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Canadian Christmas Gift Guide

Lights start twinkling. People start humming. And amongst all the joy and cheer, the malls, markets and snow-covered sidewalks start bustling. Christmas is just around the corner and that means gift-giving and Christmas wish lists are on the brain.

Last year we featured a variety of different gift ideas for the various people in your life. The Music Lover. The Foodie. The Hostess. The Fashionista. The Workaholic. This year, in similar style, we bring you a jump start to the Christmas shopping season with gift ideas in tow for at least few people on your list. But as you well know, one of the things we pride ourselves on most here at in a nutshell, is our Canadian roots. We are five Canadian girls, spread throughout Ontario and we come with more than enough Canadian pride to stuff a stocking. So this year, our gift guide is staying close to home, featuring a variety of shops, designers and artisan foods that can be found throughout the province and nation wide.

1) Jacobson’s Gourmet Concepts

A beautiful boutique shop with a show-stopping window front and a collection of tasty treats from near and far is number one on our list this year and is a haven for anyone shopping with a foodie in mind this Christmas. After many years of business in their current Beechwood location, Susan Jacobson is happy to have seen her once-little shop grow into something much more. A destination where friends could come to talk about good food and to share ideas, this tiny boutique is brimming with compotes, candles, decoration and everything in between. In a nutshell was particularly happy to learn that Jacobson herself is an Ottawa girl through and through and, though she imports goodies from all over the world, carries an elaborate array of cheeses that reign from across Canada. So this Christmas, why not make a selection of cheese that you can simply order (by phone or in person) and send over to your foodie-friend.


Photo: Courtesy of jacobsons.ca

Three local cheeses to cherish:

– Grey Owl:  a creamy goat cheese with ash rind named for the man who was one of the forerunners of the Canadian environmental movement

– Five Brothers: Exclusive to Jacobsons, Five Brothers is crafted in Oxford County, Ontario. The cow’s milk cheese hedges on Gouda/Swiss styles and has creamy, rich flavour.

– Flower Chèvre: a classic stele chèvre with a pretty twist, this creamy, tangy cheese reigns from a little further west, Salt Spring Island, BC and is the perfect aesthetic addition to any cheese plate.

Find out more about Jacobsons cheese plate orders here.

2) True Bijoux


Photos: inanutshell.ca

Some may call this jewellery store a hidden gem in the folds of downtown Ottawa. Nestled beside Howard’s fine Jewellers on Spark Street, True Bijoux is a cavernous store brimming  with shimmering gemstones and creative collections. Our favourite collections were produced by two local ladies- one reigning from Montreal and the other, from right here in Ottawa. Store owner Lindsay Appotive has been captaining the store since its existence in 2006 and, after many years growing up in the business, learned her own craft in the jewelry world. She now produces stunning pieces which are proudly on display in the store and would make any fashionista beam with approval. Our favourite piece was her Rocker Rose Vintage necklace- this once-vintage brooch turned necklace is a sure-fire way to glam up any little black dress over the holiday season. Montreal-based designer Charlotte Hosten also caught our eye with her collection of edgy, yet feminine bracelets and statement pieces of string beads dangling from structured material. We also learned that Charlotte is known for taking sentimental pieces and incorporating them into an entirely new piece.

Find out more about these designers and True Bijoux here.

3) Rosewood Estates Winery


We’ve talked about Rosewood before, but we didn’t quite stress how incredibly impressed we were by the different styles of meads that they produce. Rosewood’s tradition is deeply rooted in the people behind the product and after meeting with the “Social Bee”, Krystina Roman, we were convinced that the Beamsville based winery and meadery would make for a unique Christmas gift. The mead in particular, carrying notes of nuts, white flowers and honey would be the perfect addition to a Christmas cocktail: keep it simple with 1 oz of  Harvest Gold mead, topped up with cava and, for a splash of colour, add some cranberries for a festive drink this holiday season.

Read more about Rosewood here and keep an eye out for their honey in Chapters Indigo stores throughout Canada and their wines in the LCBO.

4) Krista Norris Collection scarves

Photo: Courtesy of Krista Norris

Photo: Courtesy of Krista Norris


Photo: Courtesy of Krista Norris

Krista Norris is an Ottawa native, born and bred, and began her career in the fashion industry by handcrafting scarves in her basement. This past season, the K+N Fall/Winter 2012 collection was worn in multiple countries, branching out of Ottawa and into cities world-wide including Milan, Florence, Venice and Amsterdam. Her women’s scarves carry a gender neutral tone as they stay true to menswear fabric and classic patterns. She has designed a men’s collection for that handsome hunk in your life. In her collection you will find various herringbones, plaids, and houndstooth style scarves, a perfect finishing touch to any winter look. Find her scarves in Ottawa at Viens Avec Moi, House of Clothing located at 1338 Wellington St. W. and Schad located at 527 Sussex Dr.

Read more about Krista Norris here.



Photo: inanutshell.ca

5) Gotta Paint

Located in Westboro, Gotta Paint is a paint it yourself ceramic and glass fusing studio. Making kitchenware dreams come true since 1997, Gotta Paint is a creative way to spend time with a loved one over the holidays. Take a friend, relative or lover to Gotta Paint and craft your own piece of creative dish ware. Gotta Paint is no stranger to visits from the nuts. In fact, Catherine had a particularly riveting experience at Gotta Paint, where her dreams of meeting Frosty the snowman came to fruition in the shape and form of, dare I say, A TEAPOT!


Photo: inanutshell.ca

 No time to stop at Gotta Paint before St. Nicholas comes? For a DIY version that is a Pintereset success story from the in a nutshell test centre. Simply purchase some all white mugs and write your favourite message on them with a sharpie. Bake them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and voila. Even after a couple hundred mugs of hot chocolate, your sweetheart’s love note will stay intact.

 In a nutshell will be featuring tonnes more Christmas content over December. From gift guides to baked goods, party dresses and New Years resolutions – make sure you come back and visit us!

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