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Support Calgary businesses, makers, and creators with our 2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Where has the time gone? Finding the perfect gift for a loved one that matches their personality can be difficult and at times, downright stressful at others. We hope this local gift guide will help ease your burden. From creatives and foodies, to adventurers and trendsetters, we have compiled a list of gifts for a wide range of people. We have combed through local shops, restaurants, charities, and more throughout the community to bring you a variety of locally-sourced products and services.

Supporting local is important, especially this time of year, says Deborah Yedlin, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce

“Small businesses are the heart of our city, helping drive our economic growth. In Calgary, two-thirds of employment is supported by small businesses,” Yedlin says. “We encourage all Calgarians to shop local this holiday season. Small businesses empower our city, create jobs and put money back into the community.”

The guide consists of 47 locally sourced options—many of which we want ourselves—that will hopefully inspire you to find your gifts. But don’t dillydally: Christmas is exactly a month away today. Happy shopping!

For the creatives

This category is designed around people who are artistic, perceptive, playful, and imaginative. Creatives bring so much joy and light into the world and it is important to foster creativity and playfulness. One way to show how much you appreciate the creative people in your life is to push them to pursue their endless dreams and ideas.

Paintings by Kyla Alty

With over 10,000 art products in store, this is the perfect place to help the creatives in your life stock up on their supplies. Whether they’re just getting into art or a full-fledged Van Gogh, Swinton’s has everything they’ll need. For example, this Deluxe Acrylic Painting Kit is perfect for beginners or for those who simply need to restock their shelves.

Maybe your friend or family member wants a break from creating so they can appreciate their community’s art. Kyla Alty is a local artist and painter who produces beautiful landscapes, many featuring our neighbouring Rocky Mountains. She does commission work for unique pieces, but also sells her paintings at local art shows or through her Instagram.

For the people who need a little bit more direction, check out 4Cats’ at-home kits. With a step-by-step guide, anyone can create their own decorations. Whether you know someone who wants to get into arts and crafts, or you have a skilled artist that just wants to sit back and have fun, these kits are perfect for the creatives in your life. Also, who doesn’t want an adorable Yeti on their mantle for the holiday season?

For those who don’t want to get their hands dirty, photography classes are a great way to build skills and explore one’s creative side while enjoying the outdoors. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to expand your skills, these classes have it all. Better yet, they have a class where you can learn the basics of photography while sipping on a pint of beer.

There are also going to be people in your lives who love creativity and art, but aren’t the best at it themselves. If that’s the case, you should look into getting them tickets to see the upcoming and long-anticipated live performance of Fiddler on the Roof at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

For the adventurers

This category is for the rebels, thrill seekers, gym addicts, and anyone who loves to get out and have some fun. These gifts are best for people who can’t seem to sit still for more than five minutes. (I don’t know what that’s all about, I love Netflix.) Adventurers are not homebodies, so it’s almost more difficult to shop for them because it won’t mean as much if you get them that beautiful vase you saw on your way home. Instead, check out these options.

Photo of woman skydiving with instructor through Skydive Extreme Calgary

Let’s jump right into it (pun intended.) What is more adventurous than jumping out of a plane? Thrill seekers love the rush of endorphins, adrenaline, and serotonin that flood the brain when free falling thousands of feet. If you really want to shock your adventure addicts, and they have discussed an interest in skydiving before, then you should check out these passes.

When the adventurer in your life can’t plan time away to pursue thrills and action, you can help them satisfy their desire by getting them passes for local gym memberships such as spin classes. From bumping, loud, and fast-paced spin classes to a combo of spin and yoga, your adventurer friends and family members will have a blast.

It’s important to teach aspiring adventurers the ropes and necessities, especially children. Kits from Wild Life Outdoor Adventures are perfect because they include all of the tools needed for burgeoning little adventurers. With the Bear Essentials Kit, kids will feel confident to head outside and explore the world around them!

If summer adventures are more your friends and family members’ style, check out indoor activities such as bouldering. Bouldering is perfect for adventurers to build physical skills through rock climbing. To add to the thrill, there are no harnesses—but don’t worry, there are fluffy mats below in case you miss a handle or two. Check out membership deals for your friends and family from Bldr.

After all that craziness, your friends and family deserve a much-needed recovery session. Yamuna offers tools to assist in difficult workouts such as yoga, or to help the body relax. Body rolling allows you to massage specific muscles and can help relieve neck problems, shoulder problems, lower back pain, and more. The beginner ball is perfect for your friends and family members who are just getting into body rolling.

For the foodies and drink enthusiasts

Who isn’t a food or a drink enthusiast? This section is perfect for just about anyone who loves to eat, drink, and enjoy the simple things in life. To be able to cook and prepare your own food and beverages is quite satisfying and fulfilling, but so too is sitting back and relaxing. Food and drinks are not just about taste and smell, but also the experience and the people who gather to enjoy it with you.

Shaken and Stirred Cocktail Set from Fifth and Vermouth

If your friends and family members are looking to get into cooking or broaden their current skills, buying them a cooking class is a great gift. With classes ranging from amateur to professional, everyone could benefit from Cuisine Chateau: Interactive Culinary Centre.

