Christmas · Gift Guide · Holiday Shopping · Holiday Traditions

Shop Small 2023 – Rachel’s Holiday Gift Guide

        If there is one thing we may have all collectively learned these past few years, it’s that home is where the heart is and some of the best gifts come in small (business) packages. Tens of thousands of small businesses nationwide have navigated the covid-19 pandemic like dinghy’s in a hurricane – and many didn’t make it. I wanted to curate some of my favourite Canadian small shops to share with you and encourage you to shop if you have the means. Purchasing from these shops goes a long way to making a small business owner do a little happy dance (and staying afloat). There is some overlap between categories, and I have some categories “gendered” (not because I believe some gifts should be for men/women only, but because these are the most common search parameters). This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here’s at least 250+ of some of the best small shops/businesses I want you to know about while you’re hunting for the perfect gift this holiday season!

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Christmas · Gift Guide · Holiday Shopping · Holiday Traditions

BIGGEST Black Friday Sales You Need To Know About

Mini history lesson before I get started. Did you know that the term “Black Friday” has for years been synonymous with mayhem at stores, and its origin story has roots in turbulence?

Black Friday began in Philadelphia in the 1960’s. Tourists would descend on the city on the day between Thanksgiving and the annual Army-Navy football game held on Saturday. Historians say the Philadelphia police took to calling the day Black Friday because officers had to work long hours and deal with terrible traffic, bad weather and other crowd-related miseries.

Local retailers wanted to draw in shoppers that day. But they disliked the term because of the connotation of the word “black” in front of a day of the week, which historically has been used to mark unpleasant events. One was Black Tuesday, the day of the stock market crash of 1929, and another, Black Monday, the day in 1987 when the market lost more, on a percentage basis, than on any day in 1929. Retailers tried to rebrand the holiday “Big Friday” but were unsuccessful. Businesses later reclaimed the name Black Friday, saying that the day was when stores’ books went from red ink to black.

Retailers have tried more recently to spread the shopping frenzy across multiple days after a succession of injuries and even deaths as shoppers surged into stores in a blind rush for the day’s bargains. And because the holiday shopping season has become so important to retailers’ bottom lines, there is now Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving that is being marketed as a day for online shopping, and Small Business Saturday, which encourages people to shop at local businesses.

Now, let’s be honest – Black Friday is now more like a whole season than a single day. Countless brands compete for your attention with flashy offers and extended deals. To help you navigate the consumerist free-for-all, I’ve compiled some of the biggest Black Friday deals from major brands in Canada.

Note that this information is subject to change as stocks deplete and offers expire. In some cases, brands are staying tight-lipped about the extent of their Black Friday sales and, at the time of writing, are only offering sneak peeks and previews. So these deals could become more extensive, too. Check back for updates.

This blog uses affiliate links; when you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn commission. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Here’s what I’ve found so far:
  • Chapters Indigo – Save big (30-60% off) across almost all categories! Stocking stuffers, books, holiday decor, the hottest toys of the season, and more! 
  • Gap Canada (and) Gap USA – 60% off the *entire* website. Holiday outfits, stocking stuffers, or even the basics. Great time to stock up!
  • Amazon Canada – I have curated all the top categories into handy lists, and am updating in real time. New deals drop every hour so check back often
  • Amazon USA – I have curated all the top categories into handy lists, and am updating in real time. New deals drop every hour so check back often

  • Ruggable – All the rugs in my home are Ruggable, and I love that I can wash them. We can surely expect a big sale from them, so keep your eyes peeled. I bought this Christmas rug in a 5×7 for my front entry and I LOVE it!
  • – One of my FAVE online stores. They carry everything from fashion, to medications, to the HOTTEST toys of the season, to children’s shoes, and so much more. Their Black Friday sales went live this morning and items are marked down up to 75% and priced to sell!
  • Sephora Canada and Sephora USA – The makeup/beauty/fragrance giant we all know and love has dropped their cyber week sales and there are over 1,000 items marked down. Great time to take a peek.
  • Coulee Outdoor – Coulee Outdoor has created the most versatile smokeless fire pits, right here in Alberta, made to last a lifetime. With the unique ability to burn wood pellets along with traditional firewood, these smokeless fire pits are a must for every backyard, campsite, and cabin. Some HOT bundles deals live now and code BOWS20 saves you an additional 20% off your order.

  • Columbia Sportswear Canada (and) USA – One of the biggest outerwear sales of the entire year. The store is 25% off at least, with most jackets marked down at least 50% off. Growing kiddos and cold temperatures are my current reality, so this is really timely. 
  • Torrid – Featuring fashion for women size 10-30, this is one of my favourite shops at the moment. Best part is they currently have 60% off the entire store!!!
  • Lululemon – In preparation for the busy holiday season, Lululemon has marked down a TON of their inventory. Starting at just $9, there is something for everyone on your list (or just yourself, because you’re also a gift).


I’m going to be keeping this Black Friday blog updated with all the best prices and deals as they go live, so keep checking back to see what’s new.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting me and my family xo

Gift Guide · Holiday Traditions

My Easter 2021 Gift Guide

If you have found yourself in a pinch while mindfully choosing your Easter Basket gifts this year and don’t want to add one more chocolate Easter bunny to your household, you’ve come to the right place. Here, I’m going to share the absolute best Easter gifts for kids (and adults!) — gifts they’ll actually love and use all year – and the focus will be predominately on small Canadian shops. My roundup includes everything from cute craft ideas, to outdoor fun, to bigger-ticket, splurge-worthy items. Kids and toddlers alike will love each of our picks! Lastly, I’ll share some great ideas for adults if you have one to gift to this year (you count too!)

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Holiday Traditions · Mom Life · Real Talk

Our Version of Christmas Advent

It’s a little overwhelming, isn’t it? The holiday season? It feels (at least to me) like consumerism has taken on a life of its own these days and threatens to topple anyone who isn’t steadfast in their resolve to not give in to Keeping Up With The Jones’. I’m over here just trying to keep it simple with my kids so every Christmas season we do a book advent for them.

48 books about Christmas, the holiday season, giving, love, charity, generosity, and family. Lovingly hand-wrapped for our little ladies, one each, for every day of Advent. We hope to encourage their love of stories and reading – and to show them that sitting with loved ones (or themselves) and reading a great book is maybe what it’s all about. To foster the excitement of waking up and seeing what story the day has for them – which really, is a decent metaphor for life itself. I’m always excited to see the look on their faces when they get to open a new (to them) book every day – stories collected from family and friends, thrift shops, and a few new special picks.

Money saving tip: check your local Free Little Libraries for holiday books, ask on local Facebook groups, and check Value Village (since they always offer buy 4 kids books get 1 free – and they’re only $2-$3 each). I switch a few out every year to keep up with their interests and ages – for example, I swapped out most of the baby board books this year, and added some Paw Patrol and Wild Kratts to appeal to the girls’ current interests.

Mom Hack: After Christmas, pack up the advent books and stash them away for next season. The kids won’t remember them next year, and they stay in great condition because they’re only enjoyed in December. Better yet, trade advent books amongst friends with similar traditions – get a bunch of new (to your family) books for free!

Chocolates get eaten and tiny toys get lost, but the memories we hope to create with our girls of laying together and laughing and snuggling into stories will last a lifetime. It’s not always perfect but it’s perfect for us. And that’s all I can hope for.

“Words, are our most inexhaustible source of magic.” J.K. Rowling