Image courtesy of Obakki.

These Gifts Are So Pretty You Won’t Need to Wrap Them—and the Planet Will Thank You

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All that glitters is not gold; it just ends up in the landfill along with all the other wrapping paper you end up tossing after Christmas.

Imagine the weight of 100,000 elephants, and you’ve got an idea of how much of that holiday detritus—540,000 tonnes of it according to a 2017 study by the environmental group Zero Waste Canada—ends up in the garbage.

The good news is this holiday is looking a little different. With no parties, no dressing up, and no big holiday gift exchange, there’s no need to run around in a frenzy, making a list and checking it 37 times or buying Costco-sized rolls of gift wrap. But that doesn’t mean you should give up entirely on the festive spirit; it’s just an opportunity to simplify some aspects of it.

Let’s start by choosing gifts so pretty you won’t want, or need, to wrap them. The giver, the recipient, and the globe will all rejoice.

House of Jo Malone Home Fragrance Set

Since we’re all going to be shut-ins over the next few weeks, we’ll need to make sure things don’t get too stale. But if you don’t fancy the smell of peppermint and gingerbread wafting until lockdown lifts on January 8,  there are more immersive options that promise to take us away from it all.

Image courtesy of Jo Malone.

The UK-made House of Jo Malone fragrance set from Nordstrom is a limited-edition box of five home scents that evoke the sea and English countryside. The cute London “townhome” packaging reveals a travel-sized Lime Basil & Mandarin candle with notes of fresh lime and mandarin layered with peppery basil and aromatic white thyme, while a travel-sized floral-heavy Peony & Blush Suede candle features notes of lemon, red roses, and honeycomb.

The Blackberry & Bay body and hand lotion offers hints of just-gathered bay and bramble wood, while the Wood Sage & Sea Salt body and hand wash has notes of ambrette seeds, sea salt, and sage. Lastly, the English Pear & Freesia Scent Surround room spray is mellowed by amber, patchouli, and woods.

Long after the scent is gone, you can use the box to store jewellery and other quirky odds and sods.

Obakki 4” Sumac Candle Gift Set

According to the artisans of Nanao, there are three key elements in making traditional Japanese candles: craftsmanship, plant-sourced raw materials, and a commitment to social contribution.

Handmade in Ishikawa, Japan by a family that has been creating traditional candles since 1892, this four-inch Sumac candle gift set available at Obakki is made from wax harvested from the fruit of the Japanese haze tree.

Image courtesy of Obakki.

Thanks to a special wick made from a recipe that dates back to the 16th century, the flames burn bigger and brighter than conventional candles and last 130 hours each.

The set includes an iron candle stand and two candles neatly packaged in a reusable wooden box made from sustainably farmed paulownia wood.

Coast Salish Ceramic Food Containers

Although we likely won’t be taking our lunch to the office anytime soon, these Coast Salish ceramic food containers with vacuum-sealed lids are perfect for our home-for-the-holidays leftovers. Designed by First Nations artist Angela Kimble, the set of three West Coast Angelic Feather containers keeps festive feasts fresh and are dishwasher- and microwave-safe.

Kimble, who is Nuu-Cha-Nulth from the Tsawout First Nation in Saanich, grew up in Victoria helping her father, master carver Doug La Fortune, paint carvings and totems, which inspire her work today. Her freehand drawings channel a contemporary Coast Salish vibe that elevates humble food containers to veritable works of art, all available on Etsy.

Clé de Peau Beauté Enchanted Lake Eye Palette

While we may not be able to attend the theatre this holiday, we can still enjoy the magic of Swan Lake thanks to Clé de Peau’s limited-edition Holiday 2020 The Enchanted Lake Collection.

Drawing inspiration from the classic ballet with ethereal fairy-tale illustrations, the Eye Colour Quad, 321 Magnificent Plumage, contains four festive shimmery colours—satin plum, soft lavender, light blue shimmer and pearlescent sparkle—all embossed with a delicate feather design.

Image courtesy of Clé de Peau.

The moonlit-and-magical-swan-illustrated box, adorned with raised gold leaf, contains a similarly designed case with two dual-sided eyeshadow brushes. And like all Clé de Peau Eye Colour Quads, the pretty coffer is refillable with any other eye quad colour set. Bow not included, nor required; at Holt Renfrew.

Oribe x Rowan Harrison Box Set

Oribe Canales, the late Cuban-born American hair stylist credited with JLo’s locks (along with the voluminous runway looks of ’80s supermodels such as Cindy Crawford and Stephanie Seymour), launched his eponymous hair-care brand in 2008. Reimagining high-quality hair care as luxe beauty staples, Oribe’s vision now lines shelves the world over.

Image courtesy of Oribe.

This holiday season, Oribe Hair Care collaborates with Native American visual artist Rowan Harrison, founder of Two Tribes Pottery, for three limited-edition original works of art inspired by the artist’s Navajo and Pueblo of Isleta background. Each intricately hand-drawn and -painted design combines elements of the Pueblo culture to represent the land, its natural beauty, and spiritual aspects of the American Southwest.

The Collector’s Set from local beauty emporium Kiss and Makeup includes a lineup of Oribe’s best-sellers (from Gold Lust shampoo and conditioner to Grandiose Hair Plumping mousse) all in Harrison’s bespoke box design—the green Flora design pictured here celebrates life and growth with intertwining elements.

Sebastian Hair Boxes By Logan Salter

Just because we aren’t entertaining doesn’t mean we should let ourselves go, which means we still need to wash our hair and put ourselves together. Here to help is Toronto artist Logan Salter, who has added his vision to a line of hair products. Salter, who sees “beauty in the strangest things,” makes the simple packaging of Sebastian Professional’s Holiday Duos from Chatters both nice and necessary gifts.

Image courtesy of Sebastian.

The Dark Oil Holiday duo includes Lightweight shampoo and conditioner infused with a blend of oils, including jojoba and argan; the Drench Holiday shampoo and conditioner duo nourishes dry, frizzy, and chemically treated hair; the Penetraitt Holiday duo protects hair from damage; and the Volupt Holiday duo made with natural bamboo extract creates bouncy, fuller hair.

This holiday, our hearts—and hair—can still be full, even as we keep our packaging light.


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December 10, 2020