ManAboutMTL

The Gift's The Thing

A gift for gifting's sake? We think not, and so at the midway point between the craziness of the Black-Cyber-Brawl weekend and Christma...

A gift for gifting's sake? We think not, and so at the midway point between the craziness of the Black-Cyber-Brawl weekend and Christmas, now's the time to bear down in earnest and focus on crossing off your list those nearest and dearest to you with a carefully-considered holiday present that shows a little forethought, and that you know they'll love to find under the tree. 

To help in your search, since basically last Boxing Day we've taken mental note, jotted down, and filed away the things that have come our way and that we think would bring particular joy and delight come December 25th. So, whether braving the retail jungle or getting it all done with a few clicks from the comfort of home, use the following curated list to either snag one, a few, or many of the items below, or as inspiration to find just the thing that matches gift with recipient. Oh, and don't forget that you're on your shopping list too, so don't overlook a little 'personal purchase' as reward for your present-seeking efforts.



Dual Time Airmaster Watch, $795, available at Birks.
Designed for active individuals who adhere to sophistication with a hint of modernity, this distinguished man's ultimate tool comes with a 316L stainless steel case for ultimate durability, scratch resistant sapphire crystal and double deploying buckle on an anti-allergic leather strap.
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Rock & Pearl Stackable Ring, $345, available at Birks
With homegrown singer and multi-instrumentalist Kiesza as the face of this new and edgy namesake collection, this silver and freshwater pearl ring is really a set of 3 embellished with 5mm round freshwater pearls.  Perfect for a unique, versatile, 'dressed-up-everyday' look. Available in sizes 5 to 9.
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Guerlain 
With the recent appointment of uber-talented (and Sorel-born!) Maxime Poulin to the position of Head Beauty Artist for Canada, there's a rejuvenated youthfulness to the global cosmetics house. Proof positive was the palpable buzz inside the W Hotel's Presidential Suite during this fall's intimate and exclusive cocktail reception where guests got to witness the master at work, and clamoured to get in the requisite selfies.

  • Ors et Merveilles Eye and Blush Palette, $95, available at The Bay.
From the Neiges et Merveilles Holiday Makeup Collection, this 2-level compact contains everything your eyes and cheekbones will need for holiday parties and/or travel.  On the top, 5 winter shadows with notes champagne, brown, and gold combine with plum and pink for spot-on iridescence, while on the lower level 4 versions of pink blush with matte or shimmer finishes freshen the complexion.
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  • L'Homme Ideal Cologne, $94, available at The Bay.
Speaking to men's aspirations, the fragrance puts forth its own version of masculinity: the energy of citrus, the charm of fresh, masculine almond, and the dependable loyalty of musk and vetiver.  The box features a bold twist of vibrant blue, complete with a flash code that invites you into a digital universe, while the bottle's luminous matte white finish emphasizes design purity, and comes with a cap in the form of a classic winder to recall the watchmaking world.
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Noize Outerwear, prices vary, available online and in select stores. Visit noizeoriginal.com
Founded in 1978 this MTL outerwear label boasts an extensive and enviable distribution network that includes Canada, the US, and Asia, and has lately been making a lot of, well, noise with a sexy new ad. campaign, and investment in raising awareness for their co-ed coats that include features both simple and sought-after: the ever-ethical use of high-quality faux fur and faux leather accents, superior warmth that more than stands up to a Canadian winter, fashion-forward designs and colours that are ready for both city and slope, and accessible price points to deliver on maximum value. See for yourself and check out our Instagram @manaboutmtl for our top 'noize-making' pick the season!
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Sportium, various brands, 1939 F.X. Sabourin, St.Hubert, (450) 646-1696, sportium.ca
Since becoming the province's largest sports footwear, apparel, and equipment store a couple weeks ago, Sportium invites one and all to #stepupyourgame with a plethora of the best active lifestyle brands under one roof. To support the launch, they've partnered with a couple Montreal Canadiens as ambassadors, one current in Carey Price, the other an alum in Francis Bouillon, and have plans to roll out 8 new stores in Quebec and Ontario over the next 3 years. The key to their 'strength and endurance'? Offering attentive, specialty-store service to match the unparalleled product offering. Speaking of, we had a chance to peruse the labels before the grand public opening, and were impressed to lay eyes on some coveted Dale of Norway pieces.

