As the smell of sugar cookies wafts gently from your oven and your eyes are all a-twinkle with strings of little white LED lights, the Christmas mood sets in. The temperature drops to negatives, and you find yourself scotch taping a bright red Santa hat to your cat’s head. It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas. For those of you who don’t have close connections with St. Nick and are struggling to muster the 500 secret Santa gifts your various social groups require of you, don’t let the seasonal panic get you down. We’re here for you. LotusLand has assembled a list including the best of the best gift ideas purchasable from businesses in the Gastown/Chinatown areas. With our help, this holiday season you can spend less time shopping and more time downing candy canes and vacuuming the pine needles from your living room floor. So grab your $8 triple hazelnut double-espresso eggnog-based creme brulee half-fat misto peppermint tea and travel around beautiful East Van like the jolly elf you are, swiping affordable and well suited gifts for even the most distant of acquaintances. Merry consumerism to all, and to all a good night!
The Shop – 432 Columbia St.
Ken Diamond Key Fob – $42
We all have that one beloved friend who is constantly losing things. Despite the constant flow of beaded chains and GPS locating gadgets, they just cannot seem to keep their keys by their side. This nifty leather key fob, handmade by local designer Ken Diamond, is perfect for all scatter-brains. They come in three different colors and boast a diamond engraved snap to add the bling one expects from key securing devices. This fine fob will finally tether those keys to your pal’s side so you never have to freeze outside while waiting for their roommate to come let you in.
Nouvelle Nouvelle – 209 Abbott St.
In God We Trust “Sweet Nothing” Necklace – $48
Girls and their jewels: a pair that seems as complimentary as peanut butter and chocolate, or political leaders and stand-up comedians. This sassy little brass necklace is hand engraved in Brooklyn, NY, and sure to please the women in your life who may not be such sparkle savantes. For the unrequited love who keeps telling you “nope,” or the sister who’s repeated the phrase a thousand times, this pendant will blend in with her beauty from afar and accurately display her callous charm up close.
Noize To Go Records – 243 Union St.
Records and more records – Varying Prices
With the closure of Zoo Zhop, the Gastown/Chinatown area crate diggin’ community suffered a great loss. Where will you find that $10 mint condition Billy Bragg record you had your eye on? Who will talk to you for hours on end about sound quality and the importance of vinyl organization? Well worry not, wondering listeners, there’s a new little shop in town: “Noize To Go Records.” It is meticulously lit, well-organized, and neatly kept; the tiny place is overflowing with well priced records, friendly conversation, and tonnes of good vibes. For that one friend that’s been complaining about not being able to find their favourite psych-rock-reggae-dub-fusion band’s sophomore vinyl in laxative pink press anywhere in the city, this is the place to start. Giving a friend a record can be challenging, (will they like it, do they have it already?) but it’s a very intimate gift-giving experience indeed. Passing along your favourite tunes is a pretty special act and accompanied by a sweet note it will surely cement your friendship. They’ll probably be swooning over your thoughtfulness too much to even notice that you’re into the Dave Matthews Band.
Revolver – 325 Cambie St.
AeroPress Coffee Maker – $37
Do you remember last year, when a TV commercial convinced you it would be a good idea to buy your mum a Keurig? After an entire year of punctured pods, temperature terrors, and lever confusion it was crammed back in the wilting box and re-gifted to your cousin for her wedding shower. As your mother continues on her coffeeless crusade, growing crankier by the moment, you’re probably desperate for an alternative that won’t require another diagram debacle. This is where the AeroPress comes in. With a twist and a push, it’s simple to use, and because it’s plastic it won’t fall off the counter and cut through your mum’s crocs like the Chemex disaster of 08’. The coffee it produces doesn’t leave gritty bits of grounds in her cup and it makes a less acidic, bitter brew—although your mother probably doesn’t what that means. Save yourself some nasty nagging this Christmas morning, and give her a cup of joe that will turn her into an actual human being at 5 AM.
Old Faithful – 320 W Cordova St.
