These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things

Still looking for a perfect gift? I'm no Oprah, but here are a few of my favourite things from 2010 that you might want to put on your gift-giving list.

For the Reader: Light Lifting by Alexander MacLeod - $19.95

By time I figured out that Alexander MacLeod is not Alistair MacLeod (it’s his son), I was already literary crushing on him. Hard. What is not to love about somebody that can write such hopeless, amazing short stories? My favorite was the story that I considered the most hopeless and amazing, Adult Beginner 1, about swan-diving into the disgusting Detroit River for fun. But maybe you’ll love the hopeless and amazing story about long-distance runners the best. Or the one about the mistakes that parents make or the one about the strange boy down the street, or the one about a horrible accident and forgiveness. Everybody is calling the stories ‘urban,’ and I guess they are, but really, my best comparison is to my very favourite short story ever by Margaret Atwood, Death by Landscape. Light Lifting is the best thing I’ve read in a while. A long while.

For the Hard Worker: Dr. Scholls Rolling Shiatsu Chair Massager - $49.99+

Two things about my husband: he often works from home, and he has bad posture. Put those things together and it makes for a good amount of backache. Being the concerned wife I am, I thoughtfully picked up a chair massager just like this one to help soothe my aching, hardworking husband’s back and make sure he never again has to ask me to take out the garbage because he’s in too much pain ends the day feeling sore.

For the Smug Baker: Breadman Ultimate Breadmaker - $112.99

It is hard not to be smug when you tell people that you bake your own bread. I mean, really? In this day and age, there is nothing easier or more convenient than buying bread. But – BUT – baking your own bread is the shizzle. Dude, you get to bake your own bread! Pioneers bake their own bread! Domestic Goddesses bake their own bread! I really have to encourage the whole make-your-own bread thing. You, and the people around you will be impressed. I promise.

*A link to my favorite bread machine recipe. Write it out on a card and put it in the bread machine pan as a extra touch.

For the Music Lover: Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More - $9.99 iTunes

There is music to buy beyond the Glee soundtracks this season, and this freak-folk outfit from London, England is such a refreshing change from the over-produced, auto-tuned mediocrity that dominates the airwaves. And by refreshing, I mean dirty, risk-taking, rough and rootsy music that fuses the best of the folk tradition – layered vocal harmonies and rich acoustic melodies – with a thoroughly modern sensibility. The lyrics are raw and often brutally frank, sometimes delivered atop of a banjo strumming at break-neck pace with percussion hammering the point home, and sometimes delivered in a manner most vulnerable and gentle. Either way, it's worth a listen. Or 20.

For the Kids: Educo My Backyard BBQ Set - $149.99

 Here’s my gift-giving philosophy when it comes to my kids – one great  wooden toy is way better than a bunch of cheap plastic shit that’s going to end up swirling around in the middle of the ocean one day. So this year, we got my daughter this BBQ for her third birthday, and it has been a total hit. We put away the play kitchen for now, and watch the girls get creative with the BBQ. My little one is partial to taking my order and playing around with the knobs, while my five year old likes to rearrange the skewers into new and interesting dishes for me and manipulate the cooking tools that come with the set. And for this ‘battery-operated’ hating family, the only noise this toy makes is the sound of my kids working out whose turn it is to cook next.

For the Game-Lover: Carcassonne by Rio Grande - $49.99

I always knew I married a geek, but I didn’t know that I was one too! We love board games, and this year we got hooked on Rio Grande games. I know, I’m totally late to the party and people have been playing Rio Grande’s canonical Settlers of Catan for years, but thanks to friends, we now know what all the fuss is about. I’m highlighting Carcassonne, a well thought-out strategy game that changes with every play because it’s a fairly fast game (>30 minutes) that does well with two people. The board is an ever-evolving series of laid tiles, and the goal is to build and lay claim to countryside comprised of towns, roads and farmland. It’s fairly addictive, and like Settlers of Catan and Dominion (another huge favourite), Carcassonne has a seemingly never-ending supply of expansion packs that add new and interesting (and sometimes confounding) new elements to the game.

For You: Naot Imagine Boots - $220

Full disclosure – Naot sends me footwear to test and talk about. But as I have said before, it’s not a challenge and barely an obligation for me to do so. To paraphrase Olivia Newton John, Naot, I honestly love you. These boots seriously rock. They are cute, they are made of the softest leather I’ve ever drooled on worn, they have a cork and latex footbed that is so comfortable, and they have a great tread on them, so you won’t fall on your ass on a slippery subway floor. Did I mention comfortable? For me, these are high heels, and as somebody that trips in flats, I was concerned about staying upright in them. Not a problem. In these heels, I can actually walk without looking like I have a pickle stuck up my ass. Oh, and I have them in Merlot colour, because that’s the kind of girl I am.

For Anybody: Flip Camcorder - $159 +

This was undoubtedly the best swag I have ever received. I love that it’s small, I love that it’s easy to use, I love that it has a built in USB arm that plugs straight into the computer, and I love that it’s mine. You guys already know all about these little beauties. All I can say is that everything you’ve heard is true, and even your mother could use it. Why not talk to your sibs about getting her an awesome group gift?



  1. I've been salivating over that BBQ set for a while. It was going to be the big gift this Christmas, but C is asking for a Leapster Explorer and every other toy they really want also requires batteries. Not usually okay with me, but I decided to give it a try this year. We'll see how it goes. (Hopefully: them=happy & me=not crazy.)

  2. I actually considered a leapster, but realized my kids have never asked for one, and I should just ride that particular train for as long as possible.

  3. cannot wait to discuss light lifting
    my kid never asked for a leapster but it bought me more quiet, and educational hours, than the nintendo DS has

  4. My kids will ONLY listen to GLEE. I'm so happy I got them Fantasia for Hanukkah -- they're loving the music and learning a lot. That bread maker is fabs!

  5. I'm with you on Light Lifting. It's my fave of the year.

  6. Auntie JennoDecember 16, 2010

    OMG those boots!!!Sorry for the multiple exclamation marks, but they are deserving! They may just be the thing that will get me through this shitty holiday.


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