Last Updated: November 9, 2020.
Grown-ups need love, too!
As we close in on Christmas, it becomes blindingly obvious there’re two classes of shoppers during the holiday season—the ones who know exactly what they’re getting for every person on their list… and the ones who keep it all ’til the last minute, ‘cuz they’ve no idea what they’re getting!
You might think it too late in the season to be looking at gift guides, but I know we’ve all been the victim of a poorly planned gift at least once. The kind of gift where it’s clear the giver didn’t really think about you—merely crossing another name off their list so they can pat themselves on the back.
But if you’re not putting any effort into it, why give a gift at all? Christmas isn’t about presents, right? It’s about family. Quality time. Going to church one of the few times many of y’all make it there. (I see you!)
I think you get the picture.
All that said, there’ll always be some grown-ups in your life to shower with gifts. Parents. Spouses. Maybe some teachers or a chiropractor. (They might be really good at what they do!) No matter who’s on your list, here are a few gifts I hand-picked for the occasion!
(And with it being so close to Christmas, here are the direct links so you can get what you need with the quickness!)
Google Home & Google Home Mini
The Google Pixel 2/Google Pixel 2 XL
The Brewscovery Box
Philips Sonicare 9300 DiamondClean Smart
Altec Lansing Mini H2O 3
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
GoPro Hero 6
Küssi Stampede Classic 6-Piece Knife Set
Ice Evo Tweezers — Elegance
Ice Glass Foot File — Foot Care Pedicure — Lavender
Nespresso Vertuo Single-Serve Coffee Maker
It’s gotta blow your mind that twenty years ago, Google was just a search engine that helped you find stuff. No YouTube, no email—just a page that linked to other pages… and that’s it.
Had you told me back then that it’d grow to spend a dozen years soaring up the Fortune 500, not only would I think you mad… I’d also take the entirety of my pay from working for my Dad and let it ride on Alphabet stock!
But I digress.
Many aren’t aware that Google has a store now, where you can buy just about any Google product that you’re still probably buying somewhere else!
And there’s plenty they have to offer—let’s take a little look at what Google… has in store.
Let me start this with a disclaimer—with Google Home, your child’s first word just might be “Google.”
I may have unintentionally created monsters.
It all started well enough—after introducing Google Home to our lives earlier this year, I immediately set it up to make some things easier:
- Connecting it to Spotify so I could listen to my songs and playlists
- Hooking up our Philips Hue Bulbs in the front and our TP-Link Smart Bulb in the back
- Connecting it to our Chromecast so we could watch YouTube on the big screen (a whole whopping 32″, but hey, who’s counting?)
- And finally, getting our Belkin WeMo Insight up and running so I could turn all the tech at my desk on and off with ease!
And even though Sarah and I found it useful—it can also play the radio, call your friends and do all sorts of nifty things—our son figured it out pretty quickly, too. Playing The Wiggles when he wanted a chance to party. Changing our lights’ colours to match each holiday. He learned how to get Google Home to do what he wanted… and so did his little brother.
See, he heard his brother say “Hey Google” so many times, he eventually caught on that to see the horse videos on YouTube that he’s obsessed with, all he had to do was lead me by the hand, point to the Google Home and say—”Googuh. Hoasie.”
I’m not about to repeat everything I said in my Google Pixel 2 XL review all over again, but I don’t think you fully understand how dope this phone is.
In the weeks I’ve used it, the Pixel 2 XL’s proven essential to elevating how I do things. Sharper pictures. Faster speed. I really underestimated how much of a difference a flagship phone could make in my life, and I’m sure it could do the same in yours!
You can check it out today at TELUS!
Most Toronto homes don’t exactly come overflowing with storage space. We’ve got 950 square feet to work with in our east end bungalow, and every cubic foot counts! So when we bought our first-generation Google Chromecast, many of our old DVDs and CDs were the first things to go. And the second-generation Google Chromecast does its job even better with improved design, faster Wi-Fi, and antennas that adapt to your home’s wireless situation!
With Google’s constant improvements to the Chromecast (with even more movies, apps and games expected in the future), you can expect streaming and casting devices like these to be centrepieces of many homes sooner than later! You can pick one up at STAPLES!
