The longer I’m on this blogging journey, the more important it has become to be involved with projects that reflect our core values and build those into the work I put out and the partnerships we align with. Well, we are pretty proud Canadians, who believe in living with a spirit of generosity and kindness, and keeping our family values central to all we do. And, so, for the second year now, I’ve put together a little labour of love I’m proud to share with you all – our Holiday GIVE Guide (2nd Edition), comprised of Canadian shops who build goodwill into their business models – partners with heart! Many shops who were part of last year’s edition have remained a part of this special collaboration and there are also some fabulous new additions!
On the heels of the biggest shopping week of the year, where feeds will flood with blockbuster deals + gift guides (which, no doubt we love and certainly some of those delights will make there way under our tree), we wanted to share not just top trends and must-haves, but some fantastic gift ideas for the whole family you may not have thought of, that not only support Canadian shops, but some have a portion of proceeds going to support important causes and initiatives that make a positive impact on the lives of others. Gifts that, essentially, make the holidays count for more. It feels good to do good and giving gifts that not only uplift the receiver but have a ripple effect of touching the lives through the causes they support captures the true spirit of the season.
So, here it is, our Holiday GIVE Guide 2018 of products proudly made in or founded in Canada that give back, including the stories behind the companies that sell them. And to make your holiday shopping simple, all of the shops listed here are offering our readers the chance to WIN product to check a few ticks off your list, and some gift codes to shop the whole season through (GIVEAWAY below!)
My Kindness Calendar
Founded by Canadian Mom Maran Stern–Kubista, My Kindness Calendar was born out of her desire to keep giving and a spirit of kindness at the heart of her family’s holiday traditions and encourage living with compassion in others. Spreading a little light in what can become a busy time the driving force behind this beautiful product, where 5% of profits are donated to charities every year.
These award-winning advent calendars encourage families to connect in a meaningful way, having us undertake an act of kindness each day of the month of December. Calendars are made from premium removable, reusable + durable fabric wall decals to make acts of service & kindness a tradition as families countdown to Christmas each year! The interactive design empowers kids to pick a daily act that aligns with their mood or interests, and the calendar is well-suited for all ages 😊
Enter below to WIN (1) My Kindness Calendar for your family or loved ones to start making acts of kindness a tradition in your brood! (Value: $75 CDN – *Winners will be selected by November 20th to ensure your calendar is received for the start of December!*)
Use code “GIVE GUIDE” for 10% off until November 30th!
Cuddle + Kind Dolls
This Canadian company, and their award-winning doll collection, give us all the warm & fuzzies.
Cuddle + Kind was founded by the Woodgate family of five who’s business model reflects their core values. They’re on a mission to help feed children worldwide, so every ethically produced, hand-knit doll sold, they provide 10 meals to children in need around the globe.
Not only will parents appreciate the quality, handknit craftsmanship of each doll, but they’re made by means of FAIR TRADE – ethically produced in Peru where they provide over 750 talented women artisans with a sustainable, fair trade income, which in turn allows them to care for their families and plan for their futures. Beautiful.
Each doll comes in 2 sizes (Regular 20” or Little 13”) with a personalized ABOUT ME bio, including a name + birthdate. Our daughter & youngest son adore their new pals – Zoe the Unicorn & Oliver the Bear.
And since we know that special little someone on your holiday list will LOVE one of these too, Cuddle + Kind is generously gifting (1) regular size handknit doll to our readers…Enter below! (Value: approx.$80 CDN)
Happiness Is Inc…
One of our favourite family-run businesses celebrating the pride of being Canadian and the blessing of family. Happiness is Inc. was founded by Gordon Corton, a Canadian family man who believed there was no such thing as a lifetime of happiness, rather moments of happiness that should be embraced and shared. For Gordon, his moments of happiness were about being Canadian, and he was a man with a mission to inspire all Canadians to join him in celebrating their happy moments and the motivation behind the launch of Happiness Is Inc…. made with the pride and happiness…of being Canadian. Gordon passed away last year, but his granddaughter, Andrea is determined to carry on the legacy of what he began.
