‘Tis the season. The weather is getting colder, and of course, the second Halloween is over, the Christmas decor and music starts hitting the stores. Which means one thing… it’s time to start Christmas shopping!
Last year I put together this holiday shopping guide because if there was thing that is always needed, but especially during a pandemic, it’s that small businesses need us and it’s so important to shop local.
2020 was a rough year for everyone, but especially businesses. Little did we know this would trickle into 2021 as well. Small businesses have been forced into on and off lockdowns, several different restrictions, and now labor shortages. It’s been a touch few years and even though I know it’s impossible to get everything you need from local stores, being a little more of a conscious to shop local during the holiday season versus immediately heading to the chain stores, will make a huge difference in our economy and for business owners.
Back by popular demand, I’ve revised my holiday gift guide to help get your wheels turning for the people on your Christmas list this year. Some of these businesses are ones that I’ve supported in my shopping, and some are ones that were recommended to me. With everything compiled into one place, you have no excuse to not shop local this year.
For the foodie
For the person that loves to check out the latest local restaurants, and takes photos of every meal they make. This category is full of ideas that’ll make any foodie happy. I also like to buy these sorts of gifts for people that have everything, because they’re always gifts that will get used/consumed!
Terroni (Italian Products)
You’re probably wondering why I have a famous Toronto restaurant on this list, BUT they have some great retail products you can buy online for local pick-up, delivery, or even order on DoorDash. Try their Peperoncini Piccanti, it’s known as one of Meghan Markle’s favs.
Drizzle Honey (Local Honey)
Raw, Canadian-made, bee-friendly honey. Available in a ton of flavours and variations.
Tease (Loose Leaf Tea & Accessories)
Selling loose leaf teas and accessories for the tea lover in your life.
Gargoyle Wine Club (Wine Club)
Wine subscription service that has sommeliers curating wines from far and wide to be delivered to your doorstep.
Funky Chocolatier (Chocolate)
Making chocolate healthy, wholesome, and delicious in beautiful holiday designs and flavours.
Mr. Somm (Curated Wine)
Professional sommelier curated wines from Ontario. Send your wine lover friend a wine club subscription! Also available are beer and whiskey clubs.
ChocoSol (Artisanal Chocolate)
Artisanal chocolate made in Toronto. Their chili and vanilla flavours sound amazing!
Local beer or wine
Here’s an idea for the beer or wine lovers in your family. Instead of buying them a gift card for the liquor or beer store, opt for going to a local brewery/winery instead. Several breweries and wineries across Ontario (and I’m sure in other provinces too) also are offering free delivery.
Cocktail Emporium (Cocktail Supplies)
This is a great shop for all things related to cocktails. Bitters, syrups, cool drink accessories, and mixes. Perfect for stocking stuffers or unique gifts for the cocktail-obsessed.
Quench Bar (Cocktail Kits)
Virtual mixology workshops and cocktail kits.
Rhea (Artisan Chocolate)
Seriously gorgeous chocolate. If chocolate was art, this would be it.
Gift cards for local restaurants
Don’t forget that our restaurants need our support too. Most local restaurants will sell gift cards for purchase and even if they aren’t open for dine-in you can use them for take-out. This guarantees profits go right to the restaurant versus to a food delivery service like UberEats.
Healthy Genie (Date Spreads)
Yummy spreads made with dates. Perfect as a hostess gift or a stocking stuffer. Great with cheese or to add to your charcuterie boards.
Blume (Latte Blends)
Delicious coffee alternatives made in Vancouver, BC. Blume’s blends help you get those perfect lattes from your local coffee shop, but at-home. Made with organic, plant-based ingredients and superfoods.
For the fashionista
This category is for the people that can’t get enough of the latest fashion and you always wonder how they have any room left in their closet. Shop local with these great fashion-forward brands.
Ragmaw Design House (Handbags)
Colourful, high-quality bags made in Canada. Available in a variety of patterns.
Apricotton (Tween Bras)
Toronto-based business that creates quality bras for tweens and an online community to help make going through puberty less awkward for girls. BONUS! Use promo code TWIRLTHEGLOBE at checkout for 15% off.
Risque Clothing (Fashion Boutique)
Fashion-forward clothing boutique based out of Toronto.
Bunny Boutique (Fashion Boutique)
Based out of Toronto, Bunny Boutique is a sustainable women’s fashion boutique selling everything from gorgeous swimsuits to cozy tracksuits.
Take a Load Off, Fannies (Fanny Packs)
The name of this shop kills me! They make the cutest, fun, fanny packs, and belt bags for both kids and adults.