Maybe your friend or family member wants some new recipes for their shelves. If you are looking for a unique and local cookbook, look no further. Becky Van Drunen was a finalist in the 2022 Canadian Book Club Awards for Playlist Kitchen: Ubeat Recipes & the Music that Brought them to Life. This book is inspired by music, so your friends and family can listen to the correlating songs while cooking the meals to get the full experience.

OK, now that they have the basics of cooking down, it’s time to shop for some new kitchen items that they’ll love. Maybe your friends and family members have mastered the art of cooking and are now improving their plating skills. Why not help them out with these beautiful plates from Starfishly Clay Works?

Moving on to the drink enthusiasts, maybe your gift recipient simply wants to kick back with a nice cold beer. Created through friendship and bonding over the love of beer, Tool Shed Brewing Company is the perfect place to get unique and delicious brews. There are also non-alcoholic options.

For anyone dabbling in the world of mixology, this Shaken & Stirred Cocktail Set is the perfect gift. These beautiful sets will get anyone behind the bar to give it a shot. Whether your family member or friend is a professional cocktail artist or they are just having fun at home, this set will help produce amazing cocktails.

For the homebodies

We all have friends and family who are more introverted than extroverted and would prefer to cozy up at home then be out and about. Sometimes it’s just better to wrap yourself in a warm blanket, turn on a movie, and enjoy your home. This list was created for people to continue sprucing up their living space, and also to sit and enjoy it.

'Happy House' door mat from Valley Boutique and Home

Know someone who longs for the text that says “Sorry, can we reschedule our plans?” They probably love to wind down and enjoy some alone time. These relaxing bath soaks are perfect for a night dedicated to self-care. Your friends and family members will appreciate this thoughtful gift as they sink into the warm water.

To go along with that bath, or to just sit and enjoy while reading a good book, homebodies love the warming nature of candles. Milk Jar offers some festive candles for the holiday season, such as this Holly Candle with cranberry, clove, and pine scents. With natural ingredients, it’s perfect for people who just want to sit at home, do nothing, and enjoy the silence.

Help someone furnish and decorate their new home or apartment with items such as this doormat from Valley Boutique and Home. One of the most exciting parts of moving into a new space is decorating. Or maybe you know someone who’s re-decorating their old space to make it feel fresh. Either way, these decor items make great gifts.

For those more eccentric members on your gift list who are looking for statement pieces for their spaces, you have to check out Prairie Bazaar. This pink wicker chair would be an amazing talking piece. You could leave it as is, or add a pillow to accentuate its unique beauty.

If you know someone who’s feeling the stresses of life and having a hard time keeping up with all of the clutter in their homes, hiring a professional home organizer is the perfect gift. Where function meets beauty, this team will help anyone feel at peace in their space.

For the book lovers

Book lovers tend to have an active imagination and long for a quiet space where they can escape to other worlds. This Christmas, help your book lover friends and family members transport themselves through books, or get them items that will enhance their experiences. Any gift that reflects their love of reading will be appreciated.

Feather Flower Book Mark from DKV Art and Resine Shine Craft

What better gift to get a book lover than a book itself? There are too many books in the world to recommend just one, so a gift card is a great option. The Owl’s Nest is a local bookstore that has a large selection from all different genres for your book lovers to enjoy.

If you’re like me and can’t stand it when people fold the pages of a book, then you have to check out these beautiful feather flower bookmarks from DKV Art and Resin Shine Craft. While book lovers hate to put a good book down, why not give them a gift that helps them save their spot when they finally do?

It’s bad for your eyes to read in the dark, so add some extra, moody, light to reading sessions with YYC Beeswax’s Jane Austen Quote Candle. The book lover in your life will love this candle to help them cozy up and get in the mood to read for hours.

Check out these Central Library Window Socks from Friday Sock Co. (because one can never have enough reading socks.) When you’re delving into other worlds for hours on end, you tend to forget about normal things like taking care of your body. Help your loved ones keep their toes warm while reading.

To pair with the socks, the library window earrings are a reflection of the Central Library and go with any outfit. This is the perfect gift for anyone who has to take time away from the pages, but wants to bring their love of reading with them in a subtle but classy way. These earrings are made by Cinder & Sage.

For the Fashion Lovers

How someone presents themselves in life says a lot about them, and this is even more important for the fashion lovers in your life. People love beautiful things and fashion is really another art form—a way that people can express themselves and get creative. When the fashion-lovers in your life dress themselves in what they love, they gain confidence in themselves and how people interpret them.

Summer Crown Bolero hat from Catrina Art

Local artist, Ana, first opened her business in 2021, selling the most beautiful hats to help the people express themselves, such as this Summer Crown Bolero. Fashion lovers assess their outfits from head to toe before heading out the door, so help them start at the top with these beautiful creations.

OK, maybe someone needs a warmer option for the cool months. Bucket hats are also making a massive comeback, and this fuzzy hat from Velour is sure to keep heads warm and fashionable at the same time. This hat would be perfect for upcoming markets and winter activities.

