Warm hot cocoa, cozy sweaters, the crisp jingle of Christmas music filling the streets, the crackle of the Yule log on Channel 4 and of course the delicate rustic holiday décor, are just a few of my favorite things about the holidays – aside from the brisk subarctic temperatures of course. Under all of the fluff and exquisiteness that becomes part of our everyday lives, there is something so lucidly candor about the Christmas season that is unlike any other time of year. People are kinder, controversies are put aside, people are more supportive of others in need, time is made for family and friends that would otherwise be spent on work or the bustle of our everyday lives, selfishness is subsided and the holiday spirit shines through us making it truly a magical season of giving.
Instead of waiting for the inaugural December 1st, this year my holiday festivities began in early November. As a result of my eagerness, that has been compared to that of Buddy the Elf many times, I have come close to wrapping up my Christmas shopping – literally! Yes, I have entered the gift-wrapping phase, and it’s not yet Christmas Eve – it truly is a miracle.
During my shopping endeavours, I decided that I would completely avoid the insanity at the malls and make a conscious effort to shop local this year. Not only am I supporting local talent and fellow entrepreneurs, but I always manage to find presents that are unique and original for each individual that I am buying for, instead of making laps around the mall and settling on a variation of the same mug at David’s Tea for all my friends and family. Without giving away some of the nifty presents I have already purchased, I have crafted a guide to some of some of Calgary’s best kept local secrets, where you can find the perfect Christmas gift for just about anyone on your list!
Envision decking the halls of your home with bouquets of holly, festive planters, wreaths, and garlands, or having an elegant centerpiece at your Christmas dinner. Even better, provide the hostess in your life with a holiday bouquet of unique, luxurious florals that will be the cherry on top of their Kate Spade inspired Christmas décor. Regardless of the occasion, Jessica, from Antheia Floral will provide you with fresh blooms creatively arranged in a design to suit any of your flower needs. The best part, all her flowers are ethically sourced so you can enjoy a fresh bouquet with a clear conscious.
This beautiful boutique, nestled in the historic De Waal Block in Bridgeland, offers a plethora of stunning gifts curated from over 60 different local artists, along with a British-inspired tea room where you can grab a latte to keep you warm as you shop. Here you can find amazing stocking stuffers, such as freshly roasted coffee beans from Calgary Heritage Roasting Co., hand blended loose leaf tea from Tearrific, holiday scented candles from Lavami, day planners from Wrinkle and Crease, sweet honey from Drizzle, knitwear and jewelry from Salt Water Tea, hilariously mismatched socks from the famous Friday Sock Co., and new to the store, tea and coffee mugs from Hands On Clay Collective from Victoria, BC. You will also find their famous wall of exorbitantly hilarious cards for literally every occasion, including the holidays, along with an array of delicious sweets from The Violet Chocolate Co., Pretty Sweet, and Canada’s Sweet Shop.
Be sure to check out their Holiday Pop-Up series that is happening now until December 18th. Go to their website for more details.
Originally what was considered just a little red barn, has now been converted into a bustling workshop and retail store for local brands, Camp Brand Goods and CoutuKitsch. This is a captivating space that is truly unique and beautiful, and the sense of community amongst all of the designers is contagious – I could literally hang out here for days!
Be sure to check out Camp’s new 60’s inspired f/w line, The Highwood Collection, as you can never go wrong with one of their tees, toques or popular fleece crewnecks. Pair with one of the many statement earrings or necklaces from CoutuKitsch’s new exquisite Reine collection and you will have a gift that is cozy, sensible, practical and fashionable all at the same time – the best combo! You can also find a variety of other local brands that have a general theme of the great outdoors, perfect for the adventurer in your life.
This concept shop is new to the local shopping scene this holiday season, but man they are killing it! Owned by Heidi Blanchette and Nikki Maas, these two ladies know a thing or two about fashion and they credit their inspiration to the women they named the boutique after – their Grandmothers! Here you can find anything from leather purses, statement necklaces, trendy home décor, sassy collectibles, wine-themed accessories and an array of holiday-themed gifts that make perfect stocking stuffers. If you are struggling to find something for that “person who has everything” on your list, then suggest you head over to this little shop, as I can guarantee you that you will stumble upon something that is uniquely perfect!
Nothing says “Merry Christmas” better than a brand new leather purse, or even better, a new pair of shoes. Okay maybe I just have a shoe problem, but in all seriousness, a leather gift from Poppy and Barley is a gift that your special someone will keep and use for years to come. Choose between custom-made leather shoes, for both men and women, or an array of purses, wallets and other leather accessories that will spice up any wardrobe. I am currently lusting over their brand-new black leather “Nubuck backpack” – just in case anyone was wondering!
Give the gift of healthy! Skin care products can add up to be quite pricey over time, which is why they make the perfect gifts. Visit this brand new, Scandinavian inspired concept shop, located in historic Inglewood and find unique household and bath + body products that are ethically sourced and made with organic ingredients. Shop quality brands, such as Herbivore Botanicals, L:A Bruket, Common Goods Co., Woodlot and my favorite Australian brand, Aesop. This is the best type of gift, as you are getting someone a quality product they may have otherwise put off buying – and they can use it for months to come – win win!
This is the place where cashmere dreams come true! If you are looking for the perfect gift for the fashionista in your life, I can guarantee that you will find it in this trendy boutique on 17th avenue. Set at a bit of a higher price point, Kit and Ace is all about providing quality basics that are made for standing the test of time and suiting your busy lifestyle, while allowing you to be comfortable, practical and stylish all at the same time. If you are on a larger budget, one of their luxurious cashmere scarfs or toque + mitt sets would make an excellent present, considering the vicious winter the Weather Channel has prepared us for this year. Or get their “Willow Brushed Long Sleeve,” which is a double-stacked turtleneck that comes in a variety of different colors and is the perfect piece perfect for layering – the receiver will definitely be able to utilize this gift for many seasons and winters to come.
This year Calgary seems to have a ton of different local markets happening every weekend, now until Christmas. My favorite part about market shopping, especially over the holidays, is that I get to shop my favorite go-to artists and makers, while also discovering new ones I never knew existed. This is the best way to find one-of-a-kind gifts that are special and unique to the individual that you are buying for. You will find vendors that offer products ranging from handmade baby clothes, treats for your pet, stunning jewelry, beautiful photography and even food vendors that offer packaged goods that go great in a basket made for the hostess in your life. Some of the upcoming markets that I would recommend are Market Collective and the Azuridge Christmas Market.
I hope this curated article will help you check off some of your Holiday shopping to-do list and allow you to find gifts that are perfect for your loved ones to open on Christmas day!