The holidays are promptly approaching and with them a gifting season. Given the current situation, that needs not to be named, we all know that the best thing we could do is shop next door. Strolling down Queen W (for instance) exploring small shops isn’t really an option right now but many of those shops offer curbside pickup and deliveries. 

Thinking about what makes sense as gifts right now my mind went to coziness and care: skin care, soul care, cozy clothes, and warm blankets. This gift guide features some of my favorite Canadian products, not all from Toronto but all homegrown and many with pronounced ethical and/or sustainable practices, with some pieces starting at as little as four bucks.

These ideas are not seasonal and for the most part, not gender-specific (listed in alphabetical order). This is a generally good list of things to give a chance and potentially, make your new favorite brand. I would also love to know who some of your favorite Canadian makers are so please feel free to drop them into the comments section below.

Cover image by Joanna Kosinska, Unsplash

This blog post uses affiliate links denoted by ( * ) and some products were gifted.
Read the disclaimer about affiliate links & PR gifting here

Skincare gifts


The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5%, Apothecary lip balm, hand cream & Cedarwood Hand Wash; Bushbalm Dark Spot Treatment, Nude Ingrown Treatment Oil, Sweet Escape Hydrating Oil & Travel Pack.

Aurum 

Single product line: Calming Birch Serum that treats inflamed, atopic and acne-prone skin. The treatment is made with birch bio-ferment, prebiotics, and willowherb from Yukon forests, all of which work to reduce sensitivity while nourishing the skin. The serum is free from fragrance and common allergens and according to the website, you can see reduced redness within 7 days of use.

Who to gift: Anyone
Price range: $84
Sustainability notes: All ingredients are naturally derived and the product production is cruelty-free.
Shipping: Free on orders over $99
Website: aurumskincare.ca
Pick up location: find a local distributor

Bushbalm  

This line of products* was designed to treat redness, bikini line bumps, and ingrown hair anywhere you might get bumps or irritation from hair removal. All products are natural and can be used for much more than their key function: the exfoliating scrub can be used on the entire body and the soothing oils also work for treating tips of the hair, eyebrows, dry skin, underarms, chapped lips, dry cuticles, or instead of Argan oil in hair. I would recommend pairing a scrub with oil for the best results. The company also has a fantastic customer experience team and each order is followed by a personal thank you note from one of the founders. 

Who to gift: Designed for women but can be used by anyone with body hair
Price range: $27 to $38
Sustainability notes: 100% vegan oils created in small batches and not tested on animals. The boxes are carbon neutral and recyclable.
Shipping: Free on orders over $50
Website: bushbalm.ca *

Habitat by Pela 

Vegan, cruelty-free bathroom products, made in small batches using local ingredients. The full package includes a deodorant, shampoo and conditioner bars, body wash bar, and lip balm. The products can be purchased individually or as a set, you can also subscribe for a consistently waste-free bathroom. 

Who to gift: Anyone
Price range: Right now you can get the first full set for $12, otherwise it’s $80
Sustainability notes: All packaging is plastic-free and compostable.
Shipping: Free on 3 or more items (set is 4)
Website: habitatbotanicals.ca

jELN

Toronto-based skincare line promoting natural beauty, nourishing, and healing skin. All products are made in small batches, using raw, natural ingredients “that you can pronounce”. The brand was created by Crystal Rowe whose goal was to build a welcoming environment for people of colour. The product line includes pieces like cuticle oil, hair products, scared skin treatments, face masks, beard oil, and post-shave care products. 

Who to gift: Anyone
Price range: $15 to $66.60, prices in USD
Sustainability notes: All product is sold in glass jars and come in eco-friendly packaging; jELN also has a recycling program: Return 5 empty glass jars/bottles and receive 20% off your next purchase.
Shipping: Free on orders over $200
Pick up: Pick-ups available within the Greater Toronto Area only
Website: yourjeln.com

The Ordinary 

The tagline for the company is “clinical formulations with integrity” focusing on “advanced functional beauty” that decommodifies skincare. What that means in more plain words is they offer transparency into their processes, do not test on animals, don’t use mercury, sulfates, or hard-to-pronounce chemical ingredients like ‘formaldehyde’. What it also means is that the products are very affordable and there is a fairly large variety including Vitamin C serums, exfoliating treatments, hydrators and oils, facial and body care, hair care, and much more.