- Google Chromecast, MSRP $45 CAD
The Brew Box Co.
It’s been a few months since I reviewed my first Brewscovery Club box full of delicious summer beers, but they’re back again with their winter selection to show what they can offer the budding cerevisaphile in your life!
To refresh your memory, the Brew Box Co. offers a selection of local craft beers each month, shipping them directly to your home. You never know what you’re gonna get, but Brew Box prides itself in providing brews that’re one of a kind, so don’t expect to find them anywhere else! What they want to give their customers is the experience of enjoying a fine brew—they even include brewing notes to immerse them in the precision and care that goes behind it. Check out what St. Jacobs’ Block 3 Brewing Co. wants you to know about their Party All The Time Belgian IPA:
“Using their Belgian yeast with Mosaic and Sorachi hops, it gives this brew a huge tropical fruit aroma and flavour.”
Beer is more than whether you drink it from a tap or a bottle—the Brew Box Co. wants to educate you on why the right beer can be truly transcendental… you just need to know what you’re looking for.
So if you’re tired of the same ol’, same ol’ and want to treat your taste buds to something new, the Brew Box Co.’s Brewscovery Club is the way to go!
Tell ’em Casey sent ya!
- Brew Box Co. Brewscovery Club starting at $58 CAD/month
Growing older means expecting different things under the tree for Christmas. I became really cool with getting underwear once I was old enough to appreciate how much it actually costs. Or those toiletry sets that help you go without shopping for the essentials for a while. You learn to value what makes your life easier over what simply makes it cool.
And it’s in this vein of thinking, ladies and gentlemen, that I present to you the Philips Sonicare 9300 DiamondClean Smart—the electric toothbrush you keep a healthier mouth!
When I hit up a Philips OneBlade event a couple months back, the Ketchum team and I got talking about all the Philips product already in my life. The Philips Hue bulbs in my living room. The Philips OneBlade and MultiGroom 5000 in my bathroom. But they were aghast to hear I managed my dental routine with the Oral-B Genius 8000 I’d gotten for Father’s Day some months ago!
And so, the gauntlet was thrown. I’d try their favourite toothbrush (and coincidentally, also my hygienist’s favourite toothbrush)—the Philips Sonicare 9300 DiamondClean Smart, one of three premium electric toothbrushes offered by Philips!
The Oral-B Genius 8000 vs. The Philips Sonicare 9300 DiamondClean Smart — A Tale of Two Toothbrushes
The first thing I immediately noticed about the Philips approach was a penchant for simplicity. Where the Oral-B Genius 8000 includes a phone holder that you suction to a mirror so you can see how you brush, the Philips Sonicare line relies on the brush’s sensors to track your effectiveness. (To be fair, the Oral-B Genius 8000 can do this too, but there does seem to be a focus on integrating the phone holder into your routine.) And the charging base for the Sonicare fits the bathroom motif more naturally with an inductive glass charging your toothbrush instead of the plastic base found with the Genius 8000. (But then, the Sonicare doesn’t truly have anywhere to store the extra brush heads aside from its travel case, while the Oral-B Genius 8000 has storage built right into the base, so there’s that, too.)
But I’ll note I’m not truly comparing apples to apples, as Oral-B’s $269.99 CAD Genius 8000 compares better to the higher-tier Philips Sonicare 9500 (MSRP $239.99 CAD), which includes a charging travel case, but let’s not sweat the small stuff.
From there, it’s all a matter of preference. The Oral-B Genius 8000 uses a rotating head; the Philips Sonicare 9300 sonic vibrations. The Genius 8000 sounds like a construction drill boring to where the dirt is; the Philips Sonicare like a dentist’s precision drill, its high-pitched hum signalling nothing but efficiency. They’re two very different experiences!
The Philips Sonicare 9300 DiamondClean Smart — THE VERDICT!
In any case, I’m pretty sure the days of manual brushing are well behind me. With so many great options for electric toothbrushes available today, think of it this way—an investment today could save you one hefty dental bill down the road!
Prevention’s the best cure, after all!
The Philips Sonicare 9300 DiamondClean Smart (though you should spend the extra bit and get the 9500 in my opinion…)—the gift that keeps on giving!
