This year, we have gleefully gathered gift ideas from shops and venues featured on this blog in the hopes of making gift-giving this holiday season that much easier and meaningful. We want our money to benefit other locals bringing energy and creativity to our little piece of the world. And hopefully you do too!
This will be our third holiday gift guide featuring small shops and independent artisans, but our first for Jane & Jury (see 2014 and 2013). This year marks a special endeavour. Not only does it stand for what we are striving to do with this blog – to celebrate local, independent people and experiences – but it is a pretty good reflection of the amazing content we’ve gathered over the year.
With utter appreciation for all the people making offerings for this year’s gift guide, we’ve organized our listings into sections. Jump there quickly – For the Foodies / For Art, Music & Culture Lovers / For Lovers of Good Design / Experiences & Events / Shop Local – or simply read on.
The Arlington ($$$)
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to stay at the Arlington – or if you have frequent company to Paris (and maybe need a night off from house guests!), their gift package is perfect. They are offering a one night stay and a three-course dinner for two for $200. Available in gift certificate form now at the hotel’s front desk.
Bluewater Creamery ($-$$$)
We were contacted by a friend of John and Lili’s, the founders of Bluewater Creamery, to see if we could share their Kickstarter campaign. Boy, can we get behind this. Not only have we had their wonderful homemade, seasonally-flavoured ice cream at Aberfoyle Antiques Market, we were inspired by their video and approach to growing and sustaining their small family business. Pitch into their campaign so they can buy a food truck and get some awesome gifts – we are partial to their $34 punch card, or $98 “Taste the Seasons” card. Find out more here.
Bishop Family Bees ($-$$)
The Healthy Rabbit ($-$$)
When Billie arrived, Cassie’s generous Mozilla colleagues gave us a gift card from the Rabbit that continues to sustain us on the odd occasion. We like this as a gift not just for those short of time, but for anyone who is on a new health kick or might just like to try some immune-boosting mega-smoothies as we get into the season of flus and colds. They also wanted us to let you know to watch for their new eco car coming in the new year (likely Feb). It is made out of hemp and will be delivering their healthy offerings around Brantford. They will also be opening a small yoga studio that should be done around the same time.
The Raw Carrot ($)
We first met Colleen and Rebecca when we featured their inspired business here on the blog, and we subsequently worked with them on creating video shorts of their incredible employees and work culture. Help celebrate the good they are putting into the world by purchasing some of their yummy, healthy soup, or get a gift certificate (available in all denominations). Perfect for people who are too busy to cook but still need a lot of nourishment (people with children, especially). Stop by the Raw Carrot at the Paris Presbyterian Church or find them in stock at Brantwood Farms. Check their website for open hours.
Adelaide Hunter Hoodless – Dec 10 ($)
The Hoodless Homestead will be decked out for the holidays as it might have looked in the Victorian era. On December 10th a bunch of spirited people will be dressed up in elaborate period costumes, there will be live music, and folks can wander the house to hear people telling stories of the Hunter family and Addie. The cost is $25 per family (or you can pay individually).
Bawcutt Centre Concert – Dec 28 ($)
Tickets are still on sale for the December 28th Micheal Castaldo concert, the gifted Italian tenor who will be gracing us with holiday classics at the Cedarview Church in Paris. $25 per ticket, in remembrance of locally loved late Lisa Dalpe, with proceeds benefitting the restoration of the Bawcutt Centre. Tickets are available online, can be purchased at any County of Brant customer service office, at Green Heron Books, or by contacting Councillor Shirley Simons at 519-442-3550.
The DT Concert Series ($-$$$)
Paris Museum & Historical Society Gift Shop ($-$$$)
Christmas ornaments, historical postcards, local handmade cards, even original paintings including the glorious Holly O.! Everything is made by local artisans and helps raise funds for the museum and archives. Check out some of their offerings on the Facebook page and stop in at the Syl Apps building.
Black & Smith Country General – Dec 3-4 ($-$$)
This sweet little general store and potters hub for Emma Smith will be celebrating one year of being open the weekend of December 3rd and 4th. There will be complimentary coffee, cider and snacks, a two-piece band playing acoustic folk rock (Saturday 6-8pm), pottery demonstrations (Saturday 12-3pm), interactive tea tasting (Sunday 12-2) and more. Over 90% of their products are made in Canada, with 100% ethically and environmentally responsible. Check out their website, Instagram and Facebook accounts for more info.
