Heading into our second holiday season during a global pandemic, you might be struggling with gift ideas for the people in your life. With the majority of people still spending a lot of their time at home, buying your friends and family (or yourself) gifts to make living spaces more exciting and comfortable will land you the most air hugs and elbow bumps.
Here are our top gift recommendations for every room of the house.
In the kitchen
The kitchen is probably the easiest room to shop for, as many people have gone back to home cooking and baking since COVID-19 hit. One of the most unique gadgets this holiday season is the Ninja CREAMi 5-in-1 ice cream maker ($249.99). With settings for regular and “lite” ice cream, sorbet and milkshakes, along with recipes on how to make dairy-free frozen treats, the CREAMi will be enjoyed by all who receive it.
If coffee is more your family and friends’ style, then the DeLonghi All-in-One Combination Coffee/Espresso with Advanced Cappuccino system ($299) will give them the boost they need. Along with the ability to brew a 10-cup pot of coffee or enjoy a perfect espresso, there is also an attached milk frother to help make everyone feel like a barista.
For people who prefer using pod coffee, the Ninja CFP301 DualBrew Pro Specialty Coffee System ($229) is an excellent choice. The pod attachment, which takes Keurig pods, can be swapped out with an included basket attachment in order to brew a 12-cup pot of coffee. The DualBrew Pro Specialty Coffee System also has the ability to dispense boiling water for tea or oatmeal and also has an attached milk frother.
If appliances are out, a nice bottle of gin or tequila might be appreciated.
Toronto-based Laneway Distillers No. 33 Gin ($98) comes in a very festive gold bottle that is sure to be admired by all (it also comes in a special 24-karat gold bottle for $3,388). The limited-edition Hendrick’s Lunar Gin ($59.20) is also a top-shelf option for the gin connoisseur.
In the bedroom
Sleep is more important than ever and a new Hush mattress for yourself or the people you love is the gift that keeps on giving.
The Hush mattress is a unique bed-in-a-box as it forgoes memory foam and incorporates individually wrapped coils and a pillow top with its iced cooling technology to keep you comfortable all night long. The Hush mattress comes in sizes from twin to California king and starts at $1,200.
For the ultimate bedroom comfort, add the Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen to your shopping list. The Snug Comforter is a super soft, cooling and hypoallergenic comforter that is also extremely stylish. Available in a range of colours in twin ($311), queen/full ($369) and king/California king ($408).
In the rec room
Books, video games and toys are all great gifts for people who like to spend their time in the rec room.
While the XBOX Series X and PS5 are still mostly out of stock, the XBOX Series S has been widely available on store shelves. Going with the XBOX All Access option, which bundles the system with an XBOX Ultimate Game Pass subscription for $29.99 a month on a two-year term, the XBOX Series S offers a greater amount of entertainment value for your money than most of the other gaming systems on the market.
Because the XBOX Series S has no disc drive and only 512 gigabytes of internal storage, the Seagate 1TB Expansion Card ($289) is a must-have with it. This goes into a special port on the back of the Series S (or X) and will seamlessly increase the internal storage of the system.
If you’re looking for something fun to give that also has educational value, Super Mario Maker 2 ($79.99) and Game Builder Garage ($39.99) for the Nintendo Switch are both excellent options. Both kids and adults will forget they’re actually learning from the excitement over playing games they design and build with these.
Lego has always been an excellent gift option and this year the block company has some new sets for the young and the old.
Baryonyx Dinosaur Boat Escape ($99) is a 308-piece Jurassic World tie-in recommended for children eight and over. It’s the first Jurassic World set to feature a boat, and the boat actually floats in water (even with the large dinosaur figure it comes with). Carnotaurus Dinosaur Chase ($49) is another fun Jurassic World set for kids and is only 240 pieces.
On the other end of the Lego scale is a massive 2,048-piece set based on the show Friends.
Recommended for adults over 18, The Friends Apartments ($199) lets you build a replica of Joey and Chandler’s apartment and Monica and Rachel’s apartment along with the hallway between them. It comes with seven mini-figures, which includes the six main characters (plus Janice).
Coffee table books are great for people who want to show off their interests when company visits.
For fans of the hit TV show Schitt’s Creek, there’s Best Wishes, Warmest Regards. Written by Dan and Eugene Levy, it tells the story of the making of the show and includes some great behind-the-scenes stories from the cast and crew.
At a whopping 512 pages and with over 500 production photos, The Story of Marvel Studios ($188) will keep Marvel fans happy until next Christmas.
The biography Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark ($37) is a great page-turner for fans of the ’80s Queen of Macabre that will give a lot more insight into the life of Elvira actor Cassandra Peterson.
For the whole home
If there’s one thing the pandemic taught us, it’s that keeping our air clean is a great way to prevent the spread of germs. Shark saw the demand and came up with the Air Purifier 6 True HEPA ($599).
The Shark Air Purifier 6 constantly tracks and displays the air quality in your home and auto-adjusts its cleaning power as needed. Along with six high-speed fans and an anti-allergen HEPA multi-filter that can cover a 1,200-square-foot space, the Air Purifier 6 also comes with a remote and is ultra quiet.
If you know someone who will be going back to the office in the new year, the new Nest Battery Doorbell ($239) is sure to be appreciated.
Having no wires to mess with, the Nest Battery Doorbell is easy to install on pretty much any house or apartment entrance and allows you to remotely watch over who is coming and going and also gives you the ability to listen and talk to people at your door. It works with other Google Assistants in the home to alert you when someone is at the door so there is no need for an extra chime to be added.
For people who are continuing to work from home, the eero Pro 6 Whole Home Mesh WiFi system ($299 for one, $539 for a two-pack or $799 for a three-pack) will help them get a solid internet connection from any room they are working from. Along with WiFi 6 capabilities, the eero Pro 6 can cover up to 6,000 square feet (three-pack) and is packed with optional security features and works with Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant.
Batman fans young and old will be excited to get the remote-controlled All-Terrain Batmobile ($69.99). Being water resistant, the All-Terrain Batmobile can drive through water, mud and snow, and also climb over rocks. The 2.4-gigahertz dual joystick works up to a hundred feet away and both it and the car can be charged via a USB cable.
For health-conscious people, the Fitbit Sense ($299) is one of the most advanced smartwatches on the market. Along with tracking your steps and other physical activity, it has a built-in ECG and temperature sensor, has both Google and Amazon’s voice assistants and can receive texts and calls via a connected phone.