Your guide to the guides.
It’s gift-guide time, when every news outlet goes out of its way to suggest things its readers might like to buy for friends and family during the holiday season. But which one to trust?
Never fear. Here’s Torontoist‘s gift guide guide.
For people who shop mainly in neighbourhoods where lots of middle-income young professionals live or work:
Consider checking out the guide prepared by The Grid, who chose to focus on items available at shops in and near neighbourhoods inhabited by their target demographic.
Highlight: The flat-packed cardboard moose-head trophy, available at Soho Art and Custom Framing on Roncesvalles, for $19 to $35. (Different sizes, we guess.) Who wouldn’t want a moose head made of cardboard to hang on their living room wall? The only reason most of us don’t have real moose heads hanging on our walls already is because we don’t want to kill the moose, right? RIGHT?
Lowlight: The $79 throw pillow with a picture of a Welsh corgi standing on a Union Jack, available at Empire the Collection, in Leslieville, is the type of thing that gets sold, unused, at Leslieville garage sales for like $5.
For people with a taste for the ridiculous, the expensive, and the ridiculously expensive:
Try the CBC’s extremely varied gift guide. It has a little something for everyone, up to and including the deranged billionaire in your life.
Highlight: A life-sized statue of yourself made entirely out of Lego, by New York–based artist Nathan Sawaya. Vainglorious but also ridiculous and cool. They’re $60,000 each, though.
Lowlight: A $160,000 bottle of Chateau Lafite 1787, supposedly brought to the New World from France by Thomas Jefferson. We’re guessing it doesn’t get you any drunker than normal wine.
For anyone willing to visit the Sun‘s website for reasons other than sports coverage or Sunshine Girls:
The Sun has a bunch of clickable gift-guide picture galleries on a variety of themes. A lot of the stuff is pretty affordable, maybe in deference to the working-class everydudes they cater to editorially.
Highlight: This Doctor Who mug with a TARDIS that disappears when you pour hot liquid into it. So awesome, and only $14.95.
Lowlight: Canada-themed cufflinks and money clips, at $80 each, look like they came from a Spadina Avenue gift shop.
For the thematically obsessed:
Highlight: The $35 replica CBC Radio-Canada mobile reporting bag is a pretty cool accessory, sure to please any retro news enthusiast.
Lowlight: Custom laser etching for MacBooks. Really? Your laptop is not your life. It just feels that way sometimes, is all.
For everyone who is interested in just about anything:
The Star‘s gift guide is enormous.
Highlight: An entire guide devoted to thrift-store shopping.
Lowlight: A guide devoted to preparing pets for the holiday season. All pets care about is whatever food happens to drop on the floor while guests are eating.
For the cost-conscious buyer:
NOW Magazine has a gift guide helpfully organized by price.
Highlight: A 10-buck bike light from MEC that plugs into a USB port to recharge? That’s pretty cool.
Lowlight: A tie between these Etsy-looking $50 “owl bowls” from Distill and this $54 lemon juicer. Wasn’t there a time when NOW was a crusading leftist alt-weekly? When did they start thinking of their readership as people who would buy this kind of crap?
For people who love enormous JPEGs:
The Post is running a series of four Toronto-themed gift guides, and they’re publishing them as giant JPEGs, for some reason. WordPress has its limits, we guess?
Highlight: A $25 squirrel-shaped nutcracker, from Good Egg. Squirrels are adorable, especially when they’re helpful.
Lowlight: For $129 at Telegramme, a print of the little “wait-while-the-computer-thinks” watch familiar to Mac users everywhere, signed by the person who designed it. Just looking at the icon and thinking about all those wasted seconds is enough to make our blood boil.
For anyone who loves a well-presented guide:
Known for their clean and modern web design, Toronto Standard has produced a gift guide that delivers the expected amount of gloss.
Highlight: “Cocaine” and “Heroin” salt and pepper shakers, for $140 at Magic Pony, are maybe a little pricey for what they are. But they’re still much cheaper than actual drugs.
Lowlight: A turntable-shaped cat-scratch toy looks like a great way to rob both you and your cat of a little bit of dignity. It’s $34.99 at Insound.
For Bay Streeters looking to economize:
Toronto Life, a magazine that chronicles the lives of the super-wealthy for the entertainment of the sorta-wealthy (it also happens to be a publication of Torontoist‘s parent company, St. Joseph Media) has a surprisingly modest gift guide.
Highlight: A stainless steel drinking straw, at $3.50 from The Mercantile, seems like the perfect way to tell the world, “I take drinking liquids very, very seriously.”
Lowlight: Nobody really needs this $40 iPhone handset, from Magic Pony. You already own the iPhone. There’s no point in pretending you’re some kind of technological holdout.
For people who are poor or under 40:
Try the A.V. Club Toronto‘s gift guide, which devotes an entire entry to tall cans of Tiger beer ($8.95, with a collectible glass).