The CBC Arts holiday gift guide: 2023 edition

What do you get the person who has everything? Cozy blankets! Custom sneakers! A custom portrait … made of pie?! Shop one-of-a-kind gifts by artists we've covered.

What do you get the person who has everything? Shop one-of-a-kind treasures by artists we've covered

Collage of items featured in the 2023 CBC Arts holiday gift guide. Clockwise from top left: a pair of brown-framed sunglasses; a printed jaquard beanie in blue and beige; painted Converse low-top sneakers; a pair of embroidered patches depicting a cringeing cartoon face split in two like a "best friends" heart necklace; a printed cotton robe in green and yellow check print; a flat-lay photo of illustrated cards, fanned out in a circle.
We're going to need a bigger stocking. (Warby Parker, BBE, Baggins Original, Meera Sethi, Kate Austin Designs, Ffembroidery)

What do you get the person who has everything? Something totally unique! It's the ultimate shopping challenge, and we're about to make it a whole lot easier.

Everything you'll find in the CBC Arts gift guide was inspired by the stories we've covered this year. From stocking stuffers to super-luxe treats, most of these items were designed by Canadian artists. Some were even made by hand — the very definition of one of a kind. Save yourself a trip to the mall, and fire up a few browser tabs. It's time to go shopping.

Things to wear

Photo of a black-and-white cotton robe printed with Keith Haring's drawings.
(Shop AGO)

Keith Haring "Breakers" Bath Robe - Shop AGO, $178

Art is for everybody — and the same could be said for comfort. This plush cotton robe is a souvenir of the Art Gallery of Ontario's Keith Haring exhibition.

Photo of a printed cotton robe in two shades of blue.
(Kate Austin Designs)

Lena Robe - Kate Austin Designs, from $200

Here's another item that's as cozy as it is stylish: a light-weight cotton robe that'd be perfect for lounging around the house — or the sauna, for that matter. (If you attended Public Sweat like we did, maybe you were admiring this one in the gift shop?) Designed by Toronto's Kate Austin, find this robe in a variety of cheerful patterns and colours. The fabrics were hand-printed in Jaipur, India.

Flat lay photo of an all-over-print hoodie in two shades of pink.
(Chief'n Wear)

Barbie Geo hoodie - Chelysa "Chief" Owens-Cyr, $102.47
2023 was the year of #Barbiecore, and even CBC Arts logo artist Chelysa "Chief" Owens-Cyr hopped on the trend. Love this fleecy pullover? Her clothing brand, Chief'n Wear, sells the same pattern on shorts, bags, long-sleeves and more. Your Dreamhouse closet will overfloweth.

Flat lay photo of a grey crewneck graphic sweatshirt. The graphic is a full-body drawing of a woman with blue hair walking.
(Sweeney Boo)

Sweeney Boo sweatshirt - Threadless, $44.95

Earlier this year, we caught up with Sweeney Boo to talk about drawing for DC Comics. But the Montreal-based illustrator creates her own characters, too — which you'll find splashed on Threadless apparel like this classic crewneck.

Photo of a man with his back turned to the viewer. He wears a white T-shirt with a large screen-printed design, in orange, on the back. In front of him is a colourful graffitied wall.
(Station 16 Editions)

Dalkhafine T-shirt - Station 16 Editions, $35

More artist merch from Montreal! We met Dalkhafine when she was in Toronto for the Yorkville Murals festival, and her tattoo-inspired T-shirt design is available in two punchy colours. If you're hunting for something with a slimmer fit, she also designed this ringer tee for Collective Arts Brewing ($32).

Flat lay photo of a patterned jaquard beanie in blue and beige.

Motion Checker Beanie - BBE, $60

What was that thing our moms used to say? Oh yeah. DON'T FORGET A TOQUE! Winter temperatures are on their way, and this jacquard beanie looks so good that wearing it is worth the risk of hat hair. Designed by artist Bryan Espiritu, who recently opened his first gallery show in more than a decade, it's available through his streetwear brand BBE. There are loads of colours to choose from, too.

