Winning the Holidays

Share Button

For most people, the Christmas holidays are about unconditional love, togetherness and family – we here at the Nation respectfully disagree. Maybe once upon a time it was about all those warm mushy feelings. To a point, all that is true, but try wrapping up togetherness. Think about how your kids would feel about finding family under the tree, or surprising your significant other with unconditional love.

Our point is that during the holiday seasons there are winners and there are losers – so grab a cup of hot cocoa, bundle up and skip the line with the Nation on this retail journey to a winning holiday season. Because it’s true, the real joy of Christmas is in giving.

Fashion / Cosmetics

What to get your gal according to the kind of gal she is… There are always stereotypes about how women love to shop while men quietly hang out in a corner and endure the misery until it’s over. Or how, no matter how practical a gift you thought you got her, it won’t be up to scratch. As we know, some guys really struggle over this, so here are a few suggestions how to please your favourite woman.

For the proud Cree gal who is getting ready to take the next step in life, be it a graduation, an engagement, an anniversary or just an expression of love, Birks is carrying Stornoway’s Renard collection of diamonds mined in Eeyou Istchee. They are absolute beauties. When the Nation went attended the the launch of the collection, there were rings that ranged from the small-and-affordable to a band you would expect to see on Céline Dion’s hand – a $600,000, 8-carat ring that was like putting a disco ball on your finger. Perfect to impress any woman for any occasion.

For the gal who is all about bush life… Thinking of getting her new outerwear this season? Cabela’s has a deal on a super-warm, long-length coat that is meant for the extreme cold. The Outdoor Survival Canada Siku Knee Length Parka is available at Cabela’s (just outside of Ottawa) in red or black for $859.99 and its name means “sea ice” in Inuktitut. Made for extreme weather, this parka has backpack straps ideal for wellness walks, a Velcro-secured wind flap with chin guard for when you are flying around on the ski-doo and has zip-in layers that are ideal to adjust for the weather. Available in all sizes, this is an ideal coat for the queen of the north or for someone who wants to spend the day in the bush.

For the lovely lady on your list who glams it up at home, there’s nothing like a gift certificate for Sephora because it combines all that is fun in life for glamour gals. Known for its fast delivery, Sephora offers everything from perfumes, hair products and makeup to brushes and fake lashes. So if your lady loves beauty products but is not very specific about it, buy her a Sephora gift certificate. There’s no going wrong with this.

New and making headway in the world of online shopping are subscription boxes. There’s the popular “Fab, Fit, Fun”, a seasonal box that boasts “$200 value for only $49.99,” according to its website. There are some gals, particularly the sporty ones, who sing its praises.

For gals into makeup, Boxycharm can be the thing they look forward to. For makeup mavens who dig making up their friends and experimenting with colour and style, Boxycharm products can take you out of your comfort zone. And you will use them because they are the “in” thing.

For those with a limited budget but want something tailored to their looks and likings, there is Ipsy. At just under $20 Canadian (depending on the exchange rate for a Montreal subscription), Ipsy can be a lot of bang in a small bag containing four or five products of varying sizes. The fun about an Ipsy subscription is that they use an algorithm after filling out a questionnaire about your likes and dislikes. Then, based on that information and what’s available that month, you are sent four or five items you’ll probably like.

Relaxation / Spas

These days you can get something called an “experience gift.” What’s lovely about this is that it’s about spending time with someone special doing something like a spa day or a hockey date or a steak dinner or all three.

A popular spa in Montreal is Bota Bota. The thing about Bota Bota is that, well, it’s on a boat. A stationary one, but a boat nonetheless. It has an otherworldly feel and is the kind of place you go for luxurious body treatments that smell like magic potions. It also features some Nordic spa action and during warmer weather, outdoor sun-bathing.

For the gal who wants company for a full-on Nordic Spa experience… The largest in Quebec, Spa & Hotel Le Finlandais invites you into a luxurious world of water, steam, dry saunas, massages, health food, cozy fires, waterfalls and wonderfulness. Located in Rosemere (20 minutes north of Montreal), there are so many different areas in this spa that it’s a whole-day experience of steaming, hot and cold, and endorphins. And if you find yourself too spent on the endorphins from hot to cold and back again, spend the night.

Hunting / Outdoors / Sports

Tawich hunting gear

Tawich Clothing is a 100% Cree-owned company based in Wemindji with a line of hunting gear developed in accordance with the needs of Eeyou Istchee’s hunters and trappers. Their products are designed to keep you dry, warm and comfortable no matter where or when you are in the bush. For winter, check out their wool sweater, military jacket, heavy camo 2-in-1 jacket and Realtree camo pants.

Swedish FireSteel 2.0

If you’re tired of damp lighters and sudden gusts of winds that blow out your waterproof matches, Swedish FireSteel is where it’s at. A two-part tool, made up of seven-alloy magnesium and a stainless-steel striker, the FireSteel 2.0 can be relied upon for easy fire building in any weather, at any altitude. Originally designed for Sweden’s Defence Department, the striker could be indispensable for hunting, fishing, trapping and survival on the land and in the bush. Fun facts: the spark is bright enough to be used an emergency signal, the tool incorporates an emergency whistle and the striker works equally well when wet.

Whisperlite camping stove

Lightweight, rugged, compact and efficient, the Whisperlite camping stove is perfect for hunting and camping trips. There are two different models, one that’s fueled by kerosene and one that uses more affordable white gas (tank sold separately of course). The stove is completely separated from the fuel tank and comes with a convenient wind screen to hide the flame from the elements. A 650-gram bottle of fuel burns for up to 255 minutes and a fuel pump is incorporated into the design for easy lighting. You can get one from MEC for $109.

