Every year I really like putting together some of the fun or special things I see in December, there are also a lot of great general vegan gift idea lists that come out around this time, and I will link to them at the bottom of this post. Many vegan businesses and bakeries have special menus available, so you will also see those collected on this page as well as I find them. If you celebrate anything in December, I think it’s especially worth looking locally to find special thing for the special people in your life. We have this amazing community of creators and crafters, bakers and makers, and organizations that are worth supporting this time of year.
So this year, yet again, is my totally biased, occasionally random, list of local/GTA/Vegan Gift ideas. You’ll see some repeat names from last year, because they’re still still awesome, but you’ll also see some new faces (because the vegan business community has grown further in 2014.) There are also a variety of holiday themed markets which I will attempt to collect if they have at least one or two vegan-friendly/vegan- enthusiastic vendors.
I welcome your suggestions for other local vegan friendly businesses and organizations to support, please add them in the comments (and I will update this post) or feel free to send me an email.
And here we go.
I really like this stamped “herbivore” necklace from Vegan is Beautiful, a new vegan online store selling t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, jewelry, and underpants. They also have some lovely designs for t-shirts with the word “vegan” on them.
Interested in seeing what else they come up with.
Nella Bella is a vegan handbag and accessories company that uses solely vegan fabrics to create a wide variety of beautiful products. Available at various retailers in Toronto and beyond including EcoExistence (766 St. Clair Avenue W, Toronto) where you can find a variety of other interesting products. Especially into their style clutch as a really simple fashion piece.
Truth Belts makes leather-look belts, without the death. They also have suspenders for youngsters, dog accessories, and bracelets.
The Golden Apple Confectionary
The Golden Apple Confectionary in Liberty Village has a variety of tasty vegan options (like their amazing vegan chocolate english toffee, which I’ve written about before), but here is a nice quick gift: a box of 9 Vegan truffles.
Tori’s Bake Shop Cheese Box (and Gingerbread House kits)
Tori’s Bakeshop has this awesome vegan cheese slab available for order. And it would make a great gift. I’ve already very excitedly ordered my own.
Earth & City
One of my favourite vendors at farmers markets around the city is Earth & City. They’re a great option for fresh foods, spreads, cookies, and treats.
They’ve got a bunch of great sounding options for available for order over the holiday, and you can just pick up some of their treats at one of the farmers markets they’re at, or you can email them and they’ll deliver to you. Contact them for more info.
I picked up one of these gift sets at the West End Food Coop Market, and I thought it was lovely – an easy and beautiful gift of soup. I really love the way the jars looked – we actually bought it for ourselves with a variety of really tasty looking soups premixed – but you can also put together your own (see the list here). All of the soups are vegan by default, and they do look lovely and assempled on a natuarl, food-safe wooden base, and tied with ribbon. Find out more here.
Have you ever considered giving the gift of groceries or dinner? It’s not a bad idea anytime of the year especially for busy families, or students. Some of these folks offer gift certificates, or are friendly enough to be easy to work with, and it’s so nice to make someones life a little easier.
Green Zebra Meal Delivery – Gourmet meals delivered
Mama Earth Organics – Organic grocery delivery service.
Front Door Organics – Organic grocery delivery service.
Lovemuffin Bakery – Gourmet Meals, Muffins, other baked goods.
There are more grocery delivery options in the city, but these are just the ones I’ve had positive experiences with.
The Roasters Pack
The Roasters Pack has a holiday gift option, and it’s especially fantastic for any coffee lover in your life. I wrote about receiving the box a few months ago, and how much I enjoyed it. And if you have adventurous coffee friends in your life, it’s a great opportunity to get a trio of different coffees delivered to their door. They are based out of Toronto, but do include roasters from all around North America.
Julie from Julie’s Baskets has a variety of vegan friendly baskets available, but I really liked this collection of Wellness Gift Items, especially since it just happens to be over 50% full of Toronto and surrounding area creators like The Honest Leaf, Inspired Soap Works, Pretty Organic Cosmetics, Nud Food, & Made Good Food.
Plus it comes with an Oh She Glows Cookbook.
