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Sandos in the City: 9 of the Best Sandwiches in Vancouver
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The Wine List: 6 Wines for Every Holiday Wine Drinker on Your List
Nightcap: Spiked Horchata
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5 Things to Do in Vancouver This Week (November 20-26)
Escape to Osoyoos: Your Winter Wonderland Awaits
Your 2023/2024 Ultimate Local Winter Getaway Guide
Kamloops Unscripted: The Most Intriguing Fall Destination of 2023
Local Gift Guide 2023: For Everyone on Your Holiday Shopping List
Local Gift Guide 2023: For the Pets
Local Gift Guide 2023: For the Kids
Will Santa put you on the naughty list for being unoriginal?
It’s the second edition of my 2023 weekly gift guides—check back in every Friday ’till Christmas for another unique roundup of presents. Except for this week: the focus has been decidedly unoriginal.
Most gift guides are obsessed with being extraordinary, but maybe we’re overthinking it. Maybe being basic isn’t a crime. Maybe popular things are popular because, well, they’re great.
So allow me to present the most ordinary, unremarkable, crowd-pleasing 2023 gift guide. In fact, your giftee probably already has half the things on this list—let it be a snapshot of the era we’re living in. And if you’re lucky enough to spot something they don’t already have: you’re welcome.
The winter problem: you’re trying to leave a friend’s party at a reasonable hour (the wow-it’s-so-dark-so-early-why-do-we-even-have-daylight-savings conversation in the kitchen is getting depressing) but there’s a brainteaser blocking the door. Which pair of Blundstones are yours? It truly feels like everyone and their dog owns these shoes—probably because they’re weatherproof and pretty damn versatile. $250, australianboot.com
The summer problem: you’re trying to leave a friend’s party at a reasonable hour (the wow-another-heat-wave-climate-change-sure-is-feeling-irreversible conversation on the patio is getting depressing) but there’s a brainteaser blocking the door. Which pair of Birkenstocks are yours? It’s the warm-weather yin to Blundstone’s yang (and fun fact, Kitsilano’s The Right Shoe is the country’s largest independent Birks retailer). $140, therightshoe.ca
The fanny pack is back, baby—leading scientists say that Vancouverites are never more than one yoga mat length away from a Lululemon belt bag at any given time. Whether you’re a born-again belt-bagger or never lost the hip-pack hype, these things are inarguably useful… not just for dads at Disneyland anymore. $44, lululemon.com
They said “not all men.” Saxx said “watch us.” I dare you to find any betesticled individual who won’t wax poetic about the ballpark pouch. Ask around, you’ll be sorry you did. If your giftee could benefit from some crotch support, this is a no-brainer—they might already have a pair or six, but who doesn’t need more underwear? $67 for a two-pack, saxxunderwear.ca
And for the gals—or, you know, anyone who enjoys being Not Cold as Hell—there’s this iconic puffer. We tested out the Superpuff earlier this year, and the results are in: this basic AF jacket is legitimately great. How popular is it? Aritzia has an entire section of its website (separate from other jackets and coats) dedicated to this product. $250, aritzia.com
When the belt bag just won’t cut it, there’s the Herschel backpack—and this is one prevalent pack. Make sure to remind your giftee to one-strap it so they look cooler. $100 but currently on sale for $60 (!), herschel.ca
Here’s another universal experience: you complain about having a headache, and some witchy coworker or friend-of-a-friend offers you this minty masterpiece. Annoyingly, it works. Peppermint halo been crushing aromatherapy naysayers for at least a decade (source: me, who remembers girls passing it around the locker room like some kind of essential oil contraband). From $32, saje.ca
Maybe a controversial one here… between Hydroflask, Stanley and Yeti, it’s hard to pick the most iconic Vancouver vessel (in fact, I think it’s worth a poll—check in next week). I went with Yeti, but this one is dealer’s choice: there’s nothing more classic Vancouver than having extremely strong feelings about a particular insulated cup. $45, mec.ca