonous to pets – un­like poin­set­tias – and is low main­te­nance. $58, Wild North Flow­ers, wild­north­flow­ers.com

Mid­night Paloma Calm­ing Trio

It’s hard to re­lax dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son, but this trio of chamomile bath prod­ucts helps. Cana­dian-made, or­ganic and cru­elty free, the Mid­night Paloma set con­tains 50-millil­itre bot­tles of its body wash, bath soak and body lo­tion in a beau­ti­ful hand­painted box. You might want to gift one to your­self. $45, Labour of Love (223 Carl­ton), the­labouroflove.ca

Scrib­ble trivet

Be­fore your baked brie or steam­ing spinach ar­ti­choke dip leaves a burn mark on your nice cof­fee ta­ble, slide one of these artsy triv­ets un­der­neath the hot dishes at hol­i­day par­ties. De­signed by Toronto artist Ali Har­ri­son of Light + Pa­per, these bam­boo triv­ets first start off as hand-drawn il­lus­tra­tions, then are hand-cut with an X-Acto knife and laser-cut. $40, AGO Shop (317 Dun­das West), ago.ca/ shop

Van­cou­ver Can­dle Co. neigh­bour­hood can­dles

Show some com­mu­nity pride with scents in­spired by your favourite Toronto neigh­bour­hood. The Dis­tillery can­dle has notes of clove, bal­sam wood and patchouli while Les­lieville is cit­rusy with grape­fruit, or­ange and apri­cot. Can­dles are hand­made in Van­cou­ver from soy wax and burns for 60 hours. $37, BRIKA (642 Queen West/768 Queen East), brika.com

Ca­hoots Hibis­cus Sim­ple Syrup

Add in­stant flavour to home­made cock­tails with this sim­ple syrup made in Van­cou­ver. Hibis­cus flow­ers, gin­ger and star anise pro­vide the base flavours, and the colour adds a fes­tive punch to ev­ery­thing from mar­gar­i­tas to spritzes. $20, Spruce (455 Par­lia­ment), spruce­toronto.com

Yonge­hurst Dis­tillery liqueur

Ob­scure liqueurs make fun gifts. And, hey, at least you know the re­cip­i­ent won’t al­ready have five un­con­sumed bot­tles. One op­tion is to hit up the bot­tle shop at lo­cal dis­tiller Yonge­hurst, which just re­leased a 2015 vin­tage of no­cino, a pitch-black wal­nut liqueur made from lo­cally for­aged mac­er­ated wal­nuts. $49.50, Yonge­hurst Dis­tillery (346 West­more­land), yonge­hurst.com

Bali Ul­tra­sonic dif­fuser

Dif­fusers are the ideal gift for the per­pet­u­ally stressed out. Add calm­ing es­sen­tial oils to this com­pact dif­fuser to de­com­press af­ter the whirl­wind of the hol­i­days. Made of glass and bam­boo, it can run con­tin­u­ously for six to eight hours and au­to­mat­i­cally shuts off when the wa­ter level is low. $105, He­len + Hilde­gard (1174 Queen West), he­le­nand­hilde­gard.com

Darcy De­can­ter

Per­fect for the wine afi­cionado on your list, this glass de­can­ter looks stylish and aer­ates bet­ter than bot­tles. The Darcy De­can­ter comes in two sizes. If you’re feel­ing es­pe­cially gen­er­ous, in­clude a full-bod­ied red to en­joy. $129 to $149, Shel­ter Fur­ni­ture (885 Cale­do­nia), shel­ter­fur­ni­ture.ca

Aero­press ma­chine

Drop­ping by a cof­fee nerd’s place this hol­i­day sea­son? Add a whole lot of brew­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties to their arse­nal (for not a whole lot of cup­board space) with an Aero­press, a por­ta­ble, easy-to-use brew­ing sys­tem that’s just as handy for crank­ing out a quick cup as it is for ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with dif­fer­ent grinds and steep times. $37.95, Rooster Cof­fee House (343 King East/568 Jarvis/479 Broad­view), roost­er­cof­fee­house.com

Bitmap tea tow­els

What do you get the party host who has ev­ery­thing? Beau­ti­ful tea tow­els. Su­san Kare, who de­signed fonts and icons for the orig­i­nal Mac op­er­at­ing sys­tem in the 1980s, cre­ated the cu­bic pat­tern of these Jacquard tea tow­els. $44, Easy Tiger (1447 Dun­das West), easytiger­goods.com

Har­mony eggnog

All eggnog is good eggnog – but this stuff, made with or­ganic whole milk, is re­ally good eggnog, and the glass bot­tle is a lit­tle classier than drag­ging a fam­ily-size car­ton to a hol­i­day party. Bring a bot­tle of your fave cream liqueur for ex­tra brownie points. (And if your host’s not a fan of dairy, the Car­rot also stocks So De­li­cious soy nog.) $7.99/1 litre, Big Car­rot (348 Dan­forth/125 South­wood), the­big­car­rot.ca

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