As a child, I loved flipping through holiday gift guides - the Sears one was a big hit in our house. Endless toys and possibilities!
But now that I'm an adult, I've realized the value in giving quality gifts - something that is well-made and one of a kind. This year we're focusing on LESS; making more memories instead of collecting more stuff.
Instead of making sure we have X number of gifts for each person, we're picking really special things for our family to gift. In thinking about quality over quantity. I've collected a great list of gift ideas that you can use too! All of these businesses are Canadian, and some are local (VERY local....as in, the man behind the curvy board lives in my home!)
Waldorf Curvy Boards
It may seem self-serving to promote my husband's products, but we definitely see the value in a Waldorf-style curvy board. The prototype that my husband first made last year became a big hit for both our girls. It can be used for sliding, climbing, balancing and pretend-play. He ended up selling that first one (and many more!), and so there will be a brand new board sitting under the tree for them on Christmas day. Cost: $120 (no tax) Order yours by sending him a message through is Facebook page: Tom of All Trades
The Sweetest Digs Co. Prints
I just met Gemma Bonham-Carter at the Blissdom Conference, and when I checked out her website and Etsy shop, I was blown away! Gemma is the Queen of DYI, and her blog is full of amazing posts on DIY projects and interior design. She also designs and sells prints, pillows and other accessories. We've chosen a few for you to check out! There's this beautiful print, perfect for the young girl in your life. Or maybe a throw pillow cover for the couch? My personal fave is her watercolour maps - if you're searching for a gift for a traveler, this would be a great option!
Knitted Hats for The Ottawa Food Bank
Sheila Dubois (who is also Lara's mother) knits hats every year, donating the entire purchase price to The Ottawa Food Bank. This year there are many options - iBallistic Squid (that's a Minecraft thing), a Ninja Turtle (colour requests are possible), Rainbow Dash, Minions and Creepers. Adult hats in plain colours are also available. All hats are $20 and you can order on Facebook by leaving a comment on a hat you're interested in and Eric Dubois (Lara's dad :) will get back to you with payment and pick up or shipping options.
Sheila was able to donate over $1500 to the Ottawa Food Bank last year - let's help her do it again this year!
Kids in the Capital has been a fan of Mabel's Labels since way back when! I have my stack of stickers in a drawer, which I use on everything from underwear to water bottles to shoes. Lara also has their ID bracelets which she uses when they're on vacations so that her cell phone number is securely attached to kids who have a hard time always staying close to their parents.
They've got some great holiday gift ideas, including a personalized "My Adventures with Disney Frozen" book and mini sets that make great stocking stuffers.
I LOVE canvases. Last year we realized that our walls were too bare, so we ordered a number of large canvases of some of our favourite pictures that we've had taken over the years (including the one above!) They really brighten a room!
Lara picks a favourite photo from each year and has it printed as a 16 x 24 canvas for each set of grandparents for Christmas presents each year too.
I first learned about Peekaboo Beans when I got to know Vicky Bisson, a local Peekaboo Beans Stylist. I love this company because they make practical, comfortable clothing for children that are designed to last. My daughter wears holes in her other pants in a matter of weeks!! Peekaboo Beans want children to get out and be active! The clothing is also soft, without scratchy tags - great for children with sensory issues.
City of Ottawa
Give the gift of play! I LOVE this idea for birthday presents, and Christmas would be even better - activities are so expensive when you have more than one child in multiple classes. Purchase a gift certificate for a child or parent, and help them to be healthier and more active!
Tag Along Toys
We love our local Ottawa toy shop (with a location on Bank Street and one in Kanata). Lara has already been in several times because she loves that they have a great array of the big hit toys, as well as ones that are really educational for her kids. All things crafts, including building Darth Vader, r2d2 or creating a felt purse, will be big hits with her kids. Her aspiring inventor is also getting some inventor specific stuff!
Don't forget the colouring books - good for adults and kids alike!
Another local company run by two Ottawa moms! They create these super cute totes that can be multi-purpose at the holidays. They can be an alternative to gift wrap waste and then they can be used for so many reasons: transporting spare clothing or lunches (Lara's kids have them for this because they're impervious) or for storing different kinds of toys or for bringing treasures on car rides or trips.
They have a great array of sizes and patterns. And they're fun!
Just Play Toy Rental
Give the gift of new toys every month with a toy rental service!
Instead of buying them all kinds of new toys, your kids won't ever get sick of what they have because toys get changed on a monthly basis. Just Play has toys to climb on, toys to build with and toys that will let your children's imagination run wild. Perfect for kids under 6 who are outgrowing toys faster than you can buy or afford them!
Ausome Ottawa Bracelets and necklaces
Ausome Ottawa is a non-profit organization that helps enrich the lives of families living with autism through sport. They're selling gorgeous bracelets and necklaces to support the charity - at a great price. 100% of the proceeds from the Ausome Bracelet go directly to Ausome Ottawa!
These make sweet gifts for family or for kids. Bracelets are $15 each or 2 for $25 and necklaces are $25 and you can buy them on their web site.