Ali + Liv (Swimwear)
Comfortable and versatile swimwear. Perfect to lounge in your apartment with this winter because lets face it, we’re not going on any vacations anytime soon.
Pippa & Peach (Luxe Loungewear)
A Niagara-based business that creates comfortable and versatile clothes to help you feel like your best self.
Gotcha Covered (Eco-Friendly Clothing)
Sustainably sourced, ethically made clothing.
Made For The Lake Co. (Apparel)
The cutest cottage-themed apparel. Perfect for the cottage-goers in your life.
See You Soon Toronto (Apparel)
Cute branded apparel that gives back. 100% of the proceeds made from this line goes to a COVID relief fund to help small businesses in Toronto.
Red Sky (Loungewear)
Fun and cozy loungewear. The jumpsuits look like a dream for hibernating all winter!
Kootz Collective (Laidback Clothing)
Unisex clothing that is ethically sourced and made, then screen printed in BC.
For the jewellery lover
Gift someone jewellery and they’ll get so much use out of it. Here are some great brands I love, or that have been recommended to me to shop.
Maple Lane Jewelry
Super cute jewelry made in Toronto. Customize it with your (or your friends) initials.
Providing timeless fine jewellery for the contemporary individual. Jewellery for both men and women.
One of my favs for awhile now in Toronto. Anice is also available for custom creations.
A past colleague of mine makes these fun and funky clay earrings here in Toronto.
House of Ell
Upcycled vintage jewellery that is perfect for that person in your life that likes to make a statement (and shop sustainably).
Bad Ass Jewelry
Fun jewelry created using gem stones.
Oz & Ella
Funky silicone jewelry.
Vegan leather jewelry. Their earrings are adorable!
Corey Treacy Designs
Custom jewelry. I love their name necklaces!
For the perfect holiday cards
Opt out of holiday cards that mean nothing, and instead shop for ones that look like art and can be personalized. Snail mail is not dead! Who doesn’t love to get something in the mail still?
Hand painted holiday cards + more.
Words & Wonders
Afrocentric stationary with cute and colourful holiday cards.
Cute hand-lettered cards, PLUS other adorable lettered items like notebooks.
Tip: I love to buy my cards for any occasion on Etsy. What I’ll do is use the filtering feature to filter by businesses “In Canada” to ensure I’m shopping close to home.
For the home
An assortment of businesses selling great gifts for the home. Whether home decor, plants, or cheeky holiday decor.
Backyard Co. (Handcrafted Wood Products)
Backyard Co. sells beautifully handcrafted wood products like cutting boards. That’s not it though, they also sell bath and body products, and candles.
Rally & Roots (Planters)
Clay and ceramic planters for your favorite greenery in your home. Perfect for your plant-obsessed bestie.
Pink Banana Sparkles (Holiday Ornaments)
The most adorably cute (and sparkly) handpainted holiday ornaments for your tree.
The Copper Bell (Candles)
Soy candles complete with hilariously punny names. Not only will they make your house smell good, but also make the gift receiver giggle.
Naturally Sassy (Candles)
These candles aren’t just regular candles, they double as a herb plant. Yep, your candle comes with a herb kit so once the jar is empty and the candle is gone, you can repurpose the jar to become a mini herb garden.
I discovered this company in isolation and love it. They deliver house plants right to your door, and are now offering shipping across Canada. The perfect alternative to flowers because, with the right care, they won’t die as quick!
Gnomes By Mari (Holiday Decor)
Everyone has that person in their lives that is just obsessed with holiday decor and these gnomes are one-of-a-kind and adorable.
The Northern Kiln (Handmade Pottery)
A platform that curates a variety of local potters handmade pottery into one, easy-to-shop place.
Love Your Mother Boutique (Pottery + Eco-Friendly Goods)
Eco-friendly products and handmade pottery. So many great gift ideas and stocking stuffers in this little online shop.
Steaped Slow Ceramics (Ceramics)
Handmade ceramic goods. Their mugs and tumblers make the perfect gift for the coffee or tea junkie in your life.
Open Rebel (Candles)
Beautiful floral candles that look more like a gorgeous decoration for your home vs. a candle.
OBH Design (Blankets)
Chunky knit hand knit blankets that are perfect for every room in the house.
For the art enthusiast
Art that won’t cost you thousands of dollars, but has a super cute, thoughtful touch to it that will impress even the hardest people to buy for.
Thread & Bark (Art Made with Nature)
Art made from the wild using reclaimed wood. Currently they are taking orders via their Instagram page.
