This year, more than ever, shopping from small and local shops in whatever way you can makes such a big difference! My Christmas gifts are always made up from a mix of small shops, big box, used and even some homemade gifts. However you shop, you're doing what's best for your family and you're making the people in your circle feel special and loved. That matters most. And if that can include, for you, some small shops this year, you can feel proud of that too. What I love about shopping small and meeting makers is how you can find some real gems and unique gifts to balance out the Paw Patrol and PS4 games that are also under the tree. And what a difference every order makes to these small companies. I know because I've been there and do that happy dance with each one of your orders! This year, more than ever, it is making such an impact to our communities and their future as we move through Covid.
So happy to share some of my favourite finds this year so you can meet some more amazing small and local shops.
This brand new Toronto female-run company makes toolkits for raising inclusive, anti-racist kids. Yes please! Their thoughtfully curated boxes include learning materials, toys, books and more to facilitate important conversations on race, gender and more in an age-appropriate way. Love this new company and so excited to open up our box on Christmas morning! Great gift for parents and kids alike. (They have adult resources too).
I think this is my favourite find of the season, from a maker in my local west-end Toronto neighbourhood. A Christmas Story was our Christmas Eve tradition growing up. I don't know how many times we watched the movie - enough to merit my mom craftily making a suito leg lamp for us to discover one special Christmas morning! When I saw these amazing screen-printed towels with the bunny suit, leg lamp and "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!" I needed to buy enough for the whole family asap!
Love this amazing Toronto company recommended by Cat & Nat. These large-scale re-colourable personalized doodle rolls will keep kiddos busy all holiday long, and can be used over and over again. Love this for the craftiest kiddos on my list.
I first saw this awesome Niagara brand at the One of a Kind Show last year where I was a vendor. As a vendor, no time to shop so I visited them online this year for a little shopping for myself. I came for the Urban Crown headbands and left with a romper and a sweater too. Love the Virtual Hug cardigan. Who doesn't need that right now? Happy Holidays to me, love me.
I always put some books under the tree and love getting those that I can from the list at the local stores. Our local Roncesvalles shop Another Story is an amazing resource for books with a special focus on social justice, diversity and equity. I scored of copy of Lebron James' "I Promise" for the kids of NBA-loving parents. Big win.
What else to do with all of that Covid-imposed extra time at home than grow your own seeds, amirite? Found this cute little co in the neighbourhood and thought a seed kit would make a nice little metaphorical gift. Time is passing in such a strange way right now in this Covid life... might as well watch some seeds grow to really emphasize that we're moving forward and growing through this, as much as time seems to stand still at the moment.
Have to give a shout out to our local toy store. A quick little visit before lock down and I ended up with jewelry boxes, hair chalk kits, board games and sticker books for nieces and nephews that I didn't even know I needed. I love the small brands and creative choices that are available at beautifully-curated small toy shops like this.
This Canadian brand makes beautiful bath and body products that are all-natural, vegan and handcrafted. They also make things in Juniper and Spruce sent - the smells of Christmas. These soaps, bath salts etc. were on the list for some people who are enjoying Christmas this year without the traditional tree. They can have all the scents without the needle clean up. I got these at a lovely little local shop called Ecotique with tons of lovely sustainably-made products.
Happy shopping and online browsing! Please share your favourite small shops below too - I can't wait to meet some more!