Want to shop local when looking for the perfect gift for your loved ones?

I have compiled a list of some of my favourite local businesses, artists, musicians, writers and charities for some gift ideas. It’s a start, and I encourage you to promote and suggest other local gift ideas in the comments section of this post (especially if you know or are a local entrepreneur).

These are a few of my favourite things:

Books - a couple of books on my list this year by local authors are The Happy City, by Charles Montgomery - a book that examines the relationship between happiness and urban environments - and Vancouver Was Awesome, a book about Vancouver’s history by local blogger Lani Russwurm at Past Tense.


Photo credit: Vancouver is Awesome

Season Tickets - One of the best things I did this year to support the arts was buying season tickets to The Cultch (only $120 for 5 shows of your choice). I am loving the plays I have seen so far, especially Canadian musician Hawksley Workman’s one-man musical masterpiece The God That Comes. I highly recommend getting seasons tickets as a gift. Other cultural options would be the Vancouver Museum and the Vancouver Art Gallery, which have great local art and history exhibits year round.


Hawksley Workman in The God That Comes. Photo Credit: Trudie Lee

Art -  There are too many talented local artists to mention in this post, but a few of my favourites are Arleigh Wood’s paintings depicting local nature and neighbourhoods, Russell Hackney’s ceramic churns, and all of the up and coming young artists showcasing their work at the Kimoto Gallery off South Granville.


Russell Hackney’s Churns

Jewellery - Two of my favourite necklaces were made by Vancouver jewelers, including a wing necklace by Jesse Turner and a talisman made by Pyrrah, whose necklaces - designed from 18th and 19th century wax seals - have gained popularity around the world.


Pyrrah necklaces

Fashion - It’s surprising how many popular clothing lines originated in Vancouver (i.e. Aritzia, Arc’teryx, MEC, John Fluevog and Lululemon, to name a few).  If you want to support local fashion without opting for these bigger brands, great pieces from emerging fashion designers include purses by Erin Templeton, funky plastic shoes by Native, and the quintessential hipster staple, Herschel Supply Backpacks.

New NATIVE shoes and HERSCHEL backpack for the little one.  (Taken with instagram)

Herschel Supply Backpack and Native Shoes

Beer and Wine - Vancouver’s local beer scene has exploded, so there is no shortage of options if you want to pick up some local brew for your beer-loving buddies. Parallel 49 has become a local favourite on Vancouver’s Eastside, but there are many more to choose from (click here for a good list). Vancouver doesn’t have any wineries to speak of, but if you count Langley as local, you can find great wine from Domaine De Chaberton and Township 7.


Food - Growing up in Vancouver, I have always loved Purdys chocolate. No Christmas in my family is complete without their Mint Melties and Sweet Georgia Browns. There are many other great local chocolatiers (list here). Another local favourite is Langley’s Vista D’Oro Farms, which make amazing vanilla rhubarb jam and other preserves. For other great local food options, visit Edible Canada at Granville Island.


Charities - I volunteer for the YWCA and the Vancouver Public Space Network, but one of the charities I enjoy giving to especially at Christmas time is Homeless Partners. Homeless Partners have volunteers who speak with homeless people around the city to collect their stories and ask them to create their Christmas wish lists. Then they put those stories on their website and allow strangers to buy these people the gift they want and drop them off at a local shelter.

Kenny Grant has volunteered to rejuvenate Homeless Partner’s website to allow anyone across the globe access to start their own Christmas present giveaway to the homeless. Photo: Metro News

Music - Share your love of music and your favourite local band or musician by getting tickets to one of their upcoming shows this year, or buying their album as a gift. Popular local artists like Said The Whale and Tegan and Sara released albums in 2013 (comprehensive list of local bands here).


Said the Whale

Nature - There are many local florists that create beautiful terrariums, which I am obsessed with (my house is full of them). I make my own and get them from Full Bloom Flowers off Commercial Drive. Other local terrariums suppliers can be found on Etsy and around the city.


Pets - Obviously I don’t advocate adopting a pet or getting one as a gift for someone unless you have put some serious thought into it. If you are considering a new critter at Christmas, please adopt one of the many animals in need of loving homes at the BC SPCA or VOKRA (for cats). I adopted an adult cat named Bob from the Vancouver SPCA one year ago and he has brought much joy into my life.