There are shirts for the whole family, in Youth – Adult sizes. You can shop the Happiness Is Inc. collection by MOMENTS: 1) HAPPY PLACES in Canada (including Muskoka, Whistler & the Cottage); 2) VALUE-BASED MOMENTS (reflecting core Canadian values like FAMILY, TOLERANCE, PEACE ON EARTH and DIVERSITY); 3) ON THE WATER (including Fishing, Lake Life, Paddling + more); and 4) ACTIVE MOMENTS (which will include Skiing, Hockey, Yoga, Equestrian, Running & more).
Happiness Is Inc. apparel will make a great gift for the loyal Canucks in your circle, and you can feel good that proceeds from your purchase will go to support the development of the Trans Canada Trail – a not-for-profit working with donors, partners and volunteers to create The Great Trail – an epic trail of trails spanning24,000 km, connecting 3 oceans and over 15,000 communities and a sustainable gift from Canadians to Canadians, fostering unity, collaboration and connectedness.
Enter below to WIN the ‘Happiness Is…Peace on Earth’ sweatshirt from this proudly Canadian shop and use code “KERR15” for 15% all purchases until December 24th. (Value ~$100)
All of Purdys chocolates are crafted with 100% sustainable cocoa, proudly made in Canada and available at purdys.com or any of their 82 locations across Canada! We love their support of sustainable farming practices and good-will initiatives like the Clean Water Project in the Ivory Coast that educate and improve health conditions for communities in need.
Purdys is offering our readers one tasty holiday combo – an Advent Calendar and their Holiday Tree Gift Box (Value $58 CAD)
Purdys bestselling chocolate advent calendar has a new holiday design.
Inside each “drawer” is a tasty, festively foiled chocolate: a solid milk chocolate Santa Claus or Snowman, a Mini Salted Caramel, a Cookie Crunch Bell or a solid chocolate Bell in either milk or dark chocolate, all crafted from 100% sustainable cocoa.
Like the saying goes, all good things come in…trees. Includes a pair of each: Peanut Butter Daisy, Gingerbread, Pecan Caramel, Mini Hedgehog, Salted Hazelnut Flake, Pumpkin Caramel, Butterscotch Fudgie, dark chocolate Himalayan Pink Salt Caramel, milk chocolate Himalayan Pink Salt Caramel, Snowball and Pumpkin Truffle. Crafted with 100% sustainable cocoa.
So many other great gift ideas in their Christmas collection! Enter below to WIN your holiday chocolate combo!
These ethically made, super adorable (and WARM!) socks for curious feet were designed by Canadian Mamapreneur Andrea Mercer. We love the rubber grip on the soles to keep our busy bodies upright!
Andrea has a passion for spreading the word about eco-conscious, sustainable fashion for kids, not only through her sock line, but her Little Saturday Market shop which buys and sells preloved kids, baby & maternity items in the GTA, and we’ve loved using for managing all the stuff in our house!
The Reckless Wonder socks come in (5) different styles, and you can shop for all the kids on your holiday list at 10% off when you buy 5+ pairs with code “Bundles”. Available in sizes 6 months – 7 years old.
Enter below to WIN 3 pairs of socks for your Reckless Wonders this season! (Value: $30 CDN)
Cotton Club Canada
One of our favourite Canadian partners, Cotton Club Canada is a clever subscription service offering quality undergarment essentials for the modern gent founded by Cam and Dave who wanted to spend less time stressing about their under gear. Knowing how cold our Canadian Winters get, and that socks & underwear are two of the least donated items to homeless shelters, they also wanted to find a way to give back.
Cotton Club Canada partners with quality brands like SAXX, 2UNDER, My Package, Steve Madden and more, and each package comes with a modern or classic style socks + boxers combo. This is a perfect gift idea for the special men in your life who don’t always find time to shop, but need this practical pairing in a major way.
And even better, and why it’s one of Andrew’s favourite guy things for the holidays? With every sign-up, Cotton Club Canada donates a pair of socks + boxers to a local homeless shelter. Enter below to WIN a 2-month subscription for your favourite guy (Value: $70 CDN) – trust us, this may be his favourite gift of the year!
Shine the Light On
Shine the Light On was born out of Founder Eli Brown’s desire to connect, share and take the stigma out of mental health. Each item from STLO’s lifestyle apparel collection has a positive, uplifting message. With every purchase from their shop, Shine the Light On donates one educational program to advance mental health initiatives and supports for our youth.
