One of my favourite posts to work on is my annual holiday gift guide (you can see past ones here and here). What makes my holiday gift guides a bit different from those on the web is that I place a focus on shopping local. As someone who has dabbled in their own businesses, I know how hard it can be to have a small business and to get your name out there. There are so many people in our own cities pouring their hearts and souls into their businesses and churning out some pretty amazing and unique products. This year I am highlighting six local businesses to help you get a jump start on holiday shopping.



I have a personal connection to the first shop as my good friend Sarah is the principal designer and owner. I credit Sarah with getting me into crystals and teaching me about the amazing ways they can benefit us. When Sarah started luxe.zen, which pairs the finest quality gemstones, wood and other naturally derived materials to create beautiful pieces to enhance any meditation, yoga or spiritual practice, I was so excited.  Sarah designs and handcrafts custom pieces like mala necklaces, bracelets and earrings. What I love about luxe.zen is how much pride and knowledge Sarah has about gemstones.

Work with Sarah to create a special piece for someone on your holiday list this year. She can help you find the right gemstones to support anyone’s journey or mantra, and will create a custom piece just for you.

Right now she has launched some rose gold pieces which have me drooling. Check them out, and all her other pieces on Facebook and Instagram and shop luxe.zen’s beautiful designs on Etsy.

Milo & Ben


I discovered Milo and Ben at this year’s Toronto Baby Show. I couldn’t help but stop in my tracks when I noticed the unique and adorable handmade creations, which are all needle felted, sewn and stuffed by hand by shop owner Melissa Lowry. Milo & Ben offers an assortment of dolls, mobiles, cake toppers and cute little “small friends.” I purchased the Cardinal Family Mobile for my daughter’s room and have gotten so many compliments on it for its uniqueness and the cuteness factor.

Milo & Ben has some great holiday items that would be the perfect gift for anyone on your list including a 2016 ornament and customizable holiday wreath.

Shop Milo & Ben on their website and browse even more fun on their Instagram.

Nadia Lloyd


I lived in Toronto for a number of years and it is a city that has stolen my heart so I love when I can incorporate anything Toronto related into my life. When I heard about Toronto artist Nadia Lloyd’s Toronto collection you can bet I was all over it.

I instantly fell in love with her Toronto print silk chiffon scarf. This scarf would make the perfect gift for the fashionista on your list. It is so versatile and the silk chiffon makes you feel beautiful and leaves you feeling inspired. It’s a great way to add some art appreciation to your outfit!

If you’re a Toronto native, make sure to check out Nadia’s entire scarf collection , which also features scarves designed based on Toronto neighbourhoods. Whether you live in the Six or are just a fan of the city, shop Nadia’s Toronto collection, which features baby onesies, pillows, bedding and some fierce leggings. Any piece is a great way to #TakeTorontoHome.

Nadia has tons of other items and collections on her website. What I love about Nadia is that as an artist she is working to make her art more accessible to people by taking it from the canvas right into your closet. Each piece is unique and acts as a conversation piece that would instantly take your outfit to the next level.

For the art lover and fashionista on your list, you can’t go wrong with any of Nadia’s unique and beautiful pieces. Find Nadia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and shop all her collections online.

The Purple Puddle


This summer I discovered The Purple Puddle when I was at a local festival. At this point, I was like 7 months pregnant and basically done with pants. When I stumbled upon their booth, filled with the softest leggings I’ve ever felt, I was intrigued. I looked at the hundreds of fun patterns and instantly thought, “Well these are just going to stretch out over my booty and look horrible and I’m sure the patterns are just going to make me look bigger!” After chatting with the shop owners, I had a complete change of heart. The leggings are digitally printed so the patterns remain vibrant. When you wear them, the patterns do not stretch out or get distorted, and funny enough, after washing the leggings become even softer.

I ended up buying three pairs (they have an awesome tiered system where the more you buy, the more you save) and lived in them for the rest of my pregnancy. Now I’m six weeks postpartum and frankly I wear these leggings every single day (and I have no shame about this). Honestly, the prints are so fun that I love wearing them. They are incredibly durable and comfortable and don’t wrinkle at all so I can sleep in them, roll out of bed, and start the day and no one is the wiser…well, except for you guys since I just told you my secret.

There are so many designs to choose from and even some awesome Christmas prints. The entire catalogue can be viewed via their subscription page:

Leggings can be purchased by contacting shop owners via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or at one of their pop-up shops (find out about all events via their Facebook page).

Lampe Berger


It is no secret that I love Lampe Berger and have featured their products on the blog a number of times (here, here and here).  Their variety of beautiful lamps and fragrances purify the air in your home, while leaving behind delicious scents. This year Lampe Berger has launched a holiday set, which features a frosted lamp in either Satin Red or Matted White, and their Orange Cinnamon fragrance. If this doesn’t say holidays, I don’t know what does! This gift set would make the perfect present for the hostess on your list. The lamp, in either holiday shade, would be a beautiful piece to have on display over the holidays and the scent would create an inviting atmosphere for all your holiday entertaining.

Thimble Theory


I discovered Thimble Theory through a friend of mine who had a custom baby blanket made when her son was born. Growing up I was the kid that could never find her name spelled right on anything and later in life my name has constantly been misspelled in emails and even on holiday cards from relatives (it’s Tracey with an E, FYI). Thus, I fell in love with the idea of giving my daughter something with her name on it, especially since her name is more on the unique side. I quickly contacted Thimble Theory’s owner Nicky and she guided me through creating a custom swaddle for Bria. I wanted to stick with the soft, vintage flair I had created in her nursery so I opted for a floral pattern with coral writing. The blanket also came with a matching hat! Honestly, the main goal of getting this blanket was so we could swaddle her in the hospital, snap a picture and announce her to the world on social media. We had kept her name a secret from everyone for 9 months, so this was a great way to reveal it. Since then I’ve found the blanket is also a great background for photos and, of course, makes a great swaddle.

Thimble Theory is also known for their birth stat pillows, which are a great way to commemorate the birth of your little one. These pillows can also be customized to be family trees, capture your wedding day, important dates and tons more. Basically the sky is the limit in terms of what Nicky can help you create.

Surprise that special someone on your list with a beautiful customized item by checking out Thimble Theory’s website or connect with them out on Facebook and Instagram.

I hope I given you some unique ideas for your holiday shopping this year and helped you cross off some names on your list. Shopping local is a great way to support those in your community so they can continue doing what they love and allows you to give your loved ones unique gifts that are handcrafted with passion and care.

Now that I’ve given you some inspiration for your holiday shopping, which item is your favourite?'
Written by Tracey