Who to gift: Anyone
Price range: $4 to $14
Sustainability notes: Sold in carbon-neutral unit boxes, e-commerce packaging currently consists of recycled and recyclable materials and have an in-store recycling program.
Shipping: Free on orders over $25
Website: The line is sold on deciem.com 
Pick up location: Find a local distributor

Food & Drink


Courage Cookies

Two-person cookie baking operation that started as a midnight snack during the first lockdown. Each month they pick a different cause to donate a portion of their proceeds to. You can get a batch of cookies or cookie dough to make at home. Order directly or through Uber Eats. ⁣⁣

Who to gift: Anyone with a sweet tooth
Price range: 5 for $15, or 10 for $25
Shipping: $20 up to 30 cookies across Canada
Website: couragecookies.ca
Pick up location: Stakt market and various pop-ups, check their Instagram.

Genuine Tea

A local company operated by a couple, David and Sarah, who traveled the globe in search of premium loose leaf teas. The online shop has a wide variety of teas sold in small portions, teabags, and in bulk. They have a matcha the club, sparkling iced tea, and sell local food goods like energy bites and chocolates. The tea bundles would make for some particularly nice gifts. And on an ethical note, 1% of all proceeds are donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

Who to gift: Tea-drinking friends 
Price range: $8.95 to $53.57
Sustainability notes: The company is a member of the Third Wave Tea movement in Toronto, an organization that aims to “close the gap between the tea in your cup and the people who have dedicated their lives to producing it”.
Shipping: Free shipping options available 
Website: genuinetea.ca

Reid’s Distillery

Family distillery located on the East side of Toronto creating world-class craft gins. There are a few different flavours (spicy, floral, citrus, aged, sweet, and herbal) and all of them are using Canadian wheat, wild-foraged local juniper and many other botanicals. At this time they sell bottles, mixes, cocktails kits, and you could get a gift card for a future visit to the distillery (which I strongly recommend doing, it’s a lovely space). 

Who to gift: Your friendly gin lovers
Price range: $6.95 to $128.50
Shipping: Free for some orders 
Website: reidsdistillery.com
Pick up location: Daily 12 pm – 8 pm at 32 Logan Ave, M4M 2M8, Toronto, Canada

Wine box or subscription 

If we have learned anything from the first lockdown it’s that we need wine to get through it – am I right 😅 . The majority of the wineries offer wine subscription boxes seasonally and so do many local restaurants. Lake Inez, for example, are piloting a monthly wine box, Bar Volo and Richmond Station also have one. In November I signed up for the Rosewood wine club, which so far looks great. Some other notable wine clubs are Queylus, Malivoire, Karlo, and as a bonus, Bench Brewing has a beer club!

Who to gift: Your friendly wine lover 😄
Price range: Varies 
Shipping: Usually free
Website: Check each individual location 
Pick up location: Available for most locations

Rosewood wine club box, November.

Clothing & Accessories


18 Waits

High-quality men’s clothing line. All pieces are designed and made in Canada and are built-to-last classics. All garments include functional elements, neutral colors, modern tailoring, and classic styles that will fit into any wardrobe. The owners perform weekly factory visits to ensure quality and build relationships with their team. I got to put my hands on a few pieces and the workmanship on them is impeccable.

Who to gift: Men
Price range: $45 to $396
Sustainability notes: All products are manufactured in Canada ensure that the skilled craftspeople who make the clothes are working in safe conditions and are being paid a fair wage. 
Shipping: Free over $100 & they are currently testing a local courier service
Website: 18waits.com
Pick up location: 990 Queen Street West Toronto, ON, M6J 1H1 Canada

Lights of All

Toronto-based ecocentric clothing brand: vegan, ethical, and eco-friendly. Simple, thoughtfully designed, timeless pieces you can dress up or dress down for various occasions. The entire brand is a one-woman operation run by Katia Hagen, a Fashion Design graduate from Lasalle College, in Montreal. 

Who to gift: Women
Price range: $15 – $230
Sustainability notes: Vegan, ethical, and eco-friendly; the primary fabric is organic cotton and everything else Katia uses is recycles, upcycled or reused, and minimally packaged. 
Shipping: Canada Post
Website: lightsofall.com

Muttonhead

Casual clothing collection, all garments are gender-neutral, designed with all ages, shapes, and sizes in mind. The shop also includes a wide range of accessories and home goods, like books and grooming supplies. The kid’s collection is super cute and very much the same as adults so your whole family can be wearing matching woodsmen shirts 😁 .

