Nicole’s Favourite Things: Holiday Edition Part 1

Yes, you read that title correctly.  There will be a part two. 

Despite its darkness, and despite the fact that a) it was minus 12 this morning, b) my hands are constantly purple, and c) traffic and the streets are mayhem, I love December.  It is one of my favourite months; the approaching holidays and associated festivity just make me smile.

And hence a two-part post of my favourite things!  The first post shall be about gift ideas; the second post shall be random things I love about the holidays.

Related: every single time I think of the term “the holidays”, I think of NYPD Blue.  This may seem counterintuitive but if you – like me – are a fan of NYPD Blue, you may remember the famous Andy Sipowicz line, when he is threatening to put “a pole” up “the ass” of some internal agent who is up to “louse up” Lt. Fancy’s career.  “Let’s not quarrel, eh?  It’s the holidays.”  Word.

As always with my favourite things, I am not sponsored by any of the companies I talk about; I received nothing for free.  I just love these things and maybe you will too!

Nicole’s Favourite Things – Holiday Gift Edition


Nothing says “I love you” or “It looks like you could use a drink” or “How else do you get through family get-togethers?” like a bottle of wine, am I right?  Wine is a very simple and greatly appreciated gift for anyone, other than maybe teetotallers and recovering alcoholics.  I always love receiving wine, and I give bottles to people I don’t know very well but still want to give gifts to; for example, our school’s long-suffering secretary.  All you really need to know is if the recipient prefers red or white, but even then, it’s hard to go wrong.  I buy my wine in bulk from the Superstore liquor store; a $12 bottle of wine has a lot of gift bang-for-the-buck.


Not everybody loves chocolate, but the vast majority of people do.  ‘Tis the season for chocolatey goodness.  My personal favourite is mint chocolate, and number one on my list is a good old fashioned box of After Eights.  My children have inherited this from me; my husband came home with a box on Saturday, as a festive treat and MAYBE to get lucky, and 3/4 of that box is now gone.  I had ONE.  This is why I’m hiding the dark chocolate peppermint Godivas from the children.

I’m also hoping to get some in my stocking (some chocolate, not something something some, if you know what I mean and I think you do).  I haven’t seen any peppermint Lindors yet this year, but maybe Santa will come through for me.  Santa baby, just slip some mint chocolate under the tree, for me.  Been an awful good girl.


Cozy sweaters are a fabulous gift idea, and are simple for the giver: sizing is generally small/medium/large, so it’s forgiving if you don’t know someone’s exact dimensions.  I love a nice cozy (black) sweater, and Jacob has a wide selection.  Ever since I embraced the skinny jeans trend I have also embraced the big flowy sweater.  They are so snuggly and if you happen to have a muffin top peeking over those skinny jeans, they conceal it nicely.  I think this one is super cute:

However, I am probably not getting one for Christmas since I have several drawers that are stuffed full of black sweaters and my husband seems to think that is plenty in the black sweater department.

Sweaters are a nice gift for the man in your life, as well.   

Ha!  I kid.  If I gave this to my husband, there might be a divorce, or at the very least, no one would be getting a “present from Santa” if you know what I mean.  And I think you do.

Lotions, potions, and beauty products

One of my favourite gifts to receive is a bottle of scented body lotion.  Calgary is a very dry climate, add that to going back and forth from dry indoor heat to the dry frigid outdoors, and the semi-obsessive handwashing that accompanies cold and flu season, and I go through a lot of lotion.  I don’t wear perfume, so I like to have nice girly scented lotions; my favourites are from Bath and Body Works, which frequently has a buy three/ get three sale.  My wintry favourites are Twilight Woods, Moonlight Path, and Secret Wonderland, but there are just so many to choose from. 

My views on “natural” deodorants are generally that such products are aimed at smelly hippies, who remain smelly hippies even when using said products.  I dislike the chemicals in regular antiperspirants but have always been a skeptic about natural deodorants.  However, my friend makes these products and now I’m a believer.  One of our mutual friends – who is very athletic – told me that they really do work, and so I was persuaded to try it.  I sweat a lot during yoga, and the deodorant still held up.  In fact, I asked a friend – who is an ANGEL and a very, very good person – to smell me after a sweaty Sunday morning Primary Series, and she said not only did I not stink like a hippie, but I actually SMELLED GOOD.  That should be endorsement enough, I think.

It makes a great stocking stuffer, although it might seem strange to give someone deodorant as a gift – if you don’t know the recipient well it might seem like you are trying to tell them something – but the jar is so pretty!  And the scents come with fun names like Sweet Jane, Sexy Sadie, and Lucy in the Sky.  There is even a men’s scent called – get this – Johnny’s Cash.  Cute!  If you can talk the man in your life into trying a natural deodorant, which is no small feat if you have a non-hippie husband.


There is something so luxurious about a new pair of jammies.  I eschew anything remotely sexy when it comes to sleepwear.  I’m all about fuzzy flannel bottoms and tops that are emblazoned with Snoopy or Hello Kitty.  Part of this is because I just like cozy pj’s, dammit, and part of this is because I like to have my children choose them for me.  It’s amazing I don’t have Star Wars or Angry Birds on my pajamas. 


Is there any woman alive who doesn’t like a nice piece of jewelry?  I have been wearing silver hoop earrings since I was thirteen years old, this year I told my mother I’m hoping for silver stud earrings and I think she fell over.  She kept repeating “You don’t want HOOP earrings?  Silver hoops?”  I’m all unpredictable now, yo.  Last year I had a Pandora bracelet on my wish list and my over-indulgent husband actually gave me two:

The greatest thing about the charm bracelet is that it’s a gift that keeps on giving!  New charms are always a lovely gift idea, for any occasion.


Looking for more gift ideas than these Nicole-centric ones?  Look no further: my friend Beck put together a list of non-Oprah-like gift ideas last year (full disclosure: I was one of her writers, and you MAY see a few similarities between last year’s list and this one), and for the Trekkie in your life visit my friend Nan’s site


  1. I am doing several wine-gifts this year. I was delighted to find that the Girl Scout leader had a liquor cabinet, because the $10 gift card I give to teachers didn’t seem right for her. Even more delightful: liquor store had pretty wine gift bags for only a dollar!

    • It’s really a perfect gift. Cute little wine bag. Nice bottle of wine! Of course, you’re in the States, so you can get even better prices on wine.

  2. Oh, Andy. We’re going back through the episodes right now and are on season 3. Andy to Bobby: “I try to teach you tact. I just can’t get through.”

  3. You got me on a mint chocolate kick last year with this list and you’re doing it again! I NEED some peppermint hot chocolate NOW- even though it was almost 80 degrees here today. Also, I just spent almost $30 on deoderant. I have no idea what Lucy in the Sky smells like but it’s bound to be better that Dove powder fresh.

  4. I bought those Godiva peppermint chocolates TODAY! I’ve used the mineral salt deodorant and it actually works too, but it’s much less pretty than the one you have on here.

  5. I am wearing my flannel Minnie Mouse pjs that my daughter picked out for my as I write this. I don’t receive gifts but I think this Christmas, I should buy myself some new pjs! New flannel really is lovely.

  6. Confession: I do not like chocolate but I do like the mint ones. Weird?
    I’ve also embraced the skinnies. We can be besties.

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