Coffeecology is a coffee delivery service that has fair trade organic and/or bird friendly coffees. Again, if your friend is a coffee lover like me, they might appreciate the above giftbox trio of assorted coffees, or just a few weeks of coffee deliveries.Check them out here.
This box contains so many wonderful preserves made in Canada.
- Marmgarita by Preservation Society
- Maple Caramelized Onion & Sweet Pepper Relish by Killer Condiments (or you buy a box with 5 of their assorted preserves too)
- Piri Piri hot sauce from Nossa Cucina
- Raspberry Jam from Stasis Preserves
Body Care/Make Up /Pampering
HeartCoeur has become one of my favourite spots for vegan-friendly make up. Friendly service, easy ordering, and based out of Toronto, it’s nice to support them. Add to that CharmOverHarm fundraising initiative and I’m just extra keen on what they’ve been up to. (that’s right, I said keen.)
The wise ones over at HeartCoeur have put together these great Holiday Sets.
My favourites in this collection are:
CAMP Skincare Set, with the added bonus that CAMP is based out of Toronto too. Everything I’ve picked up from CAMP has smelled wonderful, and has made my skin super soft.
MeowMeowTweet Lavender Lovers set. (MeowMeowTweet is based out of Brooklyn, NY)
Just the Goods
Just the Goods is based out of Winnipeg but I have to mention their really lovely gift sets, because I still haven’t found quite the same kind of thing here in Toronto (if you have recommendations – please share them!) The Above picture is of their Mini Spa Kit, and it’s small and makes a great quick gift or stocking stuffer.
The other nice thing I saw on the gift set page were the Care Packs – like this “Be Vibrant” set, featuring items from around Canada. Aromatherapy oil & bath melts (from Winnipeg), herbal tea (from BC) , a soy candle (from Mother Earth Essentials in Edmonton, AB), and soap (from Wild ReLeaf in Sault Ste Marie, ON)
Smells Like Canada
Does your friend have a wonderful experience from one of Canada’s lovely national parks that they can’t stop telling you about? Smells Like Canada makes soy-based candles with scents that are like national parks in their Parks of Canada collection. You can find them at spots around town like Scout, Kid Icarus, Cry Wolf, & North Standard Trading Post.
They’re at the One of A Kind Holiday market this week, but will have stuff available for sale on their etsy shop by the middleof the month.
Speckled Fawn Soaps
Buy now on Etsy or in store at Apiecalypse now in the Annex, OR get perks in January for supporting their Indiegogo campaign now. Speckled fawn soaps is a Toronto based body care company that has lip balms and salves and soap.
If you haven’t smelled any of Sudsatorium’s handmade body care products made with ethically sourced fresh organic vegan ingredients… it’s a great time to treat yourself. Plus, this mix and match set comes in a variety of sizes. Now the hardest part is deciding what to get out of their fairly prolific selection of products.
The perfect stocking stuffer – LIP BALM. Also, it’s winter. The one thing I need a whole bunch of, is lip balm. They’ve also got a variety of nicely scented lotions (I have a lavender one sitting on my desk) and a variety of bars of soap.
Toys and Kid/Youth Stuff
Let me preface this by saying – I don’t have any kids, and don’t know what kids like, but I know what I like, and if I was a kid, I would like these things. Actually, I currently like these things, and if someone wanted to give me one of them, I’d also be pretty darn delighted.
You know when you see something and it just tugs on the heartstrings a little… that’s how I felt when I saw The Mefits. They’re made in Toronto, are made from EcoFi, which is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. You can find them at a variety of stores in Toronto and online.
(I’d recommend wandering over to This Little Piggy a parent and kids shop in Parkdale, 1594 Queen Street West, because it’s also super cute)
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Solo Sally. The mefits are making my heart burst with happiness, and I think it’s because of the little buttons they’ve got – especially this three pack of really lovely encouraging buttons. Or maybe it’s just everything. Tell me what you think.
Our Hen House just posted a review of this adorable book yesterday. Another Story can order this book in, but it’s not currently available in store.