Worker Bee Supply (Inspirational Prints)
If there’s one thing we need in 2020 it’s inspiration. These inspirational prints are far from cheesy and make beautiful art.
Stacy Marie Stranzl (Illustrations)
Personalized, illustrated Christmas ornaments, prints, and more. I love her pet ornaments for the dog lovers in my family!
Michelle Chiu (Photography Prints)
Gorgeous Toronto and beach prints that will bring the city inside your home.
Natalie Czerwinski Illustration (Illustrations)
Cute neighbourhood inspired illustrations. I love Natalie’s Toronto-themed work, but you can also commission her to illustrate something that is meaningful to you!
INKSCRPT (Line Art)
A Toronto illustrator creating beautiful and unique line art, including handmade Christmas tree ornaments.
For the kids
In full transparency, I don’t have kids and I have no idea what they want for Christmas this year. I’m going to assume iPads and high ticket toys. However, if you’re looking to support local, and buy something different. Here are some ideas.
The Star (Book)
A children’s book perfect for this time of year and written by a young Toronto author.
Tawny Dog: The Bravest (Book)
A children’s book on facing your fears through bravery and understanding by a local Toronto author.
Impressions (Growth Charts)
Track your child’s growth with these beautiful custom made growth charts.
Resin Sets (Alphabet Sets)
Personalized alphabet resin sets for kids. Order via Instagram.
Tiny Kinfolk (Rompers)
One-of-a-kind baby rompers in adorable patterns. Oh they’re also gender neutral making everyone’s lives easier!
Mommy’s Little Helper Co. (Learning Tours)
Handmade learning tours that help your kids learn and get involved in your daily activities in a safe, and fun way.
Twill & Pine (Flexible Brim Hats)
Five panel hats created by one of my former colleagues. These hats come in adorable, hand drawn patterns with a flexible brim which makes them safe and kid-friendly.
Check out a previous post I wrote on Toronto-based small businesses to support here for more ideas.
For the self-care advocate
We could all use more self-care in our lives. It’s been a rough few years. These are some great items I’ve curated for you to shop for everyone on your list this year.
Sugar Plum Scrubs (Sugar Scrubs)
A natural sugar scrub boutique with all sorts of beautiful scents that make it easy to shop local.
Taj Charles (Robes & Loungewear)
Gorgeous robes and loungewear that’ll make you feel sexy as hell while still being comfortable.
Please Notes (Affirmation Goods)
Selling affirmation cards and journals that are perfect to head into 2022 and channel positivity.
Aura Glow (Plant-Based Skincare)
Aura Glow makes plant-based, eco-conscious skincare.
SHYNE Body Butter (Body Butter)
With a goal to empower women to take their healing into their own hands, SHYNE created body butters made with the finest, natural ingredients.
Hair Love by Quai (Curly Girl Hair Shop)
The one-stop-shop for everything your curly haired self or friend needs to keep their curls in-check.
True and You (Clean Skincare & Candles)
Handmade products made right here in Toronto. From clean, cruelty-free skincare, to non-toxic candles.
A2B Naturals (Uncomplicated Skincare)
Skincare uncomplicated. A2B Naturals is handmade, organic, and ethically sourced skincare. Their packaging is even eco-friendly/95% recyclable.
The Win Journal (Journals)
A journal designed to help you record, reflect, and celebrate your daily wins (both big & small).
Baarden (Beard Products)
Small batch, handcrafted beard products for the men in your life.
Verv (Gentle Skincare)
Expertly formulated and handcrafted skincare created in Nova Scotia.
Nail Diva (Manis & Pedis)
Do-your-own quality manis and pedis right at-home with Nail Diva’s unique tool that helps you easily fix chips or smudges on your nails.
Wildflower De La Terre (Handmade Soaps)
Handcrafted candles and soaps made with love in Canada.
Oil Essentials CA (Essential Oil Accessories)
High quality, upscale accessories for essential oil users/lovers.
CanBRB (Relaxation Balms)
Cannabis infused relaxation balms in a variety of scents.
The Art Brewery (Mindfulness Workbook)
The Art Brewery sells workbooks for practicing mindfulness through creativity and art.
Tip: Have a book lover in your life? Instead of shopping at the big bookstores, opt for a local bookshop instead, or even a used bookstore for those trying to be more eco-friendly.
Cute little gifts that are perfect to stuff into stockings, or use as hostess gifts.
Mode Masks (Masks)
Tired of masks that don’t fit properly? These made-to-measure masks will help you get the perfect fit.
