Photography by Gus Sloan Founder, Lauren Dary.
Written by the incomparable, Marielle TerHart.
The countdown to Christmas is on, and with it the pressure to find the perfect, thoughtful, budget friendly gift for your beloved. The gesture and consideration of a dear friend should be a joy, but often it becomes a stress inducing chore. It’s apparent as we get older, it’s increasingly hard to imagine what gifts actually add value to our friends and families lives. How do we come up with presents that will long outlive the tree, decorations and find a treasured place in that person’s life?
The intention behind this gift guide is simple - to track down the best gifts that add value, not clutter, to your life. We are so thrilled to have enlisted the help of some of Edmonton’s coolest women to share what gifts they’d love to unwrap this Holiday season.
So if you find the art of gift giving overwhelming, and simply want to discover gifts that matter, then this guide is for you.
THE GIFT OF EXPERIENCE
Think outside of the literal box, and offer up memorable experiences this Holiday season with these lovely local suggestions:
"A gift I buy for myself each year and often for others is an annual membership to the Art Gallery of Alberta. It slips easily into a wallet and offers an entire year of visits to the gallery for quiet contemplation, inspiration, and opportunities to connect with others or learn something new at AGA programming and events."
“We are all about creative experiences! Aside from the obvious craft nights we are clearly quite fond of 😉, we love the idea of hosting a cookie baking party! It’s the perfect way to spend quality time with friends and come home with something tangible (and delicious) to gift or enjoy!”
“My ideal gift would be a cooking class to share with a friend. It's the sort of experience I would never spend the money on myself but would love it more than anything. Making food has such a beautiful way of bringing people together.”
GIFTS FOR THE MINIMALIST’S CLOSET
It can be tricky to buy for the minimalist in your life, so here are two ways to extend the life of things they already own, giving them the gift of time to love their most prized closet staples:
“One of the things that I would suggest to extend the life of a garment is wearing an SJ Essential Tank under your pieces. It's a One Size piece that (LEGIT) fits everyone and it creates a smoothing layer between you and your garment, which in turn means that you have to wash the main piece of clothing less often so that you can get more wear out of it and the piece will last even longer.”
“The best gift I’ve ever been given was having ALL of my shoes taken to be repaired and shined. It felt like receiving 6 pairs of brand new shoes for Christmas, and it’s the exact sort of chore I procrastinate on, resent doing and then bemoan having no shoes to wear. On that same vein, a gift card for Dry Cleaning (or better yet the inclusion of taking and picking up the garments) and mending my jeans at Arturo Denim would always be a dream gift.
GIFTS FOR LITTLE ONES
No one can accumulate more stuff than a child at Christmas, so we are smitten with these unique ideas that hopefully will become traditions instead of things you trip over at midnight:
“As a family, we love doing things together. Every year, we attend Zoominescence, a festival of light fundraiser for the Edmonton Valley Zoo. We get hot chocolate and tour the zoo lights, being sure to check out each artist contribution to the festival. It’s great for all ages, and makes a wonderful outing for the family.”
“Photo books. I gift our kiddo a photo book every year that I can create on the website ‘Blurb’. Last year I did the first two years of LOVEPIZZA and all of the ways he's been involved in our pizza shops. This year I put a book together a list of questions and answers I posed to all four of his grandparents before he was born (eg. "What do you hope I experience?" "What places do you want to take me to?" "What do you hope I love" etc etc). All of those answers with photos wrapped up into what I think is a book he'll have for a long time.”
“My sister gave each of my kids tickets for something special last year (Kid’s Symphony, Telus World of Science, and Crankpots Ceramic Studio) and they were gifts for me as much as for them since I was able to enjoy some rare one on one time with each of them doing something they loved!”
Martha Stewart need not apply, because these handcrafted gifts are so simple that even the least crafty could knock out of the park:
“We’re having a nothing new Christmas this year and that includes wrapping paper! In terms of homemade we started using pillowcases, tea towels and linens to wrap our gifts as it cuts down on our Holiday waste and the clean-up. A way to easily incorporate that into your gift giving is wrapping a hostess gift in a tea towel or linen bread bag that they could reuse for years to come. You would also be amazed at the ribbon and linen you can find at garage sales and in vintage shops!”
“I’m all about the handmade gifts! In particular, I’m a huge fan of creating gifts in my kitchen for my loved ones. For years, I’ve been making my friends a batch of my speciality - ‘Lauren’s Irish Cream (extra Irish!)’. They are all coffee drinkers and love to add this deliciously creamy treat to their coffee routine! It brings me joy knowing they are enjoying my gift over a period of time.”
We hope these out of the box gifts ideas, spark your imagination and help you gift memories and warmth this Holiday season! And if you have any you’d love to share, drop us a line on Instagram and we’ll be sure to share them with the community. May your days be so merry and bright this December!