Christmas is meant to be special, magical. A time to celebrate, reflect, share and be with people we like. If Christmas feels more like a boring, gift-card trading session, (“Here’s yours. Where’s mine?”) something is missing.
The good news is we’re here to help bring back that special, magical feeling.
To re-invent what makes this holiday special take the time to be truly thoughtful. Make giving from your heart and mind something special. Whether you’re throwing a dinner party and you lack a dining room table (like me!) or you’re really stuck for a special gift that won’t end up in the landfill, we want to try to help. Enjoy our special Holiday Gift Guide and don’t forget giving is receiving.
Bring on the “WOW”!
When a client asks for some WOW factor, it usually means a bold design statement. Have you ever wondered where designers go to find those surprising and irresistible furnishings and accessories? You have to check out KARE (car-ay). This German company has 200 stores in over 50 countries and now they are in Canada! They carry an amazing collection of fabulous furniture and accessories. Stylish Stool Cherry stools in a multitude of colours and brass are only $129 CAD.
We all know that dogs are heavenly creatures, these Deco Figurine Angel Wings Dog in porcelain are fun, festive and only $59 CAD and these transparent headphone heads are a fun statement piece that’s also useful! $49 CAD.
Go to kare-design.com or visit KARE at 553 Queen St. West, in Toronto.
This Holidays’ Biggest Seller (Besides the Instant Pot)
Do you have old wall sconces or candelabras with candles in them hanging around collecting dust? You never lit them because you didn’t want to deal with spilled wax, right? Well, A Changing Nest in Toronto has an amazing solution. It’s battery-operated, LED taper candles for $30 CAD! You’ve seen the pillars, well now you can have timed candlelight from tapers. They’re elegant, practical, dripless and shut themselves off. They also carry the 3″ votives for $25 CAD. Great for gifts, or get a few for yourself!
The Other Half
Part museum, part general store, part clubhouse, The Other Half Men’s Shoppe is a place to shop for men, comfortably. This well-curated shoppe carries unique brands like Tokens & Icons who make cool things out of authentic pro sports memorabilia and historical objects. For instance, they make bottle openers from baseball bats, tennis racquets and hockey sticks. You’ll find everything from leather furniture to vintage, team Cufflinks Inc., and SAXX underwear. There’s something for every man and every budget.
Where’s the Beef?
Know any meat lovers? The Carnivore Club—along with having one of the wittiest videos on their website it also has a unique way of selling hand-crafted, premium cured meats…through a subscription service. You can buy once or have boxes delivered throughout the year, faster than you can say, “Charcuterie”!
If living food needed to be wrapped in airtight wrap, then rind, peel, or skin would be airtight. It’s not. So says, Toni Desrosiers the founder of Abeego. This Telus Trail Blazer was recognized at the Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards this year for her invention.
A reusable beeswax food wrap keeps food alive. Like nature’s lemon peel, onion skin or cheese rind, Abeego wraps protect food from air and moisture. You can order different sizes online. The variety pack is a great deal at $18 CAD and makes a great gift.
It’s a full-sensory boutique experience, KANDL Artistique features a collection of luxurious lines of scented candles. You can also enjoy the first candle-making lab experience of its kind in North America.
For groups of up to ten people, you can choose, combine and create your own custom fragrance to create your own personalized scented candle, from start to finish. Can it get better? You can enjoy their lovely café with unique Parisienne inspired pasties and signature cocktails.
Give the Gift of Hope and Healing for Children and Families with Mental Health Challenges
Earlier in the year, our team at Jane Lockhart Design updated four of the family rooms at the George Hull Centre for Children and Family. As a non-profit centre they rely on donations to keep the centre thriving. They recently sent out a helpful guide for donating. Check it out here: georgehullcentre.on.ca
Give the Gift of Art!
When we decorated the Green Room at Roy Thomson Hall for the Toronto Film Festival this year we had the honour of working with Lumas Gallery in Toronto. They have a fun idea for the art lover in your life. Choose from a unique collection of postcards from their Art Now collection, write a message, and they will ship it directly for only $38 CAD. It’s fun, original and a great idea!
Let’s Get SMART!
Make life simpler and smarter with this new technology. Plugging into a Wi-Fi enabled WeMo Mini Smart Plug is like feeding smart pills to your lamp. Not only can you turn lights and other appliances on and off remotely from the free WeMo app, you can also find out what your appliances are up to via real-time reports about energy consumption. It works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assitant, and Apple HomeKit. Available at Best Buy, Costco, and Amazon.
