Surprise your favourite caffeine-loving friend or family member with one of these great gift ideas.
Whether they enjoy a morning coffee or an afternoon tea, the caffeine lover on your holiday list is sure to appreciate any of these great gifts. With a wide range of items to help them brew the perfect cuppa, they’ll be happily sipping all holiday season.
This beautiful matte black French press will not only brew delicious coffee, but will also look great displayed on a kitchen counter. Ceramic French Press, CB2, $36.95.
Celebrate the holiday season with a collection of festive tea flavours. This limited edition collection includes tasty teas like Chocolate Covered Almond, Apple Cider and Coffee Cake. Warm & Cozy Gift Box, DavidsTea, $28.
This beautiful stoneware canister will ensure your favourite coffee stay fresh to the last scoop. Also available in styles for storing tea, they'll look great in any kitchen. Utility Kitchen Canister, West Elm, $19 - $39.
Designed exclusively for CB2 by SAIC student Hyunsong Melody Lee, this stackable porcelain teapot and cup will make every stylish sip feel special. SAIC tea for one, CB2, $29.95.
With the ability to brew 18 drink varieties directly from your smart device, the GranBaristo Avanti will ensure everyone in your home is sipping happy this holiday season. SAECO GRANBaristo Avanti, Hudson's Bay, $2,999.
Brew your tea to perfection with the Breville One-Touch tea maker. Not only can it brew tea at five different temperature settings, it also allows you to adjust brew strength between mild, medium and strong. Breville One-Touch tea maker, Williams-Sonoma, $369.
Coffee isn't jusst for drinking. Enjoy a spa-like experience with this luxurious scrub. The scrub's fair trade coffee will improve elasticity while polishing and exfoliating dry, tired skin. Palermo Body Scrub, Anthropologie, $44 USD.
Looking for something festive to add to a tea-themed gift? You can't go wrong with this adorable tea infuser. Gingerbread Man Tea Infuser, Crate & Barrel, $7.95.
You can never have too many mugs, especially when they're as fun as Indigo's Canadian-themed collection. Available for each province, they'll make a great gift for anyone on your list. Canada mug, Indigo, $12.
With flavours like White Chocolate Peppermint and Gingerbread this set of deliciously decadent loose-leaf teas is the perfect treat. Season's Treatings Dessert Tea Sampler, TEAVANA, $40.
Turn your budding barista into a latte artist with the Creatista Plus. Combining Nespresso coffee quality with Breville's stunning design and steam wand technology this machine allows users to create their own latte art at home. NESPRESSO Breville Creatista Plus Coffee Machine, Hudson's Bay, $799.
Enjoy some rest and relaxation over the holidays with Tub Tea. Simply steep this soothing blend of chamomile, mint and Epsom salts in hot water and then add it into a warm bath. Unwind Tub Tea, BRIKA, $16.
Try at your own risk! Said to be the world's strongest coffee, it'll give your caffeine crazed friend or family member a buzz like no other and revolutionize their coffee-drinking experience. Death Wish Coffee, Death Wish Coffee Co., $19.99.
With a wide variety of sayings, these hand-stamped vintage spoons will be the perfect addition to afternoon tea. Hand stamped tea spoon, Milk & Honey Luxuries on Etsy, $24.98.
Anyone who loves iced coffee (even in the winter) will love Hario’s Fretta V60 ice coffee maker. Remove the ice holder and it can also be used to make hot brew at home. Hario Ice Coffee Maker, Indigo, $35.
When brewing loose leaf tea it's important to have the proper tools. Williams-Sonoma makes brewing tea at home easy with the Ultimate Tea Maker's Set. No matter the mug size, you'll enjoy a properly infused tea each time. Ultimate Tea Maker's Set, Williams-Sonoma, $66.43.
What better way to display your love of coffee than with a gorgeous print! Simple and chic, it's perfect for hanging anywhere in the home. But First, Coffee Print, Swell Made Co., $28.
Any tea fanatic knows a good cup of tea starts with a great kettle. Not only is this Le Creuset kettle eye-catching, it also has an innovative heating base compatible with all cooking surfaces, even induction. Classic Whistling Kettle, Le Creuset, $80.
These delectable milk and dark chocolate treats are filled with a coffee-flavoured centre, making them the perfect treat for any coffee lover. Mocha Melties, Purdys Chocolatier, $14.50.
We can't forget about matcha! This kit has everything you need to make perfect matcha every time. The Matcha Essentials, DavidsTea, $35.
Any owner of the Chemex Coffee Maker will adore its matching cream and sugar set. Making it the perfect present for someone who's already got his or her go-to brewer. Chemex Cream and Sugar Set, Crate & Barrel, $54.95.
Enjoying your beverage on-the-go just got a stylish update with the Nespresso limited edition Festive Les Collection Touch Travel Mug by Lorenzo Petrantoni. Festive Les Collection Touch Travel Mug, Nespresso, $32.
Hosting a holiday high tea? Then you'll want to serve these tea-infused treats. They're great for enjoying with friends, or wrapping up as a holiday gift. Find the recipe here.
Not only is this elephant-shaped mug adorable, it also features a tiny compartment to place your tea bag after you're done brewing. Plum & Bow Elephant Tea Mug, Urban Outfitters, $16.