I have their “Grateful Is The New Black” sweatshirt and it may be one of the coziest I’ve ever owned. Each item is made with the softest fabric and washed twice to ensure a lived-in feel. STLO manufactures their garments in Canada with pride.
Enter for a chance to WIN The Theo – ‘Believe there is good in the world’ – T-shirt (Value $56 USD)
Me to WE
We love everything WE.org stands for, and especially the encouragement to shift from a “Me” to “We”, socially-conscious spirit. When we attended WE Family in Toronto last year, we purchased Rafikis from their online shop as part of our pledge to live a WE lifestyle as a family. I also love their “Hakuna Matata” bracelets, keeping all those worries that flood the mama mind in perspective. Each piece is handcrafted by a mama in Kenya who is empowered by earning a fair wage for her work. The Rafikis can be worn as a bracelet, anklet, headband or necklace. We love that each purchase has a lasting impact on global communities, 90% of proceeds going toward providing access to health, education, clean water and food…. And each item comes with a tracking code so you can follow how your purchase is making a life-changing impact.
Enter below to win two Rafikis for your family (Value ~$20 CDN). These make great stocking stuffers, teachers gifts, team gifts or even favours for special celebrations. Me to We has so many other great gifting options in their shop, like apparel and lifestyle products and books & stationary, and you can feel good about empowering global communities this holiday season.
Other Life Lessons Children’s Book Series
Two Canadian moms and advertising creative directors turned children’s book creators Meaghan Hadwyn and Niki Snjaric are tackling the issues of grief, entitlement and working moms. This new and much-needed book series includes the titles Life’s Not Fair, Sometimes Someone Dies and Why Mommy Works. They’re beautiful picture books for kids, and supportive material for adults to talk about some tough stuff while riding the adventures in parenting and highs and lows of life with their children. Deterring a sense of entitlement is a fantastic learning lesson, especially around the holidays with wish lists becoming a heavy focus. Opening up uncomfortable discussions around death is never easy, but so necessary, especially around the holidays when the void of a loved one who’s passed can be felt even more so.
Maybe not the typical “gift” to some, but this honest, award-winning children’s book series focuses on uncomfortable real-life situations while teaching invaluable lessons early on, which the authors see as a gift of mental health discussions we can connect over in our families. Proceeds from each book are donated to children’s mental health programs.
Enter below to WIN the entire Other Life Lessons Books Series(3 books in total), Life’s Not Fair tote, and At Least Pretend You’re Listening mug prize pack (Value: $55 CDN)
Little Ice Tribe
Little Ice Tribe is a socially -conscious hockey lifestyle brand made by two hockey-lovin, Canadian mamas who believe style to and from the rink can be trendy and fashionably cute. All apparel is eco-friendly – made in Canada on sustainably sourced tees. And if that’s not enough to love, the shop donates 10% of proceeds to provide all kids access to the sport of hockey through the global Right to Play Canada initiative.
As a hockey-crazed bunch ourselves, discovering this shop for our little danglers and rink rats was a nice alternative to traditional sports & team gear options. But items aren’t just for the wee ones – so many stylish options for the Hockey Mamas, Dads & Grandparents too! Our boys love their Sniper.Disher.Dman.Tender Baseball Tees! The quality is incredible. Knowing how much our kids love hockey it feels good to support a shop where each purchase helps remove financial barriers so kids worldwide can enjoy this game too.
Enter below to WIN a WAKE SKATE REPEAT Tee for a little member of your tribe (Value ~$35 CDN) and use code “GIVEGUIDE” for 10% off to shop great hockey gifts the whole season long!
We have no doubt you will find something special for everyone on your list from these shops while feeling good about giving gifts that have a lasting impact! We’re so inspired by entrepreneurs/businesses who spread some light in their endeavours and hope you are too.
Sincere thanks to our partners with heart for their generosity in participating in our giveaway for you all to have a chance to WIN the items listed above (well over $500 CDN worth!). Contest open to Canadian residents only and will close at 11:59 p.m.EST December 4, 2018 (with the exception of My Kindness Calendar, which will close at 11:59 p.m. November 19th to ensure the winner has it for Dec 1st!).
**How to enter: Follow the social channel corresponding to the prize(s) you’d like to win & share this post on social for extra entries!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck & happiest holidays to all!
Love & light,