Monday, December 8, 2014

2014 Gift Giving Guide - Going Local

There are many reasons to shop locally this Christmas. It strengthens your community’s economy, benefits community groups, keeps your area unique, and reduces environmental impact to name a few. It’s win-win for everyone involved. 

Here we have curated our list of ten great gift ideas that support local businesses in the Ottawa area:

The Gift of Restorative Rest  

For the practical gift giver, consider giving the gift of improved health, better memory, lower stress levels, and all the many benefits of getting a good night’s sleep. Obasan is an Ottawa-based organic mattress company that offers customizable mattresses, which are a great idea for couples who differ in their sleeping needs. Not sold on the need for organic materials? Check out this blog post on the benefits of going organic for your mattress choice. 

Fitness/Martial Arts/ Self-Defence Classes

Here’s an idea for the fitness buff in your life: let them try something new by gifting them a two-week, unlimited membership at KFMA 313 Martial Arts. They have several programs to suit different goals, and promise elite training from experienced professionals. Your recipient will get a serious workout while learning new skills and having fun! 

Give Parents a Date Night 

Sometimes the best gifts can’t be defined by something tangible. If they could, some people would put “time” at the top of their Christmas list. If you know a couple with a young child (or two), ProCare after school centre offers Parent’s Night Out services every Friday night from 6 to 10 and Saturdays 5 to 9. This provides a great opportunity for busy parents to get a break and treat themselves (you CAN give the gift of time)! It also would pair great with a gift certificate to their favourite restaurant. 

Spice up Their Life

Cardamom and Cloves, located on Preston St. in the heart of Little Italy, has a wide selection of herbs and spices suitable for anyone’s tastes. Head here for the person on your list who loves to play in the kitchen. There are gift packages available that include four different spices based on a theme, such as African, Curry, French, and Mexican (bonus: $5 from this purchase goes to the Parkdale Food Centre). They also sell locally made preservatives and host workshops based on specific flavours and spices! My mouth is watering already…

Coffee, Tea, Treats 

An easy and excellent gift this year would be a gift card for the Ministry of Coffee, an unique and cozy cafe located on Elgin St. where they make delicious lattes, are conscientious in their coffee sourcing, offer a selection of high quality loose leaf teas (try the lemon ginger) and have a variety of food options as well. This gift is a guaranteed success!

DIY Unique Ceramic Pieces 

Take thoughtfulness a step further and put some work into your gift by visiting The Mud Oven, a paint-it-yourself ceramics studio. Here you can create a truly unique gift, be it a mug, teapot, bowl… you get the idea. You may even want to turn this into a participatory event and bring your loved one along for some creative fun! Just be sure to make a reservation ahead of time. 

Local Art & Apparel 

Fall Down Gallery features art by the extremely talented owner himself, as well as works created by other artists from in and around Ottawa. If you are looking for a unique gift for the art-lover in your life, this is the place to go. You could even hit a couple of birds with one stone since Fall Down features a boutique as well, offering clothing, accessories, shoes, hats, and more.

Locally Handcrafted Jewellery 

If you’re looking to find a gift the woman in your life, jewellery is an obvious choice. Keep it small and local (and from the comfort of home) by choosing a piece from Ottawa jewellery maker Lisa Simmon’s Etsy shop Oasis Bloom. The dipped crystal necklaces are gorgeous. This is one case where you may be tempted to buy one for a gift and one for yourself (guilty). 

Bath and Skin Care

You can give the gift of awesome smelling, nourishing, and environmentally friendly soaps and skin care products this year by swinging by Purple Urchin located on Somerset in Chinatown. They make it easy by offering gift bundles of delicious products. Perfect for daily care as well as those at-home spa days everyone needs once in awhile.

Canadian Winter Staple: The Scarf 

Can anyone have too many scarves? Of course not; what a silly question! Ottawa designer brand Krista Norris Collection features unique, gorgeous scarves for both men and woman, with a wide range of textures and fabrics to suit different styles and occasions. You can find something here for everyone, and the scarf you give will undoubtedly become a staple in your loved one’s winter wardrobe.

Hopefully this list has given you some new gift ideas and inspired you to look locally for your Christmas shopping. For more information on local events and businesses, check out Apt. 613 Support Local. Not from Ottawa? Yellow Pages has developed an initiative called Shop the Neighbourhood that will help you find small businesses in your area.   

Do you buy your Christmas gifts locally? What are your favourite local brands? Let us know! 

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