Control your lights conveniently from your smartphone or tablet with the WeMo Dimmer Wi-Fi Smart Light Switch. This Wi-Fi enabled device lets you choose the desired level of brightness and set schedules to suit your preferences. Sync your lights to sunrise and sunset. Easy to install, it works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assitant, and Apple HomeKit. Available at Best Buy, Costco, and Amazon.
The Beryl Laserlight an innovative bicycle light with patented laser projection technology, is helping Canadian cyclists stay safe this winter. The Laserlight combines a white light and laser image to beam out of blind spots and situations where cyclists are otherwise unseen.
Lace it Up!
Michael and Natalie have found a creative way to capture Ukrainian lace patterns on handmade, wooden, live-edge serving boards. These intricate, custom-made designs are each one of a kind!
Dreaming of a White Christmas
You may think you’re looking at heaven, but this is long-time fan, Mark Rowlinson’s home decorated for the holidays! Creative, beautiful, inspiring. Thanks for sharing, Mark!
Holiday Dinner Table Decor
The selection of holiday table décor at your favourite stores has never been better, you can find just the right scheme, theme and colour to set a special dinner table. Here we go from Christmas to New Year’s using the same flatware and stemware.
We sourced the tableware and décor at Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and Party City.
Holiday Entertaining Without the Dining Table
It’s dinner party season where everything centres around the dining table. But how do you throw a holiday party with all the elegance of a sit-down dinner without the dining table? We turned a client’s living room into a beautiful entertaining space where guests could happily circulate, enjoy great food, drinks and company.
Satisfy All the Senses
Entertaining like this is all in the details. The aroma of fresh-baked goods, the taste of savoury and sweet nibbles, the visual beauty of flickering candlelight and décor, with low key background music fine-tuned for the occasion.
Every Surface is an Opportunity
Start by creating a feast for the eyes, every surface is an opportunity to create a decorative vignette. You know that huge platter in the back of the cabinet? This is the time to bring out your best serving pieces.
We layered fresh greenery on the bottom and holiday decor to add sparkle under generous candlelight. I like to mix votives, tapers, and pillars, and fill lanterns with large battery-operated candles, clustered in groups on the floor (but not underfoot!) so every surface has light.
Varying the size and shape of decorations adds more visual interest. Large, sculpted reindeer guard over cheese plates, while shiny ornaments look festive on multi-tiered, serving ware.
Think about how people casually move through a space. I like to use a variety of surfaces as food and drink “stations”. For more visual interest use different surfaces at different heights, with plenty of room to walk around. Everywhere the eye lands on surfaces around the room a treat is waiting.
Serving bite-size, hot hors-d’oeuvres on trays keep guests out of the workstation (kitchen) and get you circulating, too. You can mix and mingle and check the food stations to see if anything is running low.
Tricks and Treats
Delicious, pop-in-your-mouth cookies and sweets require a central location, like an ottoman where guests can move around and see the whole selection. Add glass or crystal jars filled with gold balls or battery-operated strings of lights. It’s a simple trick to set it out on a mirrored tray (or a flat mirror) to reflect the light and add sparkle.
A sideboard is the ideal place to set out different food options. Having manageable portions available means less waste and invites return visits. Have a stack of small recyclable plates, flatware, and napkins available at every station. A one-stop cleanup station can be set up outside the kitchen for convenience.
A Side of Coffee and Tea
Side tables are great for adding décor and candles, but we like to use larger ones as the coffee and tea station. Dig out the fine china and use the coffee and teapots with matching cream and sugar, cups and saucers, so guests can help themselves.
What’s Better Than a Bar Cart?
Two bar carts! Let them do the heavy lifting! One for desserts, one for the drinks. Keep the bar menu simple so guests can help themselves. We used the adjacent entry hall, closer to the kitchen for replenishing drinks.
Add Holiday Comfort!
Finally, add a cozy layer; lovely stockings hung by the chimney (with care), scrumptious throws and squeezable pillows. This tactile touch contributes to the charm and your guests’ sense-filled experience.
Then, light the fireplace and add guests. Trust me, no one is going to miss sitting at the table.
We hope you discovered something to help you make the holidays special. We can all use a little helper at this time of year!