Gift Guide · Holiday Traditions

My Christmas 2021 *Shop Small* Gift Guide

        If there is one thing we may have all collectively learned this year, 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 160 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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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