‘Tis the Season – A gifting guide for an unusual year

Coming up with novel gift ideas for colleagues and clients on your festive shopping list can be challenging. And right now, amid the realities of COVID-19, it might seem even more daunting.

The fundamentals of professional gifting remain the same: finding items that are useful, thoughtful, and affordable. 

To help you select the perfect holiday gift for everyone, from your newest client to your work-from-home BFF, here are some ideas for shopping locally in Vancouver, festively, and –most importantly– safely. 

Merry & Bright

We’ve been working at home for months. What better time to add comfort and coziness to our Zoom rooms?

Check out The Cross in Yaletown for all kinds of luxe-looking décor, from throw pillows to glassware to paper goods. Almost all of their inventory is available to shop through their website, and they offer curbside pickup. 

Or take a virtual trip to the corner of Fir and 2nd, to Provide, for a curated selection of ceramics and wood pieces. Perfect for those looking to incorporate inviting textures into their workspaces. 

In Gastown, Parliament features modern home décor at a reasonable price point. If you’re shopping in-person, check out the Kermodi Living Art selection – perfect for those who might describe themselves as plant assassins. In the online shop, you’ll find the Dr. Henry Collection, with proceeds going to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

Beautifully Sustainable

Winter is a time when nature is at rest. Celebrate our planet by giving gifts that are sustainable and good to the Earth.

The creator of gogoBags puts sustainability at the heart of her designs. These reusable, food-safe wraps and bags for use at home and on-the-go are kind to the environment, cheerful, and wallet-friendly.

At West Thirteen you’ll find a variety of eco-friendly, locally-made candles to warm up any room. Check out their holiday candles, in evocatively-named scents like Spiced Apple Cider and Winter Solstice. 

And at East Van Light shop an assortment of quirky, beautiful lamps made right here in Vancouver –many from upcycled materials. 

A Personal Touch

If you’re looking for items you can personalize, check out Granville Island’s MAKE. They carry an assortment of customizable items, from masks to bags to journals, and celebrate all that is hand-crafted, upcycled, and unique.

Bird on a Wire Creations curates Vancouver’s best artisanal objects, with a mission to “shift the paradigm from starving artists to thriving artists.” Gifts are sorted by price point, including homewares and office décor.

For cute odds and sods, Craftedvan is a local company that sells imaginative greeting cards, magnets, pins, and bookmarks, sure to elicit smiles. The Funky Fresh sells stickers, cards, and brightly-coloured notepads, ideal for jotting down to-do lists.

Lettuce romaine calm. If you like puns and clever drawings, Brain Candy is your one-stop shop for mugs, magnets, water bottles, and other handy items, designed in Vancouver. 

The gift shop at the Vancouver Art Gallery is a great spot to find stationery and decorative items. Or consider giving the gift of membership, including special events, online activities, and early access to openings. 

In Good Taste

Why not give the PR pros in your life something they can really sink their teeth into? From sweet treats to savoury local favourites, edible gifts are a great way to share joy. 

With the slogan More Love, Less Sugar, East Van Jam offers spreads made from local produce and bursting with flavour.

Main Street Honey is the bee’s knees. Their honey, candles, and care products bring the sweetness of the farm into the city.

Any home cook can feel like a gourmet salt bae by sprinkling a little specialty seasoning from Vancouver Island Sea Salt on their creations. From flaked Pacific sea salt to infusions that carry flavours like whisky and coffee, there’s something for everyone in their online shop.

For the tea lover on your list, browse the teas and accessories at the Granville Island Tea Company.

Those with a sophisticated sweet tooth will appreciate the fine creations of French bakers on offer through Bon Macaron Patisserie’s charming website. And the local chocolatiers at chocolaTas make bonbons almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. 

Red & Green

On the darkest nights of winter, it helps to have a reminder that the green days of spring are just over the horizon. 

Mind the Minimal carries an assortment of appealing desktop planters that anyone with a marginally green thumb will love.

West Coast Seeds sells accessories, tools, and seeds (of course) that will get people thinking about gardens, be they on tiny patios or in big backyards. For a limited time, they are offering The Dr. Bonnie Henry Pollinator Blend, with all proceeds going to Canadian food banks.

Wishing you the best for the holidays, however you celebrate!

About the Author

Susan Dixon is a Vancouver-based communications and research consultant, with expertise in knowledge curation, institutional analysis, workplace health and safety, sex and gender research, and women’s health. An established singer/songwriter, humourist, and burgeoning novelist, she has a passion for words of all flavours and worlds of all sizes.