22 delightful presents guaranteed to spark joy during quarantine

We'll keep all of these, thanks.
December 10, 2020 4:13 p.m. EST


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It’s no secret that 2020 has been tough on everyone. We don't blame you for wanting to hide under a blanket in the corner until the New Year. That’s why it’s extra important to spark joy where we can. If you’re looking for an extra special gift to brighten someone’s day/week/year, here are a few delightful suggestions… but be warned: some may be so delightful you’ll also want to grab one for yourself.

1. This cozy new hobby

Know someone who has always meant to take up knitting but just never really knew how to start? Enter We Are Knitters and their delightful array of kits. Learn to make a scarf, blanket, beanie, or this super cozy cardigan with easy-to-follow instructions and all the tools you need. There are a ton of patterns, colours and options, with kits ranging from beginner to advanced levels.

We Are Knitters Kits, various prices at We Are Knitters.

2. A custom art print

There's no time like the present to support the local artists in your community. Many artists on Etsy are offering up their skills and time to create that perfect present for the favourite person in your life. Whether it be an oil painting of your grandparents' wedding photo or a watercolour of your dog dressed up as an emperor, there's a piece that's waiting to spark joy in the life of your loved one. If you're running out of time, you can opt for a meaningful print instead. We adore this set of recipe cards from Meegan Estelle Lim, who took her mom's delicious Chinese-Malaysian classics and made them into a lovingly designed set of pocket recipes for everyone to enjoy.

(RED) Pocket Recipes, $15 at Meegan Estelle Lim.

3. Champagne and strawberries

Bubbles always spark joy, especially when they come with a toast for a better 2021. Even better when they're paired with chocolate covered strawberries and delivered straight to your door.

Champagne and French Chocolate Dipped Strawberries Bouquet, $102.99 at Hazelton's.

4. Classic boots that'll last a lifetime

Is there anything more durable than Dr. Martens? Well, except Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn’s relationship, that is? These original 1460s are built to last and feature all of the classic boot design features you know and love. Make them extra special by customizing them through Mack House or at home with your own leather paints. Not feeling particularly artistic? The boots themselves are just as joy-sparking on their own since they’ll last forever.

1460 Lace Up Boot, $200 at Dr. Martens.

5. Stickers that make acne so much cuter

Let’s face it, acne does not spark joy. But cute star-shaped stickers designed to spot-treat breakouts do. These Hydro-Stars absorb fluid and shield breakouts from bacteria, all while stopping you from picking at or playing with your skin. With mask acne on the rise and people everywhere needing more good things in their lives, these patches make a truly joyful gift or stocking stuffer.

Hydro-Stars, $20 at Starface.

6. The comfiest slippers

Let's face it, we're likely still not leaving our houses for anything significant any time soon. So why not make each step you take the most comfortable one possible? These fuzzy, soft as a cloud pair from Aldo will make the trip to the refrigerator oh so delightful (even if it's only delightful for your feet).

Asilind Slipper, $25 at Aldo.

7. A journal that prioritizes mental health

Take note: Canadian, female-founded company Take Note Journals is all about helping you discover and connect with yourself, especially during these trying times. Each three-month journal is created with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques in mind, with space to track mood and activity, practice gratitude, set goals, and to self-reflect. Add in the fact that each cover is designed by hand-picked artists (with the goal of amplifying voices that have been marginalized), and these are the perfect thing to gift heading into the brand new year.

Take Note Journal (Out of This World by Lily Hughes), $42.50 at Take Note Journals.


8. An incredible highlighter with packaging as pretty as its contents

We normally aren't into buying things for their packaging, but for this Clé de Peau Beauté highlighter, we will make an exception. This ridiculously gorgeous facial powder uses light-diffusing technology to illuminate your complexion. In other words, this delightful luminizing palette will make you glow like an angel (which is why, we presume, there's an angel on compact). The best part of it all? It's refillable, so this magnificent makeup container can spark joy forever.

 Clé de Peau Beauté Luminizing Face Enhancer, $120 at Holt Renfrew.

9. A bold, statement making accessory

Jewellery, when meaningful and given with love, should always spark joy. Even better if the piece is as striking as these earrings from Warren Steven Scott. This glorious pair, in acrylic and sterling silver, is guaranteed to turn heads (or at least, get you a Zoom shout-out from a colleague asking, "Where'd you get those?").

Salish Chandelier Earrings, from $60 at Warren Steven Scott.

10. Sweats you won’t be afraid to open the door in

Is there anything more joy-inducing than the comfiest sweats you’ve ever worn? How about a designer set from Toronto-based designer Christina Khaz? Each piece in her collection is handcrafted locally and uniquely made to order. This Smokey Dye 2.0 set is made of 100 per cent Canadian cotton terry vintage, features a super relaxed fit with lots of room to move, and feels like you’re basically wearing nothing. Now if that doesn’t help you snuggle in for another day of Zoom calls (or binge-watching) we don’t know what will.

Smokey Dye 2.0, $139 at Khaz Designs.

11. Stories anytime you want to tuck yourself in

Sometimes you’re just too tired to read, or perhaps you know someone who loves keeping up with all their favourite books and podcasts on the go. Either way Audible.ca has a pretty impressive library, one that’s filled with everything from wellness and cooking to true crime, biographies and fiction. Whether gifting a single title or a year’s subscription, there’s definitely something here to spark feel-good joy for anyone on your gift list this year.

Audible.ca, various denominations at Audible.ca.


