Hot drink lovers know the importance of a truly great mug — the kind that allows for the perfect amount of liquid, the right temperature, and yes, one that looks good sitting on your desk as well.

So what is it, exactly, that makes for the perfect mug? Well, like any other item that you use every day, that's going to depend on the person. This Pinterest board, for example, demonstrates about 50 different kinds, from wide to shallow to, frankly, kind of awkward-looking.

Often, it's not about what's on the outside of the mug (though we don't deny that's definitely part of the appeal), but instead, the weight of it, the circumference of it and in many cases, the sentimental value of the piece.

But for the purposes of the holidays, we felt it would only be appropriate to suss out some of the best all-around options to give as gifts, based on our experiences, and a nifty gimmick or two. What we particularly love about the giving of mugs as gifts is that they're so easy to build upon if you so choose — add in some bags of gourmet coffee, a gift card to a favourite shop, even a container or two, and you have yourself a very impressive, much-appreciated present.

SEE: 11 of the best mugs to give as gifts (or keep for youself). Have a mug you love that we missed! We want to hear about it in the comments below:

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  • The Changling

    <b>The mug</b>: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Cottage-Industry-mug002-COLD/dp/B003S47UQW/ref=sr_1_5?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1352746026&sr=1-5">Hot/Cold Mug by The Cottage Industry</a> (available from Amazon), approximately $27 <b>Why it's awesome</b>: It's a solid-sized mug, able to hold a full day's caffeine — but even better, it will change colour with the temperature, and tell you when that cup of coffee has become undrinkable (due to coolness)

  • The Double Wall

    <b>The mug</b>: <a href="http://www.bodum.com/ca/en-us/shop/detail/K11153-01/?navid=266">Bodum's Tea For One</a>, $18 <b>Why it's awesome</b>: Part tea cup, part tumbler, Bodum's ingenious design means you won't scald yourself on boiling water as your tea leaves release their flavour — and the company even recommends you using them a second time.

  • The Initial

    <b>The mug</b>: <a href="http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/shopgifts-monogram/78404.jsp">Anthropologie's Monogrammed Mug</a>, approximately $8. <b>Why it's awesome</b>: The size alone recommends it, but the lovely personalized design is the finishing touch. If you want something with a bit more colour, consider the store's <a href="http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/shopgifts-classics/073732.jsp">Homegrown Monogram Mug</a>.

  • The Canadian

    <b>The mug</b>: <a href="http://www.drakegeneralstore.ca/products/canada-mason-jar-mug">Canada Mason Jar Mug</a>, Drake General Store, $12 <b>Why it's awesome</b>: For some people, the glass of a mason jar is the ideal way to drink their hot beverages. Maybe it's the condensation, maybe it's the sturdiness, but whatever the reason, this makes for a pretty great gift if you're visiting foreign family over the holidays.

  • The Prettiness

    <b>The mug</b>: <a href="http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/10223175/">Ikea's Julfint mug</a>, $2.99 <b>Why it's awesome</b>: The price and the simply pretty design are winners in our books, but it's also a lovely size for those who want a quick hit of heat in their day

  • The Clever One

    <b>The mug</b>: <a href="http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Kedo-Tea-Code-Cup-Set-Button-Creative-Water-Huge-Cuff-Open-Short-Sleeve-/261106009354">Kedo Tea-Code tea cup</a> (via eBay), approximately $42 <b>Why it's awesome</b>: For those of us who use tea bags, and have never quite gotten the hang of having a saucer nearby, the Kedo solution is pure brilliance — fasten a button to the already cute mug which your bag's string can easily be twisted around, ensuring it won't dive in or fall out.

  • The Colourful Ones

    <b>The mug</b>: <a href="http://www.pantone.com/pages/products/product.aspx?pid=1201&ca=33">Pantone Mugs</a> (shown in Mixed Reds and Pinks), $90US for set of 6 <b>Why they're awesome</b>: Anyone remotely affiliated with the design field (that would include publishers, architects, magazine readers ...) has a bit of a love for Pantone, so these richly hued mugs will only feed into that obsession. Plus, that handle looks solid.

  • The Strainer

    <b>The mug</b>: <a href="http://www.davidstea.com/the-perfect-tea-mug">The Perfect Tea Mug</a>, David's Tea, $19.50 <b>Why it's awesome</b>: Anyone familiar with David's Tea knows the chain has hundreds of canisters filled with loose-leaf teas — but how to turn that into a delicious cup? The store has solved the problem with a tall ceramic mug that provides plenty of tea and a stainless steel infuser that fits right in. Did we mention the lid acts as a coaster when it's time to take the infuser (and soaked leaves) out?

  • The Big One

    <b>The mug</b>: <a href="http://www.starbucksstore.ca/starbucks-modern-classic-mug-16-fl-oz/011016360,en_CA,pd.html?start=16&cgid=cups-and-mugs&sz=16">Starbucks Modern Classic Mug</a> (shown in Grande/16 fl oz), $7.95 <b>Why it's awesome</b>: While a Grande might seem like too much coffee so some, for Starbucks lovers, it's the amount they know and love — so why not allow them to enjoy it at home, too? (Also available in Demi, Tall and Venti sizes)

  • The Companion

    <b>The mug</b>: <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/63955586/tea-drinkers-sidekick-mug-red-cup-tea">Tea Drinkers Sidekick Mug</a>, by AngelaIngram, sold through Etsy, $25US <b>Why it's awesome</b>: Well, it goes right back to that teabag issue — the pouch on the side of this cutie allows for a tidy way to store it once your tea is steeped. We also love the curves of this mug, that somehow make it look more inviting.

  • trudeau tea-mendous

    <b>The mug</b>: <a href="http://www.trudeaucorp.com/ca-en/products/coffee-tea-hotdrinks/types/cups-and-mugs/p-tea-mendous-0872035.html">Tea-mendous by Trudeau</a>, $14.99 <b>Why it's awesome</b>: We could hardly make a round-up of mugs and not include one great travel option (though truly, that is a category unto itself). What we like about this tumbler is that it can function in both a car/subway situation, brewing as you commute, or sit nicely on your desk or coffee table, looking just as lovely and useful.

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