Tell me who doesn’t find themselves stressing every December to find the perfect gift? Welp, it’s probably only me but I find Christmas shopping a daunting task. Two reasons: I want to find something ‘perfect’, something someone has always wanted (high stakes) and I hate the idea of buying crap for the sake of buying. Am I alone? Can you see why Christmas stresses me out. Naturally, I freak right out – usually!
This year, perhaps because Amelia is older or because it got way too stressful in the past, I completely dropped the expectations. I focused on being present, spending time with people and finding gifts that made people happy. As noted (and a huge reason I started blogging) was my shift from quantity to quality.
Buying local was about supporting the people who give it their all to live out a dream, and supporting Niagara.
Why should Christmas shopping be any different? In fact, shouldn’t it be a bigger focus?
Alright, honest truth, I came to this realization over time. In my normal ‘get shit done’ mode, Amelia and I headed to Costco. I preface this by saying, I love Costco as much as the next person but it was there that I had my epiphany.
Arthur has had the same pair of tattered track pants for a while so while roaming through Costco I grabbed a pair. I checked out and was heading home when I remembered Dresscode Apparel Co, a new clothing shop downtown with affordable basics from ethical, Canadian brands. Bingo!
So, I walked down on my lunch and snagged a hoodie, a pair of track pants (much nicer than the tattered ones) and a t-shirt. All affordable and ethically made in Toronto – not to mention SO soft! Then, I walked across the street to Craft Arts Market – all my shopping for Arthur done on one lunch break!
PSA: If you haven’t tried a hand crafted beverage from the Craft Arts Market, run, don’t walk – yum! On my shopping excursion I treated myself to a hot chocolate that melted all my worries away.
Arthur switched to a safety razor years ago and was using the handle from his grandfather – sentimental, yes, but it’s aging. I picked up a beautiful (if I do say so myself) safety razor from Well Kept made in Vancouver. Beautiful packaging, high quality, and unique.
Lastly, I snagged a bitters sampler set from Token Bitters made in Edmonton since Arthur had been mentioning making Old Fashions – having ZERO idea about bitters the sampler set was perfect.
I will admit, I didn’t notice the Dillion’s Distillery bitters until days later to stay truly local but there’s always next year!
There you have it. All my Christmas shopping done in one lunch break from local shops and Canadian creators.
I felt good knowing my shopping supported Canadian makers and local entrepreneurs, and I wasn’t affected by the Canada Post strike whatsoever (small victories). Finding more authentic and creative gifts than if I had just shopped online was a definite plus! A safety razor or bitters likely wouldn’t have been part of my browsing.
For Amelia, my experience was just as rewarding! Personalized notes, conversations on social media, and the satisfaction of knowing that my purchases were supporting people. I’m not usually one of demonize big brands and stores – I still make purchases there – and I don’t believe there is anything wrong with shopping there! But it was rewarding to read the stories of people who started small businesses and their gratitude. It was refreshing.
My true little lady is already a lover of shoes and had outgrown her dress shoes. I have been following West Coast Mocs on Instagram forever and couldn’t resist getting Millie a pair of sweet Mary Janes. How cute! High quality hard sole shoes made from genuine leather without the use of chemicals or dyes!
Here’s the other thing I love about shopping local: finding new shops!
I wanted to get Amelia some play dough but knowing she would eat it (whose toddler hasn’t tried) I was looking for something homemade. Enter Etsy!
Rather than popping into big box stores like Walmart or Babies R’ Us I plugged into Etsy and refined my search to shops in Canada. Didn’t I find Hometown Creative Co. – homemade play dough AND personalized crayons.
Psst – these little tubs of homemade play dough or personalized crayons would be perfect favours for a birthday party!
This year, the stress of it all melted away to make way for focus. My purchases were valued, and I found gifts I loved (and they loved). I discovered new businesses, got all my shopping done in one lunch break, and chatted with the owners who appreciated my purchase. Shopping was a success this year!
What is your philosophy about shopping local? Do the holidays make a difference?