12. Swoon-worthy soft skin

In any other year, hand cream would probably not make this list. This year, 2020, the year of hand sanitizer, it's a different story. And L'Occitane knows hand cream. Incredibly nourishing and made with shea butter, these creams will melt into your sad, sad hands and bring them back to their former soothed and moisturized glory. Besides, we much prefer hands that smell like Verveine Mandarine and Bergamot to ones that smell like Eau de 64 per cent Alcohol.

Hand Cream Trio, $34 at L'Occitane.


13. Royals-worthy tea

Is there anything more comforting than a well-crafted cup of tea? In Brampton, Ont., Daniel Lewis and his wife Renata have been using premium quality tea to not only enhance the overall tea experience, but to help shape how people see the world. Their delicious brews have even captured the attention of the royals—they memorably served a cup to Prince Charles during his 2017 visit to Canada. Grab a mug of that joy, like this sweet Roasted Honey Oolong, for yourself or a loved one this season from the couple’s online store.

Roasted Honey Oolong Luxury Tea Bag Cannister (15 count), $14.99 at T by Daniel.

14. The gift of paying it forward

Know someone who wishes they could do more to help others during these difficult times? Sometimes there’s no sweeter gift than the gift of giving. On behalf of your friend or family member this year, consider a charitable donation to an organization like World Vision. With gifts like school essentials for children in need, life-saving medicine for children, and gifts that help women build businesses, you know that your money is going towards something truly meaningful.

The 2020 World Vision gift catalogue, from $10 at World Vision.

15. Tangible joy that you can eat

Since starting out in Vancouver in 1907, Purdy's has been filling the that chocolate void in Canadians' hearts and filling it well. We all know that many boxes of chocolate can be hit or miss, with the most delicious ones hidden in a sea of duds. But not this box. Filled with milk and dark chocolate, delicious nougats, hazelnuts, caramels, crunchy wafers and everything in between, this holiday collection will please even the pickiest of chocolate connoisseurs

.Milk & Dark Chocolates Holiday Gift Box, $33 at Purdy's.


16. A book for when you're tired of baking bread

Know someone who loves to bake and has a lot of time on their hands, but is completely over the bread-making craze that was 2020? Enter Procrastibaking, a book of more than 100 recipes from blogger Erin Gardner that is guaranteed to spark creativity and joy via her fun takes and witty comments. Think offerings like brownies or loaf cakes, all of which are specifically designed to be made the next time you’re putting off mind-numbing tasks or are just feeling plain old bored.

Procrastibaking, $27.88 at Amazon.ca.


17. An unlimited amount of books you can take anywhere

The gift of a thoughtful book is always precious, but what if you could give someone (or yourself) the joy of unlimited books all in one small device that fits perfectly in a handbag? Sure, a library isn't groundbreaking, but with Kobo, a library card, and the Overdrive app, you can download books till the cows come home--or at least until quarantine is over. Best of all, the Kobo H20 Libra is waterproof, so you can enjoy a nice long soak avec your favourite novel without worrying about the pages getting all soggy.

Kobo H20 Libra, $199.98 at Amazon.

18. Meals to eat all week long

It doesn’t matter how much you love—or hate—to cook, everyone can grow tired of the meal planning, prep and shopping that goes along with trying to eat at home. Especially after the holidays. Enter Hello Fresh and the company’s large selection of meal delivery kits, which are perfect for singles and families of all sizes. Send a gift card to a loved one and watch their faces light up knowing that this week, healthier dinners at home are on you.

A HelloFresh gift card, various denominations, at HelloFresh.

19. Binge-worthy TV to talk about all year long

Quarantine or not, winter is the perfect time to snuggle in with all of your favourite shows and invest in a really good series (or two, or three). Crave certainly has those in spades thanks to partnerships with HBO, Starz, HBO Max and more. Dig into buzzworthy shows like The Undoing and The Flight Attendant, rewatch all of your favourite Canada’s Drag Race episodes, or get your dramatized history on with The Spanish Princess. Yup, Crave has all that and more.

Crave gift card, various denominations at Crave.ca.

20. Somewhere to stash all the snacks

Snacking and quarantine go hand-in-hand, why even try to deny it? But having access to an array of perfectly portioned snacks anytime you want it? Now that’s the gift that just keeps on giving. This bamboo tray comes with six lidded ceramic snack trays that are also perfect for condiments, mini salad bars, ramen bowls and more.

Ceramic Snack Serving Tray, $45.04 at Amazon.ca.

21. Fine jewellery you can pass on for generations

To quote Marilyn Monroe's character Lorelei Lee, "Diamonds are a girl's best friend." Well, diamonds, sapphires and South Sea Pearls. We know, fine jewellery isn't everyone's thing, but if it is your thing (it's our thing!), these precious pieces from Yorkville-based Mindham Fine Jewellery might catch your eye. Might we suggest: this unique 18k gold, diamond encrusted beauty of an ear climber; these spectacular Assael Tahitian pearl and diamond danglers; and this dainty, whimsical five pink sapphire ring? Whew. Something for everyone.

Fine jewellery, from $400 at Mindham Fine Jewellery.

22. A fully customizable classic denim jacket

If you or the person you're gifting doesn't have a jean jacket, then this gift is a no brainer. Even if they do, we doubt they have one fully customized with their name on it. Or favourite saying. Or bowling team. We won't judge. Levi's, the denim brand we all know, love and trust, lets you play designer by adding your own awesome embroidery to this classic wardrobe staple

.Levi's Original Trucker Jacket (customizable), $118 at Levi's.


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