As the snows of Eeyou Istchee settle in for the season, children far and wide begin to dream of that incredible big morning after Santa visits… and we adults have to start planning out just what and where we will get all of that bounty that goes under our trees.

Yes, Christmas time with all of its wonder also means hunkering down for some serious online shopping or big trips away from the communities to shop until you drop.

But, if you are looking to get the most out of your shopping excursion as your time may be limited or you are looking for that incredible online find, sometimes it’s better to consult with the experts and we have done just that.

This year, I tracked down the jolly old elf himself to see just what seems to be hot on his list and what he suggests for your favourite hunter, foodie, techie, fashionista, athlete, generous soul, little kid or big kid. Even if your loved ones or workmates don’t fall under one of these categories, Santa certainly will have some scintillating ideas for you so read on to see his suggestions for 2012….

Tech wonders from the great red sack 

“My elves make the finest gifts, but when the demand is too great, sometimes I will order a few gifts from ThinkGeek as nobody does gifts to please a smarty-pants like they do,” said Santa.

From their website Santa recommended the Star Theater Pro Home Planetarium for those who want to enjoy the beauty of the night sky from the comfort of their bedroom on a cold winter’s night.

This indoor planetarium set is like having a planetarium right in your own home and is ideal to teach the kids about space or just chill out to. The set includes: two interchangeable hi-res image discs (Starfield and Earth/Moon/Sun discs), optical-quality lens system with adjustable focus, ultra-bright white LED light source and numerous other features. It goes for $169.99 US.

For more info:

Also from ThinkGeek, for those days when you want to go out in the bush but want to ensure that all of your gadgetry remains charged, this incredible Piggyback Solar Powered Gadgetbag is a hip and cool way to strap a solar panel to your back so that you can enjoy the great outdoors while charging up for later.

This awesome backpack turns full sun into 1000mA at 5.6 volts so it can charge an iPhone with ease. Its 800mAh Lithium Ion battery pack soaks up the excess for those cloudy days and it includes special gadget-sized pouches as well as built-in channels for running USB cables between pouches. Goes for $119.99 US.

For more info:

ThinkGeek is also the ultimate site to find geeky delights like inflatable Star Trek captain’s chairs, rabbit robots, circuit board cufflinks, Star Wars-themed holiday gear and just about everything else Star Wars (think Yoda lights for your Christmas tree and Boba Fett bathrobes), Assassin’s Creed III Tomahawk replicas and so much more to please anyone’s nerdy pleasure.

For more info:

Over at the Apple Store, the latest hot ticket item is the iPad mini. Featuring everything loveable about the iPad in a smaller package and a smaller price, this tablet features a beautiful 7.9-inch display and the full high-speed iPad experience. Starting at $329 for a 16 GB model, now you can even personalize the iPad with free engravings when you order it online. For more info:

One of this year’s biggest ticket items is the Samsung Smart TV that can do just about everything. These fancy-shmancy high-tech super TVs allow you surf the web on an optimized web browser that supports the latest flash and HTML decoding, so it’s just like browsing on your PC. You can also have the ultimate social experience with Samsung’s Social TV, a split-screen feature that allows you to share your commentary with friends and family through services like Facebook, Twitter and Google Talk, all while simultaneously watching live TV. Plus, you can make Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls from the big screen with an optional Skype camera. Available at Best Buy, these incredible Smart TVs start at around $500 for the smaller versions and go right up to $1500 for a 55’’ deluxe model.

For more info:

For the budding DJ, or just someone who can’t get enough pristine sound when it comes to their music listening experience, Beats by Dr. Dre headphones are the top of the line and one of the sweetest finds! Future Shop is the destination for Beats products and features a wide selection including the top-rated Solo HD iPod-iPhone Control Headphones with Built-in Mic in red. These headphones are equipped with the same technology found in Beats Studio phones and so the Solo Beats deliver incredible high fidelity sound in an ultra-light over-ear design.

