I haven’t really begun my Christmas shopping yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it! Things I’m leaning towards this year: treats from Duchess Bake Shop and Jacek Chocolate Couture; wine from Barr Estate Winery; or, like we did last year, baskets of locally-sourced products.
With Shop Local Month coming to a close, but the gift-getting-and-giving season just ramping up, I thought it might be helpful to collect ideas from a few city personalities, similar to last year. I asked them:
What is your favourite locally-purveyed gift to give or get?
I hope their answers will help you with your own shopping!
Garner Beggs, co-owner of Duchess Bake Shop
I would have to say a beautiful fountain pen or some ink from Stylus at 10538 102 Avenue. I’ve got more than a bit of a pen fetish and Stylus, besides having amazingly friendly and knowledgeable staff, has the most ridiculous number of inks I’ve ever seen crammed into one shop. Plus their selection of writing utensils in general is superb.
Tamara Stecyk, Special Events and Community Relations for the Edmonton Food Bank
I’ve always loved bakeries. Fresh bread can be so comforting and I love to treat myself to the apple caramel bread from Prairie Mill. It’s a great gift as well because the flavour is different than any other bread that I’ve tasted and others who have shared this sweet doughy pleasure with me agree.
I also recommend buying one or both of local writer Debby Waldman’s children’s books. Clever Rachel has riddles that even adults can enjoy. A Sack Full of Feathers teaches kids why it’s not a good idea to spread gossip.
Liane Faulder, Edmonton Journal Food Writer
I have to say that local cheese is my new favourite gift. A recent visit to Paddy’s (or Everything Cheese if you live in the south west) left me with three great ideas for locally-inspired hostess gifts over Christmas. Take a piece of St. Maure (by Holly Gale of Smoky Valley Goat Cheese) a chunk of pecorino (by The Cheesiry‘s Rhonda Headon) and a sizeable bite of Grizzly from Sylvan Star Gouda. Put them into a basket with a jar of preserves by The Jam Lady (available at Uncle Ed’s Restaurant or Bon Ton Bakery while the City Market is closed for the season) and a loaf of fresh bread from Tree Stone Bakery (baguettes are great, but they are long and might look funny sticking out of your basket). You are sure to be praised as the best guest ever at your next Christmas party.
Kendall Barber, marketer and blogger
For design lovers or aspiring chefs, give a solid maple or walnut cutting and charcuterie boards handcrafted by Geoffrey Lilge. Available at Zocalo (10826 – 95 Street) or 29 Armstrong (10129 104 Street).
Give some sparkle with handmade jewelry from So Pretty. Absolutely adoring the rose gold collection for those hard-to-buy-for-gals on my list. Purchase online or at Coup Garment Boutique (#101 10137 104 Street).
Show up to your next holiday soiree with a hostess gift from g l a s s . f u l. These hand blown, tripled layered, coloured glass votives can be used as candleholder, vase, drinking glass or centerpiece. At only $30 a glass votive, these will be my go-to holiday gift.
Kids on my list will be reading all about jam with The Jam Story line-up of books from local illustrator Sarah Jackson. The adorable books teach important lessons on self-acceptance and realizing your tastiliciousness. Available at the Art Gallery of Alberta gift shop.
Omar Mouallem, editor, writer and rapper
No Edmonton woman is at her full potential of coolness without a piece of clothing by Fridget Apparel. Her line is a little 50s, a little mod, a little revolution.
And to add some animal or leafy charm to your life, I adore the felt anthropomorphized animals and hairpins by craft-ster Bevan Kovitz and her Trial By Fiber company.
Kat Danser, musician
I recently received a lovely gift of a massage at Prana Holistic. This business is owned by a mother/daughter team who are committed to the community and environment as well as providing a nurturing, professional atmosphere. My professional life as a musician means that I must commit to health and wellness. Creativity relies on a relaxed mind and body so that one’s spiritual essence can guide the way. The more out of my ego/mind self I am, the greater success I have in communicating musical meaning. I plan to return to Prana Holistic many times in the future so that I can expand my body knowledge and nurture myself. A lovely gift to receive and to give.