THIC (Repairing Hair Oil)
Vegan, effective, and affordable, this new lightweight repairing hair oil is a must-have for everyone. Great to throw in stockings!
My Gioia (XL Scrunchies)
My Gioia makes XL scrunchies in all sorts of colours and fabrics, including Mommy & Me matching sets.
CurlShoppe (Hair Products)
The perfect stocking stuffer for that curly girl/guy in your house, there curly hair products sound delightful, and they look cute too!
Smirk Stuff (Button Accessories)
The accessory you never knew you needed but so glad you found. Little button accessories to jazz up any button down shirt.
TILI (Handmade Soaps)
Handmade natural soap that almost looks too pretty to use!
Bien Aller (Masks)
Quebec-based company making great masks. I bought one of these months ago and it’s one of my fav masks because it fits like a charm with adjustable ear pieces and nose piece.
Gather & Post (Gift Shop)
Cute Guelph-based gift shop loaded with awesome ideas for stocking stuffers (and more). All products are curated by local makers.
Kokom Scrunchies (Scrunchies)
A business started by a 9-year-old. Yep, you heard that correctly. Mya makes adorable handmade scrunchies.
Bitch Next Door (Stickers, Mugs & Totes)
Stickers, mugs, and totes for the feminist in your life!
Diphy Wellness (Handmade Soaps)
Handmade soaps made with safe ingredients and eco-friendly materials. Holiday packages available.
Curated boxes are so much fun to receive. These are great for people that you may not see this holiday season, but want to send them something right to their house. Loaded with locally sourced products, they make for the perfect gifts!
Posh Home Box (Curated Boxes)
Home decor subscription box.
Grey Willow Gifts (Curated Boxes)
Beautiful curated gift boxes that support small business owners. This box takes the thinking out of shopping local.
Wonderkind Inc. (Curated Boxes)
Designed to make gifting easy, but still thoughtful. Fill out a quiz about your loved one, and your price range, and they’ll thoughtfully curate the perfect gift box for them.
The Happy Box (Curated Boxes)
A box stuffed with local goodies. Available in a variety of different themes or occasions. Making it easy to shop local.
Sam & Lance (Curated Boxes)
Cute themed curated boxes that you can buy for your BFF, or any family member. With each box sold they donate a meal to the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto’s Food Bank.
The Kind Curator Co. (Curated Boxes)
Consciously curated boxes filled with hand-picked, locally sourced, eco-conscious products.
Sock Box (Monthly Sock Club)
A subscription box perfect for the person in your life that loves a good pair of funky socks. They even have a sock lovers advent calendar!
Not everything fits into a category. These are some notable businesses that have fantastic gifts if you haven’t found exactly what you’re looking for.
Kucha (Dog Accessories)
Luxurious dog accessories for your bougie dog loving friends.
Common People Shop (Gift Shop)
Another great Toronto shop that is a good one-stop-shop to help you shop local. They also have an online store for you to shop from home!
Rosie & Her Mama (Masks & Dog Accessories)
Who doesn’t want to match with their pup? This small business creates masks and matching dog handkerchiefs. They have some great holiday fabrics too. Perfect for holiday pictures!
Ardent Earth (Eco-Friendly Products)
Low-waste, plant-based, eco-friendly goods for your home, bath, beauty, and beyond.
Black Yoga Society (Yoga Mats)
Bio-degradable plant-based cork and natural yoga mats. Great for the yogi in your family.
HENHEN (Dog Accessories)
Art for your dog. These colourful and artistic dog accessories are beautiful and perfect for your pet, or the dog lover on your list. Made with eco-conscious materials too!
Make The Universe (DIY Kits)
Looking for an isolation activity to gift to your friends or family? Make The Universe makes DIY candle and DIY deodorant kits that make a great gift.
Dew South (Eco-Friendly Products)
Everything you need to become more eco-conscious in your bathroom, kitchen, and beyond.
Origin Travels (Travel Tours)
Have someone who has a serious case of wanderlust? Origin Travel runs women’s travel tours around the globe and they sell gift cards!
Lambshead Studio (Leather Products)
Leather laptop sleeves and accessories to elevate your office look.
Props Athletics (Exercise Props)
Still in that at-home workout mode? Props Athletics has you covered with their assortment of fitness props.
Shout-out to the Women Who Freelance Toronto and The Ladies Community Facebook groups for helping me curate this list of amazing businesses to help you shop local. Of course I couldn’t include every great business out there so please feel free to drop some of your favs in the comments below!