2016 Avenue Holiday Gift Guide

The best bets for all of the people in your life ­­­— with a little extra for that special someone.

November 30, 2016

As much as we’d like to think we’re prepared for it, the holiday season has snuck up on us with its good tidings and figgy pudding. Luckily for you, we’ve assembled a holiday gift guide that features some best bets – great local gifts that won’t break the bank – and items that go the extra mile, for those people you really want to impress. 

For the art lover 

Best Bet

Concrete Cat, Echo ($50)

The folks at Concrete Cat like to mix pigments and concrete to make functional art that can be used at home or the office. The “Echo” is one such product that is offered in myriad colour combinations, which are made to order, and are designed to hold business cards, a picture, mobile phone, tablet, and more. The “Echo” can be engraved as well, adding a bit of a personal touch for that special someone’s office. 

Concrete Cat, 5608 82 Ave., concretecat.com

Something Special

Curator’s Circle Membership ($1,500)

You might not be able to buy the original painting of the Mona Lisa for the art-lover on your list, but you can get the next best thing, which is the “Curator’s Circle” membership from the Art Gallery of Alberta. When you become a Curator’s Circle member, you’ll get unlimited free admission for one full-year plus “Bring a Friend” privileges that gets you and two additional guests in; invitations to Curator’s Circle events including private tours and talks with artists and curators; previews to exhibitions and special openings; advance access and a 50 percent discount off tickets to Refinery Parties at the AGA (rumour has it the next one is in March); voting privileges at the annual general meeting and more. But, what really sets this membership apart from the others is that it also gets you free admission into 14 galleries across Canada including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Vancouver Art Gallery, National Gallery of Canada, The Power Plant (Toronto), Winnipeg Art Gallery and more. While the membership is not quite like owning da Vinci’s masterpiece, your art-lover friend can relish the benefits of being an art curator without all the schooling.  

Art Gallery of Alberta, 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square, 780-392-2465, youraga.ca

For the foodie

Best Bet

Edmonton Cooks Recipe Book ($37.95)

Edmonton foodies can now make XIX Nineteen’s popular tuna twists or that delectable key lime pie from Duchess Bake Shop — among 73 other recipes — thanks to a new hardcover cookbook that’s focused entirely on showcasing recipes from local chefs, bakers, butchers and food truckers. Edmonton Cooks, written by Edmonton-based food writer Tina Faiz and Edmonton expat Leanne Brown, author of Good and Cheap, offers Edmontonians — and outsiders — the opportunity to wow dinner guests by making their favourite dishes in the comfort of their own home. 

Red Ribbon, 12505 102 Ave., 780-454-4336, redribbon.ca

Something Special

Gyokusendo Handmade Copper Pot ($1,360 – $1,590)

Made in the Tsubame City of the Niigata prefecture comes this hand-hammered copperware pot by veteran artist Norio Tamagawa. The pot, which takes about a week to complete, is made by using the 200-year-old “tsuikidoki” technique of pounding flat copper into a three-dimensional cooking pot without using heat. While copper pots can be found at most kitchenware stores, these Gyokusendo Copper Pots from Knifewear are officially recognized as the “Intangible National Cultural Properties of Japan” and the “Living Intangible National Cultural Treasures of Japan” by Japan’s government. 

Knifewear, 10820 82 Ave., 587-521-2034, knifewear.com

For the oenophile

Best Bet

Corvin Model 8 Wine Preservation System ($429.99)

For an oenophile, buying any run-of-the-mill wine won’t do — that’s assuming said oenophile already has a hefty collection of vintage wines — so unless it’s a rare bottle like a Château Petrus, avoid going that route. Instead give that wine connoisseur something more practical like the Coravin System, which provides access into a wine without damaging or removing the cork. The system operates by passing a thin, hollow needle through the cork, while releasing argon gas — an inert gas that protects the remaining wine inside from oxidation — which then allows the wine to flow into a glass without air ever getting into the bottle. The Coravin is great for serious wine collectors who want to keep track on the development of their higher-end wines, but also gives the possibility of drinking a glass without having to open the entire bottle. 