Who to gift: Adults, kids & babies
Price range: $6 to $376
Sustainability notes: The entire line is designed and manufactured in North America 
Shipping: Free on orders over $125
Website: muttonheadstore.com
Pick up location: 163 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2L3

North Standard Trading Post

I found their stuff at a national park shop somewhere in the BC wilderness and have been a fan since. This is a family-owned business making casual wardrobe staples, all marked with their signature mascot bear. This collection is also gender-neutral and includes a variety of kids and baby pieces. 

Who to gift: Adults, kids & babies
Price range: $14 to $108
Sustainability notes: The organization is committed to promoting sustainability and durability in everything they do from products to packaging and shipping. Proceeds from the Family Bear and Pride Collections are given to the local hospital’s kids clinic and to a camp for 2SLGBTQ+ kids. 
Shipping: Free on orders over $50
Website: northstandard.com

Home gifts


Tectle flower pots & a print by Kari Kristensen.

Art from local artists 

Canada has a wealth of phenomenal artists making plenty of beautiful, affordable art by hand. Most of us know at least one of those, if you do, drop their name and a link in the comments. Here are some that I’ve purchased or was gifted from in the past: Kari Kristensen, Lan Yao, Carmen Darley, and Oneironaut. You can also find a bigger list of artists on local art fair websites: KMAF, Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, and One of a Kind, to name a few.

Cara Concepts

Handmade wood and naturally sourced home products. The core of the collection are wooden baskets, wooden trays, and throw pillows.  I particularly like the bathtub treys, for the long winter bubble baths, with wine, of course. This is a Toronto-based brand. 

Price range: $38 to $180
Shipping: Free
Website: caraconceptstore.com and Etsy

Mama Ts Blanket

Full disclosure this is my mom’s Etsy shop. She was knitting out of restlessness and now making the blankets has become a nice side hustle. There is a good variety available now, quite a few new ones in the works, and she also does custom orders. 

Price range: $55 to $150
Sustainability notes: Everything is handmade at home. 
Shipping: $15 across Canada
Website: MamaTsBlankets
Pick up location: Can be arranged downtown Toronto

Tectle

Fun 3D-printed geometric flower pots made with plant-based plastic. All planters have a mesh base for water seepage to facilitate better plant health. The pots come in a variety of fun wave designs and sizes range from 4.75” to 8”. Tectle also does custom orders on demand [image at the top of the section]. 

Price range: $25 to $100
Sustainability notes: Sustainably made with plant-based plastic.
Shipping: Free on orders over $35
Website: tectle.com and Etsy | Get 25% Off w/ code KATERYNA 🎉

The Orchid Shoppe

A line of products at the White Orchid Homes – Toronto-based interior design firm. The company is operated by Wafa Momani who hand-picks monochromatic pieces for your home. The shoppe collections include art, rugs and textiles, mirrors, dishware, lights, and Apothecary skincare products. Personally, I am quite in love with the Petites Bouchees collection of plates and cups. 

Who to gift: Anyone
Price range: $28 and up
Online order: Free shipping across Canada
Website: whiteorchidhomes.ca


Bonus: The NB Box

Pre-made or bespoke gift boxes featuring New Brunswick entrepreneurs. If you choose to build your own box you have to pick at least three products, which should not be hard – The shop includes over 100 products from fresh fudge to Picadilly coffee, soaps, bath bombs, jams, maples syrup, and much more. 

Price range: Depends on what’s in your box, product prices range from $5 to $48
Sustainability notes: All products are locally made.
Shipping: Free over $50
Website: nbbox.ca

But wait, there is more


Check out the Gate for “Holiday gift giving ideas from some of Canada’s best Indigenous artisans

Discover more local vendors on these digital marketplaces:


In the gear bag: Fujifilm X-T100 with an XF50mmF2 R WR lens. More photos and videos in the Gift Guide highlight on my profile.

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5 Comments

  1. Love this so much, definitely going to order a few things.

    Also one of my favourite local artists is Stacy Marie Stranzl, she makes prints and holiday decorations!
    https://www.stacymariestudios.com/

  2. I am gifted at least a couple bottles of wine from our local wineries each year, and I have to admit – that’s one of my favourite gifts to receive lol! I mean, who wouldn’t want a good bottle of wine during the holiday season? Right?

    1. It’s the best kind of gift! I gift my self one quite frequently as well 😆

  3. I’m obsessed with those Tectle flower pots !!! Great post 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Teri!

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