The Art of Home ($-$$$)
This lovely homewares shop in Cambridge is a must-stop on any holiday shopping expedition. You will find dozens of gifts here, from big ticket items to dainty stocking stuffers. They also have an excellent jewelry section. Be sure to go see their ornament collection – “Every Christmas we bring in thousands (literally thousands) of ornaments… they are kind of “our thing”. We build an ornament forest out of branches to hold our collection, which ranges from vintage to whimsical (hello, jellyfish!) to classic.” See their website for shop location and hours.
Jane & Jury Frame Shop ($$-$$$)
A little shameless self-promotion: Our Jane & Jury Frame Shop is fully operational with custom framing solutions generally $80+. Email us to set up an appointment, spots are filling quickly to get pieces finished and under the tree for the holidays.
Paper & Ink ($-$$)
Kim and Alicia, behind the new Paper & Ink collaboration, are just the nicest dynamic duo you will ever meet. We were so privileged to have created their new logo as they start up their workshop and craft show season. They have unique black and white artwork and custom cards for sale. Like ’em on Facebook to follow their holiday happenings.
Rug & Weave ($$-$$$)
We were delighted to come across Rug & Weave earlier this year at a Guelph pop-up shop. Nice people, recycled materials, handmade, and excellent service. Check out their wool Pom Pom blankets, a warm winter gift made of 100% handspun wool, and their popular Sabra Silk pillows, handmade in Morocco using sustainably sourced Saharan agave cactus silk combined with wool. Visit their website to see what’s in stock.
Our friends at Studio50 have a delightful range of products perfect for holiday gift-giving. Their Rock Bottom range lets you choose between “homemade dressing” size vessels to larger wine carafes. They have knife blocks, aromatic oil diffusers, and mortar and pestles. All their products are designed to be multi-functional and environmentally responsible. Also, gorgeous. They let us know their online store is currently out of stock but they’ll be posting new items (and open studio times) after December 5th when they are back from their travels. You can also pick up their wares at the Wincey Mills and other vendors. Contact Kim and Steve for more info.
County of Brant Anthology – Dec 15 (Free)
This is not an item to buy (yet) but as we are on the jury behind the scenes we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to remind folks that the deadline to submit stories, poems and essays for this locally-inspired literary anthology is December 15th. Get typing! Entries can be made in person at any Country of Brant library or online. See the full submission guidelines here. Follow more info and advice about the anthology on Facebook.
Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory – Dec 1-Jan 29 ($)
The Butterfly Conservatory in Cambridge recently published their own wonderful little gift guide with items from their gift shop. They also have a holiday exhibit on from December 1st to January 29th called the Flight of White, which sounds like an utterly beautiful experience. Thousands of white Rice Paper Butterflies, related to the Monarch, will be released throughout the conservatory to fly amongst poinsettias and white fairy lights. We know we will be stopping in when our family comes to town after Christmas.
Personal Computer Museum – Dec 10 (free/$)
Our favourite computer museum just around the corner in Brantford wanted us to tell you about some new things they’ve got gong on. December 10th is their Christmas Open House – “It’s a Computer Christmas” featuring Christmas demos and software used in retail in the 80s. They’ve got mugs! Just $10 each to support the collection. You might also want to consider the space for a event, they host up to around 25 people for birthday and holiday parties.
The Sociable – Dec 8 (Free/$)
On December 8th The Sociable bar and restaurant in Brantford will be celebrating their one year anniversary with local breweries Bell City and Mash Paddle beer on special for $4 a sleeve, with reps from each brewery – Teddy and Dennis – there in person to rub shoulders. Bring a nonperishable food item and get a complimentary piece of birthday cake. The Sociable photo booth (super fun for all ages) proceeds for the evening will benefit United Way. Festivities begin at 5pm and Steven Ryan will be performing from 6:30 to 9:30. Good times to be had and enjoyed with local booze; get a babysitter and a taxi, we may see you there.