Sick on Sin
They’ve got a lot of adorable t-shirts to choose from, and buttons, and underpants, and adult t-shirt, but I especially loved this cute herbivore Dino shirt.
Unfortunately, it only comes in sizes for 6 months to 12 years (or I guess fortunately if you want an adorable shirt for a kid in your life.) Happily, I was totally wrong and these designs are available for adults too (and kids!)
This is more for older kids, but I love this empowering magazine. Shameless is an independent, Canadian (Toronto), volunteer run magazine, grounded in principles of social justice and anti-oppression, that is mostly directed at young women and trans youth. They tackle tough topics but at levels that are easy to understand, but are not patronizing.
I read the most recent issue, happily, on the train, and didn’t at any point feel like I was being talked down to. It is spectacular, and I wish it was around when I was a lot younger, but I’m glad it is around now.
Pre- Order Holiday Menus in Toronto
There are many places in the city offering pre-order vegan holiday menus, here are some of the ones I’ve seen so far. I will add to this as I get more information.
- Doug McNish – An Organic + Gluten Free Holiday Dinner
- YamChops – Plant Powered Christmas Dinner
- Through Being Cool – Holiday Menu
- Apiecalypse Now – Holiday Order Form
- Murrs Menu – Christmas Order Menu
Markets / Events
- Nov 27-Dec 7 One of a Kind Christmas Show & Sale (Direct Energy Centre) Where you can find vendors I’ve already mentioned like Smells Like Canada & more.
- Nov 28 – Dec 29 – #LocalTOmrkt
- December 6 – Bit Bazaar Winter Market 2014
- December 7 – Through Being Cool Flea market
- December 7 – Santa and Winter Market in th Junction
- December 7 – West End Food Coop Holiday Food & Craft Show
- December 11 – CSI Pop Up Market – Holiday Spectacular
- December 13 – The Detox Market Holiday Party,
- December 13 – 14 – Annex Flea
- December 21 – 22 – Parkdale Flea
Art / Books / Calendars
Photo Prints from We Animals/Jo-Anne Arthur Jo-Anne is a local photographer that has also come out with a beautiful book recently, also called We Animals. It’s filled with pictures from around the world, Jo-Anne’s thoughtful words, and would make a beautiful gift to a friend that doesn’t have it yet. It’s a gentle book, much like the authour seems to be, with beautiful and occasionally haunting images.
I couldn’t put together a gift list without including this calendar on it, because I’m involved in this project and Saskatoon’s Street Cat Rescue is still so important to me, despite not living in Saskatoon anymore. For me, it’s hard to quit something like that. I’m invested. It’s incredible what an impact this calendar can have as a fundraising effort, and it’s even more incredible to me to see orders coming in from around the world. I find it heartwarming to see so many coming from Toronto, and I’m always so delighted to see a familiar name. You can order one online here: Streetcat.ca/mwc
Panda with Cookie Custom Cat/Dog Ornaments
This is Kes with her cat ornament copy from Panda With Cookie. Panda With Cookie is based out of Portland, but this is such a fun gift that I have to mention it. Plus vegan run businesses are cool. The fun part about these is that they can hang around anywhere anytime. This year I’m hoping to get a custom ornament of Marmo, since she’s the newest addition to the family. The store has a whole bunch of other fun and cool stuff that is worth looking at, so do go check it out!
This is another thing from Portland, but I LOVE THIS JAR (and I don’t even like nutritional yeast that much), and the stamped on clay style of some of Vegan Dish’s other clay work. Available on Etsy. They also had a small stamped soy creamer jar that I’d also love to have, so if you’ve seen something like that please share!
I’ve been getting really into putting together nice vegan cheeseboards (see Miyoko’s, see Weekend Cheeseboard Fun) so I’m always on the look out for great boards that aren’t covered in beeswax. You can find these Marble and Wood Cheeseboards at The Drake General Store.
This weird and wonderful wine bottle holder from Son of a Woodcutter.
A Milk Frother.
I know, people like their wand frothers, and they’re fine, but the day we got our Krupps Milk Frother, everything changed and we were in fancy coffee at home town. If you feel like giving an especially extravagant gift – it pairs well with one of the coffee delivery services above. I’ve had really positive experiences with this one
Make your own Gifts
Why not pull together some ideas from these brilliant folks, and make your own gifts for friends? All of these books and e-books offer a unique take on holiday baking and presentation ideas.
