Heading away on vacation for the holiday season was incredible, but there’s truly nothing like being home for the actual holidays. Growing up in Canada, I got to witness so many white Christmases. And I’ll be honest, something about cozying up with friends and family while it’s chilly outside always makes it truly feel like Christmas. And with the 25th fast approaching, I am soaking up and passing out all of the holiday cheer there is available! No line up necessary haha

For this year’s #MDVPHoliday18 editorial (the annual holiday collaboration I do with my fellow blogger besties, and truly my best friends – DaveVictoria, and Peter), we decided to escape the cold for half of it (in Belize) – MDVPHolidays Away” , and stay here in Toronto for the other half (today’s post!). So if you’re home for the holidays, I’m rounding some of my favourite must-haves for the holiday (to give or to keep) and hope that it inspires an extra bit of cheer in your hearts!









When you’re spending the holidays at home, half of the holiday spirit is MAKING it. This was our first holiday season in our new home and we had SO much fun decorating it. But as the backdrop to our editorial, we got to visit the Canadian Tire House and to say that it was the mecca of holiday home decor would be an understatement. Whether your holiday decor is classic reds, pink and bright, blue and opulent, or a sparkly white, Canadian Tire literally has everything for your home (and beyond). 

Shop this holiday home decor here.









A tip to creating your own holiday heaven at home, is to find an aesthetic or theme that really speaks to you and find holiday decor that fits within it. That way, whatever you buy will fit that theme and you’ll have a seamless holiday heaven of your own. 

Dave and I personally have a neutral and gold theme, so we were drawn to the gorgeous frosted scenes with metallic accents. I’ve included some other themes below we were inspired by in the Canadian Tire House. When you’re decorating for the holidays, you want to also keep in mind little things like wrapping paper, kitchenware, and even candy are all a part of your “decor”. Whatever you pick though, make sure it’s meaningful to you… that’s the real joy of home decorating during the holidays. You should walk into your home and instantly feel that joy. 











Did someone say turkey? My favourite part of the holidays is the moment when you’re at home and all that’s on the calendar is being in your PJs, opening presents, and eating ALL of the leftover turkey. Whether you’re looking to dress up your entire family or perhaps can’t think of the perfect holiday gift to give, these Gap holiday PJ sets are your answer. Even Simba has a Gap PJ set! 

Shop holiday PJ sets here.









These perfect buffalo-check Gap PJ sets are not only perfectly festive, they’re also one of the only ones I found that I ACTUALLY wear. The material it’s made with is the perfect cozy and warm, but doesn’t make me sweat, type of material. Gap has SO many cute options this season, and they’re the ones that you pick up this year but wear all through the year and into every holiday season to come. When I was a kid, my mom used to buy us PJs every Christmas as one of our gifts and it’ll forever be a tradition our new little family continues (starting with this year!)









On the note of fun and cozy outfits, there’s nothing that screams the festive season like an “ugly sweater”. The only thing with that is that I tend to buy them once and never wear them again (and LBH, sweaters are bulky and hard to store). Our little foursome decided to opt out of the ugly sweaters this season and, instead, went with a much cuter festive option – stripes (all of our striped sweaters and outfits are also from Gap)!

Shop the perfect holiday striped sweaters here.









These Gap striped sweaters make for the cutest “matching and complimenting” holiday outfits for you, your family, and friends. And if not, they’re definitely just an adorable sweater to keep in your own closet for the chilly season ahead. What I love the most is that you can find stripes that suit every person’s personality –  whether they’re fun and bubbly, colourful and bright, neutral and subdued, or classic, there’s a stripey sweater for everyone. These are definitely (non-ugly) Christmas sweaters you and your gift recipients will keep. 









With all the running around for the holidays, the one thing that does suffer is my skin. And given the New Year is just around the corner, no one wants holiday-fatigued skin. Dave and I have both been IN LOVE with these classic gems from Kiehls recently (been using them everyday): 

The cleanser is an exfoliant, but super gentle, and the toner is probably the most soothing (non-irritating) toner I’ve ever tried. 

