How is everyone doing? Trying hard to keep things as ‘normal’ as possible? Would you do me a favour? Please stop.
Christmas is less than a month away and I am slightly happy about no hustle and bustle, no shopping malls and no pressure to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas. Although I stopped with most of that nonsense a few years ago, there are still some holiday traditions I really enjoy but the pressure of all the other stuff was getting in the way. Normally, the hubs and I take one day and get all of the shopping done. We make a day of it. Go for breakfast, decide the order to hit the shops (we always have a list of what to purchase before we go), hit the shops, have a relaxing lunch with a festive libation, hit more shops if necessary and then go out for a delicious dinner. We have done this since the kids were small. My mom would take the kids for the day. It was lovely.
This year is quite different but it’s not. We didn’t have large family plans last year, so obviously we won’t this year. Christmas shopping is not quite the same because I have been intentional about who receives my money. I read a stat that made me think carefully about where I spend my money.
This made me think. Part of what I love about my city are the small shops that fill different communities with vibrancy. Who doesn’t love strolling along Whyte Avenue or 124 street? Who doesn’t love the tiny bistros and restaurants that support local growers? Is it easy to hop on the internet and shop Amazon. At least be more intentional and buy from Canadian box stores. But since you are shopping online anyways…. did you know most local shops take online orders and will deliver? With all of this in mind, I took to my Instagram stories yesterday and posed this: Tell me your favourite small and local business!
And you did.
The side benefit was I found new businesses! I ordered from a few and now my Christmas shopping is done. A lot of activity was happening yesterday, people were sharing, businesses were sharing, people were buying, businesses were selling, everyone was happy. It was a very fun day. Let me share with you a few that I think excel in their customer service and products.
- RSS Designs by Riyaz Sharan. I heard about this local artist from a friend and neighbour. I went to the artist’s page and was blown away by the images he has created of local landmarks. His Red Chairs at Elk Island hooked me in. I went to his online store and made two purchases for Christmas. I am so excited to gift these. He offered shipping but I opted for local pick up. I will get these tomorrow.
2. Glass Bookshop Owned and operated by two locals who focus on Canadian writing with special attention paid to LGBTQ2SIA and IBPOC writers, as well as the independent publishers who help to produce their work. They take orders for more mainstream and best of all? They delivered to my porch. Their communication is personal and helpful. My books were coming in at different times and they were prepared to deliver when each one arrived. I said save your time and the environment, and waiting until they all arrive. These are lovely humans, and I like to shout from the rooftops how great this book shop is. Now, they don’t just cater to Edmontonians, they will ship a book to you wherever you are. I found them most helpful with my Indigenous education. Bonus – they have a podcast because who doesn’t love nerding out to books?
3. CraftyBones She is a fiber artist specializing in crochet and woven pieces. I purchased two items and requested a third custom piece. Shipping is available but because she is local, I have made arrangements for pick up once the pieces are complete. I am very excited to see these pieces too! I even ordered myself one. I had a comment from a follower who told me she bought something after I posted because it was exactly what she was looking for. I love it when that happens.
4. The Royal Bison Who doesn’t love a good artisan craft show? The Royal Bison moved theirs on line this year with the 12 days of Royal Bison. Each day a different medium is featured – but you can buy anything any day. Today the feature is Art + illustration, yesterday it was ceramics. It is a lovely curated selection of local Edmonton and Alberta artists.
5. Daisy Chain Book Company You might know I like books. This used to be a book truck showing up at farmer’s markets and festivals. She turned it into a shop during a pandemic. It is located on High Street in the space that used to be my favourite quilt shop. It is downstairs and charming. She sells new and used books – think Powells but smaller. I love everything about this place, the owner, the happy decor, the selection, kindness and the book community that is growing out of it. You can also order online and she will ship it to you. I have an out of print book on her list that she is keeping an eye out for. Fingers crossed it comes to her. I love this place.
6. I.M. Collective This is a group of indigenous artists who create and sell unique items. They have their online Christmas market happening right now on facebook. I found them at the City Market a few years ago. The work is beautiful. I especially like “Kookum approved” Who doesn’t want their granny approval?
7. Majesty and Friends Located in Highlands in the most adorable shop selling hilarious and quirky gift items. They also have an online shop – honestly – I have come to love shopping from the comfort of my chair. The daughter bought the infamous Fuck You Kenny mug from here. And I like to buy the cards but there is a infinite amount of fun things to purchase. Great stocking stuffers.
I know I have only sctached the surface but I have other things I want to do today like bake mincemeat tarts and shortbread for Christmas gifts of my own. Just so you know, I am not sharing these because these shops are paying me. They don’t even know I am doing this. I am sharing because I don’t want to lose part of what makes Edmonton great. Support local.
Stay healthy friends!