Things with flair

Side view of a pair of tortoise-shell frame sunglasses.
(Warby Parker)

Geoff McFetridge Edgemont sunglasses - Warby Parker, from $150

As we learned from this documentary, artist Geoff McFetridge has dabbled in just about everything: graphic design, painting, animation, installation. He's even an eyewear designer — and these retro frames from Warby Parker are named after a neighbourhood in Calgary, the artist's hometown.

A digital render of a green patterned scarf wrapped around the neck of a bald grey mannequin.
(Kaylyn Baker Designs)

Aurora scarf - Kaylyn Baker, $50

Wearable art inspired by wearable art! This chiffon scarf is available through Kaylyn Baker Designs. CBC Arts interviewed Kaylyn when she won the 2023 Yukon Prize for Visual Arts, and this scarf print is based on her beaded artwork.

Flat lay photo of an assortment of custom lapel pins on paper backings. They are all pet portraits: cartoon drawings of cats and dogs and birds.
(Natalie Very B.)

Natalie Very B. custom lapel pin - Etsy, from $35

Natalie Very B. is one of CBC Arts' favourite illustrators-for-hire, so we know her hand-drawn lapel pins are guaranteed to be super cute. According to her Etsy page, she'll draw just about any portrait idea you send her: people, pets — even house plants!

Side view of an illustrated Converse low-top sneaker. The colourful illustration is in a tattoo style and depicts a snake coiling around lush magenta blossoms.
(Baggins Original)

Geri Kramer snake sneakers - Baggins Original, $140

Geri Kramer designed last month's CBC Arts logo, and if you want a piece of her artwork, you could always get a tattoo. This gift idea, however, is definitely the tamer option — appropriate for all ages and levels of commitment. Baggins Shoes is located in downtown Victoria, mere blocks from Kramer's shop, Tattoo Zoo. And the store sells these illustrated Converse low tops made to order.

Two rows of colourful and plush embroidered patches of snarling snakes.

Snake patch - Ffembroidery, €4

Sss-speaking of sss-snakes … a patch by CBC Arts logo designer Patricia Larocque (a.k.a. Ffembroidery) would add some quirky and luxe flair to just about anything. These li'l guys are hand-stitched by the Saskatchewan-raised artist herself, but for a more cheap and cheerful option, she also sells machine-embroidered badges individually and by the pack. Shopping for your BFF? Throw it back to the days of slumber parties and cootie catchers with this shareable "Besties" pack (€5).

Sticker sheet on a bubblegum pink background. The stickers are typographic representations of catchphrases from the show RuPaul's Drag Race.
(Cristian Fowlie)

Drag Race stickers - Cristian Fowlie, $10

Make your gift truly "iconique." Throw in a sticker sheet by CBC Arts logo designer Cristian Fowlie.

Flat lay photo of a pile of illustrated stickers of marine animals in a colourful graffiti style.
(Alex Graff)

Alex Graff sticker pack - Etsy, $14.50

Add a few of Alex Graff's decals, too. The star of the CBC Creator Network series Paint With Me sells graffiti-inspired sticker packs through her Etsy page.

A human hand holds a printed canvas tote in front of a large green houseplant. The bag is printed with a design in blue: an illustration of a face and a big blue hand.
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset (Kaori Izumiya)

Tote bag - Kaori Izumiya, $35

Once you've gathered your holiday haul, throw it in a canvas tote like this one. CBC Arts logo designer Kaori Izumiya screenprints her wares in Montreal.

A human hand holds a printed canvas tote against a white brick wall. The tote is printed with a cartoon figure kneeling in prayer. It is surrounded by dollar signs and scrawled text: "TY Mr Sobey."
(The Bows)

Kablusiak "TY mr. sobey" tote  - The Bows, $20

Here's another tote bag option, though this one is probably better suited for lugging groceries and/or Sobey Art Award prize winnings. (Curious about the design? Kablusiak shared the origins of the drawing in this CBC Arts Q&A.)

Things for the home

Photo of a person holding up a printed blanket throw, standing on a street. The blanket, which features an illustration of a giant basketball net surrounded by greenery and pink flowers, obscures the person's features, save for their feet.
(Sarah Kohler/Drake Cereal)

Illusion of Time blanket - Drake Cereal, $100

CBC Arts logo designer Sloan Brown runs two of her own art businesses: Rookie Signs and Drake Cereal. The latter shop is where we found this particular cotton throw — a slam dunk for any fan of basketball and/or hibernation.