Edible Gifts from Lisa Pitman & Nicole Axworthy
You can make your own gifts by picking up an electronic copy of a book from local vegan organizers of the Toronto Vegan Bake Off – Nicole Axworthy (A Dash of Compassion) & Lisa Pitman’s (Vegan Culinary Crusade) book on Edible Gifts. Find it here: Edible Gifts: Spread the Vegan Food Love at Every Occasion. Partial proceeds are going to charity. Lisa has also put together a selection of recipes from their ebooks that would work perfectly as gifts.
Vegan Food Gifts from Joni Marie Newman
I love a lot of the “Food Gift in a Jar” ideas in this book, and she’s even kind enough to share some of these online on her blog, just to name a few:
Double Bonus – if you keep going to the bottom of this page, I’m giving away a copy of this wonderful book!) There are more than 100 recipes and ideas for homemade baked goods, preserves, and other edible gifts that are totally loveable.
Seitan is my Motor – Free Holiday Baking E-Book
This beautiful and FREE holiday baking e-book from the incredibly talented Mihl/Seitan is my Motor blog. It has 15 great recipes for holidays favourites to make and share. Get it over at her blog.
Workshops at the West End Food Coop
Want to learn something new, and make a sweet gift at the same time? West End Food Coop has some think-outside-the-box possibilities that might be a whole bunch of fun. Check out their schedule here
Other Gift Lists
- Another fantastic and huge Holiday Gift Guide 2014 from Choosing Raw
- Vegan Gift Guide from Vegan Cuts
- Joyous Health Holiday Gift Guide (as an added bonus this one is also focused on items local to Toronto)
Give the gift of education to yourself or a friend – I just saw this George Brown Continuing Education series is starting up again in January, and it looks like a lot of fun. The Vegetarian Culinary Arts class looks incredible if you have the time, money, and inclination!
While the tangible type stuff is fun and occasionally so useful or delicious, donations to animal rescues, farm sanctuaries, human helping organizations, and other groups that are meaningful to you or your friends & family make exceptionally thoughtful gifts. I have always been especially touched by the gifts people gave on my behalf to local (and not-so-local) organizations that I care about, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that way. So remember… if you’re looking for the perfect gift, it might just be to that charity your pal has mentioned or shared facebook/twitter posts from.
Here are a few groups you might want to consider:
- Cedar-Row Farm Sanctuary in Ontario does some amazing work to rescue farm animals and gives them a forever home. You can learn more about them or sponsor chickens or pigs or goats and more by visiting their sponsorship page
- Story Book Farms Primate Sanctuary – A primate sanctuary in Sunderland, Ontario. They’re currently doing a crowd funding campaign on IndieGoGo to move to a new space.
- Teja’s Animal Sanctuary – an animal rescue with over 60 animals that wouldn’t be alive if not for Teja’s.
- Wishing Well Sanctuary – an animal rescue and youth education and rehabilitation center in Bradford, ON, just outside of Toronto.
- Red Door Shelter – an organization that assists families, refugees, and women fleeing violence.
- FoodShareTO – They do a lot of everything, and work towards Toronto food security, encouraging youth engagement in the process, and access to fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables.
“If you are looking for ways to help people who are homeless and vulnerable this holiday season, here are some suggestions from the community agencies that serve them. Click the points on the map or see the list below for what items each agency needs, volunteer opportunities and events. Organizations have been listed in alphabetical order.
There is a map and list of organizations available. Check it out.
There are so many more you can support – just take a look around out there for things that mean something to you! Donate vegan food to the food bank, it doesn’t have to be fancy, but every food bank in the city could use your support!
“This is open to anyone in Canada, just comment on this blog entry, tweet, and/or visit my Facebook page to enter. Winner will be contacted on or after December 12th. So leave an accurate email address if you want to win!” a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you have any trouble with this, you can also access it on my facebook page.
What is your favourite gift to give or receive?