I know a lot of people hate shopping for the holidays – but I am not one of them. I looooove Christmas gift shopping. I usually start in late spring/early summer. I love finding the perfect gift for the people I love the most – and bonus if I’m supporting talented locals.
If you’re seeking some homegrown inspiration for awesome gifts that are useful, nice, practical, or all of the above – well, I’ve got you covered. Most of these are made in Squamish, though I’ve included a few that are made by people in Vancouver or in the Sea to Sky Region.
If you’ve got a tea lover on your list, look no further than Lucas Teas. They have a really solid assortment of teas, which you can either buy in person at their store downtown Squamish on Cleveland Avenue or online. For an extra local touch, opt for a Squamish inspired tea (there’s one called Squamish Sunset – so good).
(If you missed my advent calendar post, rumour is that Lucas Teas is doing an advent calendar that is worth checking out.)
Just down the road from Lucas Teas you’ll find Xoco Chocolates. These locally made chocolates are next level. The flavour combinations are creative but delicious – think cherry/orange/bourbon or peanut/praline/puffed rice. They’re often made with local ingredients, like teas (from Lucas, of course), honey, and even spirits. And they’re definitely showstoppers – each one is a mini masterpiece. This ain’t your ordinary box of chocolates.
(I wrote a post about Xoco a little while ago, if you’d like to learn more.)
I’m a sucker for gorgeous pottery, and while I’ve come across a few talented potters in the Sea to Sky, Muddy Marvels Pottery (made in Brackendale) is in a league of its own. The pieces are not cheap, but they really are works of art (that just so happen to be very functional). This isn’t the gift for a random Secret Santa – you’ll want to save it for somebody you really love who will appreciate it (perhaps paired with some Lucas tea?)
KNWN is a local snowboard manufacturer, and while their snowboards are wicked, their swag is unexpectedly awesome too. I am a huuuuge fan of this simple but snazzy Squamish t-shirt design – it’s even better in crewneck sweatshirt form, as pictured. Their shop is located in the industrial part of town just behind Backcountry Brewing/Tall Tree Bakery – a.k.a. my new favourite shopping area of Squamish. I think the t-shirts are around $30 and the sweatshirt is just under $70. They have other cool t-shirt designs on offer, too.
I’m pretty sure Padraig slippers are well-loved around the world – or at least across Canada – but they happen to be made in North Vancouver, which is just a skip, hop, and a jump from Squamish. Every Squamish baby seems to own a few pairs of Padraigs, but they also make adult sizes. These are the perfect cozy slippers to wear around the house on a classic rainy PNW day. You can buy them online, or you can support a local company and pick up a pair at Fetish Shoes downtown Squamish.
I love Backcountry Brewing – and I don’t even like beer! We have a few great breweries in Squamish, but the beer lovers in my life (i.e., Cedric) are all big fans of Backcountry’s offerings (the Widowmaker IPA is a favourite among them/him). They have regular growlers – but they also have super cool stainless steel ones that are just so steezy. A few cans would make a great stocking stuffer, or you could go all out and get bottles + a growler + Backcountry merch. Bonus: while you’re picking out your gifts, stay for a flight and a pizza – their pizzas are soooo good.
I got a set of beautiful, handmade wooden toys from Trae Designs for my niece last Christmas. They seem like a fun toy and unlike gaudy plastic gizmos, these are really pretty to display around the house. They have several different toy sets in a few different colour options – they also have blocks, rattle toys, and other cute things.
Like most things on this list, this gift isn’t necessarily the cheapest (the pictured set is just under $50) – but you’re paying for quality and local skills, which helps justify the price tag.
My Whistler-based friend, Sara, makes the super-fun (yet practical) Nibz Bandanaz, balaclavas, toques, and neck tubes – a must have for winter sports lovers.These are reasonably priced (a bandana is about $33) and are great quality. There are a ton of designs to choose from – from fantastically loud to more understated. (I believe they will be at the Arts Whistler Holiday Market at the Conference Centre this weekend.)
This summer, I discovered Moe’s Pantry at the Squamish Farmer’s Market. (Hint: they’re also at the winter Farmer’s Market at the Squamish Adventure Centre on Saturdays). I’ve tried four of their jams: raspberry, plum, bluberry, and strawberry. And guess what? They’re all delicious. Personally, I am a big fan of local made edible goods – honey, jams, baked goods, and the like – especially for friends and family that don’t live around Squamish. They offer something special that your loved ones can’t get in their own neck of the woods, and they’re consumable so they won’t just sit around collecting dust. A fairly large jar of jam is only $7 – so go bananas and try a few kinds.
A high quality candle is a classic gift option – choosing a local option makes it a little more special than your standard department store pick. The Vancouver Candle Company has become pretty popular across the country, and though it’s not made in the Sea to Sky, I still consider it local. I’ve smelled several of the candles and given a few as gifts, and in my experience, they’re all good.
I love that they’re named after local Vancouver ‘hoods (I love Gastown: tobacco, amber, and black pepper) – and upon browsing their website just now, I’ve discovered that they now have Toronto neighbourhoods, too. The packaging is clean and pretty – even your more discerning candle-loving friends will adore these guys.
Did I miss anything? I love discovering local products, so feel free to recommend your own must-haves and I’ll check them out.