It’s that time of year again. Time to get your loved ones that perfect Christmas gift that represents your unique and undying bond. But, hey, you still have a week before the big day so, no rush.
Wrong! Much like last year, you assume you have more time then you really do. Then you’re left watching your loved one open another Magic Bullet, “for those smoothies they like so much,” while you slowly cross ‘excellent time management skills’ off your resume.
Stop! It doesn’t have to be this way!
Check out this list of 8 gift ideas that are perfect for the Localizer in your life! And yes, of course, they’re all local.
1. Pluck Tea
Blended in small batches in Toronto, Ontario, Pluck Tea is the perfect local treat for the tea lover in your life. Founder and tea sommelier, Jennifer Commins, sources her ingredients from organic, sustainably-managed garden from around the world and then adds delicious local ingredients, like Prince Edward County Lavender and grape skins from the Niagara region.
With more than 12 blends to choose from, Pluck Tea has something for everyone. For the cottage lover in your life, why not scoop up some Muskoka Chai? Grab some Kensington Blend for that loveable Toronto hipster. And for the sophisticated one in your life: Vintage Coco. Throw in a mug in with the first letter of their name on it and you've got yourself the perfect stocking stuffer. You can find Pluck Tea at McEwan's on Karl St., at the Art Gallery of Ontario, as well as any Indigo location.
Not a tea person? Why not try a rich, locally brewed coffee?
Mountain Gems is a third generation owned and operated Canadian coffee roaster in Mississauga, Ontario. Dating back nearly 50 years, Mountain Gem prides itself in maintaining their high-quality roasting techniques using ingredients that are certified FairTrade and certified Organic as established by EcoCert Canada. Roasted in small batches in their private facility, Mountain Gems comes in eight different Arabica bean coffees: three single origin, four blends and one decaf. Mountain Gems is sold online or at their location in Mississauga.
Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Ontario, ChocoSol is an artisanal, local chocolate producer that offers a variety of vegan treats without any artificial flavours or preservatives. For the past 10 years ChocoSol has been ethically sourcing their cocoa from organic farms in Oaxaca, Mexico and then adding local spices grown in their rooftop garden on 1131 St. Clair W. Along with a history of using solar energy to process their cocoa, ChocoSol finds many ways to give back to the local community through their involvement in Social Enterprise Learning.
ChocoSol leads a project called the ChocoSoil Community-based Urban Agriculture Research Project where they offer volunteer and co-op positions for those looking to help with soil making and other “cradle to cradle” production processes. From their production to their bicycle-powered delivery model, ChocoSol truly is “good for the mind, body, and soil.”
Along with their main location on St. Clair W., you can also find ChocoSol at YamChops and other vegan shops around Toronto.
For the artistic one in your life, why not take a look at the line of beautifully designed jewelry and home decor pieces from White Feather Designs. Owner and designer, Breanne, works out of her basement and farm in Meaford, Ontario where she has been perfecting the art of silversmithing for the past eight years. Breanne founded her company, White Feather Design, in 2007 after studying silversmithing in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She works mainly with raw metals and enamels creating intricate, geometric designs that have both vintage and modern influences. You can buy White Feather Designs on their website.
Can’t think of anything for mom? If I’ve learned anything in my gift-giving experience, it’s that you can never go wrong with skin care products. If you agree, look no further than Crawford Street Natural Skin Care, a line of beauty products established by former journalist, Gaelyne Leslie, nearly six years ago.
After suffering from a severe allergic reaction because of store bought skin products, Gaelyne wanted a skin cream she could use on her sensitive skin that was without any artificial ingredients, dye or fragrances. Gaelyne started off mixing products for herself in her home on, you guessed it, Crawford Street. However, once the word got out about her all natural creams, Gaelyne turned her passion into a business in order to meet the growing demand. To this day Gaelyne continues to work out of her home, mixing small batches of natural skin care products for her local community.
Crawford Street Skin Care can be found across Ontario, from Orillia to Ottawa, including nine locations in Toronto — The Big Carrot being one of them (look for our Localize labels while you're there!)
To bee, or not to bee? That is the sweetest question you’ll be asking yourself this Christmas season. Located 40 minutes north of Toronto in Queensville, Ontario, you’ll find Beatty Honey Farm, an organic, family-owned apiary run by first-time beekeeper Rick Beatty and his family. For nearly 30 years, Beatty Honey has been producing unpasteurized, all-natural Ontario honey on their 100-year-old farm.
What make’s their honey special is their location. Beatty Honey operates its beehives in rich meadows full of wildflower, red clover, and wild strawberries. Along with the nearby organic apple orchard, this natural variety enables Beatty’s bees to produce unique honey that Rick captures in his Wildflower, Buckwheat, and Autumn Gold flavours. A jar of bee-licious, local honey is the perfect gift for a friend with a sweet tooth.
Your family is delightful. You know it; I know it. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to have a local distillery on the list just in case you want (need) a few drinks this holiday season. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Dillion’s Small Batch Distillers is a family owned distillery in Beamsville, Ontario that produces a variety of flavoured spirits blended with locally sourced ingredients. Their prime location in the Niagara region allows owners Peter, Geoff and Gary to work directly with farmers on a daily basis, gathering fresh ingredients that go directly from farm to fermentation. For example, Dillion’s collects the unwanted grapes from local grape orchards in order to make their line of Dillion’s Bitters, while greatly reducing the orchard’s overall waste. Dillion’s makes something for everyone: rye, whiskey, gin and vodka and they are all available at your local LCBO. What’s not to love?
The holidays are great, but they can also be stressful. Why not allow a friend or family member to unwind at Province Apothecary with one of their facials using organic, local creams. As founder Julia Clark says, “sensitive skin is in her nature”. Based in Toronto, Ontario, Julia founded Province Apothecary as a way of treating her own sensitive skin caused by allergies and eczema. Using local when possible, organic ingredients, Julia finds inspiration in the seasons, mixing ingredients she finds in Canadian farms and other natural settings.
Julia not only considers what goes in her products, but also what she gives back to the community and the environment. All ingredients are sourced from certified FairTrade farms and, according to her website, she donates a percentage of yearly sales to the ‘Canadian Organic Growers’, ‘Canadian Honey Council’ as well as ‘1% for the Planet’.
So whether you want to purchase a skin cream or give the gift of a relaxing spa day, Province Apothecary is the local choice. Maybe being sensitive isn’t so bad after all.
Find their clinic at 16 Kensington Avenue where you can also buy products. They are also available online.
Now get shopping—there’s no time to waste! This list has something for everyone. And if you find yourself getting overwhelmed, #7 is delicious with hot apple cider.