The holidays seem to polarize some people. Yes, they may conjure up warm and fuzzy images of decorating the tree, hot apple cider, and mom’s cookies. But there’s a double-edge to that candy-cane. For many, it’s a time of frantic consumerism with long lines in box stores and of course, the dreaded gift exchange at the office party. But before I send you on a “bah humbug” downward spiral, there is hope and it lies within the pages of our annual All-Local Gift Guide. Once again, like busy Christmas elves, our writers have featured a plethora of gift ideas from local businesses for everyone from foodies, to techies, to music lovers, and everyone in between, hopefully making life a little easier for you this month. We’ve also compiled lists of books by local authors as well as albums by local musicians, and sommelier Jeannie Dubois gives some “spirited” suggestions.

Of course, gifts come in many shape and sizes. Chef Rachel Globensky serves up a simple yet delicious bread recipe that you knead to know, home brew master Josh Armstrong shares his Suomi Spiced Red IPA recipe, and film columnist Michael Sobota provides his favourite movies that feature special gifts. Still not in the holiday spirit yet? Music columnist Gord Ellis spins his five favourite Christmas albums, and Krista Power previews Magnus Theatre’s upcoming production of Miracle on 34th Street.

Also in this issue, Kim Latimer gets a sneak peek at the Emerging Indigenous Artist Group Exhibition at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Leah Ching talks to Tanya Talaga, author of Seven Fallen Feathers, and Jason Wellwood pens a touching tribute to Kurt Martell (miss you buddy).

As always, we owe our success to the support of our past and present advertisers and our large team of talented and dedicated contributors. And a special thanks to our readers, who support the individuals, organizations, and businesses featured in the magazine.

Happy holidays and best wishes for a fantastic New Year!

-Adrian Lysenko