Thursday, December 19, 2019

Christmas Gift Ideas From A TIFF Toronto Celebrity Swag Bag

Photo credit: Kennedy Pollard / Ryan Emberley Photography

The Toronto International Film Festival draws big-name stars to the city each fall. In 2019, TIFF welcomed celebrities Jennifer Lopez, Lili Reinhart, Robert Pattinson, Michael B. Jordan and Renee Zellweger, among many others.

We all know that celebrity lounges and swag bags are part of the film fest fun. This year, for the eleventh year, GLO Communications hosted a Bask-It-Style media day, inviting guests to preview and experience their celebrity gift bags at the Thompson Hotel. During the run of TIFF, ​Bask-It-Style hand delivers VIP gift bags to busy celebs. In the past, Bask-It-Style has gifted celebrities (through hotel partners) including Matt Damon, Jennifer Garner, Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Colin Farrell, John Legend and Sir Elton John.

Gift Ideas From The Bask-It-Style Celebrity Swag Bag


Many of the items in the celebrity swag bag are of a practical nature, useful for a traveler who is without the comforts of home. The nice thing is, these are not ridiculously opulent gifts you could never use, but handy items, some of them from Canadian family companies looking to get their brands in front of media, celebs and ultimately consumers. And I think several of them would make fabulous gift ideas for your friends and family this Christmas.

Photo credit: Kennedy Pollard / Ryan Emberley Photography

Plastic-Free Teas


I like gifts that speak to comfort, simple pleasures and, yes, hibernation. Tea keeps me going through winter and Canadian family company Oteas brings us delicious tea in biodegradable tea bags with tea bag mesh made from plant-based materials (so no worry about tiny plastics in your tea!). They also have FSC recyclable boxes, printed with vegetable ink, and their new inner wrap is a home compostable biofilm (no plastic).   Check out their delicious Raspberry Leaf Tea!

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Photo credit: Kennedy Pollard / Ryan Emberley Photography

Engaging Books


When I have a cup of tea in one hand, I like to have a book in the other. (In fact, I just posted this Christmas book giving guide and a Starbucks giveaway with that in mind!) At the event I met Nashville writer J.T. Ellison, who described the absorbing plot of her new book, Good Girls Lie. She told me it's a cross between Gossip Girl and Jane Eyre - that definitely got my attention because I'm a fan of both.

The heaviest addition to the celeb swag bag, by far, is DK Publishing's Fashion, New Edition: The Definitive Visual Guide (Smithsonian), the perfect gift for the fashion enthusiast on your gift list. Learn all about fashion's trailblazers and trendsetters in this illustrated, definitive guide that charts style from the late 19th century to today.


Photo credit: Kennedy Pollard / Ryan Emberley Photography

Natural Canadian Skincare


Newfoundland-based Indigena Skincare popped their Glowing Travel Kit into the VIP bags. It includes Labrador Tea Day and Night Cream, Rose Petal Eye Cream, Sea Veggie Face Lotion and Blueberry Bliss Lip Scrub. My daughter and I have been loving each and every item, and the creams did not irritate my sensitive, rosacea-prone skin. The company's botanical extract blends are foraged from Canada's Boreal forest and the North Atlantic. Every item is vegan, except for the lip balms (which contain beeswax), and Indigena is certified Cruelty Free by PETA.

Photo credit: Kennedy Pollard / Ryan Emberley Photography

 Wines from Spain


When afternoon turns to evening and you want a drink that's more celebratory than tea, turn to wines from Spain. With Canada’s Master Sommelier, Bruce Wallner, D.O. (Designation of Origin) Rueda offered samples of 17 different wines from eight Northern Spain wineries. Rueda is a wine region in Spain located in the community of Castile de León, known for its production of the verdejo grape. Located on a high plateau with a continental climate, Rueda has long cold winters, short springs and hot summers, perfect for the verdejo grape.

Vegan Leather Travel Bags


This year's celebrity goodies were packed in a convenient black vegan leather limited edition travel bag, designed by Amber & Ash. The bag transitions from tote to backpack, so it's perfect for holiday outings to the Royal Ontario Museum or Toronto Christmas Market. The bag also has several internal and external pockets and a compartment that allows it to be placed over a luggage handle.

Affordable Gold Jewellery


In the VIP suite, we had a peek at Michael Hill’s gold collection. And we all know jewellery is a classic Christmas gift. Michael Hill showcased gold essential pieces like their 10k gold mini hoop earrings (retail value $139) and their dainty and stackable 10k gold ring featuring six diamonds (retail value $449).


Photo credit Turo / Jess Baumung

A Stylish ride


For the person who has everything, why not give them a ride in their favourite luxury car? TURO’s peer-to-peer car-sharing platform allows users to choose from a unique selection of vehicles from local hosts. On display at this year's event was the show-stopping DeLorean, as seen in Back to the Future (that's me in the DeLorean above), which gave guests a taste of what the TURO inventory has to offer.


Stocking stuffers



MONAT Global’s vegan-friendly intensive anti-aging haircare line merges nature and science to provide luxurious treatments and styling products. Their flagship product is Rejuvenique Oil Intensive. The MONAT product line is Leaping Bunny Approved and also includes a men’s haircare and grooming line, a children’s collection and even pet care.

Tru Niagen is a Hollywood-loved supplement intended to support cellular health. It contains a unique form of vitamin B3 called nicotinamide riboside (NR), to assist the trillions of tiny cells in your body in maintaining good health by helping your body's ability to metabolize nutrients.

The gift bags also included Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap in Peppermint, their most popular scent. This vegan, non-GMO concentrated soap can be used to clean your house, pets and body and has no synthetic preservatives, detergents or foaming agents.

The baker in your family will love to try healthier sugar alternative LIVA Date Sugar, a raw, organic non-GMO sweetener made with dehydrated Deglet Noor dates. It retains all of the nutritional value of dates and all of the trace minerals that are absent in other sweeteners.


Questions for you

Which of these items would you most like to receive as a gift? Which star would you most like to meet on the red carpet?


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