Local Gift Guide

If you didn’t know or haven’t figured out by I live in a really small town. Similar to Stars Hollow without a Luke’s (which by the way would be a great idea) but I guess the 17 is sort of a similar vibe if you were looking for something like that. In any case if you have seen on my Instagram – I sometimes say my location is in Blind River. My hometown, that I never really wanted or thought I would end up in but have somehow found a job in my field and am living at home, so really it was a blessing in disguise! I really wanted to do a local gift guide – and while most of you can’t access these wonderful items I think it’s really important to emphasize a shop local mindset. When I can, I like contributing to local businesses in my town and support local people. I wanted to highlight some great little stores you can get some holiday shopping done at!  As a disclaimer, I wanted to say that I understand that local shopping can be pricey and this comes from a privileged point of view to be able to shop local. I am in no way opposed to shopping big box stores because for a lot of folks that is the most affordable for the majority of people. Without further ado please enjoy my little curation of local gifts for everyone on your list. 

The Birch Tree

This is your classic knick knack store. It’s really not comparable to other stores I’ve been in. The closest I could think of is Claire De Lune but even then The Birch Tree has a really good variety of things. Clothing, jewelry, candles, decor, food items, purses, scarves. soap! Anything you might want to buy someone – they even sell olive oil and balsamic vinegar they order from a store in Sudbury. For this gift guide I got a few knick knacks they sell. My personal favourite items to buy from the Birch Tree is soap from the Old Soul Soap Company. They sell wonderful smelling bar soap, shower steamers, body butters, breathe easy chest rubs, lip balms and bath bombs! The best thing about this soap is it really moisturizes your skin and doesn’t leave your body feeling stripped. If you are looking for some great stocking stuffers their unique food items like the gourmet coffee from Orange Grate that’s located in Mississauga ON and an Onion Chive dip mix are great bits to put in someones stocking! They also sell little zero waste tools such as beeswax wraps and bowl covers!

Le Beau Corset

The local bra store – might be seen as scandalous to some but it’s a great little shop. My mom loves their bras and I love their underwear. They sell lovely brands that you can find at big box stores but are right here in our little town. I personally love the blush underwear in the hipster style and the blush bralettes. They also sell skincare and personal care items. If you are looking for a more zero waste or low waste beauty item this is the place to go. They have face cream, body cream, and serums! I bought the shampoo bar. They sell a brand called the Naked Beauty Soap Co where everything is made in a near by called Thessalon that makes zero waste beauty items!

Haggars

The local clothing store. My mom also loves this store. She tends to buy me items from here. They sell your run of the mill brands including Silver Jeans, Under Armour, Bench and Columbia. I recently bought a few clothing items from there and love them! They also sell the classic roots style socks there and fun printed socks for men and women. You can find gifts for everyone on your list- they sell scarves, jewelry, accessories and both men and women’s clothing.

Forest Glen Candle co

My favourite candle place. This is ran by a young women named Courtney who is about a year older than me, amazing! She makes great, clean candles that fill the whole room with the scent. I need to go buy more winter scents…in any case they have expanded into selling reusable produce bags and other Eco-friendly goodies. Don’t forget there is also a beautiful photography studio done by Courtney’s friend Sarah who is a wonderful photographer! If you have a friend that loves scents and zero waste goodies this is a great place to check everyone off your list. 

The Timber Village Museum

This is perhaps one of my most favourite places to find locally created art and gifts. You can find anything for everyone on your Christmas list. I picked up a few items I think would make great gifts. First is a sugar scrub in the lavender scent from Lakeside acres goat milk soap products. I love everything I have tried from this brand. This is a perfect gift for anyone on your list and smells lovely. The museum also has different art shows and most recently (it’s still going on) is an acrylic on canvas show created by two local artists. I bought two of the mini paintings. These would make a great gift for anyone that loves art! The knick knacks here are great for stockings, if you know someone that loves ornaments why not buy a nice handmade one? As well they have a variety of cards that are different. This gives a card a special edge if they are handmade and you are supporting a local artist!

What is your favourite place to shop where you live? 


Favourite Low Waste Swaps

Recently, I have been trying to be more low waste. I know I can never be low waste in every aspect of my life. Some areas of my life will never be low to no waste because I simply know I can’t be zero waste in every aspect. My personal motto is do what you can where you can. I thought I would talk about a few of my favourite low waste swaps!

First, stainless steel straws. I have talked about these before but I love them. I take them to work and use them when I can. Sometimes I forget them but most times I take them with me wherever I go as I like to use a straw.

Stainless steel straw and Mason Jar

Along with the first one a mode of drinking is my personal favourite; mason jars. I know, this is so cliche I know but these are the most useful thing to have around. They can hold sauce, salads, pasta, coffee, water, salad dressing, literally anything you want to store. Even things that aren’t food, makeup brushes, pencils, loose change etc. There is a use for them. I also like to buy things in glass jars and then reuse the jars to store things.

Bamboo Paper Towel and Rag

H&M Tote

Reusable rags and bamboo paper towels. I found the bamboo paper towels at Marshalls and they are amazing! Everytime I wash them they get softer and softer. I also took a few beach towels from home and cut up them into towels for cleaning and for napkins. Now the reusable life takes a bit of getting used to, like if you spill something it’s not as easy as one two throw out and never see the mess again. It requires rinsing off the rag and reusing it once or twice before throwing it in the laundry bag.

Tote bags. I just love a good tote bag. You can get them at a variety of stores and you can get fit many things in them. I have also noticed drastically my plastic bag use decrease. The one I have in the photo is from H&M  and it folds up to a small size that fits in my purse! I am hoping to get a few more as I think they are a great $3 purchase that saves the planet! These are different from typical grocery bags you might buy in the checkout line at loblaws, because they are so malleable you can fit them in your purse for safe keeping and if you buy something whip it out and carry what you need in there.

Reusable cotton rounds

My last personal favourite. Reusable cotton rounds. At first I was wary, but then I had a bunch of yarn and made my own. They are simple to make and they are super effective. My skin feels great, I use them a few times and you can wash them by hand in between uses and let them dry. They are such a great swap and I highly recommend making or buying some for you daily use of toner. If not pro tip: you can use your toner with your hands, obviously make sure they are clean, then squirt the toner on and press into the skin. Voila.

What is your favourite way to be low waste?