Purr has great options for you to choose from. What better way for someone to express themselves than with a pop of colour? This floral garden printed long-sleeve shirt is the perfect, subtle pop of colour for the colder months ahead.

A big trend in the fashion world lately has been the comeback of fanny packs. Whether it’s traveling, going to concerts, or day to day activities, a fanny pack is a great storage spot and accessory for outfits. This fanny pack from Local Laundry is the perfect way to support local while gifting someone a new accessory to show off.

Fashion lovers often finish their look by pairing jewelry with their outfits. NHU makes beautiful jewelry here in Calgary, such as this twisted gold band. If you know someone who’s on the hunt for statement pieces for their outfits, but may also want more simplistic pieces to help round it all together, NHU has it all.

For the plant lovers

While not everyone is blessed with a green thumb (myself included), you probably know someone who is obsessed with plants. This section is for them! From plants and pots to accessories and decorations, this list will help you find the perfect gift for the plant lovers in your life.

Philodedron brasil from Plant

There is no better gift than a plant itself. There are so many plants to choose from that it almost feels impossible, but rest assured your plant lover will have a great time learning all about whatever plant you choose. This philodedron brasil is a common houseplant that adds an inviting feel to any home.

Maybe your plant lover pal is just starting out and needs something a little more low-maintenance. If so, you have to check out this small terrarium from Plant. With each made from hand, there is no one the same. This is perfect to add to a growing collection or as a decoration for a coffee table.

Those beautiful plants need some pots, of course. Plants are a great way to decorate a living space, but the other contributing factor is the pots where the plants reside. These pots are great, either with plants in them or empty and awaiting a new plant. Check out the beautiful pots from Sprout, such as this modern face pot.

Tools to help keep those plants alive make for great gifts. This plant mister from Ingear Store will keep plants hydrated, and they’re also a stylish tool that serves as decor in the house.

Some plant lovers, unfortunately, are not the best plant parents—some want to add beautiful greenery and flowers to their living spaces, but don’t have the proper tools or environment to help them thrive. But hey, fake it ‘til you make it with an artificial plant. This tiger tail gold edged artificial plant from the Silk Plant Warehouse is a beautiful option.

For the ‘I just want to be with yous’

Everyone knows that person who, when asked what they want for Christmas, says “I just want to be with you.” These are some of the best people to have in your life because you know they mean it—but you may still want to get them something. What better way to show your love and appreciation for their kind hearts than to get a gift that gives back?.

Library Love Toque from the Calgary Public Library Foundation

With the purchase of one toque, another one is donated to a homeless organization across Canada. Anyone who assures you that they don’t want anything will appreciate this cute toque along with the gift it provides to those less fortunate.

Children need proper nourishment in order to excel in life and engage in their day to day activities. Your altruistic friend will greatly appreciate a donation in their name.

The Hatch is a collaborative effort to make accessing food in communities easier. Poverty is at an all-time high in Calgary and donating to local organizations like The Hatch would make anyone feel good knowing that they helped fill one belly. You can either donate food to the local fridge and pantry at the Rosscarrock Community Hall location or donate money.

Consider donating in the name of an animal lover to the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation. This organization works to rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife and has helped over 1,800 animals. Donations help more animals get rescued and released back into the wild.

If you know someone who’s passionate about the environment, they would love to find out that you donated to Alberta Ecotrust in their name. This non-profit collaborates with other industries, governments, and charities to focus on current issues, such as the negative impacts of climate change.

Reader’s Choice!

OK, maybe my ideas aren’t everything you could have dreamed, so check out what our readers came up with over the past month.

My Petite Box Christmas Box 2022 within box

Got a sushi lover in your life? This adorable chopsticks and rest set is sure to make your them very happy. The rest is used to place your chopsticks on during your meal (mind you, I don’t know who would want to stop eating sushi once you’ve started), or for when you’re finished.

If you know an avid thrifter, head over to Trend Fashions LTD to find them a new look. This consignment store has a wide selection of clothing and accessories to choose from. Whether your thrifty friend has a quirky or simplistic style, you are sure to find a great gift for them here!

We can’t forget about our furry friends! Shop at The New Forest for local treats, toys, and more for your pets. We all know that sometimes people see their pets as their children, so why wouldn’t you have them on your gift list? This adorable Christmas rex dog toy is perfect for your pup—and don’t worry, they also have cat toys.

Laser tag is a great gift for those who love to be active but want to have fun while doing it. Run around and shoot lasers at your friends in this fast-paced arena setting. These gift cards would make awesome stocking stuffers.

The Calgary International Film Festival is always a massive hit. Dedicated to showcasing Calgary’s local talent through film, CIFF brings a multitude of genres and has something for everyone. Give the movie buff you know a membership to next year’s festival—but hurry, these sell fast.

Getting someone who’s obsessed with organization this one-of-a-kind calendar by Tori English is a great idea. Each calendar is unique as they are all hand-painted by the artist with handmade ink. Organizational fanatics will be able to keep track of their year while enjoying beautiful and unique art every month.

A great option if you are overwhelmed and still don’t know what to get that special someone is the new Christmas box from My Petite Box. It features seven local makers including The Potion, TotaliTEA, and YYC Candle Co.

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