Sustainability’s Secrets – Two

Shop quality and locally.

I’m not going to lie to you, I was definitely trying to find a way to rhyme quality and locally there #FAIL. Anywho… I eluded to this point the Sustainability’s Secrets – One post; when giving a gift, shopping for quality items that are sourced locally is very a sustainable option. Often hand crafted locally made pieces make the sweetest gifts anyway, so here are a couple ideas that I will be using this holiday season.

*DISCLAIMER* many of the following items can be purchased at Niagara College, this post is not intended as a blatant advertisement for Niagara College’s retail store, HOWEVER, here at the Office of Sustainability we genuinely and truly love these establishments and we love supporting them. Heck, my grandparents have made a special trip to the Niagara College Greenhouse for years to pick up their Christmas plants that they often give as gifts, so it’s not just me. They are THAT good.

Here are my top 3 favourite local gifts to give this holiday season:

WINE! Here in Niagara there is definitely no shortage of wine. Gifting wine during the holidays gives you an excuse to visit some of the great local wineries and maybe do a taste test or two before you settle on which one you’ll be buying a case of to give as gifts. One of my favourite wines to give during the holidays is a nice sparkling wine and say that it’s special for a New Years toast. Giving that specific bottle a purpose makes it that much more special and personalized. If you are looking to add a little something extra there’s also all the accessories… Wine glasses, corkscrews, sparkling stoppers, etc. You can really put something together that’s very personal and impressive and usually it’s a one stop shop.

BEER! For anyone that isn’t a wine drinker there are also some amazing breweries that are popping up in the region. This gives you the opportunity to put together a really special gift for the beer drinker on your list. Not mention, once again if you are visiting the local breweries you have the chance to taste test before you buy!

HOT CHOCOLATE! For the non-alcohol drinkers this gives you the perfect opportunity to put together a yummy hot chocolate gift mug. I love giving these little make your own hot chocolate gifts to the kidlets I have on my list, but that doesn’t mean that the adults don’t go crazy for them also! If you’re stumped for mom and dad or the grandparents, giving them a school branded mug with some gourmet hot chocolate in it and other goodies just might be the ticket. They love getting their own personalized mugs and the hot chocolate ends up being a bonus. Here is a list of what I include in my hot chocolate gift mug:

  • Homemade hot chocolate mix – I always change up what recipe I use for the mix depending on what I’m going for, a Mexican hot chocolate or maybe peppermint, it’s whatever your preference is
  • A chocolate dipped spoon – these are very easy to make and you can decide how much money you want to spend to make them. You can opt to use a compostable spoon and dip it in melting chocolate and let harder, or you can do the same thing with an engraved metal spoon that you find at a local craft market for something a little more special.
  • Homemade marshmallows – I like including one big homemade marshmallow! Once again, the recipe I use always changes, BUT there are some great local spots that make yummy homemade marshmallows that would be just as great! You can get them at the farmer’s market usually.
  • Candy canes – this is just for whatever, I usually crush them up and put them on my hot chocolate, but your gift receiver can do what they may.
  • Gift cards – Sometimes I include a gift card to a local cafe or coffee shop as well, or I use this as a way to give gift cards in general because I am not a huge fan of just handing someone a gift card.

All of the items listed above can be purchased locally and really you can determine how much money you’re willing to put into it and make it your own. I know sometimes it seems like just giving wine or beer is a cope out, but for someone who genuinely enjoys wine and beer I think they’re great gifts and there is so much you can do with them! Not to mention, you are supporting local businesses this holiday season, which in turn gives back to the community as a whole. Win-win!