Photo of an unpainted concrete figurine of a cartoon-style raccoon. It rests on a miniature wooden palette. A cardboard box the same size as the figurine appears behind the object. It is marked: "Emily May Rose Concrete Raccoon Limited Edition Sculptures."
(Emily May Rose)

Concrete Raccoon - Emily May Rose, $200

One man's trash panda is another man's treasure. Each of these limited edition sculptures is hand-made and signed by Toronto's Emily May Rose, who made our racoon-themed logo this July.

Photo of a human hand holding a dollhouse-sized replica of a wooden Swiss modern easy chair.
(Revive Minis)

Revive Minis Kangaroo Chair - Etsy, $55
It's the MCM score of their dreams … but small enough to stuff in a Christmas stocking. Briar Nielsen, one of the competitors on CBC's Best in Miniature, sells tiny handmade replicas of designer furniture through her brand, Revive Minis.

Things to make and do

Photo of a wooden dollhouse bed with a pink crochet bedspread.

Dollhouse Miniature bed DIY Kit - Minterior, from $20

Or maybe you know someone who'd prefer to make their own tiny furniture! Another star of Best in Miniature, Gabbi Whiteley, sells DIY kits like this one. Her brand, Minterior, specializes in sleek and unique dollhouse accessories for kids.

Flat lay photo of a jigsaw puzzle featuring a colourful cartoon-style illustration by Nina Drew. Colour palette is sunset shades of orange and purple.
(Nina Drew)

Nina Drew jigsaw puzzle - Society6, from $38.64

If solving jigsaw puzzles is your favourite way to spend a lazy holiday, here's an option from illustrator Nina Drew, who contributed to our Pride Month zine, Out in Space.

Photo of a manicured hand holding up a small orange book labelled "Mixed drinks" in embossed all-caps type.

Mixed Drinks with Dean Baldwin Lew - MOCA, $15

Pour yourself a cocktail while you puzzle. The recipes in this pocket-sized collection were contributed by more than 50 artists, including a few notables whose work you've heard about on CBC Arts: Bridget Moser, Caroline Monnet, Diane Borsato, Walter Scott and more. 

Top-lay photo of illustrated cards, fanned out in a circle.
(Meera Sethi)

Yoga: A Sartorial Guide - Meera Sethi, $47

After all that R&R, you could use a good stretch! This deck of illustrated yoga poses will teach you how to sweat it out like a pro. It's made by Meera Sethi, whose exhibitions at the Cambridge Art Galleries we covered this month.

Photo of a man in swim trunks holding a yellow and blue paddleboard while standing on the shore.

Dalkhafine "The Tiger" paddleboard - Koti, $529

On second thought, just keep being a sloth and dream of the healthy new habits you swear that you'll start next year. Stand-up paddleboarding sounds like it could be fun, right? When the warm weather hits, you'll be ready to hit the water on this artist-designed board by Montreal's Dalkhafine.

Book covers for Pies are Awesome: The Definitive Pie Art Book and Pietraits. Both are white books with gold type. Features collage of top-lay photos of illustrative pies.
(Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin)

Pies are Awesome: The Definitive Pie Art Book - Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, $22.48

What's a holiday without dessert? Canada's top pie artist, Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin, who created our March logo, has collected her tried-and-tested techniques in this hardcover cookbook. Or bake a few giftable "Pie-traits" yourself. (Who could turn down a homemade treat!) Clark-Bojin also sells digital cookbooks, like this "ultimate guide to creating beautiful pie portraits." Follow her tips to create some next-level holiday pastries.


Leah Collins

Senior Writer

Since 2015, Leah Collins has been senior writer at CBC Arts, covering Canadian visual art and digital culture in addition to producing CBC Arts’ weekly newsletter (Hi, Art!), which was nominated for a Digital Publishing Award in 2021. A graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University's journalism school (formerly Ryerson), Leah covered music and celebrity for Postmedia before arriving at CBC.

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