The Arlington (FREE/$)
The Arlington hotel has a slew of upcoming events (many of which are free or low cost):
|Saturday Dec. 3, 2pm||Gingerbread House Making (Register at front desk)||$40|
|Saturday Dec. 3, 3pm||Holiday Story Reading (Register at front desk)||$40|
|Saturday Dec. 7, 7pm||Move Night Double Feature (Home Alone & The Holiday)||$5|
|Saturday Dec. 10, 3pm||Santa Claus Visit & Children’s Holiday Story Reading||Free|
|Saturday Dec. 17, 3pm||Santa Claus Visit & Children’s Holiday Story Reading||Free|
|Wednesday, Dec. 21, 7pm||Move Night Double Feature (Miracle on 34th Street & Love, Actually)||$5|
|Sunday, Dec. 25||Christmas Day Buffet at Woolf & Wilde||Contact|
|Sunday, Jan. 1||New Year’s Day Buffet at Woolf & Wilde||Contact|
Wincey Mills ($-$$$)
It’s no secret we are fans of the Wincey Mills and the awesome community and local commerce space they’ve brought to Paris. We have suggestions from each individual vendor on what they think would make an awesome gift offering from their shoppe. Granted, we guarantee you will find more than what’s listed here!
- Brantwood Farms – Apple cider
- Silverstone – doTerra oils
- Grilled Cheese Effect – Santa in a jar! (cheesecake)
- Bird & Bee Vintage – One-of-a-kind I Love Paris (Ont.) colouring book
- Nith River Market – Ontario maple syrup
- McCormick Flowers & Gifts – Christmas wreaths
- Faire Bonne – Gurgle pots
- Florcita’s Latin Foods – Frozen tortilla lasagna
- Tipperary Bog – Cheese trays
- Turquoise Skies – Persian rugs (we have pillowcases on our couch, love ’em)
- Original Kettlecorn & Gourmet Popcorn – Popcorn garland kit (perfect for busy hands)
- Wabi Sabi – Tree of life necklace
- Lavender Farm– Lavender hand lotion & soap
- Oil Girl – Handmade soap
- Carl’s First Choice Meats – Frozen breakfast sausages $5. per dozen (we’re vegemetarians ourselves, but if you’re gonna eat meat, go local)
- Chelsey Pear Charms – Living aquarium necklaces
- Crazy Plates – Gourmet mac & cheese (just pop it into the your oven for easy holiday fixin’s)
- Blue Dog – Assorted coffee cups & beans
- Office Gallery & Gifts – Itsy bitsy Cardinal paintings by Holly O.
Be sure to stop by for their amazing holiday ambiance and if you’re able, support their Angel Tree – they are hoping to rustle up 200 presents for kids in need. “Please consider donating a new, unwrapped item and attach a set a wings from the Angel Tree to your gift. When life is hard and there are no gifts under the tree, your help will bring smiles on Christmas morning. Gifts and donations will be accepted until December 3rd.” Also, ever a supporter of local artisans, the Wincey is hosting an Art Show on December 3rd. Check out more info on their facebook page.
Other Paris vendors ($-$$$)
- Green Heron Books – Lots of great options including a local authors section, Anne of Green Gable books with cover illustrations by the Hamilton artist we love, Jacqui Oakley, prints from Wayne Wilkinson. Also, poetry books (including one for kids) by local poet Nelson Ball
- John M. Hall House of Quality Linens – Aprons, lotions, jammies, fabrics, tableware
- Piper & Oak – gorgeous and thoughtfully curated homewares, including kids items
- Local art from Jennifer Budd, Ralph Heather, Jeanette Obbink, the new Black Wall Art Gallery and Robertson Fine Arts
- Gorgeous nature-inspired jewelry from Karen Wetlaufer’s Found Studio
- Throws and scarves from the next Paris Lectures speaker, Master Weaver Deborah Briggs
- A Swiss in Paris – get your holiday cheese plates made locally
- Lots of great clothes, food, and experiences in downtown Paris, too. Check out the downtown merchants listings
As we all attempt to end 2016 on a high note let’s do it with gifts of intentional thoughtfulness that contribute to making our world a lovelier place. Let’s support good people doing good things. Let’s support artists and creatives and small businesses. Let’s buy locally, instead of shipping goods from Amazon. If you are frustrated with the cult of consumerism, get out and do things, or buy someone an experience instead. We will be looking to this list for our own guidance this year, and hopefully others find it useful too.
This guide is simply the smallest of listings for where to buy locally this season. We know we have neglected to mention many wonderful shops and artisans… Have something to add? Leave a comment at the bottom, we would love to hear about other good ideas for local giving and we love to see people sharing ideas. Happy Holidays!