After a whirlwind year, the holiday season is upon us again. If you’re running out of gift ideas for your loved ones, never fear – we asked everyone on the team to provide their top gift recommendations for 2020.

Some of the main takeaways?

Shop local. Pandemic-related closures have made supporting local businesses more important this year than ever. Alexandra said it best: “This year, a gift is as much about the thought behind the “what” as it is about from where the gift is purchased. I am conscientiously buying all my gifts and paper goods (cards) from local businesses this holiday season.”

It really is the thought that counts. This has been a strange and difficult time for a lot of people, but one positive side-effect is that it’s made us appreciate the everyday moments with our loved ones even more than we did before. Many of us have tried to incorporate this new perspective into our gifts, whether it’s something fun to do with the family on a quiet night in, or a small reminder of a happy moment we shared together.

So, from stocking stuffers to big-ticket items, here are the top gift recommendations from the Caring for Clients team.

Stocking Stuffers

  • Sara – satisfy their sweet tooth with consumables from local stores
    All my favourites require in person purchases. For those in the Collingwood area, Ravenna Country Market carries great local products including local maple syrup and Meredith’s Ginger Syrup. Once things reopen in Toronto, Evergreen Brick Works has some great local products (I’ve been able to buy Meredith’s Ginger Syrup there). 
  • Kayla – make someone smile with a candle too cute to light
    This adorable cactus candle is a great way to lift anyone’s spirits. It makes me happy every time I look at it. It’s made in Canada, too!
  • Jenny – treat your loved ones to some artisanal soap
    For a great local option, try Corktown Soap in Toronto. All of their products are plant-based and hand-made.
  • Tatenda – help your friends and family unwind with scented candles
    I recommend scented candles given that most people are spending lots of time indoors. Some aromatherapy will be good for them. You can order some locally from Toronto Candle Co.
  • Sara – brighten someone’s day with novelty socks
    The Yonge and Eglington staff at Floorplaysocks are really helpful and they also offer online purchases.

Book & Bookstore Recommendations

  • Rona – Atomic Habits by James Clear
    For the lifelong learner – One of my favourite books to recommend is Atomic Habits by James Clear.  For those wanting to get more out of life and reach large and small goals more reliably, this is the book for you.  Subscribe to James’ weekly email for regular reminders and inspiration. 
  • Morgan – The Elegance of a Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
    For any reader that loves language and delicious sentences.  A beautiful love story. One of the only books I’ve ever read twice.  Available here or better yet, take the time to order from your locally owned bookstore. 
  • Rona – Rocket Book (the notebook of the future)
    For those who write a lot – Working from home highlighted how much paper gets used/wasted as I work.  Rocket book is a cool way to capture your note-taking and sending that information where you need to without generating any paper.  Super gift for students too! 
  • Sara – shop locally at Jessica’s and Mable’s Fables
    Your local bookstore is always a great place to get recommendations. Many offer curbside pick-up and appreciate the business. Jessica’s in Thornbury is fantastic, as is Mabel’s Fables in the Davisville neighbourhood.
  • Alexandra – shop locally at Queen’s Books
    Within weeks of having my daughter, we started reading to her. We often read 5-6 books a day. I have seen first-hand how that has helped with her language and her sense of curiosity. This holiday season, I will be adding to Sophia’s book collection and I will be purchasing new and gently used books for her. For new books, I will source them from my local bookstore (Queen Books). I love speaking to bookstore owners about which books they have selected to put on their shelves.  

For the home

  • Morgan – a silicon microwave popcorn bowl for movie nights
    The most convenient, no-mess way to make popcorn. I don’t know how we ever got by without one!  Especially with more nights spent in front of a good show or movie these days. Available here.
  • Rona – a ThermaPen meat thermometer for all your cooking needs
    For the enthusiastic cook – The ThermaPen meat thermometer gets great reviews.  It’s pricey though so make sure you’ll get a lot of use out of it.  It’s on my personal wish list. 😊
  • Kayla – a travel mug perfect for at-home use
    This cute travel mug is great for people like me who need to microwave their coffee at least three times every morning. It’s small enough that you can use it at home and pretend it’s just a regular mug for people who drink their beverages at normal speed. Or you can bring it to the office! Win-win.
  • Jenny – some decorative items to brighten up the home
    For cute knick-knacks and household items, check out Rose City Goods. They’re based in Toronto and they have some great gift options on their website.
  • Tatenda – grocery store gift cards to help a friend or family member in need
    Some people lost their jobs and might be in financial difficulties. Gift cards for groceries etc. will come in handy especially during Christmas. 
  • Jacob – a 3-day portable charger for your friends on the go
    The Duracell Rechargeable Powerbank 10050 mAH lets you charge your phone or device anywhere without another power source. Available online here.
  • Kayla – a personalized docking station to keep things organized
    This personalized wooden docking station is a great way to keep all your essentials in one place. It’s got a nice, rustic vibe to it too. 

Gifts to create & remember important moments

  • Morgan – remind someone of happy memories by developing meaningful photos
    Since most people only have digital photos, I review my own digital photos from the past year, or those shared with me, and develop any that may be meaningful to other people.  Tuck them in with a handwritten note, and you’re sure to bring a smile to someone’s day!  
  • Alexandra – commemorate a historic year with a beautiful handmade ornament
    This has been a year. A year where we all reached deeply into our sense of resilience to persevere and to find the silver linings amongst the challenges we have faced. To acknowledge this year, a handmade ornament purchased from a local artist would be a beautiful gift. 
  • Tatenda – bring families together with a fun board game
    People are spending lots of time indoors. Board games will be a nice funny thing to do with kids or family. For a local option, try Game and Hobby Zone in Toronto. They’re offering curbside pickup.
  • Alexandra – give the gift of quality time with an interesting puzzle
    2020 slowed us down and highlighted what is truly important to our core being and quality time with one’s family is at the top of that list. With the holidays coming up, it is a nice idea to find gifts that engage everyone together even if you are much smaller group than is normal. My suggestion is an interesting puzzle to do with the family.


Happy shopping, everyone!

The Caring for Clients team

This information is of a general nature and should not be considered professional advice. Its accuracy or completeness is not guaranteed and Queensbury Strategies Inc. assumes no responsibility or liability.