If you’ve been around here for a while, I’m sure you all know how passionate I am about supporting local communities and how much I love shopping local. While I know this isn’t something that I can always do, I do try to shop local as much as possible and when I can’t I try to make a conscious effort to purchase from Canadian retailers and brands and advocate for others to do the same.
During the holidays, I make an even bigger conscious effort to shop local when I’m gift buying. For me, shopping locally for presents truly is the gift that keeps on giving. There’s something so special about being able to give someone a gift that is unique and that they can’t find anywhere else because it came from a small, local business or was made by a local maker. Not only that but when you buy a gift from a local business you’re also giving back to your community.
I’m so exited to finally share my 2021 Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide! I have personally purchased from all of these local makers, artisans and small businesses in the past.
This year, I’m also so excited to announce that I’m teaming up with some of them to host a 12 Days of Local holiday giveaway on Instagram! The giveaways will be running from December 1 to 12, with a new giveaway each day, so be sure to give me a follow so you don’t miss out on the fun. I’ll also be launching a second guide later this week on things to do in Durham this holiday season to help you get into the festive spirit – stay tuned!
1. Northern Lites Co.
I first met Teri and discovered Northern Lites Co. at a local holiday market about a year ago – I’ve been hooked on her hand-poured soy candles, wax melts and room sprays ever since. Her candles are hands-down my favourite and I almost always have one burning. Teri’s products are natural, eco-friendly, and phthalate, paraben and free. You can shop Northern Lites Co. online, shipped to your home or local pick-up at Markets Ontario at the Bowmanville location, where you can also shop in person! If someone on your list is a candle nut like I am, they’re going to love Teri’s.
2. Aide Bodycare
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Aide Bodycare on here, so it should come as no surprise that they’re on my list this year! I first met Michelle at the Toronto One of a Kind Show 7 years ago and was really excited to learn that she was from my neck of the woods! Michelle creates the most beautiful, high-quality soaps and body products and has spa kits that make the perfect gift. She also carries products from other local makers and small businesses too, so you’re bound to find something for anyone on your list. Aide Bodycare has a storefront in Oshawa, ON and also offers in-store pickup and local delivery if you purchase online.
3. Panda & Co.
Panda & Co. is an online pet bakery and they specialize in baking healthy treats made with only natural, organic, human-grade ingredients for your beloved four legged friend. All of their treats are sugar-free, contain no preservatives, additives or artificial colours/flavours. They also cater to all dietary needs offering dairy-free, wheat/gluten free alternatives and everything in between! You can shop their products on their website or in-person at Markets Ontario at the Bowmanville location. Ruffi is a huge fan of their treats, we recently picked up an advent calendar for her! Their treats are a great gift for anyone on your list who is a dog-parent.
4. Falcon Rub
Falcon Rub offers hand blended artisan spice rubs and other delicious fare-made BBQ products. They’re products are all created in Brooklin, ON and they offer plenty of KETO options.If you have someone on your list that loves to cook or barbecue, their rubs make for a great gift. You can use them on grilled meats or veggies, and even add a bit of excitement to eggs! You can shop their products in person or online at Markets Ontario (all locations). Note: while most of their spices don’t contain gluten, they do use a gluten-shared kitchen.
5. Mellona Prodcuts
I first discovered Mellona through a collaboration I did this past spring with Shop in Durham, and I’ve been hooked on their products ever since. They’re a family owned business and offer all-natural honey and fine food products including honey-infused beverages, oils, bbq sauces, jams and much more – there’s something for everyone on your list! Their bee farm sits on 20 acres of land and is local to Durham Region. Their products are chemical and antibiotic free. You can purchase their products directly on their website and they offer free local porch-pickup. (Fun fact, did you know that consuming local honey can reduce seasonal allergies?)
6. Hartley Press
I’m a big fan of sending hand-written Christmas cards and giving them to all my friends and family. Hartley Press is a brand new small business that offers punny hand-made cards. It’s actually owned by one of my friends and fellow bloggers, Samantha of Pearls and Polkadots. She draws all of her designs on her iPad Pro, prints them herself and then cuts and scores them using her Cricut. They’re super cute and if you love a good pun like I do, I know you’ll fall in love with them. I’m probably a little biased, but her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Christmas cards are my favourite. She offers free shipping on most orders and has porch pick-up for local customers.
7. Heirloom Heather
Heirloom Heather is another small business that was created by a friend of mine. Heather and I originally went to college together and quickly became friends over our mutual interest in design and k-pop. Heather’s always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and during the pandemic she started gardening as a hobby and let me tell you, she has a natural talent for it. A year later, Heather decided to take her hobby to the next level and launched her florist farmer business. All of her flowers are hand-grown herself, or locally sourced. She creates beautiful bouquets, centrepieces for every holiday, and new to this year are her holiday wreaths which make for a perfect gift for anyone on your list who loves home decor. You can purchase her arrangements online through her website or via Instagram, where she posts limited drops.
8. Pink Lemon Decor
I first met Amber, the owner of Pink Lemon Decor, many years ago at a local markers market. Pink Lemon Decor offers unique prints, digital download prints, wooden signs and vintage art-prints. All wood signs are handcrafted using Canadian lumber and assembled in-house in Bowmanville, ON and make for a great gift for anyone on your list who loves home decor, decorating for the holidays or is a new home owner. You can shop directly on the Pink Lemon Decor website, or in-person at one of her many pop-up markets or at Markets Ontario at the Bowmanville location.
9. Infused Handcrafted
Infused Handcrafted offers beautiful, handmade natural bath products including shower steamers, bath bombs (my personal favourite) soaps and more. Their products are all made with organic, chemical free, food grade ingredients. Every product is infused with the highest therapeutic grade essential oils you can find and make for great gifts for anyone who loves a little “me time” and regularly practices self-care – they even offer gift sets! You can shop their products online through their website or in-person at Markets Ontario in Bowmanville.
10. Madera by Joe
Madera by Joe offers custom live edge charcuterie boards (I’m a firm believer that everyone needs a charcuterie board in their home), coasters, home decor, furniture as well as custom pieces. The owner, Joe, is a woodworker with years of experience and is based out of Bowmanville, ON. Every single piece is unique and absolutely stunning. You can shop Madera at Markets Ontario at the Bowmanville location, or message him to inquire about custom creations. Joe also offers local pick-up/drop-off. I really love using the coasters as a candle charger and they also make for the perfect gift – you could gift a full package, or split a package up and gift them alongside your favourite local candles for a nice gift.
11. Twenty 1 Desserts
Twenty 1 is dedicated to all natural, vegan and gluten-free hand-made desserts. All of their products are free from refined sugars, preservatives and processed ingredients. They offer a wide-range of products including charcuterie boxes, treat boxes, holiday desserts, KETO friendly treats and more. With so many options, they make for a great gift for foodies on your list or anyone who has dietary restrictions (e.g. vegan or gluten-free). You can order online through their website or in-person at their storefront in Bowmanville, or at Urban Markets in Oshawa, ON.
12. All Things Stamped
All Things Stamped offers 100% handcrafted and hand stamped jewellery that is made in Bowmanville, ON using high quality stainless steel and aluminum materials. All of their products are hypoallergenic, non-tarnish, and nickel free — a must for those of us with sensitive skin. They use positive and encouraging words throughout their designs to help influence the way we think, improve our overall well-being, and promote positivity in all aspects of our lives. Their products make for great, personalized and thoughtful gift. I’m a huge fan of their zodiac constellation necklaces personally. You can shop their products online through Etsy, or in-person at Markets Ontario at the Bowmanville location.