Shopping Small - Canadian Baby Brands To Support This Season

It's that time of year again! Except things are looking a little different in 2020 (okay, a lot different). We can all agree that this year certainly hasn't been an easy one, and it can be especially difficult to find optimism in these trying times.
For many people, the holidays are something joyful to look forward to; like a ray of light in the darkness. Even if this year's celebrations are with less people, it doesn't mean it has to be filled with less love. We adapted to living and working at home, we can adapt how we celebrate the holidays too.

So if the excitement of putting up a Christmas tree, playing holiday music, or starting your shopping a few weeks earlier than normal is making you happy, then by all means do it! What's getting me through lately is the excitement of seeing my son experience Christmas. Seeing him experience the holidays is like celebrating for the first time, because his happiness is truly contagious. Now that he's 2, I'm looking forward to him being involved in our traditions like decorating the tree, watching classic movies like Rudolph & Elf, and of course, opening presents! 

You know my passion for supporting small shops runs deep, especially now that many independent businesses are feeling a financial strain since COVID hit. Since many of you are also parents to toddlers (or maybe you're expecting a new family member in the coming months), I wanted to put together a list of some wonderful small shops to consider supporting this holiday season. These Canadian businesses specialize in all things baby & kids, so you're sure to find something for the littlest ones on your list!

Le Petit Cocon 

Le Petit Cocon has become a recent favourite shop of mine, and it's clear why once you see their stunning selection. Every product is beautifully & expertly curated for the petit ones in your lives. It's a minimalist mamas dream come true!

What I love most about this beautiful baby boutique is their dedication to supporting local. In their 100% Quebec section you'll find a wide array of products like beautiful montessori-style play structures from Ma Fabrique, handcrafted minimalist toys by Ouistitine, artwork for the nursery or playroom by Baltic Club, and so much more!

My Picks: My little guy loves his crayons (and this mama loves the peace & quiet that comes with along with them). The giant colouring pages from Atelier Rue Tabaga are sure to keep little artists busy for hours on end!

WoodWood Toys 

If you're a long-time reader, you'll remember this shop from last year's gift guide. WoodWood Toys had to make a second appearance on my blog because I love this Toronto toy shop so damn much!

If not for their beautifully hand-carved & painted Canadian originals like the classic rainbow stacker, you'll love them for their huge selection of wooden toys from top brands like Erzi Play Food, Candylab Toys, and CLiCQUES peg dolls

Oh, and did I mention you can use code DOLLANDDYE to get 15% off your order of $20.00 or more? Consider that my Christmas gift to you all!

My Picks: If you want a real show-stopper of a gift that's sure to last for years to come, check out their selection of designer play houses from Conifer Toys. Barbie wishes she could to move into The Brooklyn House (and quite frankly, so do I).

Handful Sensory Dough Co 

This Black-woman owned business specializes in making the most open-ended toy you'll find on this list; sensory dough!

Lovingly crafted in small batches with natural plant-based dyes and food-grade ingredients, this made-in-Saskatchewan sensory dough is loved by kids and parents alike. From Pineapple Upside-Down Cake to Blue Raspberry, this colourful lineup is absolutely drool-worthy!

I highly recommend giving Amy's page a follow on Instagram if you're in need of playtime inspo. She proves there are endless options for this dough; dare I say, more than a handful.

My Picks: Pair your Handful Sensory Dough with their unique dough tools to explore patterns and texture. I'm personally loving the leopard print vibes in the Cool Cats & Kittens Wooden Roller!

Bend & Snap 

If you're all about matching with your mini, this line of handmade hair accessories was practically made for you!

Based out of Cornwall, Ontario, this line of whimsical bows & barrettes are perfect for taming those little locks. All handsewn & stitched by maker Chelsea, she even offers headbands and scrunchies for the big kids at heart. And trust me, once you see the patterns you'll understand how hard it is to resist adding more to your cart!

My Picks: The much-anticipated holiday collection launches November 6 at 9pm EST. I'll be loading up on scrunchies because they make a perfect stocking stuffer for just about any age (and yes, you can bet Santa will be putting one in my stocking, too).

Modern Rascals 

Welcome to loose parts play heaven! This Toronto-based online store is well-loved by parents and educators alike (shoutout to my fellow blogger & friend Vanessa Ravalico for introducing me to this colorful Canadian boutique!).

Modern Rascals is a one-stop shop for all things ethically made & open-ended. From stacking toys  in every hue, to darling daydream essentials for imaginative play, you'll find everything you need to curate your child's toy collection with endless playtime fun. Their site is incredibly user-friendly, allowing shoppers to narrow down toys by material, brand, or by type of play. 

My Picks:  My guy loves to stack and build, and these whimsical window blocks by Bauspiel would be a dreamy and colourful addition to our collection! Thinking of all the possibilities for play has me just as excited as Elliott will be!

An important reminder...

With the increase of online shopping, and the holiday rush starting early, this could cause for delays with Canada Post & other couriers. Please remember that shopping small usually means the shipping is almost always handled by the makers themselves, and would normally take an extra day or so pre-COVID. 
Shop early if you can, be patient, and please be kind! 

Who's on your shopping list this year? Are there any small businesses you're supporting that aren't on this list? Share in a comment so you can help another shopper or maker! Happy Holidays!

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