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.
I think now more than ever it’s SO important that we shop local and support our local communities and business owners. You know what they say – buy local, or it’s bye local.
With everything that is going on, small business owners and local makers are taking a hit. I know lots of small business owners and makers that have turned into friends over the years, and so many of them rely on Holiday markets and events to earn their living for the year – these things have all been cancelled due to the pandemic. I’ve always shopped local when I can, but I’m making an even bigger conscious effort to do this for the holidays and have been advocating strongly for my friends and family to do the same.
Regardless of everything that is happening in the world right now, shopping locally for presents is really 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.
On that note, if you live in the Durham Region like I do, shopping local really is the gift that keeps on giving. Durham Tourism is currently running an amazing contest at the moment where you can win 1 of 8 prize packages when you shop local this holiday season. How awesome is that?!
Each prize pack is filled with a variety of gift cards for different local businesses, services and restaurants from each of the unique municipalities of Durham; Ajax, the Township of Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge and Whitby! The prize packs are generous too – each one has an estimated retail value of $500 per prize.
Personally, I’m most excited for the Whitby prize pack as it includes gift cards to two of my favourite local gems – Bistro ’67 and Markets by Dream Day.
To enter, simply follow Durham Tourism on Instagram, or like their Facebook page and share a photo using #ShopInDurham. You can receive bonus entries by creating a story post and tagging Durham Tourism. For more info, head to Durham Tourism’s website. All of the prizes will be awarded during Shop in Durham Week in Durham Region from December 14th to 18th.
One of my favourite things about shopping local is that many of the business offer flexible delivery options.
If you’re not able to make it to the store, or if it’s outside of your comfort level still, most local businesses have curbside pick-up or porch drop-off for their local customers (which I’m known to frequently take advantage of). There are lots of ways to shop locally conveniently, and safely, this holiday season!
I’ve lived in Durham Region for the majority of my life and one of my favourite things about living here is how many amazing local shops, restaurants and small businesses there are in the area. There’s a whole lot of talent in Durham! In the spirit of the holidays, #ShopInDurham contest and my love of supporting local, I thought this would be the perfect time to put together a local gift guide and share some of my favourite local businesses and makers with you!
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 soy candles and wax melts ever since (she also has linen/room sprays!). Teri’s products are natural, eco-friendly, and phthalate, paraben and free. They’re inspired by comfort foods and cozy vibes.
She hand-pours every candle and works out of her home and also has a jar recycle program and offers custom labels! You can shop Northern Lites Co. online, shipped to your home or for free local pick-up at The Maker’s Hub, or in person at Markets by Dream Day (local pick-up is also available here).
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 of favourite local shops! It’s hard to believe 6 years have gone by since I first became a regular Aide customer. I first met Michelle at the Toronto One of a Kind Show 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. She also carries products from other local makers and small businesses too.
Aide Bodycare has a storefront in Oshawa, ON and also offers free curbside pickup. They also offer free porch-drop for orders over $50 and ship across Canada.
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. You can shop Hartley Press cards on Etsy, and Sam offers free shipping on most orders and porch pick-up for local customers.
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.
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 by Dream Day, or shoot him a message on Instagram or Facebook for a custom piece. Joe also offers local pick-up/drop-off.
We have a custom piece in the works right now and also recently picked up some coasters. What I love most about the coasters is that they also look great as a candle charger (this is our favourite way to use them). 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.
Eleven Past Eleven Candle Co.
Hello, my name is Kait and I have a candle obsession. (Did you really think I wasn’t going to mention more than one candle company in this post?!)
I first discovered Eleven Past Eleven Candle Co. through Michelle over at Aide Bodycare. As mentioned above, Aide stocks products from other local makers and hosts event pop-ups – this was how I was first introduced to their products. They offer handcrafted artisan candles, poured with premium all-natural soy wax which are then topped with carefully curated healing crystals and a variety of salts and florals.
The candles are also phthalate-free and use reiki energy for all the of the good vibes! Each crystal used in the candles are cleansed and charged, creating a soothing and harmonious energy for your home/space. Eleven Past Eleven also offers free no-contact home delivery within Durham Region.
Wildflower Honey Co.
Did you know that local honey is good for your allergies and immune system? It’s true!
Wildflower Honey Co. is 100% pure Ontario Honey from bees that call Southern Ontario Home. Based out of Durham Region, they offer a wide range of unique honey, including raw honey, creamed honey, and honey infused with ginger, lavender, cinnamon, chocolate and more. They’re committed to environmental sustainability and the biological health hives, as well as educating on the importance of bees in our eco-system.
Wildflower Honey Co’s products are available through a number of local retailers, including Aide Bodycare (in-store and online).
Bistro ’67 / The Pantry at DC
Bistro ’67 is a local restaurant that is re-defining the term “eat local” through their field to fork philosophy. Not only are you supporting the local community, businesses and local agriculture by ordering from Bistro, but you’re also supporting education!
Located at Durham College’s Whitby campus, Bistro ’67 is DC’s teaching inspired restaurant. Students from DC’s Horticulture and Food and Farming programs work with field staff to grow the produce on-site. From there, the culinary students then prepare the food alongside professional chefs.
Right now, in addition to dine-in service (offered in accordance with the updated Government of Ontario COVID-19 response framework), they’re also offering curbside take-out. They’re also offering curbside pick-up for Pantry items which include pre-made frozen meals and desserts, preserves (jams, honey, pickled veggies and more) and fresh-produce that is grown on-site.
I’m proud to support my local community and sincerely hope you will consider doing the same, not only this holiday season but going forward. I’m also always looking for new local gems, shops, and small businesses, so please feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me to let me know who some of your favourite local shops and small businesses are (even if they’re not in Durham). If you are in Durham, definitely check out Durham Tourism’s giveaway and enter – good luck!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Durham Tourism. While I have received compensation for writing this post, all of the opinions and text are all mine and genuine.