By Annie Lafrance, Blogger on the Art of Living
Offering a gift to a loved one can be a way to thank them and, also, to share your own values, too. In this age of overconsumption and abundance, putting some thought into the gifts you give is crucial. Which is why it’s worth seeking out authentic and original gifts that will provide a real sense of pleasure.
Once again this year, my go-to place for gift shopping is the Petit Champlain district. Here are some of my favorite finds that reflect my personal values (and perhaps yours, too!).
As you know, the “Made in Québec” label is more on-trend than ever! Shoppers are hungry for Québec brands, and they’re in luck, because Petit Champlain has lots of them! Our first stop is Amimoc, a brand owned by footwear maker Auclair & Martineau, who’ve been based in Québec City for several decades. Their Banff boot, in both men’s and women’s versions, has been a popular choice for many a winter.
One item that really caught my eye was the Weekender bag, made of 100% authentic leather in a shade that goes perfectly with the Banff boot. A must for getaways or business travel.
Still on the winter theme, I love the toque and sweater sets that Boutique T-Dingue has had on offer for the past few years. They’re designed by the boutique owner, a graphic artist by training, and crafted by local seamstresses.
The matching pieces are made from soft, fleece-lined polyester that’s cozy and comfortable. The Nordic motifs are perfect for après-ski relaxing at the chalet!
Local crafts are not just about garments; they come in bottles, too! Bubbly is a festive holiday favorite, and I couldn’t resist this delightful gift set of sparkling pear and berry ciders from Cidrerie et Vergers Pedneault based on Isle-aux-Coudres and available at their Petit Champlain shop. Sparkling ciders are perfect paired with Holiday Season desserts!
Forget about mass-produced presents! In the Petit Champlain district, you’ll find a host of products made by local artists and artisans. They’re authentic, one-of-a-kind, and creative, and they make great gifts! As soon as you step foot in Pot en Ciel—practically a Québec institution when it comes to the art of entertaining—your eyes are immediately drawn to the pretty ceramic goblets decorated with reindeer and other animals. They’re handcrafted with care by Épinette noire at their workshop in the Saint-Roch neighborhood. My fave is their newest addition, the one with the fish!
Handcrafting is also front and center at Charlevoix Pure Laine, a boutique featuring the handiwork of gifted artisans who collect and transform wool from sheep in the Charlevoix region into an array of beautiful clothing and accessories, including these chic and practical knitted hoods.
The Value of Inclusiveness
Celebrating individual differences and social inclusion is a theme that’s more important than ever these days, one that can be reflected in the gifts you give, too. The displays at the Temps Libre boutique sparkle with original bracelets by Québec designer Marie-France Carrière. In addition to being pretty, they are even more special as they are crafted by people with an intellectual disability.
When you feel strongly about the importance of protecting our planet, what’s not to love about brands and companies that uphold the same eco-responsible values as you do by giving new life to objects and materials.
These elegant creations by Canadian Hat with their upcycled fur pompons are simply irresistible! Look for them at Atelier La Pomme, along with some thirty other Québec and Canadian designer brands.
Never Out of Style
Tired of fast fashion? Thumb your nose at short-lived trends and disposable fashion by wearing (or gifting) the legendary—if irreverent!—slogan launched by Oclan boutique in 1989. Nearly 50,000 articles from this collection have been sold since.
There’s sure to be teenager or friend on your wishlist who’d get a kick out of this sweatshirt and hat combo!
Family Time is Playtime
What could be more important than family! The Holidays are about gathering the different generations and playing together. My choice this year is Yogang, a yoga game for kids, and for the young-at-heart, too! Plus, it’s 100% designed and made in Québec. Look for it at Les ptits mosüs, a delightful boutique bursting with local, whimsical, and eco-friendly gift ideas for children and families.
A Time to Share
Whether it’s spending the holidays together or a memorable night out, the gift of time is one that speaks to your values, too. I love offering Théâtre Petit Champlain show tickets as a gift. The friendly and cozy venue is a great place to discover new talent and see popular performers up close! For new parents, a night out is a perfect opportunity to take a well-deserved break from the routine of family life (bonus points for including the babysitter’s fees in your gift!). Or for someone on their own, why not treat them to a ticket and go along with them to the show? It’s a wonderful way to help relieve loneliness.
Another thoughtful gift idea is a meal out at a restaurant. One of my favorites, Le Lapin Sauté, boasts a cozy wood fireplace and a menu featuring delicious comfort foods prepared with a touch of whimsy. I love the rustic charm of this restaurant—the perfect setting for a romantic dinner!
The 43 shops and businesses at Quartier Petit Champlain have a host of gift ideas to suit your tastes and values. Drop by for your Holiday shopping!