For more info:

For tech fans who are looking to improve their vocabulary or the students who are looking to beef up a paper with improved diction, there is nothing like the Speaking Merriam-Webster’s School Dictionary to answer any essential vocabulary inquiry. Written especially for students Grades 9-11 or ages 14-17 (though it is great for anyone), this product can help advance one’s learning to new levels by pronouncing hundreds of thousands of words and definitions. It also features access to 500,000 synonyms and antonyms from the expansive Franklin Thesaurus. Running at $89.99, this product is available exclusively online from

A little bit of fashion glamour

When it comes to glamorous gals and the forever fashionable, Santa has all sorts of special shopping stops to fill his sleigh with fabulousness!

“According to our fashionista elves, this is all about glitter, glamour and delivering that ‘oh wow’ moment on Christmas morning so think about what makes your gal’s heart sing,” said Santa.

For those that want to deliver glamour on a budget, there are plenty of places that have something incredible and cool that won’t eat up all of your holiday shopping allowance.

For the young mademoiselle, stores like Ardene offer all sorts of fun items on a budget like this sweet little hot-pink hard case “Romantic Clutch,” for only $18.50.

To pretty her pucker, any gal, young or more mature, would appreciate the Anastasia Kisses On My List Volume 2 Hydrafull Gloss Set from Sephora cosmetics. This limited-edition HydraFull Gloss set includes three sheer, ultra-hydrating glosses and three new and exclusive hypercolour glosses that make for one incredible set of lip colour options to suit any occasion. Once more, this economical gift set retails for $30, but features $108 in value.

For more info:

Help her fancy up her outerwear this season with this fabulous faux-fur “capelet” (like a cape and a shawl simultaneously) from Joe Fresh stores for only $39.99 and is snuggly warm while also being incredibly cool!

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For an additional $16, you can team up the capelet with some matching faux-fur-trimmed gloves for an outdoor look that is both smart and sassy.

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Something else fun to start a young gal out on is a charm bracelet that can be added on to for years to come like the Pandora bracelets.

Starting as low as $5 for leather or silver starter bracelets, Pandora is all about collecting charms to reflect the individual and with hundreds of charms and styles to choose from this is a fabulous way to showcase one’s personality! In gold or silver, pavet or murano glass, wood or enamel, this spectacular bracelet and charm set can start a lifetime of collecting and storytelling.

For more info:

Now that they finally have their own store in Quebec within Holt Renfrew, world-famous jewelers Tiffany’s is the place to shop if you want to go with a name-brand that literally makes any girl’s heart beat several times faster with a mere glimpse of that special blue box!

With precious tokens of your affection that can range from around $65 into the thousands, now that Tiffany finally has a shop in Montreal, there has never been a better time to pick up something sensational in a special blue box.

For the more modest budget, Tiffany recommends a series of different heart-shaped silver pendants in exclusive Tiffany designs starting at $110.

Browsing through their catalogue, for the lady who wants to showcase her faith and fashion sense, there is nothing better than a Paloma Picasso® hammered cross pendant in sterling silver for $250.

A beefier budget could however yield just about any of their incredible creations such as this Elsa Peretti® Diamonds by the Yard® bracelet in 18k gold for $660.

For more info:

Whether you’re looking for the latest scents from Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Chanel, Gucci or Calvin Klein, why not go with perfume as a gal can never have too much. And, from the comfort of your own home, you need not look further than The Bay’s website. For more info:

As we all know that there are many guys out there who live to look good. If you are looking for something fabulously fashionable for the man in your life and he happens to be of a larger size, look no further than M.H. Grover’s Big and Tall store. Featuring everything from athletic wear to suits, M.H. Grover is the place to shop either online or when you are visiting Montreal. Operating since 1925, this family-run business offers quality at the right prices and excellent customer service so you know you are getting the best the company has to offer. For more info:

And, for those of you want to get their special someone something fashionable and Native-themed, look no further than the following two designers.