Winter weather means stocking up on hand cream. Why not gift your tea lover with this all-vegan hand cream infused with one of DavidsTea's most popular tea. Forever Nuts Tea-Infused Hand Cream, DavidsTea, $6.
lead image: Crate & Barrel
Check out these great gift ideas for your holiday hostess. Source: Donna Griffith
Get holiday party ready with these gift ideas for your holiday host or hostess.
Forget the wine – say thanks to your holiday host with one of these less-than-obvious options.
Scent Surround diffuser in English Pomegranate Noir, Jo Malone London, $95.
Red Grip Gingerbread man cookie cutters, Crate and Barrel, $10 per 3-piece set.
Meraki hand cream in Cotton Haze, Drake General Store, $29.
Champagne Collection macarons, Delysées Toronto, $25 per 20-piece.
Blank Swan Lake notecards, Indigo, $15 per 12-piece set.
Faceted Geo frame, 4" x 4", HomeSense, $10. Metallic Geo frame, 5" x 7", HomeSense, $8.
2017 Herb Garden wall calendar, Rifle Paper Co., $18 US.
Concrete Hex coasters in Gold, Mindtheminimal on Etsy, $30 per set of 4.
Sapele wood Geometric planter, Adrian Martinus on Etsy, $40.
Kate Spade New York Deco Dots travel mug, Hudson’s Bay, $40.
The Ladybird Book of the Hipster book by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris, Indigo, $13.
Cotton Eve dish towels, Crate and Barrel, $22 per pair.
HBC Collection bottle opener, Hudson's Bay, $15.
Nostalgia Edition Twister board game in tin box, Hudson’s Bay, $80.
Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.
8 terrific travel gifts for your favourite jet-setter
The travel enthusiast on your shopping list is sure to love any of these great gift ideas.
Shopping for someone who loves to travel this holiday season? Look no further for inspired gift ideas we’re sure they will love! From bags that’ll help them travel in style to essential tech gadgets they’ll never want to leave home without, these gifts are sure to be a hit this Christmas!
1 iPhone 7 Plus: No traveler leaves home without a camera and these days, all they really need is their smartphone! The brand new iPhone 7 Plus delivers its best camera ever with some seriously awesome new features, which make it a must-have for the shutterbug on your Christmas list. The improved camera means significantly better photos in low-light and more vibrant, colour-rich photos in regular light. The camera can take ‘portrait mode’ photos (blurring out the background and giving a bokeh effect like a fancy SLR camera) and has an optical zoom. Plus, it’s now splash- and water-resistant… hello, beach! iPhone 7, Apple, $899.
2 Jenni Saddle Bag: Ask any seasoned traveler and she’ll tell you that a small cross-body bag is a travel essential … and we just can’t get enough of the ‘Jenni’ saddle bag from Gigi New York. The sultry saddle shape combined with a luxe pebble grain leather make this bag a stylish addition to any outfit. With an adjustable strap and detachable tassel, this stunning bag is a winner! Jenni Saddle Bag, Gigi New York, $345.
3 Clarity Clutch + Coin Pouch: Looking for a gift for the stylish travelista on your shopping list this Christmas? This transparent clutch and coin pouch duo is just what you’re looking for! Both items are ideal for keeping travel necessities like a passport, boarding pass and money close at hand. Or use it to store makeup and toiletries. Either way, the clutch and the pouch will make it so much easier to find things that easily get lost at the bottom of a handbag! Clarity Clutch + Coin Pouch, Truffle, $60.
4 Kindle Paperwhite: The traveler who can’t live without her books will be truly thrilled to find the Kindle Paperwhite e-reader under the Christmas tree this year. Now available in black and white, the Kindle Paperwhite offers readers a high-resolution display with a built-in adjustable light. The screen has no glare so it simulates reading an actual paper book. Its compact size makes it perfectly portable, ideal for the travel lover on your shopping list this season! Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon, $119.99.
5 Beach Tray: In this acrylic tray, Gray Malin marries the stunning aerial photography he’s known for with a striking home decor accent piece. Suitable for a myriad of uses (serving tray, office catch-all or simply a beautiful objet d’art to be displayed and admired), this tray is sure to delight the traveler on your list. This particular tray, part of Gray Malin’s newly launched home collection, features an overhead shot of beach umbrellas in Lisbon. Beach Tray, Gray Malin, $295.
6 The Beaches Tote Bag: Every traveler needs a good, multi-purpose tote bag that can easily fit in their luggage and be pulled out at a moment’s notice. This canvas tote is the perfect bag for shopping at a local market, taking to the beach or for using as an extra carry-on bag to bring home shopping that won’t fit in the suitcase! The Beaches Tote Bag, Main and Local, $19.99.
7 The Bigger Carry-On: A suitcase that charges your phone? A suitcase that has an unbreakable, scratch-resistant exterior shell? A suitcase that is guaranteed for life? That’s the kind of suitcase every traveler dreams of. Away has reimagined the suitcase and the result is a modern piece of luggage that easily and effortlessly meets the needs of today’s traveler. This is a super chic gift for the super chic traveler. The Bigger Carry-On, Away, $245.
8 Men in Red Limited Edition Art Print: Inspire a travel-lover’s sense of adventure with a gorgeous piece of artwork that will not only look fabulous gracing the walls of their home, but will remind them of a favourite vacation (or motivate them to visit some place they’ve never been!) To make this gift extra special, choose the perfect frame from a number of options. Men in Red Limited Edition Art Print, Minted, starting at $21.