Thursday, November 26, 2015

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. We have curated a list of great gift ideas that support local businesses in the Ottawa and Toronto areas.

For the Working Women in Your Life
Dayna Lee Collection is an Etsy online store featuring “sassy and inspirational hand lettered goods” made in Toronto by young entrepreneur Dayna. Her items including pillow covers, day planners and notebooks, make great gifts for anyone in your life that you would describe as a “girl boss,” or to whom coffee and champagne are necessities. They will remind your loved one to stay positive, keep hustling, and stay focused on achieving their dreams.

Beautiful & Personalized Coasters 
Versatile is a specialized custom printing company run by entrepreneur Dan Fallak, from his home in Almonte, Ontario. He uses 100% natural marble stone imported from Turkey, along with a unique machine and ink formula to create fun and beautiful designs, and also customized coasters via spinoff brand Coasterly. This great local business actually made us some Bowda coasters and we couldn't have been more pleased with the results.

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. 
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. 

Everything He Needs for a Perfect Shave
STOUTHEART is an all natural grooming product company based in Ottawa. We love the story behind the company, and what they stand for. As told on their website, “STOUTHEART was created based on the idea that hardworking men deserve a product that is affordable and benefits him in more ways than just a simple shave. The primary goal of STOUTHEART is to make all natural products that are free of harmful chemicals and will activate your senses beyond what is normally expected from your typical morning routine.” Check them out at and give the men in your life a new and invigorating shaving experience that will become a staple in their routine.

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! 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 wardrobe.

What to do when you’re done your shopping, but need to ship gifts to loved ones who you won’t be seeing this Christmas? Try Flyta, a new Canadian startup shipping company that uses spare airline cargo to provide lower shipping costs (up to 40% cheaper)!  Did we mention that they also pick up and pack for you? Gift wrapping not included though!

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.   

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