Tammy Beauvais Designs by Mohawk designer Tammy Beauvais are some of the most incredible Native-themed garments ever produced in Quebec. Featuring a wide selection of traditional and modern Native gear and accessories for men, women and children, Beauvais is the ultimate purveyor of exquisite Ribbon Shirts, traditional dancing outfits, coats, capes and much more. Whether you are looking for everyday apparel like hoodies, sports jackets, dress shirts, skirts and dresses with a Native twist or high-end items like formal attire of all varieties, Beauvais makes it all and ships the products to you through her online store. For more info:

For those looking for something fabulous with a West Coast feel, high-end designer Dorothy Grant makes all sorts of spectacular creations for both men and women that can be shipped from her Vancouver store. Featuring Haida couture coats, shirts, dresses, ties, suits and much more, Grant’s garments are straight off the runway and can be shipped right to your community.

For more info:

Getting fit ideas

For the fitness fanatic in your home, Santa turns to his own personal trainer (who he apparently ignores) for advice on just what might make a perfect gift.

“My trainer said that it is always good to encourage someone in an activity that they already love doing,” said Santa. “Up here in the North Pole I enjoy lifting big bags of toys to work on my strength and I spend a lot of time trying to chase after reindeer.”

For those who want to get in on the Lemon Cree craze, the Native-owned company has its own store that sells the equipment used in the courses offered throughout the communities. On its website, Lemon Cree is selling Resist a Balls for $40 as well as Resist a Bands for $17.30 and Lemon Cree t-shirts for $23.

For more info:!__boutique/shop-now

If weightlifting is their thing, why not get them a brand-new pair of training gloves to make them look like a pro while they are pumping iron at the gym? Sports Experts has a wide selection on these handy items for her and for him, starting at $14.99, ranging up to $29.99.

For more info:

While at Sports Experts you can also pick up a set of these sleek, expertly designed Nike ankle weights to add some bulk to your athlete’s stocking on Christmas morning to help them really build up those leg.

If you really want to add some bounce to their workout, there isn’t anything better to put under the tree than the gift that keeps on kicking with some new sneakers and if that is your pleasure, Athletes World certainly has a whole lot to offer!

The new Adidas Response Trail 19 in a sweet pink-and-black combo is an ideal way for her to pamper her feet while working out and retails for a very reasonable $129.

For more info:

For the fit monsieur, Nike has all kinds of goodies this season, including these fancy Free Run+3 in yellow or black

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There are also all kinds of fabulous fit-fun gifts available over at Canadian Tire for the budding athlete or the seasoned fitness fanatic.

This Men’s Health Workout Kit is perfect for the guy who wants to brush up on his fitness by training his back and shoulders at home. Designed to ignite the body’s fat-burning furnace and build muscle, this kit is designed with a cutting edge circuit routine that can help a guy define his chest, arms and abs.

At $52.99, find out more at

For the woman looking to get in shape at home, the Pura PurAthletics Aerobic Stepper set with DVD is just perfect for the individual looking to start working out or wants to kick up her routine into something new. Featuring a 26″ long durable step riser with skid-proof surface adjusts to 4″ to 6″ high, this product is designed to target your gluts, thighs, calves, abs and arms while helping you burn calories. Goes for $41.99.

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Of course, if you’re looking for a piece of equipment to add to the home that delivers an incredible workout and is perfect for any of the growing teens, adults or even Elders of the home to use, Livestrong LS8E Elliptical is what you need. While Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong campaign may no longer be happening in light of his doping scandal, the equipment he endorsed is still top-of-the-line and is now at incredible prices, making them very affordable.

This model offers a high-quality performance that can be adjusted to the needs of the individual for an optimal workout. Its “SIXstar” certified ergonomic frame designed to create a smooth, natural stride eliminating stress and strain on your body so just about anyone can use it with ease. Going for $799.99 down from $1999.99, this item may be too big to actually fit under the tree but it makes for a great surprise come Christmas morning.

For the foodie

Just about every family has a special someone who loves to cook for their loved ones, master new recipes or be adventurous when it comes to braving new territory in the world of culinary delights and so for the foodie on your list, Santa has his own recommendations.

“There are all sorts of different foodies out there, those who love kitchen gadgetry, those who go for divine ingredients to cook with and those who seek knowledge. As a foodie myself, I know about food-related fun and so these are the things I will be packing my sack with this season,” said Santa.

