This year has been one for the history books.
I don’t mean that as a figure of speech either. The last nine months have been a roller coaster for the entire world.
Small businesses have been severely impacted by the global pandemic. It’s heartbreaking to see the for lease signs and empty storefronts all over the city.
So as we head into the holiday season, it’s more important than ever to support local businesses in our community.
I am going to try and support as many small businesses and Canadian retailers as I can this holiday season.
Here are some gift ideas (beauty, fashion and eats) from some of my favorites, along with a few new finds.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not paid or in partnership with any of these businesses. Small businesses employ our family and friends – they are the backbone of our city. So I want to do anything I can to help – no matter how small the gesture.
Also, be forewarned, when I really like something, I get super excited about it. Some call it cute others annoying.
I’m a bit of a hair and beauty product junkie, so obviously they would be on my list. If you have hair you need hair products/services and skincare should be a priority for everyone – no matter your age or gender.
Although I love my curls, one of my favorite things in the world is having my hair blown out. It’s the most relaxing feeling in the world – trust me!
Gift certificates can be impersonal but when you put thought into them, they can be a little bundle of happiness.
GIFT CERTIFICATE: WASH + STYLE
Whether it is at Texture or your own salon – this is a great gift idea (Christmas, New Years – or just because) plus you can add on a 20 minutes head massage – to make it a next level pampering experience.
I love travel-sized beauty products, you can try something new without committing to a full size. Plus, they are perfect for stocking stuffers – even if we can’t travel anywhere – we can still pretend.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a good hair day. When you can’t make it into the salon, tools will help. And, because it is the season of giving you can add on a heat protectant product too.
I love giving hair products as gifts, especially to people who use drugstore brands – because they really feel and see the difference once they use them. Salon grade products help maintain the color and health of your hair.
I love the holidays, because hair brands always release boxed sets. They are also super easy to wrap or even better pop into a reusable shopping bag to be eco-friendly. Because on top of everything else, we need to worry about the planet too.
ALL NATURAL SOAP
Over the years, there has been a growing demand for ‘clean beauty’ products. ManSoap Company has a great collection of all natural, handmade skincare, beard and hair products including:
ALL NATURAL SOAP: Bar and Foaming Liquid…
BEARD CARE: Beard Brush, Hemp Seed Beard Balm…
SHAVING: Pre-shave Oil, Shave Brush…
MOISTURIZING: Tattoo Aftercare, Hemp Seed Lip Moisturizer…
I just purchased their Coffee Exfoliant and Bastille soap. They smell A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and I love the eco-friendly packaging. I just might keep one of them for myself!
To read more of their story click here.
My friend Courtney Turk told me about the Milk Shop a few years ago, and I popped in there recently to take a look around.
They have cute pieces for women at all price points, as well as, accessories and other items.
There is a lot to look at – I was there for about 30 minutes just browsing.
Here are some of the things I picked up. Full disclosure they were gifts for me. #selflove
I love food – trying new products, restaurants, cuisines and dishes. I figure life is short – you might as well enjoy it. Plus this has been a crazy year – we need to indulge a little.
ITALIAN SWEET BREADS
What is Christmas or New Year’s Eve without panettone, pandoro or panforte? The best thing about the ones at La Bottega is that they already come beautifully wrapped. You don’t have to do anything.
P.S. My cousin Lisa once told me that she slices her pandoro, toasts and spreads Nutella on it. I tried it and it is de-lish.
When people put thought into them, gift baskets are the best. My brother makes one for my Mother every Christmas and she loves them.
The great thing about them is that they are customizable which makes the options endless.
La Bottega now stocks over 200 retail priced labels in their wine shop. I love prosecco and over the past few months, I have been able to try a few new ones that you can’t get at the LCBO.
Wine alone or paired with some snacks can be a great gift for any occasion, not just the holidays. And, don’t worry about figuring out what to pick, because the staff is great and can help you find the perfect bottle.
They also have their own holiday gift collection, including a La BOTTEGA 12 Days of Christmas – Wine Advent Calendar.
Looking for a gift for the foodie in your life?
Check out the Fresh Prepared To-Go items on La Roma’s online gourmet shoppe. The house made vanilla pear jam, is on my gift list.
I love Farinella pizza, gelato, pastries. Everything is just so good. Now they even have a Brioche Loaf. It is only available on Sunday and you have to pre-order 24 hours in advance.
Now let me get to the gift idea part. Not only do they have swag they also have homemade: chilli oil, hot honey, hot chocolate mix – which will be perfect for cold winter days.
ONE STOP SHOP
I had to make a special category for BBx Collection, because they have such a wide range of offerings: stationery & cards, candles, beauty products, tees, bags, hair accessories, jewelry and more…
They are also very active in the community supporting various causes and charities throughout the city. #whenlocalsupportslocal
They have a boutique in the Byward Market and are online as well.
They are also a case of when local supports local – take a look at what I picked up on my last visit.
laani life scrunchies are handcrafted in Ottawa. I was on the online shop the other day and they have a collection of the cutest little pins ever!
Twenty 20 Skincare is an Ottawa based business offering clear and simple products that are safe for our health and the earth. To find out more about their founder Elena Minnow and products click here.
THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE
So these are small businesses that I heard about through friends – so I wanted to include them as well. I definitely might be making some purchases of my own!
BLOCK HOUSE KNITS: Laura creates handcrafted knits, including hats, headbands and scarves. Her matching mother/daughter sets are just too perfect!
KT INSPIRED HOME: Kim Tessier creates affordable and unique handmade home and lifestyle goods. Her style is a perfect balance between modern, farmhouse, urban and barn.
PERIPHERY WOOD: Jay creates stunning handcrafted, custom wood pieces – everything from tables to bottle stoppers. I am absolutely obsessed with his charcuterie boards.
YOW POPCORN CO.: Seriously though, do I even need to say anything?! They make delicious popcorn. Here are just some of the flavors: Truffle Parmesan Black Garlic, YOW Mix (Chicago Mix), Sriracha Lime, Honey BBQ and Sweet Cinnamon.
For more information on placing orders, please click here.
1884 Merivale Road Unit 6 | Ottawa ON
613-241-8977 | 613-226-8398
45 William Street | Byward Market
64 George Street | Byward Market
430 Preston Street | Little Italy
492 Rochester Street | Little Italy
31 York Street | Byward Market
When I was putting together this post, I got an email notification announcing that the Lansdowne Park 613 Flea Marketplace is coming back this November!
This is a marketplace where creators, artisans, designers and makers come together with antiques dealers, independent boutiques, food merchants and vintage clothing vendors. There is an ever-changing inventory of eclectic goods, vintage finds and handmade/one-of-a-kind items.
I’m looking forward to checking it out – because I have never been.
Tickets for shopping sessions must be purchased in advance and all Covid-19 safety protocols must be followed. For more information please click here.