Armour-Lux Slippers – $75
Nothing says Christmas like comfort. A new pair of flannel PJ’s and a warm cup of cocoa are quintessential for setting the holiday mood. But what if after frolicking in soggy snow, you find there’s nothing to warm your bitter toes? Well worry not, the French are coming to your rescue. These 100% wool slippers, made by the very best of Parisians, were originally designed for sailors and fisherman, earning them lasting street cred. Be them for your grandfather as his new house shoes, your little cousin the slumber party aficionado, or your fiancé in case of future emergencies, slippers are always a good gift. If this pair could make your feet into a movie, it’d be Happy Feet.
Harvest Union – 243 Union St.
Cuppow Lid & Cuppow BNTW Lunch Box – 7.99 each
Let’s face the facts: water bottles are infuriating. They dent, clamour, and are constantly left on the floor of your car when you most need them. The only thing that can match water bottles in impracticality are tupperware containers. They’re always ready to release killer chemicals at even the hint of heat, are permanently missing their lids, and are guaranteed to get your hummus and carrots into one big messy jumble. For your quirky friend that always drinks their green smoothies and snacks out of mason jars, the Cuppow is here to make their innovation that much more suave. The Cuppow lid screws onto the mouth of the mason jar and turns it into a to-go cup that would rival even the finest of water bottles. This little lid can be slipped into your bag and makes your sipping experience more convenient and less spill-y when thirst strikes. To take this gift jar game to another level, you can pick up the Cuppow adaptable lunch box up for the same price. This friend of all things dippable goes inside the jar, creating two separate compartments so when lunch comes around your salad and dressing won’t be a soggy mess. Rather, they’ll be neatly separated in your own mason jar bento box. Both items are BPA free and made in the USA.
Litchfield – 38 Water St.
GrowBottle – $35
Gardening can be quite the undertaking what with the bees, dirt, rain, and worms. Despite the odds, it seems as if quite a lot of people are rather infatuated with this laborious hobby. Unfortunately, most of us here in Vancouver live in our brother’s ex-girlfriend’s cousin’s lawyer’s basement suite, and due to spacial compromises are unable to keep the Queen’s garden we always dreamed of. For the friends whom you often find roaming the greens section of grocery stores, weeping over basil leaves and bushels of kale, comes the GrowBottle. Using recycled wine bottles, the sun, water, and other scientific nutrients (or magic, we’re not sure), the GrowBottle creates a compact herb garden for you to stare at and season with. Having both swag and practicality, this clever little bottle sends the message that your green thumb is not actually a gangrenous infection, but rather a passion for plants in a concrete world.
The Window – 9 W Hastings St.
“Insite Saves Lives” Hoodie – $45
“I’m cold, I’m cold, I’M COLD.” The chattering teeth of your friend, the one who does not seem to grasp the concept of layering, can be heard from miles away. To save yourself the chill of having to offer your jacket yet again comes this rad and very warm hoodie. Advertising Insite—the first legal safe injection site in North America. 100% of the proceeds from this sweater go back towards the programs. Your friend can A) shut up about how icy the wind is and B) feel confident knowing the money spent on their gift went towards something that is making a difference in the community.
East Van Roasters – 319 Carrall St.
CHOCOLATE! – Varying Prices
The Portland Hotel Society is once again making dreams come true with this little artisan chocolate shop. Employing residents of the neighbourhood, all the chocolate is made fresh from cocoa beans in the shop. You can peer through the glass to watch the masters at work; much like spinning hay to gold, these chocolatiers take little gross looking beans and whip them up into beautiful bars of single origin decadence. There is no one on your gift list that wouldn’t be absolutely chuffed with chocolate. We all know Christmas is an excuse to stuff our faces. The menu at East Van Roasters is ever changing, with bars such as toffee & black sea-salt, vanilla, cinnamon & espresso, and bing cherries & rose. Pick a selection of truffles, fresh bars, and mediants to create the most heavenly gift arrangement to grace this good earth. Oh chocolate, none can compare to thee.