For the cook who is all about making fun and festive cakes throughout the year, Future Shop’s website features a wide variety of Wilton cake pans. Running from $7.99 for a simple fantasy carriage shape up to $65.99 for a deluxe set of diamond shaped pans, why not order your chef a variety of pans from Disney characters to sports themes to religious appropriate cake shapes.

For more info:

If you are going in the direction of baking products and cakes are what your foodie loves to make, Future Shop also has this incredible Wilton professional desert decorator available exclusively on its website. Designed for easy one-hand use, this slick, stainless steel decorating tool is easy to use and perfect to perk up any desert or appetizer. The product also comes with a recipe book and attachments to make shells, stars, rosettes and leaves. Available for $36.99.

For more info:

While single-serve k-cup coffeemakers have been the rage for the last few years, the cook who really loves to entertain needs something that makes excellent coffee with enough to go around for everyone at the table. For them Santa recommends this sleek and sophisticated Cuisinart 12-cup percolator. This cool cordless percolator makes brews four to 12 cups of fresh coffee in a snap of the fingers. It also features a stainless-steel finish that is designed to retain heat and an indicator light that lets you know when your coffee is ready. For only $79.99, this product is dying to be under your tree!

For more info:

Also by Cuisinart, for the cooks who like to make their wild meat go the extra mile, grind up moose or caribou for burgers on the BBQ or even get into the practice of making their own sausages, this stunning Cuisinart Waring Pro meat grinder is just the ticket! In beautiful brushed stainless-steel housing, this grinder features a heavy-duty 300-watt motor, a durable diecast hopper and simple operation with easy to operate on/off switch with reverse function. This functional and fun item is both practical and a party-all-in-one. Now on sale for about $100 at Canadian Tire.

For more

If you are looking for something absolutely dazzling to brighten up any kitchen that will yield years of use, the incredibly colourful Komachi 9-piece knife set features each blade in a different colour of the rainbow so that you never grab the wrong one for the task at hand.

These knives come in a transparent knife block and their colour is made by bonding food-safe resin to high-carbon stainless-steel blade so that the blades retain super-sharp edges. The non-stick resin coating resists corrosion, makes cleaning simple, and helps blades glide through food with ease. Available at the Linen Chest, this product is available for about $144.95.

For more info:

According to Santa, if you really want to indulge your foodie this season, there is nothing better than the ultimate kitchen gadget that culinary dreams are made out of – the Kitchen Aid KSM120ER Custom Stand Mixer in Empire Red.

This gorgeous and flashy mixer comes with flat beater, dough hook, wire whip and recipes. Featuring a tilt-head design that allows clear access to the beater and bowl, it has a 4.5-quart capacity, a 10-speed solid-state control and a 325-watt heavy-duty motor. Available for $259.25.

For more info:

If your foodie already owns all of the gadgets under the sun and you want to get them something high quality that will last an eternity, the Tiffany diamond of the kitchen world is nothing other than the crockery made by Le Creuset.

Though their price is in the hundreds, these much-coveted cooking pans and pots are the top-of-the-line in quality and classic style. For example, Le Creuset’s incredible saucier pan, available in a sharky grey, traditional orange, blue or yellow and made from the world’s absolute finest enameled cast iron costs $300. However, this product will last a lifetime and will create tears of joy come Christmas morning. Available at The Bay.

For more info:

Hunting for gifts

Santa is always extra careful when he flies over Eeyou Istchee as he knows there are most likely Cree hunters waiting to pluck one of his reindeer out of the sky for some tasty meat on Christmas morning.

Thank God he can cloak his sleigh with invisibility – he is Santa after all.

“For the hunters on my list, I’ve had my elves on the lookout high and low for the most wonderful gifts I could find for them,” said Santa.

Let your hunter know you love him by getting him his own personalized camouflage Christmas stocking that you can fill with goodies for the bush and traditional treats from Cabelas Canada. These 40-cm fleece stockings have the individual’s name dyed right into the fabric and come in six different types of colourful camo. You could have one made for each family member, if you wanted a camo-Christmas theme. Available online only from Cabelas Canada for $19.99.