Gerbera daisies are my absolutely favourite flowers! When I first came upon La Piazza Dasee, I realized that something special was happening in that business. The calm environment, the care and attention of the creative flower artists and the value are outstanding. Whether sending beautiful flowers for to myself or to others, La Piazza Dasee is the only flower shop for me.
Valerie Lugonja, food blogger
I will also be giving memberships for the Art Gallery of Alberta to my daughters as supporting our local art community is so important.
The last gift I will be giving is the gift of learning how to cook and bake through a gift certificate to a cooking class at my new business partnership with Maria: Taste Tripping.
I would love to get a gift of a donation made on my behalf to go to The Boys and Girl’s Club of Edmonton or to the Edmonton Food Bank. It is a time for me to give back and when someone wants to give me a gift, I ask that they keep these two very needy and incredibly important organizations in mind.
Jerry Aulenbach, realtor and bacon enthusiast
Bruce Clarke, photographer
AGA Membership – I’ve visited the new Art Gallery of Alberta more times in it’s first year of being open than I ever visited in all the previous years combined so I think a gift of a one-year membership would make an amazing gift to give or receive.
Hats – Headcase on Whyte Ave has a great selection of funky hats for men and women. As a man with a growing forehead, I’m learning to appreciate hats more and more.
Cosmetics – for the lady in your life, check out Lady Venom Cosmetics. Gina Cicero is an amazing makeup artist from Edmonton who has created her own line of high quality cosmetics.
Boy, this is really a tough question. And I hate to default to something so common as what I’m about to suggest, but over the last five or so years, Edmonton’s food and beverage scene has grown by leaps and bounds.
If I had to give a gift from the local food scene, it would probably have to be a selection of fine roasted coffees from Edmonton’s very own local roasterie, Transcend Coffee. The boys and girls at Transcend have coffee bean roasting down to a T (pardon the ironic pun, if you’re reading this out loud). But more than that, they get what it means to be a local business. They’re active in social media, they love chatting with customers, and they also chat with competitors like the folks at Café Haven in Sherwood Park, and Nate Box over at Elm Café.
The holiday season is about staying warm and spending time with family. And nothing beats a delicious cup of coffee to help facilitate both.
Cindy Lazarenko, owner of Culina Highlands
Kerstin’s Chocolates! One year I received a gift basket with chocolate, book, coffee etc. wrapped beautifully, they do a great job there.
I love macarons from Duchess! Especially the salted caramel.
Also Callys Teas (8608 99 Street), her teas are so good and she sells these great little colored brown betty type teapots with basket inside, we use them at the restaurant.
Ryan Jespersen, Host of CityTV’s Breakfast Television
My wife (Kari Skelton) and I are big fans of “the experience,” so we try to give out-of-towners gifts that provide an opportunity to visit and learn a little bit about Edmonton. In past, we’ve gifted “itineraries” – weekends built around an Oilers game, a show at the Citadel (especially A Christmas Carol!), the Edmonton Indy or even the Ice on Whyte festival. A weekend in the capital city isn’t complete without a visit to one of our excellent independent restaurants, so we’re sure to include a stop at one of our favourites – Madison’s Grill, the Blue Plate Diner, Koutouki, Lux Steakhouse or Delux Burger Bar. Presentation-wise, it’s tough to beat the offerings at Notables Stationers. We’ve designed custom Christmas cards with their talented staff in past (and the hand-made wrapping paper is sure to impress). And for that person that seems to have everything, we’ve always found something special at La Piazza Dasee. Their team pushes floral design to a whole new level and their expanded location just south of Whyte Avenue has a great selection of unique gifts you won’t find anywhere else!
Make sure to check out Lightside Photography’s blog, featuring 30 local businesses over 30 days, for even more ideas!