This year, Christmas sort of snuck up on me. I’ve thought about gifts in a general, blog-purposes kind of way, and our tree is decorated. But with babies home sick from daycare, and car batteries not starting, and giant snowstorms hitting, I have physically not been able to get out of the house to shop. The hubby and I ran out to Toys R Us with one sick little monkey yesterday, threw a bunch of things into our cart and got the hell out of Dodge. Not the thoughtful shopping for that perfect something for that perfect somebody I had hoped for. I suppose that is just sometimes the way it is when you have little ones: they really have a way of making you veer off course. Though my kids gifts are halfway done, I am still missing key people on my list. In my particular case: mom and dad (hi!, I love you), gift swap presents x 2, daycare workers x4 (so many), elderly neighbours, and a couple of my BFF’s kids x3. In your case it could be your kid’s teacher, your colourist, your aunt or your boss. Really anyone left on that list.
So if you are like me and still have some shopping to do, I thought I’d write about a couple of cool, fun options. Also, every one of these options is made by either a friend or acquaintance of mine. Full disclosure. Why? Because if you have a web site and you don’t plug your friends’ work in your first annual gift guide series than what kind of person are you? Also I have very talented friends that do beautiful work. And more importantly, this can help you find interesting and non-massed produced gift options. The opposite of the Toys R Us route 😉 Also BECAUSE NO ONE SHOULD EVER STILL HAVE GIFTS TO GET ON CHRISTMAS EVE. EVER. That is literally the worst thing you could do to yourself. I mean the holidays are hard enough. Amirite?
BUTCHERY, i.e. the really shameless plug:
Our lovely butcher shop, Boucherie Lawrence is offering a learn-to-butcher-a-whole-pig-class! In a small group, under the supervision of two butchers, the recipient of this gift can learn to butcher a pig into various cuts of meat. This would be great for anyone really interested in cooking and in getting hands on experience.
From the shop are tons of small treats, perfect for gift exchanges or other people on your list. Larger gift baskets filled with anything from locally made jams, preserves, and maple syrups to oils and popcorn are also available.I’ll be filling the shop’s tote bags with all kind of edibles for my children’s teachers. With these present options, I will cross the daycare workers, gift exchange presents, and neighbours off of my list. Done.
FOR THE SOFTIES:
My friend Jen Ham of Pompon is a beautiful and very talented lady. She makes lovely, hand crafted soft toys that are just the sweetest things ever. Basically the polar opposite from butchering a pig. And from Toys R Us. Such is life, full of dichotomies! My son O has had a blue bunny made by her that he got the day after he was born, and it is still alive and kicking after four plus years. Also she makes beautiful mobiles that I would gift to any expectant parent. So cute.
ART FOR EVERYONE:
Bree ree is my friend Todd Stewart’s print studio. All-around great guy and super talented artist, he makes beautiful prints of cities, landscapes and buildings. I have his Montreal print in my son’s room and his London print in my daughter’s. I think it is primordial to have art in your home and so very important to have art in your kid’s room. These would make wonderful gifts for just about anyone on your list.
MORE YUMMY FOOD STUFF:
I really love gifting food: a nice bottle of wine, a beautiful jam, a jar of honey. Maybe it is because I can rarely spend money on the fancy versions of those things for myself, so it is fun to purchase these things for others. Maybe it’s because I love to eat. Preservation Society is Camilla Wynne’s great company. She makes small batch preserves using mostly local ingredients. Jams, preserves, and savoury treats as well- her celery caesar is the bomb! If you have a loved one who loves brunch and loves Bloody Caesars or Bloody Marys, this is for them. Love the products and I have a deep love for the packaging/merchandising. Great gift option for anyone on the list really.
Another wonderful company selling great food products is Société Orignal. They establish relationships with farmers all over Quebec. They travel and really get their hands dirty working with small producers of delicious products. I especially love their honey and they even started producing milk and butter with a local farm. A great organization to support all around.
My fast and hard rule about gift giving is always gift something you’d be happy receiving.What kind of Grinch wouldn’t want to receive a yummy jar of honey for the holidays? Seriously? This is so much nicer to receive, in my opinion, than something you won’t use or an impersonal gift certificate (p.s. I’d love a gift certificate too. I need underwear and socks). Really, buying something handmade, non-mass produced and lovely to boot, is as close as you can get to making something yourself if you don’t have the time or the will or the talent to make something yourself. Almost like the macaroni art or ceramic teapot you made for your parents when you were a kid. Except way nicer.