It really IS better to give than to receive —when you find the perfect gift that is warmly received, and you haven’t felt caught up in shopping mall madness. To help you achieve this end, we’ve polled a fine range of independent retailers — the real shopping experts — for suggestions for the special people in your life. Whether you’re looking for a big present for someone close to your heart, or a small gift for a hostess or your friend at work, here are some new as well as tried-and-true suggestions from the experts. Happy Shopping!
You like to dine in style, and so do the birds! This tiny Pottery Chickadee Feeder is handmade in Ontario. Each unique raku-style pattern is made with feathers. Just fill with some of Featherfields’ exclusive non-GMO birdseed to attract small birds like chickadees, finches, and nuthatches. This would make a lovely addition to any garden as an introduction to bird feeding, or an artistic addition for dedicated feeders. Bring nature home for the holidays! $38.00
Featherfields • 1570 Hyde Park Rd #5, London • www.featherfields.com • 519-474-1165
Perfect for the coffee lover, but also ideal for any on-the-go beverage, the KeepCup is both an eco-friendly and elegant solution compared to the waste of disposable cups. The glass mug is fitted with either a silicone or cork ring and a secure lid with a handy spout for sipping. Available in different sizes and a multitude of colours. Made in Australia. From $13–$32
Locomotive Espresso • 408 Pall Mall St, London • www.locomotiveespresso.com • 519-601-3896
Here’s a great gift for your beer (or kombucha or cider or coffee or hot chocolate) lover! By SS Growler, these are the original, stainless steel, threadless flip-top growlers and come in both 1L ($50 inc. tax) and 2L ($60 inc. tax) versions. Double-walled and vacuum-sealed, these will keep your beer cold and carbonated (or your hot cocoa hot) for many hours. Perfect for outdoor adventuring and gift-giving!
Anderson Craft Ales • 1030 Elias St, London • www.andersoncraftales.ca • 506-253-9440
Patrick’s Beans is consistently high quality organic coffee blends that are roasted locally and sourced ethically. Beans are individually roasted in small batches and then blended together to build something that is greater than the sum of its parts, attaining tailor-made tastes and complexities that cannot be found in single varietal selections. A number of popular blends are available, as are custom blends for the true afficianado. Patrick’s Facebook page has a list of locations where Patrick’s Beans are sold and served. From $15 for a 1 lb bag.
Patrick’s Beans • www.patricksbeans.com • 226-378-5100
Mortier Pilon — a Canadian company — is all about bringing the fun back to the process of making kombucha, kimchi, pickles and sauerkraut. Mortier Pilon crocks provide a specialized, anaerobic fermenting environment because of their unique water seal and porcelain weight. The clever, stylishly designed durable glass fermentation crocks come with a booklet of user-friendly thoroughly tested recipes & instructions to get you started. A great gift idea for the foodie/health nut. Fermenting … like you’ve never DIY’d before! Prices range from $9.95 – $59.95.
Bradshaws • 129 Ontario St, Stratford • www.bradshawscanada.com • 519-271-6283
Consumable gifts are always appreciated, especially when they satisfy a sweet tooth! Chocolate Barr’s offers a customized Stackable Gift Basket — items can be substituted or more can be added. A popular choice includes their renowned ½-pound Assorted Chocolates, a ½-pound of mixed milk and dark chocolate Minties, a ½-Pound of Almond Butter Crunch, and a bag of milk chocolate Foiled Santas. $39.99 as shown.
Chocolate Barr’s Candies • 55 George St W, Stratford • www.chocolatebarrs.com • 519-272-2828
The Milky Whey has an extensive selection of cheese from around the world as well as artisanal and small batch cheeses made in Canada. What better way to explore new flavours than with a Cheese Tasting Event? Tickets to one of these popular sessions would make an excellent gift. For example, on Saturday, January 14, “Blues & Booze” is all about Blue Cheese. Taste several blue cheeses and pair them with a dark beer, a red wine and a fortified wine. Moldy goodness! $37.00 plus HST.
The Milky Whey • 118 Ontario Street, Stratford • www.themilkywhey.ca • 519-814-9439
Watson’s Chelsea Bazaar is a long-standing Stratford institution, with two floors displaying an eclectic range of goods from around the world. You will find quality items such as Fiesta Dinnerware. Originally designed in 1936 in the Art Deco era, the bold and bright colours, updated in more recent years, complement a variety of decors. There are over 50 items in the mix-and-match line and they are both highly collectable and practical. Pieces start at $9.
Watson’s Chelsea Bazaar • 84 Ontario Street, Stratford • watsonsofstratford.com • 519-273-1790
Looking for a new idea for a Hostess gift? With frozen soup from Soup Surreal, the host/ess will be able to pamper themselves another evening with a nutritious, healthy, delicious, gourmet soup. Food Gifts are the Best Gifts! An outstanding range of flavours — including gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan recipes — are available. Frozen 850 mL units (enough for 3 light lunch portions or 2 dinner size portions) are $8.00.
Soup Surreal • 98 Wellington St, Stratford • 519-497-5167 • www.soupsurreal.com
Whether you are buying for friends, family or a gift for yourself, accessories are a fun and popular idea! At Impressions you’ll find items that you’ll love to give as well as receive, including unique jewellery, bags, hats, handwarmers, legwarmers, wraps and scarves. Various prices.
Impressions of Wortley Village • 148 Wortley Road, London • www.impressionsfashions.ca • 519-432-0317
These petite Le Creuset Espresso Mugs will inject a pop of colour into any kitchen. They are versatile too; perfect for espresso, they also work beautifully for individual desserts. The durable enamelled surface resists staining, chipping and cracking, and is easy to clean. Providing a totally hygienic surface, it will not absorb odours or flavours. Microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe. The set of six is even on promo for Christmas. $59.99 (regularly $120).