- MSRP $199.99 CAD
Airtight Audio — Altec Lansing & Ultimate Ears
As an audiophile, I enjoy giving others the gift of sound.
Sadly, I’ve learned a number of lessons the hard way. I went through all too many ear buds fraying and breaking before investing in the Sennheiser HD1 around-the-ear wireless headphones I rock today. And when the boys are old enough to appreciate my music (and not keep asking our Google Home to play “Oh Yeah by Yello” which is really starting to hit a nerve), I dream a dream of SONOS woven through my home with a satisfying thump as the rich bass fills the rooms.
But for others, it can take a little… convincing.
See, great audio is no small investment. I’ve made more trips than I’d care to admit to Bay-Bloor Radio, and let’s just say I rarely left without wondering whether I hadn’t boxed just a little above my weight class.
But you don’t know what you like to hear overnight—if everyone had an ear for what did well in-studio, producers wouldn’t make what they do for top-notch sounds. No—you’ve gotta start small, and a couple of offerings from Altec Lansing and Ultimate Ears can help point some ears you care about in the right direction!
First off, you have Altec Lansing who’s all about audio tech that can travel with you no matter what you’re up to. For my brother who’s all about the outdoors, a waterproof, shockproof and snowproof model like the Mini H2O 3 made a ton of sense! Built with dual 1.5″ neodymium drivers and a carabiner to keep it attached, the IP67-rated Altec Lansing Mini H2O 3 has a 33-foot wireless range, six hours of battery life and even floats in case it goes overboard! It’s the perfect accessory for the modern adventurer—how else would you travel with your own soundtrack?
- MSRP $49.99 CAD
- Buy it at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, STAPLES
Ultimate Ears’ Wonderboom offers similar features, but at double the price, you get more power, more range, and a few more features that’d make it welcome at any party big or small! It’s got sound coming out from every direction. External controls. A 10-hour battery, balanced bass, and a 100-foot range to keep it connected. It’s waterproof. It floats. And if you get two of them, you can combine them to create stereo sound the likes of which you just can’t get with one!
For this one, I figured my middle brother who’s all about that party life (despite being married a couple of years now—go figure) might be able to use it at a pool party or something out in the ‘burbs.
You can grab one for yourself at Best Buy!
- MSRP $99.99 CAD
When the kids were younger—long before their days of walking and talking—I’d always wanted to strap GoPros to their heads to capture life from their viewpoints.
While that never came to fruition, the idea of the GoPro is really cool—a miniature 4K camera you can strap to almost anything to take amazing videos. Surfboards. Drones. Rockets, dirt bikes and wetsuits. It’s built to go just about anywhere humanity’s ready to explore and enjoyable by everyone from teenagers to tornado chasers!
This Christmas, I hope you get to check one out! You can find them at STAPLES!
House of Knives
One brand my fellow Dad Stephen Fung of Futurelooks fame introduced me to is the House of Knives—a brand that’s been proudly Canadian since 1979, promising that you’ll never get a dull tool from them!
And it was a good fit—the House of Knives carries many products I’d likely never think to buy for myself, so it was a good reminder that there’re plenty of little things you can get to improve things in your life! The three I’ll be focusing on are the Küssi Stampede Classic 6-piece Knife Set, the Ice Glass Foot File in a lavender finish, and the Ice Evo Tweezer — Elegance!
It might not always look like it—especially when the blog, the job and family all have deadlines I’m trying to hit—but I do try to take good care of myself. My toiletry kit’s filled with tweezers, shavers, blades and creams—I try to leave no stone unturned when it comes to grooming options.
But tools matter when it comes to what you put to your skin—you want quality tools to do the job, not just something you’d pick up at the discount store.
In our life before kids, we regularly had people over for dinner. Whether small groups, extended family, or that one time where we crammed more than 70 people into our home, our tiny bungalow bursting at the seams… hosting was just part of what we did, and we needed the tools to go along with it.
We got a set of Henckels International knives from The Bay when we got married, and while they’re nice, you don’t gasp in delight when you hold one of the steak knives to enjoy your meal.
And so enter the Küssi Stampede Classic 6-Piece knife set, the top of the line for the House of Knives’ steak knives with double-bolstered handles, polished pakka-wood, and heft and balance you’d be hard-pressed to find in most other steak knives!
