Gift Guide: Special (and Local!) Gifts I Love

I absolutely love the holidays. Finding the perfect gift for that special someone is an adventure all on its own. The fun in finding exactly what I was looking for, and the look of joy on their face when they open it is totally worth the effort.

This year as I’ve been dipping in and out of little boutiques or cramming my way through the busy malls, I’m come across a few favourites.

I’ve been editing my Gift Guides as I go, but there are some that require their own post.

So, for that reason, I give you a fourth gift guide: Special things that I love.

local gifts in calgary

1. Tea – I’ll admit, I wasn’t one of those people that drank tea before it was cool. But, now that it is cool there is a plethora of shops out there making speciality blends of nuts, herbs, fruits, and even chocolate. You name it, and you can probably find it.


Check Out: Ollia Davids Tea / Teaology

I’ve mentioned Ollia before, but mostly for the macarons. However, I recently tried their “Summertime in Paris” and the fruity (Strawberry perhaps) tart taste is one of my favourites. Plus, it steeps into this vibrant red colour. A stack of 3 will cost you about $12. They’re perfect as a side gift for the tea drinkers in your family, or throw them in a bag for a gift exchange. I chose Summertime in Paris, Se Cheung, and Mother of Earl Grey.

2. Terrariums – I know, this seems like quite the random gift. But I am absolutely obsessed with Plant right now, and I just adore my little terrarium with its red cactus. You can pick an expertly crafted terrarium off the shelf (priced ranging from $25 to $250) or select the plants on your own and have a custom one made. There is a wide variety of ideas on the website, but when you go into the store you will see even more.

Currently I have a red cactus, but I recently purchased a small spruce tree in a tall cylindrical vessel, and a large oval vessel with a bunch of green and purple airplants. They are serious living works of art! Plus, many are low maintenance, requiring only ½ cup of water every 3-4 weeks. Now that, I can get behind.

3. Treats, treats, treats, and more treats! – I’ve done a lot of holiday baking this year to go the budget-friendly way of making Christmas cookie tins. However, there are some great shops here in town that offer delicious treats (and save you the time)!

One of my favourites is Wild Grainz artisan bakery. They have a variety of gourmet cookies – my favourite being the chocolate cookies sandwiching a peppermint icing. PS, they’ve also got some pretty sweet artisan breads.Some other great treats are offered at Jelly Modern Doughnuts (soooo tasty), Crave cupcakes (apparently they have a gingerbread loaf that is too die for), Chokolat (for hand crafted customizable truffles) and Fiasco Gelato (for all your ice cream needs).    

Fiasco has these great housemade marshmallows in a variety of flavours including winter mint, salted caramel, bourbon vanilla, and cinnamon chocolate. Plus, they hand deliver (for a fee)! I recently ordered a couple of their drinking chocolate sets and a couple salted caramel marshmellows. I know I’ll be looking forward to them on a snowy day.

PS – if anyone knows how to get their hands on some Zotter drinking chocolate (Without paying a hefty shipping fee), then hit me up.

4. Candles – these are the perfect gift for those entertainers or home décor specialists. I smelled some fantastic ones from Produce the other day, and their scents are bang on. My favourites were fig and honey.

You can find beautiful candles everywhere – the prettier, the jar the better! Some others I love are at Restoration Hardware, and Nordstrom.

5. Japanese Knives – I actually asked (and received) one of these beauties for Christmas. They come in stainless steel and carbon fibre, and are the crème de la crème when it comes to cooking. An all-purpose knife ranges from about $75-$300 depending on the quality and delicate carvings.

Check OutKnifewear

The one I got is here. You will not believe how sharp these things are. They make those standard kitchen knives seem like cutting with a butter knife. One quick stroke and you can slice carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and meat with little to no effort. It guarantees perfectly thin slices each time. If you’ve ever had the problem of slicing tomatoes only to be left with a squished product lacking any of the delicious insides, then worry no more…these knives mean business.

6. Straight razors – a little while ago I would have said these are solely for men. But they are the perfect gift for the ladies as well! The razor blades are easily replaceable (and super cheap). The only investment is the razor handle itself and a good quality brush. They look super sleek and are really effective. I tried my boyfriends out on a spot on my leg and it worked so well! It was a bummer to go back to my usual razors.

Check OutKent of Inglewood

Plus, if you pick this gift you can have fun looking around for scented shaving creams and oils. I know I did!


Honourable mentions:


A: “Luxury” high quality oils and vinegars. Perfect for the chef, salad-aficionado, or believe it or not – ice cream fanatic. (My favourites are extra-virgin olive oils, or vinegars such as fig, balsamic, or cranberry).

B: Good works bracelets. These bracelets support a good cause but they are also super cute and trendy. My mom and I have a little obsession with them, and every year a new style comes out.

C: Mugs. I’m all about these personalized mugs right now..or these cuties from Chapters (Paris, Donuts, Owl). I can imagine sitting back and relaxing with one of these in my hand on a lazy weekend or cold afternoon.

D: Coffee. A good quality coffee is a great gift for any coffee drinker. Analog has been rated one of the world’s best. They have a wide selection of aromatic coffees, possessing milk chocolate, toffee, or fruity tones. PLUS, now they have gift cards!! When the season rolls around, their salted caramel hot chocolate is too die for. Lip smackingly delicious.


PS – I normally hate stealing the spotlight from a post before it is time (see my new nanaimo bars recipe). But, I wanted to make sure these ideas were posted before you finish your last minute holiday shopping! Happy purchasing everyone, good luck. 


Don’t forget to hit up my other gift guides

Gifts for Him

Gifts for Her

Gifts under $100

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