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Holiday Gift Guide

My family isn't much for celebrating Christmas. We used to be more festive when I was a kid but since my sister moved to Toronto,  we don't usually put up a Christmas tree anymore or participate in many holiday activities as a family.

However, I have friends that love Christmas. One starts shopping for presents in November and as soon as the beginning of December rolls along, all their holiday decorations are up as well. I know this is a holiday gift guide but the most important thing about Christmas is spending time with the people you love.

That being said, let's kick off our list with an experiential suggestion such as a gift card for yoga, kickboxing, a rock climbing gym, aerial yoga or pole dancing, paddle boarding, etc. Check Groupon for any deals available. And it's even better if you get to experience it together with them.

S'well water bottles are hugely popular and for good reason too. They come in a variety of finishes. They're insulated, non-toxic, keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12, and best of all, buying one contributes to a number of charitable causes. These can be either a great stocking stuffer or a relatively inexpensive gift. 

These yoga mats by Manduka can be pricey but are worth it. They are free of toxic chemicals, dyes and hormone-disrupting phthalates. The PRO mats are guaranteed for life and manufactured emissions-free. And the eKo mats are made from biodegradable rubber and manufactured sustainably but still maximize performance.

Bose is known for their excellent noise-cancelling headphones and they have some great choices to help supply the soundtrack for your workout. CNet has very helpfully reviewed other top contenders.

Workout gear is an easy option. Just make sure you know their size and a gift receipt is always a great idea if you're unsure. Choices abound to fit your budget from Forever 21 and Joe Fresh to Ivy Park, Lululemon, Nike and Underarmour. Canadian brand, Karma Athletics is made responsibly in Canada with great design and quality.

Fit journals or even just regular planners to keep your schedule organized can be a great gift or stocking stuffer. Some prefer a digital version, though. In that case, there are plenty of apps that can help keep track of your goals

Create your own gift basket or picnic hamper with items from the August Market on Main St. They have kombucha on tap, fresh produce, and a selection of awesome natural and organic groceries. I love that they support local companies and their instagram is excellent, definitely worth following.

The Instant Pot would make an extremely useful tool in eating healthy. It's a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker or porridge maker, steamer, saute pan, yogurt maker, and a keep-warm serving pot all in one! This appliance makes meal prep quicker and more convenient. 

Along with that Instant Pot, naturally, cookbooks are great as a companion gift. There are plenty of recipes available on blogs. And why not join the Instant Pot Community group on Facebook to share recipes?

Tea is also a solid choice. There are so many types to choose from; black, green, oolong, white, and puer. Many retailers offer different blends, including herbal teas. The Granville Island Tea Company has a wide selection and a visit there is a great way to spend the day.

Aside from just brewing a cup to drink, you can use it as a healthy, flavourful addition to baked treats or food. Green tea is my favourite; matcha, in particular. A local company called Whisk Matcha provides artisanal premium Japanese matcha.

Natural beauty products make a great stocking stuffer or small gift. One of my favourites is Bite Beauty, sold exclusively in Sephora. Canadian brand, Bite Beauty offers lipsticks made with natural, organic, edible ingredients and has incredible colors.

Priti, Deborah Lippmann, Smith & Cult make toluene, DBP, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and camphor free nail polishes.

Last but not least is skin-care products. Sensé takes a science-based approach, rejuvenating individual cells with botanical extracts and topical nutrition. It's paraben-free and utilizes an exclusive, patented, self-preserving technology that effectively reduces dryness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, increases elasticity and smoothness, and diminishes uneven skin tone and texture.

The Serum Intensive is amazing for spot treatment for zits and surprisingly great for mosquito bites and scars. The Nutritious Creme Masque helped clear my blackheads. And the Intensive Hand Therapy cream definitely delivers on its promise of making dry, cracked hands soft and supple again.

Good luck! There's less than a week left til Christmas ;)