  • Snetind Weatherproof Sweater, $558
Named after a Norwegian mountain, this thoroughly handsome weatherproof sweater is stain and dirt resistant, and comes with technical add-ons like a premium breathable windproof liner, water-repellant wool and soft Merino wrist warmers. We're particularly drawn to the clean, graphic snowflake pattern. Après-ski ready.
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  • Weatherproof Tuque, $89.95
Similar to the sweater, this hat is knitted in durable and water-repellant yarn and includes an inside breathable liner. A classic Nordic pattern with tassel finishes gives it a healthy dose of Scandinavian fashion.
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  • Harald Scarf, $99.95
While gifting a scarf can seem déjà-vu, this one steps out of the ordinary thanks to a special combination of lightweight, skin-soft, and itch-free Merino wool that feels amazing against your skin.
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DavidsTea, various locations.
Since opening its first store on Toronto's Queen Street in 2008, tea-loving entrepreneur David Segal and his retail pioneer cousin Herschel Segal have taken their upbeat, colourful tea shop model to neighbourhoods and communities across Canada and the United States, with no signs of slowing down; au contraire, the company is poised to share their unique 'take on tea' with the worldFrom their Holiday 2015 Collection, we singled out what we call the 'perfect pair for the perfect pour', squarely targeted at any tea fans on your list.

  • The Perfect Tea Mug, $20
The well-known tea mug and infuser is dressed for the season in new colours and motifs. Comes with a fine stainless steel infuser and a lid that doubles as a saucer. As an added bonus, the design is heat-sensitive so when you pour in your hot tea, the pattern changes colour. We call it reason enough to refill your cup again and again.
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  •  Tea for the Tree, $20
A holiday fave year after year, the format for 2015 was modified into packs of 4 limited edition designs, each containing a different tea flavour with names befitting a holiday 'steep and sip' around a crackling fire: hot chocolate, snow day, alpine punch, and banana nut bread. Sure to be one of your tree's tastiest ornaments. 
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Main and Localholiday pop-up shop in Place Montreal Trust, or at mainandlocal.com
For those who love Montreal the way Drake does Toronto, we discovered this cool and quirky line from three guys, David PriceAndrew Cohen, and Jonny Goldmaker, who city-brand everyday objects with a smattering of entrenched local reference. From what I'm told, expect other cities to join their collection as the passionate trio travel to imprint the urban story on a host of other stuff.  The 514 items that caught our eye:

  • Ceramic Montreal Construction Coasters, set of 4 for $53.99
Construction presence is and will continue to be especially prevalent in the year leading up to the city's 375th birthday in 2017 as MTL remains in a dash to complete a number of roadwork projects on time. Stress-free compared with approaching these signs on the highway, this set of 4 coasters are handmade (no two are alike) with artisan ceramic tiles, embossed lettering, and a protective foam bottom. Worth the 'detour' to pick them up.
  • Holy Swear Soaps, set of 3 for $24.99
These 100% natural olive oil soaps are perhaps the dirtiest in the city.  Gift them all to someone who's mouth needs a good washing out, or divide them into 3 stocking stuffers for a more subtle hint. The scents: Tabarnak Tangerine, Esti Eucalyptus and Lavender, and Calisse Citronella and Lime. 
  • Royals Raglan, $34.99
With discussions on resurrecting the city's baseball team in full 'throw', this top harkens back to when Montreal was a major player, that is, in the Minor Leagues with the Montreal Royals. A professional team from 1897-1917 and 1928-1960 the team played in the International League championship 11 times, winning 7, while off the field the club broke the colour barrier by signing Jackie Robinson in 1946. The 50-50 cotton-poly blend is made of combed ring-spun ultra-fine jersey. Order one size up form your usual.


Montblanc, 1289 blvd. de Maisonneuve W., or montblanc-boutique-montreal.com
Since upping its retail presence by opening on a highly visible corner of de la Montagne last year Montblanc has been doing brisk business as the 100-year old design house of innovative and stylish timepieces, durable leather goods, fine jewellery and, of course, iconic writing instruments recognized the world over by the snowy peak emblem. 

We quickly picked up on the latest M Collection, a modern and elegant group of pens launched in collaboration with influential Australian designer Marc Newson, and representing the maison's first design partnership. Defined by organic, fluid lines that are as free-flowing as the ink that comes from the tip, available models comprise a fountain pen ($680)rollerball ($480)ballpoint ($480), art fineliner ($480) for technical/creative drawings, and screenwriter ($550) for use on touch screens. Other features include a magnetized cap that results in a 'slick click' when it's brought together with the body, a signature plateau-shaped end that's milled with a diamond tool and gives a perfectly-weighted comfort in the hand, and a two-tone plated gold nib with the designer's 'MN' initials engraved on a limited number. Hands down your signature's best expression to date.


