Tag Archives: Ottawa

Real or Fake: The Lowdown on Christmas Trees

I grew up in a family that always had a real Christmas tree. Every year we’d head over to the local Christmas tree lot (and I think we occasionally cut it down ourselves), and picked out the finest looking tree to fit in our low-ceiling family room. We also purchased that horrible tinsel stuff, and burned real logs in our fire place :)


I’ve never understood the need for plastic trees, but I recently heard that a plastic tree might be more environmentally friendly than chopping one down. Instead of packing away the saw, I decided to do some research to see whether this was true. Where better to find out about the green-ness of your tree than the David Suzuki website!

This article compares real Christmas trees with plastic ones using research conducted by Ellio, a sustainability consulting firm in Quebec. The verdict? Real Christmas trees are a more sustainble option than their plastic counterparts unless you plan on using your fake tree for 20 years or more OR you have to drive really far to find a real tree.

So I breathed a sigh of relief, and we’ll plan our annual trip to a local Christmas tree farm to cut ours down (and let’s be honest, the hot chocolate at the end of the trip is the best part). For me, there’s nothing that beats that real tree smell! It even trumps the million pine needles that clog my vaccum every year!

Want to have even less of an impact on the environment? David Suzuki suggests purchasing a potted tree, an indoor pine, or starting your own Christmas tree farm. Also consider buying local, at a farm that minimizes pesticide use. Here’s a great list of local tree farms around Ottawa – give them a call to see what their practices are like!

And if you must purchase that fake tree (I get it, I get it – sometimes they ARE easier!) than make sure it’s a good one that you’ll use for a loooong time. And avoid toxic PVC plastic if you can.

So what do you think? Real or fake?

Will Stroet Rocks!

We had a fantastic time at the Will Stroet concert today, and really enjoyed his Backyard Band. The concert was bilingual, and included English, French and even some Spanish in the songs.

photo 1

I liked how small the venue was, and the kids were able to run around and dance without worrying about crowding people in their seats. If I had one complaint, it’s that it was too loud for little ears!

photo 4

Another highlight was a mini-show from Rock the Arts, a local puppet company. It took me back to my Fraggle Rock days :) The girls were in stitches over the hilarious puppets!

We danced the afternoon away, and the girls were asleep by 7 p.m.!

photo 3

photo 2

Getting into the Holiday Spirit with the Handmade Harvest Holiday Craft Show!

by Laura Kelly

This past Saturday, one of my sisters and I returned to our hometown of Almonte – just 45 minutes west of Ottawa – to kick off the holiday season with the Handmade Harvest Holiday Craft Show.

For those who haven’t heard of it, Handmade Harvest is a well curated bi-annual craft show. This amazing show is the brainchild of Almonte locals and shop owners Emily Arbour (Hello Yellow) and Colleen Hewitt (Crush Marketplace), who bonded over their love of all things handmade. They set out to create a show that would “nurture the local independent craft community by providing an outlet for emerging makers of all ages…and make buying handmade items easy and fun to do.”

In 2014, Colleen stepped aside from her organizing role, so now Emily and her husband, Brad Weir, collaborate to create craft shows that are truly great experiences for both the vendors and shoppers.

Since the very first show in 2010, Almonte residents and out-of-towners alike have flocked to Handmade Harvest to find the perfect gifts for friends, family members, or themselves, and this year was no different. Over 3,000 shoppers came by the Old Almonte Town Hall over the two day show. It was a great atmosphere and the venue was abuzz with people shopping, snacking, chatting and laughing, and just generally having a good time.

The super keen were lined up around the corner for more than an hour before the show started. Those in line were anxious to be one of the first 50 people through the door and receive a coveted swag bag filled with goodies from vendors and sponsors. I myself was not one of these people, but I have a friend who was, and who makes it her mission to get one each and every Handmade Harvest craft show. Apparently these bags are definitely worth the wait.

Each Handmade Harvest craft show features tons of talented vendors and their quality creations. This year, the show hosted 121 different vendors over the two days. There were so many products to browse and choose from, including jewelry, clothing, home décor, artwork, furniture, and plenty of items for infants and children. A few of my favourites included:

Blondie Apparel and their super stylish Boot Cuffs

boot cuffs

Sweetcheeks Kitchen and their delicious gluten-free treats

sweet cheeks

Daly Unstructured and their rustic and creative wine rack

wine rack

These are just three of many vendors I visited on Saturday, not to mention the whole slew of new vendors that set up on Sunday. To check out all the vendors and their products, visit their profiles.

The Handmade Harvest Holiday Craft Show was a highly anticipated event on my calendar, and the show did not disappoint. Attending the show was a great way to support local artists, crafters, and businesses and get a head start on my Christmas shopping! I found unique and meaningful items for almost everybody on my list.

Do you have a favourite holiday craft sale?