Monday, December 3, 2012

THANKS SO MUCH for your kind feedback about our travel plans. Now that it's out in the open, it feels so much realer. I can hardly believe it's December; the countdown is on.

As such, our apartment is beginning to fill up with boxes and bins in preparation. We're slowly divesting ourselves of things, selling some on Craigslist, gifting others to friends, packing a pile into storage, and all at a strange time of year.

December is a month rife with consumption, both of calories and tangible goods. It's the time of year when brown paper packages and tokens are given at an alarming rate. Anyone with (or in close proximity to) children knows that the next few weeks mean two things: new plastic shit and a whole ton of boxes to break down.

So I thought the Unfettered Gift Guide would be suitable. A list of consumables you might consider giving, rather than bulking up the life of a loved one with stuff. While clothing and trinkets and candlesticks  are lovely, consider gifts that disappear in no time or those that are purely utilitarian.

1 BOOZE Perhaps it's my particular clique, but I've never seen disappointment in the eyes of a friend on the receiving end of a bottle of hootch. Skip wine and give something they might not normally buy themselves: a bottle of liqueur or something to flesh out their liquor cabinetGO CANADIAN Victoria (1) is a beautiful premium gin out of British Columbia. Small batch, artisanal blah blah blah, but objectively terrific. On par with Hendrick's or any other premium spirit.  

2 CHEESE Be sure to save things like this for friends who give a couple F's about cheese. A $50 wedge of Beemster® (2) thrust into unknowing hands will fall flat, but offered to a cheese whore like me and who knows how I'll show my gratitude. ADVANCED Put together a whole kit; include cheese, great crackers, some neat olives, a bag of taralli, some dried fruit. But remember Rule 13 and be clear that your gift is for their enjoyment later.

3 MEDIA  Hook a friend up with a handful of your Top 5 iPhone Apps. Or get them hooked on one-and-a-half seasons of Homeland. Give that Kindle-lover in your life your favourite books. Maybe a great host gift would be some fresh, new music, like Solange's new EP. Best of the year, for certain (3). All of this can be done through iTunes and doesn't clutter up their fireplace mantle. LIKE A ROCKEFELLER Buy an iPod Shuffle and pack it full of music. A mixed tape for a new generation.

4 PAPER GOODS Share some local artwork like these cards (4) from Toronto's Deadweight. They double as useful and mean your recipient can pay your gift forward by sending a note to a third party. Be sure to include a book of stamps (The Regiments are particularly neat, available now) so they have no excuse but to sit right down and send a letter. LIKE A ROCKEFELLER Include a great pen.

KITCHEN TOOLS 1000 years ago, a Nomad would've appreciated a sharp blade or a wheel on his way through town. Share your favourite implement of the present, whether it be a budget-busting Le Creuset (5) or a super-useful measuring cup. When you give a kitchen tool you're not only providing on an object they'll use often, you're giving them a little piece of your tradition, your process. Every time they pull out that awesome wooden spoon they'll think of you. And isn't that nice? ADVANCED Create a kit based around a cherished family recipe; everything someone might need to make your Great Grandma's gingersnaps. Right down to the right molasses. But remember to keep it functional and avoid the cumbersome (yet decorative) basket. Plant everything in a great mixing bowl and skip the cellophane.

6 CLOTHES Like sharp tools, keep this category purely business. Gloves (6) or new scarf, maybe sunglasses (7)LIKE A ROCKEFELLER Those winter boots they can't justify buying or the awesome watch (8) they've been eyeing all year.

7 THE EXPERIENTIAL GIFT These are perfect for kids, if you can get past their disappointment on Christmas morning. Trust me, while they might not understand the coupon for a trip to the zoo, they'll remember you next July when it happens. LIKE A ROCKEFELLER Step it up a major notch and promise your Mom a weekend in New York or take friends to a ski lodge in the doldrums of February.

Coming soon, a new holiday playlist. Check out last year's mix, which still holds up, and one from 2010, too!

EAT, GAY, LOVE: Travel 2013
The Announcement (November 28, 2012)


  1. I love these ideas. Christmas has become far too much about how much you get. It should be about spending time with your favourite people. To me, Christmas means filling the house with more stuff - and I don't want more stuff!

  2. thank you for the ideas !! love them

  3. I had to look up Taralli. Does this mean I can't move on to the ADVANCED level??