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22 holiday gifts that support local businesses

Support local businesses this holiday season

November 21, 2018 by Centaine Hlushak on Adventure with Purpose, Alberta Apparel, Black Sheep Mattress Company, Deane House, Dr For Moms Family Health Center, Eau Claire Distillery, Ellie Bianca, Greengate Garden Centre, Growing Co. Kids Eco Boutique, Hotel Arts, Hotel Arts Kensington, Kent of Inglewood, Knifewear, Lowen's, MaƱana Imports and Gifts, Neal's Yard Remedies, Pure Creations, Red Tartan, Righteous Gelato, River Cafe, Stephanie Hrehirchuk, SwizzleSticks SalonSpa, The Apothecary in Inglewood, YYC Beeswax

The holiday season is about to hit, and there’s no better way to spread the joy of giving at this time of year than by supporting your favourite local businesses! Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

For the wellness junkie:

  • Ellie Bianca is a natural skincare company with a mission to uplift, empower, and support women. Specializing in body oils, Ellie Bianca sources its ingredients from a women’s co-op in Chad where the women are paid a living wage. Visit them in-store, online, or at these retailers.
  • Lowen’s Skincare specializes in natural products formulated for sensitive skin. Lowen’s makes a wide array of delicious lip balm flavours, including Iced Gingerbread and Pumpkin Pie. Purchase products online or at these retailers.
  • Neal’s Yard Remedies is a skincare company that uses natural ingredients for luxurious products, including bath and body and aromatherapy. Visit the store on 4th Street or buy online.
  • Pure Creations is a plant-based skincare company that works with local farmers in Alberta and BC for the produce from which their ingredients are extracted. Visit the store, buy online, or at these retailers.
  • The Apothecary in Inglewood is a one-stop wellness shop for bath and body products, zero-waste home accoutrements, and a massive collection of essential oils which are blended in-house. Up the holiday vibes in your home with the Into the Woods blend, which combines fir, cedar, and juniper tree oils to make you and your home smell like an enchanted forest. Check out the store in person or online.
  • YYC Beeswax makes bath, body, and home products out of hand-harvested beeswax. Solid lotion bars are perfect for holiday travel, and candles make great stocking stuffers. You can find YYC Beeswax’s products online, at various markets around Calgary, or at Marketspot – the pop-up shop in CrossIron Mills and CORE Shopping Centre for local handmade products.

For the tasty treats:

  • Deane House and River Café are award-winning fixtures of the hyper-local Calgary food scene. Gift cards can be purchased online for both Deane House and River Café for a quintessentially-Canadian dining experience.
  • Eau Claire Distillery offers farm-to-glass vodka, gin, and whiskey made in its Turner Valley facility – which is also open for tours and tastings year-round. Eau Claire spirits can be found in stores and online.
  • Fiasco Gelato is an award-winning company that believes happiness comes in the form of gelato. Shop the holiday range online, at your local grocery store, or visit the café in Mayland Heights for unique flavours you can’t find anywhere else.
  • Red Tartan bakes artisan shortbread cookies from scratch, and caters to many dietary needs including vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free recipes. Because what are the holidays without cookies? Check out the online store or find them at Granary Road through December.

For the fashionable:

  • Alberta Apparel is a locally-made clothing brand for men, women, and children, using eco-friendly fabrics like bamboo and merino wool. The designs are created by Calgary artists who draw inspiration from our province. Shop the catalogue online.
  • Manana Imports is a store on Kensington Road, bursting at the seams with an eclectic array of jewelry, clothes, décor, and musical instruments from the far corners of the globe. Manana Imports is family-owned, and they regularly visit and trade directly with their artisans in the developing world.
  • Kent of Inglewood offers a wide array of classic grooming products -- including straight razors, soap, and lathering brushes -- alongside cocktail accessories, pocket knives, and axes. Shop online, or visit the shop at 1319 9 Ave SE.

For vacationers and staycationers:

  • Adventure with Purpose is a travel group specializing in ethical tourism. In addition to cultural and conservational excursions, Adventure with Purpose carries an array of hand-woven travel bags from Vajra Collective, made by several different women’s collectives in Nepal. Check out the tour offerings online.
  • Hotel Arts and Hotel Arts Kensington (formerly Kensington Riverside Inn) are two boutique hotels with deep roots in the downtown core and Kensington neighbourhoods. Book a reservation for a room at Hotel Arts or Hotel Arts Kensington or check out the in-house restaurants.
  • SwizzleSticks SalonSpa has been a pioneer of natural beauty for more than 20 years. Pamper your loved ones with spa treatments or a new look for the festive season – using only eco-friendly products.

For the kids:

  • Dr For Moms is more than a wellness centre for families. It’s also home to Nature’s Baby Basket, a retail store dedicated to natural and local baby products including toys, clothes, and care products.  
  • Growing Co is a digital consignment store for ethically-sourced baby and children’s clothing, both new and used. Purchase something from the catalogue, or give your loved one the gift of decluttering and arrange a pickup.
  • Stephanie Hrehirchuk is a local author of children’s books that encourage young readers to care about the environment. Her current titles include Anna and the Earth Angel, Anna and the Tree Fort, Anna and the Food Forest, and the forthcoming release Anna and the Christmas Tree. Each print copy sold plants a tree in deforested regions of Western Canada and the United States.

For the homebodies:

  • Black Sheep Mattress has been making natural mattresses since 2011. Since then, the company has also been making its own pillows and bedding from natural and organic fibres. Gift cards can be purchased online for the gift of sleep.
  • Greengate Garden Centres has been a staple of Calgary’s gardening scene for decades. Check out its seasonal rotation of potted plants, gardening supplies, and holiday décor in-store, or purchase a gift card online.
  • Knifewear is Calgary’s source for Japanese kitchen knives – which are known for harder steel and sharper blades than knives made elsewhere. In fact, founder Kevin Kent recently published a book on the subject, The Knife Nerd Guide to Japanese Knives. Visit the shop in person at 1316 9 Ave SE or online for all your knife needs.


  1. Click the above links to support local businesses this holiday season!
  2. Check out our directory for even more awesome local businesses to support.
  3. Connect with REAP on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and share with us your Calgary-sourced gifts with the hashtag #belocalyyc.