For more info:

While your hunter no doubt has his fair share of hunting knives, does he have the means to keep them sharp in the convenience of his own home? If he doesn’t, the Chef’s Choice Sportsman Hunting Knife Sharpener is designed specifically to keep hunting and sporting knives razor sharp. The product offers a variety of different edges so no matter what the preference, this sharpener can deliver. On special for $179.99.

For more info:

While you are at it, why not pair the sharpeners with this Outdoor Edge Blaze N’ Bone Knife Combo? Featuring high-quality orange-handled knives, this lightweight four-piece combo is ideal for skinning and deboning big game. The set includes a 4-1/4″ gut hook skinner, a 4.8″ boning/filet knife, a tungsten carbide sharpener, and Mossy Oak Break-Up nylon pouch/belt scabbard to keep it all together. Goes for $39.99.

For more info:

For the bushman on your list, jolly old Santa recommends this Leatherman Charge TTi Multi-Tool with titanium handles and leather sheath as it is several tools in one, making it an ideal item to pack for the bush camp. Made of S30V stainless steel with a clip-point knife, a 420HC serrated knife and a cutting hook, this tool also features: needle-nose pliers, wire cutters, hard-wire cutters, a wire stripper, a wire crimper, Phillips and flat-tip eyeglasses screwdriver, Hex 5/32-inch and 9/64-inch, Hex 1/8-inch and 7/64-inch, Hex 3/32-inch and 5/64-inch, Hex 1/16-inch and .050, Robertson No.2 and No.3, screwdriver 1/8-inch and Torx No.15, Phillips No.1-2 and screwdriver 3/16-inch as well as scissors, wood/metal file, diamond-coated file, a saw, bottle opener and a can opener. Available for only $129.99 from

For when he wants to get a closer look at the approaching prey, the Tasco 10×50 binocular by Brunton is a great gift that any hunter in need of a new set will appreciate.

According to Canadian Tire, this 10×50 binocular with coated lenses has a wide-angle field-of-view with an objective diameter of 50/45/50 mm depending on selection and features a BAK-4 porro prism optics are fully multicoated for improved light transmission, polymer frame construction and includes lens covers, neck strap and case. Weighing only 23 oz, this product retails for $54.99.

For more info:

If you’re looking to get him a new firearm for his holiday hunt, Le Barron has some great online specials this season available on their website and in store. For under $200, you can get a Russian Siminov SKS semi-auto rifle with a hardwood stock for the amazing price of just $174 and $192.63 for the laminated stock model.

For more info:

Another amazing deal is available at Dante Sports where they are now offering a Browning A-Bolt II™ Composite Stalker Cal. 270 Win for just $547.77. This rifle features a tough, non-glare graphite-fiberglass stock with slight palm swell, a fast-cycling, 60° bolt lift, a crisp, adjustable trigger, a hinged floorplate with detachable box magazine and a caliber 270 Win.

For more info:

And, if he is on the market for something to keep him warm while being incredibly cool amongst the other hunters, the Rocky Scent IQ 3-in-1 parka is just the thing for him. This parka is just the thing for the pampered bushman as it features a RealTree Ap design camo pattern plus scent control in shell and inner jacket, silent hunter suede fabric with micro fibres that keep moisture away from skin, a waterproof and breathable outer jacket and a fleece inner jacket with 3.5 oz Thinsulate insulation to keep him toasty. Goes for $279.99 at Canadian Tire.

For more info:

Gifts for the younger ones

When it comes to Santa’s biggest fan base, he doesn’t worry so much about making suggestions to parents as the older kids often seem to know exactly what they want and will tell you all about it. As for the little people who can’t articulate as much, he had some thoughts to share.

“My elves have already been hard at work making toys since the letters for Christmas 2012 started coming in last January,” said Santa.

