Reya's Holiday Shopping Cheat Sheet
Updated: Nov 15, 2022
Maybe you’re like me and you get stressed out by shopping on a regular day. If you are, the holidays can be an extremely daunting time. As stressful as it can be, nothing beats the excitement of knowing you found the right gift for someone you love and the satisfaction of them loving it. That’s why I’ve pulled together some great gift ideas as a jumping-off point for you. I hope this list helps to make your holiday shopping experience smooth and simple!
Just because we're not children anymore doesn't mean we have to stop giving toys as gifts! This section includes shops that highlight not only pleasure but sexual health and wellness as well as self-care. There's something for everyone at these sexual wellness shops!
Maude Sexual Wellness Essentials
What I love about Maude is the simplicity and inclusivity of its products. All of the featured toys are gender-inclusive in their functions. They also sell condoms, lubricants, and oil-based candles that can be used as a massage oil when melted. Founded and run by modern-thinking women, perhaps the best thing about Maude is the affordable pricing. The Tub Kit, which comes with a jar of soaking salts and a jar of coconut milk bath, is only $32.00USD. Any of their products or kits would make a stellar holiday gift!
Momotaro Apotheca is simply amazing. In case you haven’t read our blog post on their vaginal salve yet, here you go. All their vulvovaginal products are certified organic and cruelty-free! Momotaro’s philosophy is all about supporting our body’s natural ability to heal, so there will be no interference with your pH balance, hormones, pheromones, or medication. SO - we can not stop raving about that salve but might as well go with their Holiday Bag Bundle! Oh and this is probably a gift you want to keep yourself...so you’ll have to grab an extra!
Bloomi offers its own clean, intimate health products and serves as a marketplace to other brands. The range of products is vast, but one, in particular, stood out to me. A Sex Journal for Couples. We all know communication is the key to great sex. This journal focuses on reflective questions for each partner individually and questions to answer together. Why not give yourself and your partner the gift of ever-improving sex??
One of our favourite Canada-based, sexual wellness shops out there (seriously, their team is amazing, you’ll want to support them)! They have some fantastic sets for beginners and those of us who are looking for something new! Even just by browsing their selection, you’ll find that their website is incredibly informative and inclusive to all. And before you go to checkout, don’t forget to scroll through their online magazine!
Naughty North is a Canadian online sex shop that features unique sexual wellness products. You can find just about any toy you desire, as well as pelvic floor exercises and erectile dysfunction aids. Naughty North explores BDSM and kinkier intimacy in a way that the other sites I researched did not. We don't kink shame here, so whether you're looking for ball gags, handcuffs, paddles, or nipple clamps, Naughty North is the place to be.
I love reading, I love books, and I positively cannot afford to spend another dime on books for myself. This is the case for many fellow bookworms, so if you have a book lover in your life, consider one of these top-rated reads from this year!
Aftershocks: A Memoir by Nadia Owusu
This book came up on almost every 2021 Top Books by Women list I found! O Magazine describes Aftershocks as, “- a literary landscape rich with diaspora memoirs, Owusu’s painful yet radiant story rises to the forefront. The daughter of an Armenian-American mother who abandoned her and a heroic Ghanaian father who died when she was thirteen, Nadia drifted across continents in a trek that she renders here with poetic, indelible prose.”
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The Vanishing Half was one of my favourite reads this year. One of those can’t-put-it-down page-turners. On Bennett’s website, it’s described as “a stunning novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black, and one white.”
Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell
A contender for GoodReads’ Best Nonfiction title of 2021, Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism, “analyzes the social science of cult influence: how groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language as the ultimate form of power.” Readers called Montell’s latest work “witty, fascinating, well-researched and a must-read!”
Broken Horses by Brandy Carlile
Not only is Brandi Carlile a critically acclaimed musician and gay legend, but she’s also become an author with the release of her memoir, Broken Horses. Fans of Carlile, of underdog stories, and of piercing honesty should give this a read. The audiobook is recommended by readers because Carlile sings between chapters which is bound to be a treat.
It’s not an easy time to be a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community these days. For this section, I included gifts that will let your queer friends and family know they’re loved and accepted and cherished by you. All the items included in this section are from Canadian Etsy shops and small businesses! We love shopping local!
littlerainbowpaperco on Etsy
Heather at littlerainbowpaperco crafts beautiful gay cards and queer pins out of Calgary, Alberta. The pins come in the colours of the various pride flags, including the traditional pride flag, the pansexual and transexual flags, and everything in between. She also offers pronoun pins, name tags, and adorably witty handcrafted greeting cards for the holidays and pretty much every occasion. I am so impressed with her shop and the range of products Heather offers. You should absolutely try littlerainbowpaperco for shopping for your queer pals!
Okay, this is probably my favourite shop that I found. Anna Eidt from Peterborough, Ontario, crafts decorative plates with hilarious slogans on them. My personal favourite is homo sweet homo, but there are about 78 plates to choose from. Be warned that many of them feature profanity, so these plates are a perfect statement or conversation piece for your feistier pals. Not so much for the faint of heart or more conservative decorators.
Founded by Jaymin (Jalisa) Luces-Mendes, Toni Marlow is a statement undergarment brand designed for all bodies. The shop features T.O.M. (time of month) boxers. Premium bamboo underwear for people who menstruate, with an added layer to support pads or panty liners. Except they're BOXERS. You can also pick up packer boxers, boy shorts, racerback bras, and reusable face masks, all with size-inclusive options and fun colours available.
FairyInBlack on Etsy
Ana from Winnipeg, Manitoba, sells stunning fantasy art. The Birds of Pride collection features watercolour paintings in the colours of the various pride flags. While the original works are pricey, Ana sells 8.5x11 prints for just $15.00CAD. Ana’s art would look beautiful in any space; if you’re looking for a slightly more subtle gift to support a queer loved one, FairyInBlack is a lovely shop to peruse.
This year, I've been intentionally seeking out gifts for my husband that don't take up any space at all. We have a baby on the way, and our home is already FULL. We have a lot of purging to do before our little one arrives in the spring. If you're in the same boat and you want to do something special for your loved one without collecting any more clutter, here are some ideas to try!
If you're comfortable being in public spaces, a concert is a timeless, clutter-free holiday gift. Head to songkick.com and click Concerts Near You to find out if anyone you know is coming to town. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, check out an artist you don't know! You could end up discovering a new favourite!
An Escape Room
They are not for everyone, but my husband and I love escape rooms. Make a reservation for yourself and a few friends and make a night of it!
A Hotel Getaway
We just did this for our wedding anniversary, and I have to say, it was the best idea I've had in a long time. We didn't go very far. The hotel we chose was a 45-minute drive from our house, but it was so perfect to just get away and be alone for a couple of days! I use hopper.com to find deals on hotels. Renting an Airbnb would also work for this gift.
Good 'Ol Dinner Date
Treat someone you love to a dinner date at that swanky restaurant you never go to! If you're gonna ball out, the holidays are a perfect time to do it! Remember, it's also the busiest season of the year, so get your reservation booked early!
An Art Exhibition
Check out what trade shows or exhibitions are happening near you! I found some wicked (free!) art events in Toronto with a simple google search. If your city has a website, it likely includes a list of upcoming events.
There You Have It
I hope this list has inspired you and decreased your blood pressure. If you don't have the means to buy something new, you can always try crafting something or spending quality time together. Remember that the people who love you will love anything you give them from the heart. From all of us at Reya to you: have the happiest holidays!