Vinum Design Montreal1480 City Councillors St., 514, 985-3200, or vinumdesign.com
With one shop in Montreal and one in Quebec City, a fully transactional website, and over twenty years of experience, Vinum has carved out an enviable position as the city's top-of-mind reference for all things related to that Quebec obsession: wine! Catering to all from connoisseurs to novices, and hotel/restaurant professionals to home aficionados, their assortment of brands and range of services is impressive to say the least. Start with stopping in to peruse the Riedel stemware, discover Bob's Bitters and other handcrafted mixers during your visit, and leave with your eye on a splurge-worthy Transtherm cellar for chez soi.  For the oenophiles on your Xmas list, there's the following:

  • Cooling Decanter by Vacuvin, $39.99
This cooling carafe has a 1-litre capacity and will instantly chill, without ice, any beverage from wine to water in a matter of 5 minutes. The base comes with two Rapid Ice units which are kept in your freezer until you need them. Simply insert the elements in the base and the carafe takes over and keeps your beverages at an optimum temperature for hours. Comes in particularly handy when entertaining outdoors.
  • Le Creuset Corkscrew, $130
While some technologically advanced corkscrews look like torture devices and can take up a lot of room, this one strikes a nice balance of compact attractiveness and efficiency. Comfortable and easy to use, the lever securely fits normal-flanged bottlenecks and removes corks in a simple up-and-over motion. Features patented technology specifically designed for all types of corks, and is backed by a 10-year warranty. 
  • Champagne Saber with Bronze Handle, $295
Bubbly bars like Old Montreal's Champagnerie continue as a strong trend thanks in part to the practice of sabrage, the art and skill of using a sword-like saber to uncork a bottle of champers via a clean swipe near the top, finishing with an 'impress-your-company' theatrical flourish. Coming with a bronze handle and steel blade, this gorgeous number is presented on a laminated oak wood stand, and is by Claude Dozorme, the renowned family cutlery firm based in Thiers and dating back to 1902.

Ardbeg Perpetuum, exclusive to SAQ Signatures or at SAQ.com$164
Whisky fans tend to love all that is the rare and limited, which makes this single malt discovery a surefire choice. Known for its heavily peated whisky, the Scotch distillery in Ardbeg on the south coast of Islay in the Inner Hebrides group of islands just released this special blend to mark its 200 years past and, in a toast to its own success, the between-the-lines hint that they'll be around ad infinitum.

Jack Black's 'Clean and Cool' Kit, www.getjackblack.ca, $72
Scoring some amazing value in your holiday shopping is always the name of the game, and so we instantly noted this collection of JB's four most popular body care products at a very special price. While we know that winter can be especially 'trying and drying' for your skin, it's no match for the 'Pit Boss' Deodorant, Cool Moisture Body Lotion, All-Over Wash, and Hand Healer. 


Urban Bonfire 3700 St.Patrick St., 514-932-8227, urbanbonfire.ca
Since relocating this summer from St.Henri to the Pointe, Urban Bonfire is establishing itself as the city's 360° specialty destination for making the most of outdoor meal prep and social enjoyment during the summer months. Knowledgeable and attentive service complement a selection of high-performing, stylish BBQ, grill, pizza oven, and accessory brands, while an in-house design service will conceive of and execute your dream outdoor cooking/entertaining space. 

  • Seafood Lover's Kit, $229
You can just taste the ocean with this array of BBQ tools that includes a Lodge carbon steel paella pan, oversize fish spatula, flexible skewers, 3 outdoor gourmet wood planks, Bonfire Kitchen Tico and Dim Sum spice rubs, and La Pincée's Gravlax spice rub. Master your fish 'grill skill', or treat your guests to succulent paella over an open fire.



