A Very Indie Christmas Gift Guide

Shopping around this time of year can be entirely stressful. I worked retail long enough in the past that I've seen the worst sides of it, unfortunately. That said, it's easy to get caught up in mall promotions during the holiday season to get things done and overwith fast. But it's just as easy to hit up a local craft fair or pop-up shop in your city!

I think it's so important to support artists, designers, and store owners in your 'hood, and there are so many reasons why we should. It not only helps independent businesses grow and boost the local economy, but my favourite benefit to buying local always boils down to uniqueness.
You likely won't find the same thing at the mall, and it makes gift giving that much more special! Especially if the recipient lives in a different city, like in my case. My family lives in Waterloo, and my soon-to-be in-laws are in Windsor. Since Ottawa is pretty far away, chances are they won't have bought from these sellers before.

You may be thinking, "But what should I buy?" and quite honestly, the answer is endless! You can find just about anything locally. Here are some of my local favourites that I like to by for myself, and others for Christmas!

Bath & Body Products

Salt & Sugar based scrubs by Scrub Inspired are a great indulgent gift for the spa lover in your life! Their Coconut Almond scrub is so yummy!!

When it comes to bath and body products. you can find just about anything locally! I've seen everything from serums to soaps. There's usually a handful of artisans selling their handmade cosmetics at craft shows, markets and even local boutiques. Some even have their own store fronts, like Purple Urchin, a cult favourite in Ottawa.

All natural bath bombs by Zoes Corner are as gorgeous to look at as they are to soak with in the tub.

Bath bombs are, and always will be one of my favourite gifts to give. While I have nothing against shops like Lush or The Body Shop (In fact, I'm a big fan of both), the items are usually the same across locations. Plus if you, or your loved one is sensitive to fragrance this can be a difficult thing to shop for.
The great thing about buying local in this department is the emphasis on natural ingredients. Lots will cater to those with more sensitive skin, so everyone can enjoy a relaxing bath!


There are always local designers out there looking to sell their creations. Buying Canadian and representing indie brands is something that is important to me. It not only gives me something unique to wear, but helps get their name out in the world as well! Why buy another mass-produced graphic tee when you can pick one up from someone who screen printed it themselves? There's sometimes room for personalization too; The artist may be able to make you a custom design in some cases!

Tees and toques from Ode to August

A cool brand I came across recently was Ode To August. Their 'six one three' designs (which is the local Ottawa area code, for those unaware) are a neat way of representing your home town! They even run workshops so you can make your own totes and tees!


I firmly believe that candles are a good gift for just about anyone on your list. Who doesn't like their home smelling nice?!
Not only that, but I consider them to be a very thoughtful gift. Find out their favourite scents; what comforts them, what perfumes/colognes do they wear? Find a candle with similar notes and you're golden.

So many scents to sniff at Shinbone Wax!

I've recently fallen head over heels in love with a local company called Shinbone Wax. All their candles are made of vegan ecosoya wax and they smell incredible! My personal favourites are 'Hillbilly Homebrew', 'Son of a Nutcracker', and 'I Kissed A Girl' (The names are oh so cheeky!).


Know of someone who just bought a home or moved into a new apartment? This great gift idea will help them spruce up their place with a personalized touch. Every time they look at their new hanging present they'll think of you, which can be really special if you live far apart.

Some empowering and gorgeous designs by Le Club May. I'm a big fan of their French Kiss design,

Aside from browsing etsy or society 6 for artwork, some local restaurants and cafes may have artwork for sale from local artists. Or even check your instagram feed for local creatives, which is how I came across Le Club May (They also happened to be at a local craft fair, so I jumped at the chance to pick up something from them to avoid the dreaded waiting game with the mailbox).

Chocolates & Candies

A little treat never hurt nobody! And nothing tastes as good as the homemade stuff. I love this gift for just about anyone on my list, whether they're a foodie or just in need of a little indulgence. You can really get creative with different flavours like smoked white chocolate from Licia Ruby, or keep it simple and stick with the classic dark or milk chocolate from Hummingbird Chocolate.

Pretty packaging for a truly orginal bar by Licia Ruby

I find local chocolatiers tend to sell in farmers markets and various cafes and boutiques, so check your city for these hot spots if you have a sweet tooth recipient in mind.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones, and that your gift shopping is as stress-free as can be! I'd love to hear what's on your lists this year! Share it in the comment section below!

Happy Holidays!

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