Stimulant’s creative gift guide

The site's annual holiday roundup of goodies for anyone and everyone in your clan.


You have 16 days (well, 17 if you’re a masochist who doesn’t mind leaving gift shopping for Christmas Eve) until families get together to show their love through the act of ripping apart neatly wrapped presents under the tree. Strategy’s sister publication stimulant decided to give you a hand with sourcing gifts again this year, so you can get back to enjoying the hangovers that come after attending the flood of holiday parties. We have everything for every person in your clan, from the tiny tots to tail-wagging tykes.


Kettles and lighting for cowboys and crew

By Mary Maddever

Since hipsterism seems to intensify over the holidays (it’s the lumberjack chic combo of festive flannel and Santa-influenced beards), why not take it all the way and bring that aesthetic to our favourite addiction? I’m talking about coffee. For co-workers who can pull off a rugged barista look, give them the gift of the Cowboy Coffee Kettle. It’s made by the mad lighting scientists at Castor Design, and is on the Umbra Shift site, so this item gets double Cancon points.

And speaking of lighting, if you want to go full retro Canadiana, Castor partnered up with Harnisch, Canada’s oldest gas lamp makers (since 1842), and pooled their century-plus of gas lamp know-how with Castor’s stripped down aesthetic to make a new classic. Even Mies would like it. You can get these puppies at Mjolk, or online from CastorWarning: Do not use the lamp in an attempt to go full cowboy with the kettle.


Really great showdowns

By Harmeet Singh

Not to sound too Oprah about it, but pop culture-inspired art is one of my favourite things. Among the most loved prints in my home are a set of five from the “Great Showdowns” series by artist Scott Campbell (better known as scott c.). He illustrates some of the best face-off moments, mainly between heroes and villains, in film history. There are the obvious ones – Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, for one – but some of the best are the relationships we may not give as much thought to (think the Titanic meeting the iceberg, or the Ninja Turtles going up against pizza).

You’ll quickly notice that the prints have a habit of selling out fast both on scott c.’s website and through his gallery partners, but never fear, they are also included in his books, Great Showdowns, Great Showdowns: The Return and Great Showdowns: The Revenge (which was published in October). So if you’re looking for a great gift for couch potatoes who easily identify with the characters in the books, pick up a copy or three.


Make your dog glow in the dark

By Emily Wexler

The other day I saw a woman walking her dog and the pup had a little glowing ball attached to its collar. I thought it was a clever idea, considering how early it gets dark this time of year, and (as you may already know) dogs can be pretty hard to spot at night. The NoxGear LightHound takes it a step further with a fully illuminated harness for your faithful friend. I don’t have a dog myself, but I know that most canine-owners consider their pets part of the family, so this is the perfect gift for your dog-obsessed friend. Besides, if you’d put a light on your kid’s bike, wouldn’t you want to extend the same safety measure to your four-legged child? Of course you would.

Bonus: it sort of makes your dog look like he’s going to an EDM music festival, and who wouldn’t want that?


Clothing that slows heart rates, limits oxygen and chills you out

By Jennifer Horn

If you’re hyper-sensitive to stimuli, or know someone else who thinks and behaves like a vampire on a hangover, then this if the gift to get. The Baker Miller Pink Hoodie is a remarkable hoodie that calms a person down after a horrid day at the office, during a wretched 20-hour flight, or even before a big event, like a race. It’s hard to believe, but every part of the Snuggie-cum-straitjacket (at only $450 a pop) is designed to chill you out.

So for instance, the hood, which includes a mesh visor (that you can see out of, while others can’t see in), encases you in a pink hue that’s supposed to lower your heart rate. Also, it encourages nose breathing (which is slower than mouth breathing) as the visor is positioned further up and away from the mouth. Even the straitjacket pockets are meant to help minimize movement and oxygen consumption. The only real dilemma I’d have to deal with, if I had one of these puppies, is avoiding the urge to slip into it while sitting at my desk or in the middle of a meeting. Yeah. That’s not gonna happen.


View-Master for a new generation

By Josh Kolm

Mattel’s View-Master has a claim to being the first (crude) form of virtual reality, and the colourful plastic headset has returned with a fully immersive, educational and accessible VR experience for kids. Instead of sliding a little cardboard disc in, you pop the headset open and put in your mobile phone (similar to how Samsung’s Gear VR or Google Cardboard work). The familiar discs are still around, but they are placed on a table or other flat surface for an augmented reality experience.

The “starter” set comes with the headset and one disc and will only run you about $30, with additional discs costing about $15 each. The discs are optional, though, as the View-Master is Google Cardboard compliant, so any app designed to work with Cardboard will also work with the View-Master, with the classic plastic lever replacing Cardboard’s push button to navigate through apps and environments. Despite that, we’re assuming a lot of parents will try to force some of the educational benefits on their kids, with apps designed specifically for View-Master taking them to places like famous landmarks, the wilderness or inside the space shuttle. They also include little fact boxes they can open as they go along.


Lego enters a new digital dimension

By Sonya Fatah

The elusive hunt for that perfect toy to keep your child endlessly occupied is over. Blockmaker Lego has joined the ranks of the digitized, marrying its demographics’ love for block-building and gaming with a new series targeting seven- to 14-year-olds. Enthusiastic recipients of the Lego Dimensions Starter Pack (retails for about $120) will be able to build this multi-dimensional world of superheros. Once built, it can be inserted as a game into a USB port that slides into any number of gaming consoles. Want to spend just enough – but not too much – quality time with your kids over the hols? Milk this one for what it’s worth.

From stimulant