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Alexa Fahlman

A Local Vancouver Holiday Shopping Guide

It's officially the season of people saying "it's that time of year again."

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We've all had the premonition that things are going to be different this year. Holiday gatherings have been marketed as our next themed zoom meeting and amazon is already enticing buyers with their holiday dash deals. While it's true that things will be different, the desire to treat your loved ones and find that perfect gift still remains. With the financial strain of the pandemic weighing down on all our favourite small business and restaurants, there has never been a more important time to shop local and support small businesses! So, I've come up with a list of some of my favourite gift ideas for the season and local Vancouver-based business to buy them from :-)






Stuck within the confines of home, noticing the beauty of our everyday objects has never felt more important. For many of us, household objects are our constant companions, so why not gift an object that focuses not only on aesthetics, but functionality and longevity. I've gathered a list of some of my favourites for gift-giving this year.

* Beautiful design-focused notebook or planner from local stockists: SORTNineteen TenPaper-YaNoteworthy. The most reliable go-to.

* Kinto Travel Tumbler perfect for winter walks, working from home, available at: Old Faithful 

* Plants from Cream Mint Florist, Blossom & Vine, Flower FactoryBamboo Village in Chinatown (support your local Chinatown!) Plants are staple for the millennial Vancouver household and can easily fit into a tight budget.

* Glass jars, bottles, containers for food storage thrifted or from the Soap Dispensary and Welks Cheap! Easy! and CUTE! Fill them with your loved one's favourite snacks to make it extra special.

* Felt coasters for the home from Vancouver Special 

* Ceramics and hand crafted goods from local stockistsItsumoOut & AboutStudio FundamentalsCoco et Olive, The Coast Goods, SORTFuling Gifts, Bamboo Village, 51 Powell by Neighbour, Old FaithfulPicnics and Poetry, Ode Apparel, Hey Jude , Much and Little, Nineteen Ten

* Point and shoot cameraBeau photo has a huge selection of used point and shoots– a more reliable option than thrifting

* Prints: If you follow a local artist or photographer ask to buy or commission a print! Apartment 903 is a beautiful, local and affordable option for smaller-scale prints

* Kaweco pen from 51 Powell or Paper-Ya 

* A seasonal ornament from Nineteen Ten

* Tonkatsu Ramen puzzle the cutest stocking stuffer from Out & About

* A beautiful Delfonics photo album for your favourite photographer friend from SORT

* Twist Candles from India Rose or a Holiday Candle Bundle from Homecoming



Clothing & accessories


Wearable items

socks are a fantastic gift and anyone who says otherwise clearly doesn't show enough appreciation for their feet

* The Kotn Crew Sock - the coziest socks I've ever owned

* The iconic Carrie Tee from Studio A-OK

Woo to See You's Sweater vests (and everything else) 

Mini hair claws for looking cute on the zoom meetings

* Keep them comfy in North face slippers, also available at Gravity Pope

* Alterior x JAM A Living Taste Nalgene Sling w/ Bottle - obsessed

* A hand knit toque by Hiro Yamamoto available in store at Neighbour and Studio A-OK

* J. Hannah Nail Polish  from One of a Few also available from Canadian stockist: New Classics

* Custom beads by Vancouver angels Charlie Beads and Zzzzzeenah

* Set of custom press-on nails by the one and only Good For Her Nails

* Faulkner and Chinatown Vintage for a special vintage gift

Hand-crafted jewellery from Wolf Circus, Punch Jewellery, Yuki Barton, Kara Yoo Jewelry

* A mask chain from One of a Few or by Debbie I-Ching Sun available at Neighbour Woman to keep your friend's mask feeling fun

* Corduroi Club Tee from SORT




Self Care Gifts


Because giving your loved ones self care items is a form of self care in itself, right?

* Steel razor that will last forever, shop from Old Faithful for a polished classic or Nineteen Ten for a beautiful matte option 

* Excessive hand sanitizer= dry hands, show them some love with Tulip Hand Cream (think fresh tulips all year round) or try Reverence hand balm for a woodier scent

* A bath soak is what everyone needs right now, check out Sunja Link Body Shoppe or Harlow 

Gua sha is a traditional form of Chinese Medicine so forget sephora and go to Chinatown!  or buy from a local Chinese-owned business like Kyth and Kyn

Noloshi Incense Pot from SORT

* The ultimate splurge on self care: Aesop Gift Set 

* Based in Victoria, but one that had to make this list: The Tanjun Pipe by Laundry Day

* Blooming Green Tea from The Chinese Tea Shop in Chinatown

DUMPLINGS! from Dumpling King

* An all natural Nectrous soap bar, also available at SORT

* An adorable Marita Manson fruit mug from Harlow

* The Active Botanical Refining Toner by Circumference available at: Fig Face

* A gift card to one of your loved one's favourite restaurants to use at a later date: supporting small restaurants or cafés makes the biggest difference right now. Contact the restaurant directly for more info! Some of my long-time favs: Chinatown BBQ, Pho Tan, AjisaiMarché St. GeorgeHachibei, Shiro and Toshi Sushi, Long's Noodle House, The Stable House Bistro, Jade Dynasty, New Town BakeryAsk for Luigi's, Finch's Di Beppe


Nectrous Soap - SORT

Tanjun Pipe - Laundry Day




Whether it's a–too beautiful to even open–book, an educational read, a cookbook, or just a classic fiction novel, books are collectibles and easy to personalize. Browse from: Massy Books, Pulpfiction Books, Tanglewood Books, The Paper Hound, Hager Books, Spartacus Books

* For the brutalist lover, who won't stop talking about architecture: The Barbican Estate by Stefi Orazi 

* A guided journal for self-reflection : Moon Lists by Leigh Patterson

* Home Style Cookery by Canada's sweetheart Matty Matheson

* Chinatown Pretty a book that everyone in Vancouver needs

For the interior lover: Apartamento issue 26

The perfect book to help them unplug: Reset by Ronald J. Deibert 

* Nothing says the holidays like a satirical novel about a pandemic: Severance by Ling Ma

For the graphic designer: A Dictionary of Colour Combinations

* You and I Eat the Same edited by Chris Ying for the food lovers and cultural critics

A personal look into the science and mythology of vaccination: On Immunity by Eula Biss

For the activist: Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne maree brown

* Noopiming by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson a fierce novel that reclaims Anishinaabe aesthetics

For the note takers: Ten Lessons for a Post Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria

To celebrate the women in your life: In the Company of Women edited by Grace Bonney 

Lindsay Magazine: a beautiful bi-annual print to add to their collection

* Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar: a new narrative voice imagining post-trump America

For this who love everyday aesthetics: The Beauty of Everyday Things by Soetsu Yanagi

* Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman: the pick me up we all need

The epitome of the *perfect* gift: Faculty Department Vol. 2 by Justin Chung 



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