Unique local gifts for Christmas time—or anytime

Yvonne Van Alphen

Photos by David Elden

Happy Goat Coffee Company

Happy Goat’s main website offers Sandy Hillers the opportunity to purchase small ($45) and large ($65) gift baskets. A gift basket includes freshly roasted coffee of your choice, a bottle of maple syrup, some handmade vegan coffee soap made with their coffee, and a bottle of Canadian honey. You can also purchase 3- or 6-month coffee subscriptions (up to 4 lbs/month). It’s a great way to get fresh coffee and discover different flavours. My favourite coffee is Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. For more info about gift ideas call 613-792-1309 ex 2 or email or see:   Happy Goat Sandy Hill location is 317 Wilbrod St.

Beauty Counter

Beauty Counter is a movement to get safer products into the hands of everyone. All products are non-toxic and make you feel oh so good. This year’s holiday gift guide includes a scented soap trio ($36), a hand cream trio ($36), a set of three cute mini oils ($34), and a lip set of five festive shades ($108). My favorite products: hydrating body lotion (citrus mimosa), nourishing cream exfoliator; and their shampoo and conditioner which makes for silky hair. Order online with local beauty representative, Nathalie Gagnon: Go one step further, and treat someone special to a Beauty Counter makeup session with beauty artist Katherina at Eskina Esthetics located in the ByWard Market

Le Cordon Bleu

For the cooking enthusiast, shop at the Signatures/Le Cordon Bleu cookery shop at 453 Laurier Avenue East. Pick up a cookery book like In the Kitchen with Le Cordon Bleu containing 100 recipes from Le Cordon Bleu cooks ($35), or one of their cozy fleeces ($60), or gift some yummy lemon cookies ($5.99). You can also sign up food enthusiasts to one of the many short cooking courses. Courses include: Christmas dinner with wine, French macarons, and the flavors of Alsace ($170/course).

Murder mystery

Enjoy Sandy Hill resident Robin Harlick’s latest book called Purple Palette for Murder, the ninth book in the Meg Harris mystery series. It’s got great reviews. Set in Yellowknife, Meg’s out to prove her husband’s innocence. Available for $18 from Perfect Books (258A Elgin), Books on Beechwood, and Chapters who have named this a local book of interest. For a short review check out

Local Chocolate

Pitter Patter Bake Co has just popped up in Sandy Hill and sells handcrafted chocolates. It’s a four-day process using Belgian chocolate. You heard it here first. Truffles: 6 for $12. Box of 6 moulded bonbons $15 or 12 for $28.00—includes vanilla, caramel, fresh mint, peanut butter, Earl Grey. Order by emailing or calling 613-501-0660. Until a Sandy Hill storefront opens, pickup will be from either Centretown or Beechwood locations. My favorite is mint chocolate. Plans are afoot to sell desserts like tarts, cream puffs, and different pastries.

Australian Fruit Cakes

Don’t have time to make a Christmas cake? Order one of Carol Waters’ Toppy’s Australian Boiled Fruit Cakes—a recipe handed down from her grandmother. These cakes are delicious with freshly boiled fruit and have just the right amount of sugar. Two sizes: priced at $7 and $20. Order by email: or give Carol a call 613-235-8461. Carol also makes water bottle holders from colourful African fabric. $5 each. All proceeds go to the Ladies Sewing Room, Project Chance Africa, Nairobi Kenya. Pick one up at Brooklyn Hair salon, 115 Mann Ave.


Choose a lovely one-of-a-kind piece by Sandy Hill potter Lynn Murphy. Affordable prices. For an appointment to view her selection call her at (613) 238-7615.

Christmas Cards and Calendars

Check out Janet MacKay’s colourful calendars celebrating the seasons of Canada ($25). Or, pick up a pack of greeting cards of vibrant red and orange canoes floating on reflective waters ($15 for a packet of 4). Available at Worldview Studio Art Show, 210 Blackburn Ave. Show runs Dec 3 to 17 on weekends, noon to 5 p.m.

Woodworked Pens

Great gifts for anyone who enjoys writing with a fountain, rollerball or traditional ball point pen. Each one uniquely crafted out of maple wood. Prices range from $30 to $150. Thoughtful designs including puzzle pieces, canoes, and guitars. Each design incorporates a different colour of wood. My favorite is the maple leaf pen priced between $125-$150, with gift box ($5-$20). Jonathan is regularly asked to make gift sets for performing artists. Get in touch by emailing:

DJE Market

Located at 484 Rideau Street (near Augusta), DJE Market has a very small collection of lightweight African necklaces (with earrings) made from big and small colourful beads for purchase. All proceeds go back to the necklace makers in Central Africa. Prices range from $25 for a long necklace with earrings to $5 for a small pair of earrings.