Not gonna lie, this is probably one of the only skincare lines both Dave and I share (begrudgingly sometimes, haha).

Shop our favourite Kiehls skincare and giftable products here.








And if you’re thinking of giving the gift of beautiful skin for the holidays (who doesn’t want that), Kiehls has the most festive Limited Edition versions and gift sets of their hero products (the lip butter and the Midnight Recovery Oil are my absolute favourites – especially for the winter when your lips and skin are chapped and cold). These make for the most beautiful gift all together, or stocking stuffers on their own (for him or her), AND they even have gifts for your pets. The whole family is about to get more beautiful for the holidays!








And on those days where you finally get out of your PJs and have a holiday party to get to, my trick to low-maintenance and a ready-to-go-glam make up look is really focussed on my pout. It’s easy to change up, doesn’t require any time at all, and instantly changes your look.

These Buxom gift sets have been a little gift to myself this season. I have been IN LOVE with Buxom ever since their very first plumping lip gloss (I think I had my first Buxom lip gloss when I was 14), so when their holiday collection dropped, I was here for it. The holiday “After Dark” sets are not only super sexy but they basically have every shade to match any of your glitzy holiday outfits (and are super wearable – no blue lipsticks here haha). I love that Buxom lippies never dry my lips and offer that extra little plump (never uncomfortably) that basically makes me feel like a Victoria Secret Angel. Their holiday gift sets are SUCH a good deal right now and make for the perfect gift (for your own pout or that of a loved one). 

Shop for the perfect pouty products here.













And although I would love nothing more than staying inside the ENTIRE winter season, we all do tend to leave the home at some point (we could only so many holiday parties at home haha). And on those days I’m taking a step outside of the house, this new Noize jacket has been my legit go-to. The length of this lightweight synthetic down jacket is the real kicker to this puffer. I have about 8 parkas in my collection (#CanadianStruggles), but I love that whether I’m wearing a dress, skirt, or pants, this Noize jacket keeps my entire body warm. I’m also really feeling the red lining that adds that extra bit of style when the jacket is open. 

Shop our favourite puffer jackets here.










Noize also has some of the sweetest winter accessories for the season. My favourite are the ones that say “Be A Nice Human” on them… the perfect holiday reminder for just about all of us this season and into the year! I got the white scarf and red hat that say just that and they’re quickly becoming the accessories I know I’ll wear throughout the holiday season and into the new year.


And that wraps another annual holiday editorial, friends! This is our third one running and it excites me every year to put our favourite things together to share with you for the holidays. Whether you’re “staying” or “awaying” for the holidays, I hope these guides inspired a bit more holiday spirit in you (or at least gave you some good ideas for you, your home, and your gifts). 

At the end of the day, remember that what’s important is not what you have, what you get, or where you go, but how you feel and how you make others feel. Happy holidays, you beautiful souls! 


mel inspired


*** This post was made in generous partnership with: Gap, BareMinerals, Buxom, and Noize Originals. All thoughts and opinions are exclusively my own. 


What’s your must-have for the holiday season? Comment below and let me know!

  • These are all such fun photos – what a great tradition to have! I’m loving the blue decorations too, what a nice twist on the traditional red! πŸ™‚

    Hope that you had a nice weekend and are excited for Christmas πŸ™‚ Our celebrations kick off with Christmas eve family time traditions on the coast so I’ll be taking a little blogging break for a few days but wanted to wish you merry Christmas!

    Away From The Blue Blog

  • Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

    Shoot for the stars | β˜† β˜† β˜† | Facebook page | β˜† β˜† β˜† | Instagram

  • Those Christmas pyjamas are amazing!! Love them! And how cute did you decorate your place?! Super pretty!! I hope you had the best Christmas and happy New year! Xx Susanne – http://bagatyou.com

  • Jessica Broyles

    I just love this! Your pictures are so amazing!