Kiss the Cook • 551 Richmond St, London • www.kissthecookonline.com • 519-850-5477
The Pristine Olive Tasting Bar has come up with a charming way to help customers try their products (over 60 flavours of oils and balsamics!). Owner Jamie Griffiths has created six unique Sample Pack Combinations, containing many of his most popular items. Each sample pack holds six individually labeled, 60ml bottles, enclosed in a custom-designed gift box. Perfect for people who wish to try a little bit of everything! $30 (Gourmet Pack $34).
The Pristine Olive Tasting Bar • 462 Cheapside St, London • www.thepristineolive.com • 519-433-4444
Help your favourite vegan (or non-vegan!) celebrate the holidays in style with vegan-friendly swag from Plant Matter Kitchen. Featuring offbeat food-focused slogans, PMK’s Canadian-made t-shirt line features an organic bamboo-rayon-cotton blend. Top your t-shirt order off with PMK glassware or a trucker hat, and don’t forget a gift certificate! With vegan menu items sourced from organic, local, and plant-based ingredients, a gift from Plant Matter Kitchen is both delicious and stylish!
Plant Matter Kitchen • 162 Wortley Rd, London • 519-660-3663 • plantmatterkitchen.com
Unger’s Market has been serving London for over 30 years. Roots of a family-run farm stand are still in evidence, with fresh meat, eggs, produce and a bakery providing great quality at fair prices. But the store not only developed into a fully-fledged market and deli with a tea room, it has also grown to include unique collections of home decor, gifts, and Women’s Fashion. Style is the operative word, with ever-changing displays of today’s looks inspiring frequent visits.
Unger’s Market • 1010 Gainsborough Road, London • www.ungers.ca • 519-472-8126
Gift Certificates are sometimes regarded as a cop-out, yet they can be a wonderfully thoughtful way to express your sentiments. Gift card displays from large chain stores, now ubiquitous in grocery and drug stores, can smack of mindless consumerism, yet a gift certificate or card from a unique and interesting store or a fabulous local restaurant can be a reflection of your good taste and the interests of the recipient. They are available fom most every business, in denominations that fit your budget.
Railway City Brewing has the perfect gift for only $13.95! This Holiday Gift Pack features 473mL cans of Ontario silver-medal-winning Dead Elephant Ale, Canadian gold-medal-winning Black Coal Stout, specialty seasonal Cranberry Festive Lager, and a 16oz Railway City Brewing glass, all attractively packaged in a holiday gift box. Get yours today at LCBO outlets, select grocery stores, and Railway City’s retail store.
Railway City Brewing Co. • 130 Edward St, St. Thomas • www.railwaycitybrewing.com • 519-631-1881
A Culinary Gift Set from Steed & Company Lavender makes the perfect gift for any foodie. Let them try the Lavender Chamomile Spearmint Tea, Culinary Lavender, and your choice of one of a rich collection of preserves — like a Lavender Raspberry Strawberry Jam with Chocolate Liqueur or Lavender Infused Honey. Wrapped in a beautiful box, this gift set looks as great as it tastes! $30.25–$32.50.
Steed & Company Lavender • 47589 Sparta L ine, RR#5 Aylmer • www.steedandcompany.com • 519-494-5525
Celebrate the holiday season with Dark Horse Estate Winery. Deep in the heart of Huron County, right next to the iconic Huron Country Playhouse, you’ll find the first fully functioning estate winery in Ontario’s newest winegrowing region. The folks at Dark Horse are more than happy to help you select a wine to pair with your holiday feast. Or design a custom gift basket. Gift cards are available for wine tours too. Baskets are priced at $50, $100, or can be custom ordered.
Dark Horse Estate Winery • 70665 B Line, Grand Bend • www.darkhorseestatewinery.com • 519-709-1532
Windells Chocolates is Strathroy’s go-to chocolate shop and more. Owner May Windell brings her artisanal approach to crafting truffles and chocolates, using the finest Belgian chocolate, but she has also attracted other artisans to her beautiful space. For a special holiday treat, she suggests her Butter Pecan Toffee — hand-crafted old-fashioned butter toffee dipped in Belgian chocolate and rolled in freshly crushed pecans. $10-$15.
Windells Chocolates • 51 Front Street West, Strathroy • www.windellschocolates.com • 226-236-1980
Pepper Tree Spice Co. operates out of a charming shop in Port Stanley, offering a sophisticated presentation of the world’s best spices. You’ll find nearly everything you need to share the warmth of the holiday season with their Home for the Holidays Spice Collection including Garlic Mashed Blend, and a Signature Mulling Spice. With over 300 spices and artisan blends made daily on-site, gourmet foods, kitchenware and custom gift baskets, you’ll find the gift that keeps giving for the foodie in your life. Gift packages start at $26.95.
Pepper Tree Spice Co. • 223 Colborne St, Port Stanley • www.peppertreespice.com • 519-782-7800
Curiosities is an independently owned and operated shop nestled in the heart of Wortley Village. They love local, taking pride in stocking the unusual and interesting from Canadian designers and makers from across Ontario and Canada, including ladies wear and accessories, jewelry, baby wear, greeting cards, home décor and bath and body products. Save the Tax during their Christmas Open House on Thursday, Nov. 17, featuring an eclectic selection of Christmas decorations and stocking stuffers and a selection of Canadian-made winter hats, mittens and scarves. This featured outfit is by Montreal designer Luc Fontaine. Jackarta Jacket $159.00, Jacky skirt $120.00.
Curiosities Gift Shop • 174 1/2 Wortley Road, London • www.curiositiesgiftshop.com • 519-432-0434