BestsellerCarrefour Laval, Galeries d'Anjou, Promenades St-Bruno, and Place Ste-Foy www.bestsellerstores.com
Nobody does cool and minimal like the Danes, and this fall four prestigious locations of the new multi-brand Bestseller Homme/Femme retail concept stores housing the best of European fast fashion opened across the province to much fanfare and fan-love! The layouts feature 7500 sq.ft. of ready-to-wear, footwear, and accessories on a single level, split roughly down the middle into men's and women's, and distinguished by lots of helpful style inspiration with dressed mannequins showing how pieces can work together both within and across covetable brands such as Premium by Jack and JonesOnly & SonsVintage Clothing, and Selected (men), and Vero ModaNoisy MayOnlyStudio by OnlyY.A.S. (women).  Here are a couple ideas for under the tree:

  • Men's Shawl Neck Long Fit Cardigan, Premium Jack and Jones, $57 
  • Ladies Short Jacket, Vero Moda $85


Pajarvisit pajar.com for store locations or to buy online.
If you're reading much these days about the Montreal-based, family-owned company, it's because they have a lot to celebrate.  From humble beginnings in the 1920's when Paul Golbert was born into a family of shoemakers, to the global design, manufacturing, and distribution business comprising footwear, apparel, and accessories, Pajar's brand recognition as a key cold-weather player is ever on the rise, and their mode right now is full-on growth. Need convincing? They hosted a swish and sexy Bootie Beach Party at Terrasses Bonsecours (think models dressed in little else than parkas!), and have no problem drawing the city's fashion, business, and media elite to their yearly fall/winter fashion show preview and delectable luncheon at the Windsor, an agenda-bold 'save-the-date'. A personal fave around the office is the Heritage Premium Collection - 100% lined in genuine sheepskin and guaranteed to stay warm down to -40°C. 
  • Men's Carrefour Boot, $410
  • Ladies Caroll Boot, $405
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Matt and Steve's, mattandsteve.com
Perfect as any host/hostess gift, this range of pickled beans will do wonders to liven up the flavour of your standard Bloody Caesar. Of course, you could just do what we do and enjoy them straight out of the jar...'cuz that's how addictive they are! 

Thomas Sabothomassabo.com
This German jewellery and lifestyle company that started in 1984 by its namesake founder now counts top model Georgia May Jagger, F1 driver Nico Rosberg, and star violinist David Garrett as brand ambassadors. The recent launch of their Love Bridge bracelets and necklaces has garnered all sorts of attention thanks to their customizable, easy-to-wear everyday aesthetic.  The price of engraving is included, making it just the thing for that special someone.

The Face Shopthefaceshop-america.com
Conceived of in Korea in 2003, this beauty destination subscribes to a simple, straightforward mantra: continuously offer affordable products on high-quality cosmetic products that are made with the finest ingredients from nature to enhance every woman's natural beauty. 'Nuff said to us.  

  • The Faceshop Essentials, $29
This pouch full of surprises is a great intro to the brand and includes their bestselling nail polish, Acacia Honey Hand Cream, Bebe Lip Mask, a soothing Aloe Vera face mask, Rice Water Bright Cleansing Foam, a Freshian Volumizing Mascara, and Mild Papaya Peel.

Get back to basics with this light and fun pharmacy-and-online cosmetics brand that stands by the philosophy of beauty coming in all shapes and sizes - best expressed by being who you are.

  • How to Make Nude Eyes Make-Up Box, $9.99
In love with nude? Inside are six shimmery shadows in shades of beige, gold, apricot, and brown, along with 2 easy-to-follow, step-by-step instruction cards, a mirror, and an applicator. This one has PSS ('Perfect Stocking Stuffer') written all over it!

Hillberg and Berk, hillbergandberk.com
Sitting at her kitchen table with a few beads and a dream, Saskatchewan designer and entrepreneur Rachel Mielke founded Hillberg & Berk in 2007 and, since scoring big on Dragon's Den thanks to a deal with mogul Brett Wilson, has gone on to become one of the most successful Canadian jewellery designers ever. 

  • Sparkle Ball Stud Earrings, $80
These signature earrings are a classic, and the wide range of colours makes it easy to find a pair to match anyone's style. Overall, the jewellery looks go from dainty to daring, with pieces at every price point.
We found these interchangeable bracelets with Swarovski crystals to be eye-catching, versatile, and overall super cute! 
  • Philo 'Sophisticates' Clutch, Premium Boutique 1385 Greene Av., 514-937-3627, or www.pursebox.caAvailable in black or dark rose (featured). $140
Designed in Montreal, Philo is a line of contemporary, genuine leather handbags offering key functional pieces for both work and play. Even better, they're 'purses with purpose', making both fashion AND social statements with a portion of proceeds going towards providing business loans to female entrepreneurs who wouldn't otherwise have access to funds. Upon repayment, each loan gets reinvested into another proactive recipient, creating a cycle of giving and growing.  A tool to not only carry change, but to bring about change is yet another reason why it feels so good to give.
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                                                                                                                              D.G.

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