For those looking to supplement the bounty that Santa will already be bringing with items that the little ones may not have, Santa suggests that toy shoppers take a look at the suggestions made by the Canadian Toy Testing Council (CTTC). This non-profit organization offers ideas for new toy purchases based on the expert advice of parents, children and educators. Here are a few items that topped their lists by age group:

For the under one-year-old crowd, the CTTC recommends the Rocktivity Sit, Crawl ‘n Stand Band by Hasbro for kids aged 6-36 months. This one-man band-stand for baby is all about learning, making music and fun for the very little ones and does so with the use of keyboard, drums, guitar and jukebox functions. While this item may be pricy at $89.99, it is not something that baby will tire of easily.

For more info:

Toddlers learning all about what to eat and how it’s made, will love the Fisher-Price Servin’ Surprises Cook ‘n Serve Kitchen and Table Set. This kitchen-themed activity table is adjustable so that it can grow with your child, plus it comes with all sorts of interactive features for hours of play. The set has a table, a removable oven, a serving tray, four slices of pizza with toppings, a pizza cutter, four cookies, a cookie sheet, two forks, two spoons, two cups, two plates for your child to learn all about meals, manners and cleanup. Retailing at $70, this product will be a surefire hit with the 2+ crowd.

For more info:

Also for the preschool crowd, the CTTC recommends the Leap Pad2 Explorer Leap Frog. A perfect starter learning tablet for little people, the Leap Pad2 gets kids to use their own creativity and explore this toy through its various digital functions, such as its front-and-back cameras and video recorders, 4GB of memory as well as library of hundreds of educational games, apps, eBooks, videos and music. For more info:

A fun and affordable gift for children aged five and over who love dragons is the Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics Dragons Kit by Mastermind Toys. Your child can create four dragon-themed mosaics with this easy-to-use kit that employs coloured and numbered sticky tiles.

For more info:

Another creative toy that the CTTC recommends for the six-and-up crowd is the Splat Art: Blops & Dribbles In Need of Your Scribbles set. Perfect for the budding artist, this Scholastic set features full-colour photographic images of your basic everyday stuff like fingerprints, fungus, paint drips, paper wads, cabbages, coffee rings and helps your child turn them into masterpieces!

For more info:

The CTTC literally has hundreds of other suggestions for those who just don’t know what to get the kids this season.

To peruse their many lists of incredible toys, go to:

Sharing with the needy

For the family that feels they have more than enough to go around and wants to teach their children about the gift of giving to those who do not have the basics to get by, Santa applauds your generous spirit and has his own suggestions for you.

“While I love to give to the children of the world, I do so in the hope that my generous spirit catches on and the spirit of generosity is celebrated throughout the world at this time of the year,” said Santa.

Heifer International is an organization that’s all about giving agricultural gifts to impoverished individuals in foreign nations like Rwanda and to give families a hand-up, rather than a handout. Along with gifts to schools and major gifts like packages to get gardens started or helping women become empowered, supporters can choose to gift heifers, sheep, rabbits, pigs, goats and chicks to help out a family.

For more info on this incredible project to end world hunger:

If you are looking to sponsor a needy child in a foreign country or buying a goat for a family or sponsoring a special project for girls (because they are often the most needy), Plan Canada has some inspirational projects that make for wonderful gifts. And, if you are not sure what kind of a donation to give in the name of the special someone on your list, Plan Canada has an incredible gift guide to help you pick out something special to give mom, dad, teachers or children. For example, for mom you could contribute to helping out with a newborn health checkup, maternity beds and supplies or baby chicks to help create a source of income and food for women to help provide for their families.

For more info:

For the family that wants to give a specific kind of gift or make sure that their donations are going to those who need them most in the world, UNICEF Survival Gifts make for an incredible donation gift for any family or individual. Choose from health, education, water, food, play, emergency or most needed gift categories to choose something special that will be particularly meaningful for your family to contribute abroad. For example, show your artistic child how a $10 donation for a writing and sketch pack will help inspire the mind of a child in an impoverished nation with pencils and paper. Or, an athletic child could make a contribution of $12 to give two soccer balls to help the gift of sport to help children heal their traumatic wounds. UNICEF also provides for those in need of disaster relief and suffering from starvation and also has projects to help some of the neediest people in the world.

For more info:

On behalf of the Nation and Santa, happy giving and receiving!