Baseline Wine & Spirit Co., #172 11 Athabascan Ave. Sherwood Park, 780-449-4448, baselinewine.com

Something Special

2008 Château Petrus (Bordeaux - Pomerol, France) ($4,099.99, 750 mL)

This bottle of Petrus is super rare — available only at deVine Wines and Spirits in the capital region — and thus, one of the most sought-after wines in the world due to its low yields of 30 hectolitres per hectare, resulting in 25,000 bottles made. This 2008 Petrus is opulent and unctuously textured, boasting flavours of mocha, caramel, black cherries, black currants, earth and forest floor. In addition, the Petrus can be cellared for another four to five years, making it a highly desired bottle for wine collectors. 

deVine Wines and Spirits, 10111 104 St., 780-421-9463, devinewines.ca

For the outdoorsy types

Best Bet

Power in Motion Heated Glove Set ($239.99)

Originally designed for cyclists to extend their riding season into the winter months, these MotionHeat Rechargeable Heated Gloves are great for outdoor activities like running, skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, hockey and walking the dog, and have been widely adopted by outdoor workers ranging from police officers to construction workers. Comparable gloves run on a 7.4v, 3.7v or standard AAA battery source, but these run on a 12-volt power source — making them the hottest gloves available on the market. Other features include a three-range temperature control, versatile design for custom arrangements, and a one-year warranty. 

Red Bike, 10918 88 Ave., 780-435-2674, redbike.ca

Something Special

Explorer 16 Canoe ($1,699)

Waters Dancing Boat Kit Company is a family-run business that sells customized wood-based canoe and kayak kits that you build yourself. The Explorer 16 Canoe is a stitch-and-glue canoe suitable for both single day use or long trips and is equipped with customizable features including seats than can be adjusted to single-paddling and removable 6” airtights for dry storage. The high volume hull on the Explorer will hold a payload of 700 lbs, while the shallow vee-bottom multi-chine hull is stable and highly maneuverable on moving water. Each kit contains a manual featuring detailed diagrams and photographs and hull panels, seats, footbraces, hatches, bulkheads and deck hardware. Great for the outdoorsy types since it allows them to assemble a boat with their own hands, while experiencing the deep fulfillment and satisfaction of paddling in something they created. 

Waters Dancing Boat Kit Company, 6316 106 St., 780-437-4919, watersdancing.com

For the traveller

Best Bet 

Aesop Boston Kit ($99)

Give the gift of functionality with this unisex Aesop Boston Kit, which contains all the standard toiletries from its classic skin care range to its travel-sized essentials — shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, toner, mouthwash, and more — inside a stylish microfibre case. The kit meets carry-on requirements, saving the frequent flyer time to do more important things like catch up on some sleep. 

Gravity Pope Tailored Goods, 8222 Gateway Blvd, 780-988-1637, gravitypope.com

Something Special

Rimowa Aluminum Hard Sided Luggage ($1,295)

Jet set in 007 style with a Rimowa Aluminum Topas Luggage. The Rimowa brand balances tradition and innovation by assembling by hand all of the 200 components that make up a single piece of luggage,  and is aptly dubbed “handmade meets high-tech.”  It is equipped with a robust aluminum magnesium shell, an interior flex-divider, a multi-wheel system, two TSA locks and leverage lock, and shoe and laundry bag. 

Henry Singer, 10180 101 St. 780-423-6868, henrysinger.com

For the animal lover

Best Bet

Fauna Pillow ($55)

Do you know someone who loves animals, but can’t have a pet due to strict condo rules? Get that person an animal cushion. Seriously. You might be thinking: What about a plant or a fish? But a plant just isn’t that cute. And you can’t cuddle with a fish. That’s why these animal cushions are guaranteed to make that pet lover ecstatic on Christmas morning. Made by New York-based designer Ross Menuez, these Victorian-inspired organic cotton pillows are available in various dog and cat colour combinations. You can get a green Golden Retreiver or a pink Chihuahua, which is almost as good as the real thing. Almost. 

