Keep it local. Some last-minute holiday shopping ideas

There are so many reasons to support local businesses and charities this holiday season. The gifts you give will be unique and special. Unlike when you shop at big box corporate stores, your money will stay in the community or make a difference in the life of someone who truly will benefit from your help. My wee list is in no way comprehensive, these are only a few ideas among thousands of Montreal-based happenings. I’ve also included on this list a space where you can create your own gift or find inspiration for all sorts of gifts you can make yourself.

Some cool gift ideas

Jewellery/Home Decor

I am a huge fan of two local artisans, Rachel Dhawan of Brazen Design and Claudia B. of Bijoutia.

Brazen Design and Blisscraft & Brazen

Rachel creates all sorts of gorgeous jewellery out of silver. Rings, bangles, necklaces with pendants created using small acorns dipped in silver, designs inspired by nature and Rachel’s playful sense of whimsy. For an idea of what I mean, check out her Etsy shop

As Blisscraft & Brazen Rachel and her partner Aaron create a wide range of home decor and household objects out of salvaged wood – candleholders, unique bookmarks, wood bathtub/caddy platters, wooden bowls, the list goes on.

from blisscraft&brazen’s Etsy shop

Today through Sunday you’ll find them at the Loud and Clear holiday design market at the Marché St-Jacques.

Where: 1125 Ontario East, 2nd floor (metros Beaudry or Berri-UQAM)

When: Th/Fri 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Claudia B. – Bijoutia

Claudia B.’s incredible artistry can be seen in the  jewellery she creates out of recycled pieces (I wrote an article about her earlier this year). Lately she’s been using e-waste for inspiration. It’s amazing what she does slicing up motherboards, stripping the guts out of computer insides and transforming them into works of beauty. Sure when you see one of her necklaces or rings made out of computer keyboard keys you see the computer parts but after she’s done with a hard disk, you’ll have a hard time recognizing it. The results are amazing.

This Sunday, Dec. 16, from 9:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m. Claudia B. is holding a sale at her Plateau workshop with all sorts of items going for $10-$20.

For the address, please visit her Facebook page

Computer keyboard necklace (from Claudia B’s Facebook page)



This Saturday the Ten Thousand Villages (Dix Mille Villages) store on Monkland, famous for handcrafted items from across the world, is having an interesting fundraiser.

It’s win-win-win because the proceeds of sales from the store already go for fair trade initiatives that help people across the world earn a living and escape poverty. You’re supporting a local non-profit business and keeping money in NDG and 15 per cent of  money spent that day benefits Action Communiterre, a non-profit local NDG gardening and food security organization.

Where: Ten Thousand Villages, 5675 Monkland (metro Villa Maria)

When: Saturday, from 5-9 p.m.


This Saturday Coop Le Milieu is holding a Holiday Funraising Family  Party featuring free vegetarian food and all sorts of crafts and homemade food items for sale (they’re also offering tarot card readings for $10, but I digress). Before the party even starts there’s a fun workshop at 4 p.m- learn to make your own ornaments out of felt.

When: 4. p.m. on, party happens from 5-10 p.m.

Where: 1251 Robin St. (metro Beaudry)

Felt ornaments as shown on Le Milieu’s Facebook page


I’ve mentioned him before because I think he deserves it (the fact that he’s my brother-in-law has no bearing on my support for this project. He is truly talented) Montreal jazz guitarist Mike Rud has a campaign on Indiegogo  to raise funds for a CD project called Notes on Montreal. The songs are written about seven novels set in Montreal. The list includes Gabrielle Roy’s the Tin Flute, Mordecai Richler’s Barney’s Version, Dany Laferrière’s How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired and Michel Tremblay’s The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant. The night of the campaign deadline, Boxing Day, Mike will play a show at Montreal’s Upstairs Club. Sure if you order a CD through the campaign as a Christmas gift, the recipient won’t see it for a while. But how can you go wrong supporting an amazing local artist?

Notes on Montreal is based on these books – as seen on Mike Rud’s Indiegogo campaign

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