So if you’re looking for cutlery that’ll leave a solid impression, the House of Knives’ Küssi Stampede set is an excellent bet!
- MSRP $119 CAD
Like I said, my grooming routine’s no joke. If I wasn’t sharing a bathroom with three other people, I’m pretty sure I’d constantly hit full vanity mode using every tool at my disposal to make sure how I see myself in my head matches what everyone else sees.
But I’m a Dad now, which demands I prioritize many things over my appearance. However—one thing you learn as you grow older is that quality tools always make things easier, so let’s talk about the Ice Evo Tweezer — Elegance.
These tweezers are ridiculous. Compared to what you’d typically buy at the drugstore, these aerodynamic tweezers with needle-sharp tips are designed to do the job right the first time, because you don’t have forever to get your look on fleek.
They’re made with Swiss precision. They’re comfortable to hold. These tweezers have some of the finest and thinnest tips available, with faces for both plucking and getting to the root of the problem so you can get rid of anything that shouldn’t be where it is.
Get your bathroom game on point, y’all—House of Knives’ Ice Evo Tweezers — Elegance. You’re welcome.
- MSRP $45 CAD
Finally, sometimes you want to treat yourself and take care of the body parts that literally support you all day. Out of any part of me, I’m sure my feet gets some of the least attention, but I’m pretty sure the House of Knives would like to see me change that with their Ice Glass Foot File — Foot Care Pedicure, available in several colours. (I got lavender because you know purple’s my colour.)
The way this file is built just sounds impressive without even knowing what it does.
Crafted in the Czech Republic—a country famed for its generations of stellar glasswork—the Ice File’s made from non-allergenic lead-free “float glass.” That’s glass formed by floating molten glass on a bed of molten metal to get a glass with a uniform thickness and flat surface. It’s not porous, so there’s nowhere for the germs and bacteria that cause nail and skin infections to grow. Unlike metal files and emery boards, they don’t rust or wear out, even after hundreds of uses. They’re easy to clean, hard as heck, and work on both natural and artificial nails.
If you care to keep those extremities looking excellent, you’d better have one of these bad boys in your stocking this year!
- MSRP $22 CAD
I’m not about that coffee life. I ordered a Flat White by mistake the other day, confusing it with a London Fog, and my taste buds instantly wondered what they did to deserve such mistreatment.
But drinking a staggering 152.1 litres of coffee per capita each year, there’s gotta be something about coffee that draws Canadians to it, and Nespresso’s looking to make their mark on this national pastime with their line of Vertuo single-serve coffee makers!
Someone once told me that the only reason I don’t like coffee is that I haven’t had good coffee. And I’m obviously no expert on the matter, but from the sheer number of artisanal coffee joints that’ve popped up in Toronto over the years, I can imagine there’s science and art behind brewing great coffee!
Nespresso’s Vertuo coffee makers boast several features which make for barista-grade brews, like:
- a wide range of ground and roast coffees to suit your palate
- optimised water flow and temperature applied to each hermetically-sealed capsule for just the right amount of time for your perfect coffee
- and rotation speeds of up to 7000 revolutions per minute to apply Vertuo’s brewing power to each and every drop of your coffee!
Because breakfast’s the most important meal of the day.
Even if it’s liquid.
- MSRP $190 CAD
If You’re Gonna Give a Gift, Give a Gift That Matters!
So even though you’re tempted to get something crappy and last-minute for that gift exchange at work, or find yourself veering toward gift cards because it lets people get “whatever they want,” that kind of gift-giving is just missing the point.
No matter how old we are, Christmas is a rare opportunity to truly speak to the heart with gifts that show how much we really thought about others. Hopefully, this gift guide helped broaden your horizons and inspired you to think outside the box—there’s a big world of options out there; may you find what’s best for you!
Thanks for checking this gift guide out—may you have the merriest of Christmases!
Until the next,
Disclaimer: This post was brought together with contributions from Google, TELUS, The Brew Box Co., Philips, Altec Lansing, Best Buy Canada, and the House of Knives. However, everything in this gift guide is honestly and fairly reviewed, and of course—all thoughts and opinions remain my own!