Social distancing and quarantine life may mean missing many celebrations and occasions with loved ones in person, but we can still share thoughtful gifts while supporting local businesses at the same time (not just during pandemics—but all year round too!). When I buy a gift, I always have that special person in mind. I love buying something that is unique to them, something that I think they would want to buy for themselves but are saving for a special day to treat themselves. A thoughtful gift is never about the price tag, it’s about the gesture.
Here I’ll round up a few gift inspirations for different occasions, but I’m sure you can source local products as well. Whether you’re seeking the perfect gift for Mother’s Day, graduation, birthdays, engagement/wedding, Ramadan/Eid, baby, wellness, a frontline worker, or just to brighten up someone’s day, check out these fun ideas!
- 1. Flower Subscription
Gift your special someone a beautiful bouquet or even a monthly flower subscription to brighten up their day and home. Crown Flora Studio has some gorgeous arrangements, and Fiori Oakville even offers same-day local delivery for those last minute surprises.
2. Fun Illustrations
A cute and quirky piece of art is another great way to brighten up someone’s home. Check out Canadian artist Rachael Meckling’s collection of prints featuring fabulous and sassy gals, or gift a commissioned digital portrait of their own—your loved ones get to spend 15 minutes live on camera and Rachael will draw them! Another awesome Canadian artist is Nadine de Almeida on Etsy, with customizable prints that make the perfect personalized gift for your girlfriends.
3. Self-Care Reminders
Especially during times like these, we all need a little reminder to take care of ourselves. There are lots of amazing handcrafted options on Etsy, like self-care stickers, journals, and even posters, en français!
4. Masterclass Membership
Most of us have been home for several weeks, so now might be the perfect time to learn a new skill. Why not treat someone to a Masterclass membership where they can take courses on everything from cooking, to mixology, to entrepreneurship from some of the world’s top minds? This would be perfect for a couple or someone who loves cooking.
5. Wellness Pack from Beekeeper’s Naturals
Staying healthy and safe is a priority for everyone right now. Help your loved ones keep well by sending them a Wellness Family Pack from Beekeeper’s Naturals, using the most sustainable and natural ingredients available.
6. Handmade Personalized Jewelry
This is one of my personal favourites – BC-based GIGIMEY creates beautiful jewelry that can be engraved for a super personalized gift. There are so many reasons to buy someone this special gift, whether it’s for graduation, a birthday, or to celebrate a new mom.
7. Oriental and Middle Eastern Lifestyle Gifts
With many celebrating Ramadan right now, it’s the perfect time to send a thoughtful gift. For example, Sitti is a social enterprise that sells olive oil soaps handmade by refugees while providing them a fair wage. You can also add a limited edition Mother’s Day card hand-calligraphy written by Telisa Roessein. For beautiful Oriental-inspired home goods from tableware to vases, check out Rasm.
8. Quirky and Humorous Affirmation Cards
We could all use some positivity during these times, so why not send a funny and uplifting message to someone who needs it? This set of 50 affirmation cards is inspiring without being overly cheesy, and would be perfect for frontline workers or anyone going through a tough time.
9. A Thoughtful Reading Recommendation
: For the bookworm in your life, try picking out a book you think they’ll enjoy. A few options to consider: Little Weirds is a funny, heartwarming book of essays by comedian Jenny Slate; The Familiar Dark is a page-turning thriller by Amy Engel in which a mother tries to solve the mystery of her daughter’s murder; or you can even check your loved one’s Goodreads account (if they have one) for ideas!
10. Accessories for Quarantine Baking
Many of us are baking up a storm to help pass the time, but what do you get the baker who has it all? Check out this awesome personalized rolling pin, or send a set of artisan baking salts to spice things up.
11. Gourmet Olive Oils and Vinegars
While olive oil is a staple in many homes, local shop My Olive offers a wide range of gourmet flavours to spice up your favourite dishes. As someone who enjoys cooking, hosting, AND olive oil, I would appreciate this gift a lot! They even have a Syrian, Greek, Italian, and Spanish book filled with delightful olive oil and vinegar recipes.
12. A Healthy Snack Subscription Box
Who doesn’t love snacks?! While casually browsing the aisles of the grocery store isn’t an option for many of us, you can still enjoy a carefully curated selection of snacks each month from Canadian-based company The Balanced Snack Box. If your loved ones have any food allergies or intolerances, no worries: you can choose from Gluten-Free, Vegan, Nut-Free, or Keto-Friendly boxes.
13. Meal Delivery
Ready-cooked catering food or meal kits like Hello Fresh provide quick and easy healthy eating, especially for new moms who want nutritious meals but don’t have the time or energy. Meal deliveries make it easy for the partner to help out and make a quick and easy meal or simply appreciate a warm gourmet meal delivered ready to eat.
14. A Handcrafted Journal
This is a great idea for the career mom, the organized one, or the wanderer to keep track of everything going on in life or to simply jot down their thoughts. PrairiePeasant’s shop on Etsy offers a wide selection of beautiful upcycled journals and paper goods.
15. New Mom Care Package
Postpartum care is so often neglected, but it’s truly THE most important thing for a woman after giving birth. Show some love to the new moms in your life with a care package from Tenth Moon, featuring soothing soaks, balms, and tea to support them during this significant time.
16. At-Home Pampering Set
Even though a spa visit might be out of the question for now, you can still help your loved ones pamper themselves at home. Canadian company Saje Natural Wellness offers some great options, from the ‘Your Moment’ self-care kit to the ‘Sleep Well’ soothing kit.
17. Beeswax Food Wraps
These are an amazing, eco-friendly alternative for using plastic wrap to keep your food fresh. I have been using beeswax wraps for a while now to store and preserve fruit and vegetables. They come in a variety of beautiful designs – check out this handcrafted set from OlsenolsenDesign on Etsy.
18. Wine Delivery
Although we may not be able to bring over a bottle of wine for dinner right now, plenty of local wineries are still offering their vintages for delivery. Two Sisters Vineyards (free shipping when you buy 4+ bottles), Gretzky Estates (free shipping), and Megalomaniac Winery (free shipping) are all Ontario-based operations that allow you to send bottles straight to your loved one’s doorstep.
19. Live House Plants
Perfect for the green thumb in your life, Toronto-based Plant Collective delivers house plants of all kinds, including succulents, cactuses, and even DIY terrarium kits. These types of plants are fairly low maintenance, making them an effortless way to brighten up someone’s home.
20. A Fun Puzzle
An age-old activity, puzzles are a great way for kids and adults alike to keep busy during these times. Indigo has a fun assortment of puzzles featuring Canadian cities and even cats doing yoga, but you can also check out your local bookstore’s selection if they’re still doing delivery or curbside pickup.
21. A Family Photo Album
Sharing family photos is a great way to stay connected even when we can’t be together physically. Neveo makes it easy to curate monthly albums, and even takes care of having them printed and delivered to family. This is an especially great idea for grandparents who might feel like they’re missing out on watching the kids grow up.
These are just a few ways to send some love to the special people in our lives and celebrate those occasions, even when we can’t be together in person. I hope these ideas have inspired you, and remember to check out what your local businesses are offering too—it’s so important to support our communities during this time!