A guide to help you shop successfully and locally this holiday season!
Shopping during the holidays isn’t without its struggles. Between a long list of friends and family to buy for, coming up with creative ideas, and braving parking lots and last-minute buying trips, it proves to be quite daunting. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of items that would make fantastic gifts for your loved ones (or workplace Secret Santa). And these present ideas give a little something back to you too – avoiding the mall! Each item can be found at a local shop or online from a maker in Hamilton (often with pickup available). By shopping small, you know exactly where your money is going and you help to make the holidays better for the independent business owners, crafters, and creators in our city. Gifts that do triple duty? That’s the kind of shopping we like!
These tea towels are hand designed and silk-screened using solvent-free ink by local textile artist Christina Obuch. For those with a penchant for birds (or just a love of nature), these Birds of Prey and Bird Eggs tea towels make the perfect gift.
These pins were designed by shop owner Whitney McMeekin and Ham(f)ont to celebrate our city, with colours chosen to commemorate different Hamilton icons(Ti-Cat yellow, Gage Bandshell blue, and Jamesville pink). Perfect for your favourite Hamiltonian or pin collector.
Classic String Shopping Bag
Pale Blue Dot | @thepalebluedotshop
A 100% cotton bag is just what your environmentally-conscious chum needs. It expands to hold 40 lbs but is small enough to fold up into your pocket or bag, meaning there’s no excuse not to have it with you for any shopping trip.
Men’s Grooming Products + Leather Toiletries Bag
Studio 205 | @studio205
This small black leather case is simple and sleek. Crafted by The Shoppery using locally-sourced materials, each pouch is hand-dyed, creating unique variations in each piece. Fill it with beard oil, soap, and a beard brush from Topher’s Soap Company to leave your facial-haired friend feeling first-rate.
Price: $8-$20, $65
Dog Print Apron, Oven Mitts, and Tea Towel
If you know someone who spends their holidays (and beyond) cooking, this playfully-printed cooking attire is just what they need. Go with this fun dog print or choose from a variety of illustrations that will make a flour-covered kitchen a bit more bearable.
Raw Mineral Earrings
If you’re hoping for a one of a kind gift, look no further. Made in Hamilton by Jane LaBatte, each earring is mined by hand using all natural, raw, and rough rocks, minerals, and crystals. Buy a pair of matching earrings or let your recipient be creative with a mix & match set of four.
Catherine Lackey creates hand-sculpted and hand-painted beads to form unique earrings and necklaces. The combination of brighter colours with gold specks, geometric shapes, and delicate chains make them truly individual pieces.
Can you ever have enough places to store odds and ends? This locally-created oblong pouch with hand-drawn and silk-screened fungi on linen is a fun way to keep things organized.
Girl Gang T-shirt
One thing our city isn’t lacking is incredible female entrepreneurs. Show your support for these leaders with this shirt made by two local bosses themselves, Blackbird Studios, who design and manufacture all their clothing in Hamilton.
Custom made for White Elephant, these classic toques allow you to stay warm, show your local city pride, and support a small business all at the same time. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
A Walk in the Forest book, Enjoy the Forest Puzzle, Kaleidoscope
If you’re hoping to inspire a child to look past the TV screen, why not go for a classic toy that captivated children for generations? This matching set of book, puzzle, and kaleidoscope will encourage exploration and imagination.
For those friends who love to put pen to paper, the quintessential planner, Filofax, makes the ultimate gift, with tabs for contacts, to-do list, calendar, and notes. A splurge, but a refillable one your recipient will be using it for years to come.
Garden City Essentials Skincare
With colder weather comes drier air, making skincare all the more important. Start with St. Catharine’s-made Facial Cleansing Oil, tone skin with Rose Geranium toner, and replenish skin with Restorative Hydration Daily Moisturizer.
Assorted Leather Accessories
Tundra Leather | @tundraleather
A quality leather piece never goes out of style, especially when it’s handmade locally. Whether you’re looking for a larger gift (tote bag with exterior pockets and key ring), sunglasses case, passport holder, or simply a keychain, Tundra has a wide variety of products. Better yet, they offer on-site embossing, allowing you to personalize your gift with initials.
Frasier Fir Candles & Room Scents
A universally-pleasing scent, this line of fragrances will not only freshen your home but have it smelling like the holidays in no time. With a variety of candle options (metallic birch, green glass leaves, tin), diffuser, and room sprays, this line will delight those with Christmas-centric homes.
Coasters make a great host gift for those last minute holiday parties when you don’t want to show up empty-handed. These are handmade with a simple design and colourway and easily go with the decor in any home.
Jams, Preserves, and Bitters for the kitchen shelf
Cherry Birch | @cherrybirchgeneral
Find a large assortment of gift ideas for the Julia Child (or simply die-hard foodie) in your life. From the intriguing Strawberry Balsamic Preserve made in Niagara, to Dillon’s Bitters from Beamsville, to “Carrots with a Kick,” find flavours that are as surprising as they are delicious.
Vintage Travel 2019 Wall Calendar & Vintage Posters 2019 Desk Calendar
The vintage-inspired artwork on these calendars make them a focal piece for your desk or wall, with bright colours and fun designers that will have you looking to the calendar instead of your phone for the date.
Price: $28, $17
Considered the “it” bag of the year, these half-moon bags are most commonly seen in a bamboo wood. Stick with the classic, or gift this brightly-coloured acrylic version for your fashion-focused friend. It will add a bit of whimsy to an ensemble.
100% Organic Cotton Blanket
Large enough to cover a double bed, this blanket is not only warm and cozy, but stays softer for longer and gets better with age. Made in Austria, this neutral print goes with any bedroom colour scheme.
M & V Bowtie + Nicole Gagnon Cufflinks
Studio 205 | @studio205
For the person who misses the way everyone used to “dress up,” this bow tie is made from upcycled vintage fabrics, is reversible, and can be worn in six different ways. Add a tie clip and pair of cuff links crafted from walnut and aluminium, and you’ve got one dapper gift.
Price: $45, $95
Felted Mouse Ornament
Handmade ornaments always make special gifts, but this one has an even greater gift attached – $3 from each sale of this little guy (Merry Marvin) goes to Under the Willows at Lynwood Charlton Centre. The focus of the program is to provide a physical-emotional space for children who have experienced adversity to develop their creativity and cooperation skills with art, gardening, and play. For more information, check out www.lynwoodcharlton.ca/willows-fam
Handmade Jewelry and Classes
Caranina Bertone creates bold yet delicate necklaces, earrings, and bracelets by hand in her studio. The sterling silver designs feature intricate details that lend themselves to the minimal aesthetic. For the crafter (or jewellery lover) on your list, Caranina offers workshops where participants build their own stacking rings, bangles, or hoop earrings from scratch. Find class times on her website, or gather a group and request a custom workshop session.