Christmas for my family is not really about the gifts, its more about family and sharing moments, playing some games, and eating really good food! However, I do like spreading a little joy and sharing some of my favourite food and artisanal products with friends and family.
That is why I’m sharing my top holiday gifts this year and the best part is that all these items support local Ontario businesses (and most are under $30 so they won’t break the bank)! I’ve tried all of the items on this list, and I can personally say that they are amazing products that will make you feel good inside and out.
One of the best things you can do this holiday season to support local is shop small and not from big corporations. I’ve chosen items that are easily accessible even if you don’t plan super ahead. I would highly encourage you to go shopping to small boutique shops or even make the trip to some holiday markets this year. I guarantee you’ll be able to buy something made from real ingredients and crafted with love.
Give the gift of local this season and spread the love by supporting local. Now, let’s get to my top ten food and artisanal product picks this year!
#1 St. Brigid’s Creamery Butter
This is a remarkable creamy butter. You may think butter as a gift? Oh yes, these blocks of buttery gold are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face (specially a family member that really loves food…and butter).
Top Picks: St. Brigid’s Butter (Salted), St. Brigid’s Butter Unsalted)
Why I love it: The milk comes from a family-run dairy in Huron County which means it’s a single-herd sourced milk unlike other butters out there. This butter is superior in taste, color, and nutrition as the milk comes from pasture raised A2 Jersey Cows which means the milk is packed with beta carotene.
#2 Marissa’s Herb Garden Oils
Marissa’s products are just so beautiful, and the quality really is unparallel. Marissa grows her own herbs and makes all sorts of medicinal and herbal products. Any of her Body Oils would make the perfect unexpected gift from her heavenly Dream Oil made of Lavender and Mugwort to her incredibly vibrant Calendula Oil.
Top Picks: Dream Body Oil, Calendula Face & Body Oil, Golden Body Oil
Why I love it: All of Marissa’s products are truly from seed to table. All herbs are picked at their peak and dried careful to preserve their medicinal properties, strong fragrance, and aromas. If she doesn’t grow them, she respectfully harvests from nature and sources any other ingredients from local farmers and/or producers.
#3 Mind Your Bees Beeswax Wraps
These beeswax wraps will LAST you, trust me. I’ve tried so many different brands and none of them compare to the quality, durability, and fun designs that Mind Your Bees creates. They have different sizes and even have a DIY option if you want to give a more creative gift.
Top Picks: The Herbs Kitchen One Beeswax Wrap Set, The Doodles One Beeswax Wrap Set
Why I love it: Beeswax wraps are a natural alternative to plastic wrap, and they preserve food so well. I love Mind Your Bees because I can count for the wax on the wraps to last. Plus, they have the most beautiful patterns and designs!
#4 Lake & Oak Tea Co.
These tea blends are so delicious and even beautiful to look at! All their teas are clean, functional tea blends that make you feel good and taste good. Some of my favourites are the Coco Rose and the Turmeric blend but there so many different kinds, you are bound to find the perfect one for that special someone.
Top Picks: Coco Rose Earl Grey, Turmeric Ginger Tonic, Ashwagandha & Chill
Why I love it: I love that it is loose tea, which means less packaging and waste. The taste is superior to commercial teas, trust me once you try them, you’ll never go back. An extra reason to love them is that they work with retail partners on refillable options; I re-fill my jars at The Kind Matter Company and I save 10% on every refill!
#5 Martin’s Sweet Farm Maple Syrup & Honey
Whether you are a honey or maple syrup fan or both, Martin’s Sweet Farm makes wonderful, sweet, and natural products, just as their name suggests. They are a small farm in Campbellville Ontario, managing roughly 100 beehives and taps trees in the Spring to produce their maple syrup.
Top Picks: Wildflower Honey, Dark Maple Syrup
Why I love it: I can trust that their product is 100% honey and maple syrup. Plus, they use their honey and maple syrup to create a range of interesting, unique, natural, and delicious products as well; from soaps to muscle pain bars to candles, there are so many options to find the perfect gift.
#6 Hello Betina’s Jams & Preserves
These Brazilian-inspired jams and preserves are unique, and are perfect as stocking stuffers. These products are 100% natural without the addition of additives and are made in small batches using traditional techniques.
Top Picks: Biquinho Peppers, Omama’s Banana Jam, Guita’s Dill Mustard
Why I love it: Carol is one of the sweetest people I have met, and she truly puts love in all her products (she truly believes that our hands are an extension of the heart). She grew up around food and some of her Brazilian-inspired products are family secrets as well, like her Omama’s Banana Jam.
#7 ChocoSol Chocolates
This is some truly revolutionary bean-to-bar artisanal dark chocolate; it doesn’t get any more real or local than this chocolate. You can count of real cacao and ingredients that will exhilarate your taste buds and make you fall in love with dark chocolate again.
Top Picks: Kakai + Cacao, Vanilla Sea Salt, Darkness
Why I love it: They have so many different flavours and even have special holiday/season flavours. My favourite is their Kakai + Cacao, which encases Ontario-grown kakai pumpkin seeds roasted in a local maple syrup and sea salt glaze. A perfect gift for any chocolate lover.
#8 Renew Eye Serum Wildcraft
The perfect gift for the beauty guru in your family. This nutrient-rich serum and spot serum works just as beautifully as it looks! It targets dark eye circles and puffiness, giving you a brighter and youthful complexion around your eyes.
Top Pick: Renew Eye Serum
Why I love it: Wildcraft products are organic, vegan, and cruelty free. One of my favourites is the eye serum but you really can’t go wrong with any of their products! This serum is formulated with naturally anti-inflammatory turmeric and skin-softening yarrow and can even be used as a spot treatment.
#9 Coconut Soy/Wax Candle from The Kind Matter Company
These beautiful candles are hand poured using sustainable, eco-friendly coconut-soy wax that is free of additives and made with 100% essential oils. The also feature cherry wood wicks instead of the usual cotton-wick. The wood wicks are sourced and manufactured from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-Certified Mills.
Top Pick: Coconut Soy/Wax Candle – Warming (9oz glass jar)
Why I love it: These hand-poured candles have a 40+ hour burn, and they are poured in 11oz whisky glasses which means when your candle is finished you can clean the glass and re-use to enjoy your favourite beverage in! The cherry wood wick is also a lovely addition as it makes a wonderful crackling noise, perfect for cozying up this holiday season.
#10 Vanilla & Spice Canada Pure Vanilla Extract
It doesn’t get purer that this vanilla extract. There are real vanilla beans in every bottle so with time the vanilla flavour becomes even bolder! This is perfect for the baker in your family, once they start baking with this vanilla, they’ll never go back to store-bought.
Top Pick: Pure Vanilla Extract
Why I love it: It’s hard to find pure vanilla and brands that you can trust as North American corporations mostly work with large products who dominate the export market. Vanilla & Spice work with small growers in Madagascar and handcraft their premium products in Toronto.