Sports Experts

If you’re buying new hockey gear and looking for a deal – for yourself, your friends, your teenagers or your little ones – Sports Experts is one of the largest sports retailers in Quebec. The store has locations in Chibougamau, La Sarre, Amos, Rouyn-Noranda, Val-d’Or and Montreal and also offers discounts for package deals purchased online. Right now you can get up to 25% off CCM Jetspeed and Vic CX protective gear when you buy a youth or junior bundle on their website and the site also has an extensive clearance section where you might just find a great deal on what you need. The store also sells winter coats, clothes, sleds, skis and snowboards as well as outdoor equipment through its sister store Atmosphere.

NHL gear

With the NHL season back in full swing, it’s important to support your team and encourage your friends to do the same. Also an option is attempting to sway your friends’ loyalties by buying them a good-looking team gift and inviting them to watch a few games and learn more about why your team is the best. This year’s Montreal Canadiens two-tone caps by Adidas are available at for just under $40, and man, are they sharp! The Bruins and Senators both have good-looking fitted caps and tuques in their online stores and if you want to keep your beer “cozy” there are nifty laced bottle coolers to help you responsibly enjoy a cold beverage. The NHL Shop offers all sorts of hockey related apparel or home items – from jerseys, hoodies and t-shirts to rompers and underwear, travel mugs and wine glasses.

Cree Source for Sports

If you’re inland and don’t need to travel Val-d’Or or Montreal anytime soon why not shop local? The Cree Source for Sports – located at 155 Amanda Street in Mistissini – offers a wide variety of sporting goods including firearms, ammunition, protective hunting gear, hockey equipment and winter apparel. Call 418-923-2733 to see if they have what you need.


iPhone X

With catchphrases like “say hello to the future”, “it’s all screen” and “fills the hand and dazzles the eyes,” Apple’s iPhone X hit the market amidst a ton of hype on November 3. Unless you were one of the early adopters who dropped up to $1500 to pre-order the tech giant’s latest offering, you probably won’t be able to get one right away. Despite all the buzz, there have also been a lot of questions surrounding Apple’s supply capacity and whether it will be able to meet initial consumer demand – its release date was originally scheduled for September.

Regardless, if you or someone you love lives and breathes new tech, the iPhone X has it all. Surgical grade stainless steel, “the most durable glass ever in a smart phone”, an all-new super retina OLED screen that stretches to the very edge of the device, face mapping and face identification, wireless charging and dual 12 mega pixel cameras, all wrapped up in a phone that is water and dust resistant. (Apple won’t say that it’s waterproof but experts say it can handle water up to three metres deep for about three minutes.)

If you want similar features with slightly older tech and a much smaller price tag go for an iPhone 7 or 7+. The 8 and 8+ are also more affordable than the X with a few incremental upgrades on the 7 as opposed to wholesale changes, including a faster processor, a glass body, upgraded cameras, louder speakers and wireless charging capability. The iPhone 7, 8 and X range from $700 to $1500 brand-new and unlocked, but you can save a few hundred dollars by purchasing from your cellular provider and signing a two-year contract for a monthly plan.

Exogear chargers and car mounts

If you or someone you know logs a lot of hours on the road, Exogear’s products provide hands-free navigation and keep your electronic devices powered up while you travel. The company makes two different aluminum chargers with two or three port options, both of which have a universal rapid charge mode, and a line of top quality smartphone car mounts. Their best seller is a multi-surface suction cap mount that swivels 360º and comes with a money-back guarantee. Also available are a CD slot and an air-vent mount. 

Call of Duty: WWII

Also out as of November 3 is Call of Duty’s latest first-person shooter video game for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Activision and Sledgehammer Games went back to the roots of the Call of Duty franchise with a storyline that once again takes place during World War II. Beginning in Normandy with the infamous D-Day beach landing, the story throws you right into the Allied invasion of German strongholds in France with ensuing battles in iconic locations across Europe. “Experience classic Call of Duty combat, the bond of camaraderie and the unforgiving nature of war,” – or shoot Nazi zombie and fight for bragging rights amongst your friends in online multiplayer. The game retails for $79.99.

Kindle Oasis

While some still prefer the sensation of paper between their fingers, the Kindle e-reader is the perfect marriage of reading and modern technology. Kindle’s latest model connects to wi-fi and links to Amazon, where you can download electronic books. Online titles cost less than hardcovers or paperbacks and the Oasis’ new design incorporates plenty of useful features, like a battery that lasts over a week on one charge, an adaptive front light that illuminates your text when needed and an ergonomic design that allows for one-hand reading and mimics the feel of a real book. The Oasis also boasts Kindle’s largest, highest-resolution display to date – supposedly it reads like real paper and has no glare, even in the sunlight. On top of all that, it’s waterproof! You can grab an 8 GB model for $389.99 or spend another $100 to have 24 GB of extra storage.

Legend of Zelda Hylian Shield Backpack

Finally, here’s something for the so-called “geeks” – or those who appreciate classic video games and their characters. This backpack looks like the real deal shield that Link used to protect himself throughout the Legend of Zelda series and it also protects your laptop or tablet. Sold separately is the Legend of Zelda master sword (made of foam) which conveniently slides into a sheath between the straps of the backpack. The shield goes for $59.99 and the sword for $24.99.



Share Button

Comments are closed.