Bamboo Ballroom, 8206 104 St., 780-439-1363, bambooballroom.ca

Something Special

Walnut Veneer Pod Bed ($998)

You shouldn’t have to sacrifice style when choosing a bed for your dog. This mid-century modern inspired pod bed from Vancouver-based luxury pet store, Barking Babies, uses a minimalist clean design that will look chic in any downtown loft. Made from birch-ply walnut veneer and a faux fur lining, this bed has been featured in Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest and Elle Décor

Barking Babies, 604-647-2279, barkingbabies.com

For the pop culture enthusiast

Best Bet

Alan Segama Giclee Print, The Royal Tenenbaums ($200)

For the Wes Anderson acolytes, get them this charming print of Anderson’s most famous flick The Royal Tenenbaums. Illustrated by digital art director Alan Segama, the poster utilizes the Giclee printing process, which combines pigment-based inks with high quality archival paper to achieve superior quality and features mini-scaled versions of the “royal family” with a Damask wallpaper background. 

The Prints and the Paper, 10725 124 St., 780-453-2945, theprintsandthepaper.ca

Something Special

Life-size Princess Leia Statue ($1,200)

Most Star Wars fans brag about their collections, but how many can say they own a life-size Princess Leia statue? Make Christmas great again for the pop culture enthusiast in your life by buying Happy Harbor’s Princess Leia statue, which stands just a bit over five feet tall. While there is a slew of them available online for purchasing, this one in particular is signed by Carrie Fisher — you know, the actress who played Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy and Star Wars: The Force Awakens? You might not want to sleep on this, either — Harbor plans on raising the price since it’s signed.

Happy Harbor Comics, 10729 104 Ave., 780-452-8211, happyharborcomics.com

For the homebody

Best Bet

MacAusland Throw ($125)

It seems as though the quintessential throw for the Canadian home has become the Hudson’s Bay Company variety with the primary multi-stripe colour design. Though that blanket is iconic to our national heritage, the blankets are manufactured in Yorkshire, England. The MacAusland Throws, however, are completely Canadian-made with its woolen mills owned and operated by the MacAusland family in Bloomfield, Prince Edward Island. These throws, which are made from 100 percent virgin wool, are an affordable alternative to Hudson’s Bay and available in assorted colourways (Plum carries seven colours in store). These throws make for a beautiful Christmas gift — just tie a ribbon around it and put it under the tree. 

Plum Home and Design, 12407 108 Ave., 780-488-7586, plumhomeanddesign.com

Something Special 

Bomb Bar ($700)

The sentiment “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” couldn’t be more true when it comes to the limited edition Bomb Bar, made out of leftover ammunition crates transformed by the guys at Oliver Apt. The ammo boxes, still in the original finish (some even adorned in hazard and explosive labels), are transformed into storage units for your favourite libations. Great for the cabin or a room where space is limited.

Oliver Apt, 10225 100 Ave., 780-504-7992, oliverapt.com

For the music lover

Best Bet

Bruce Springsteen Born to Run ($39.99)

Seven years since its inception, the highly anticipated autobiography of rock legend Bruce Springsteen has been finally released. Hitting book shelves on September 27, 2016, the 528-page book has already sold more than 37,518 copies in its first week, overtaking Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train and J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the UK alone. Whether you're a fan or not, Born To Run is a must-read due to its raw admissions and insight into the Springsteen trajectory. Dubbed the "Springsteen Bible," the themes in the book are said to be identical to his songs; ultimately leaving the reader with the same feelings from listening to an album. 

Audreys Books, 10702 Jasper Ave., 780-423-3487, audreys.ca

Something Special

Solid Quilted Mahog IZ Tribute Tenor Ukulele ($2,289)

This tenor ukulele pays tribute to the late musician Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (“Iz”) and is signed in the interior label by his wife. Constructed out of a beautiful solid quilted mahogany, this ukulele features an East Indian rosewood headplate with “Iz” inlaid and includes Hawaiian koa and hibiscus flower in pink awabi pearl.  

Long & McQuade, 10204 107 Ave., 780 423-4448, long-mcquade.com 

This article appears in the December 2016 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.


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