It’s finally the holiday season and let’s be honest with ourselves, this time of the year has been long anticipated since the end of summer. It’s the feeling of love and warmth during the colder months that make the holiday season special, and for me that means connecting with my community. One simple way to do this (that is equal parts caring and indulgent, as the holidays should be) is to support your local small businesses. Not only are you engaging with your community and showing appreciation for small business owners, but you can also find a perfectly unique gift to give to a loved one (including yourself)!
Look no further because we’ve put together a list of 5 small businesses to check out and support this holiday season — or really, any season!
- A Toronto Ting
Gifting clothing can be tricky business but if you’re anything like me, sticking with the simple and minimalist look is almost always a safe bet. A Toronto Ting is a newly launched clothing brand entirely inspired by well-known Toronto slang. For those who are from the GTA, their T-Shirts can serve as a little reminder of home. For those who are less familiar with Toronto slang, they can be a fun and subtle way to rep a new city! Are you intrigued by this unique and creative concept?
- Natural Bella
There is something extra special about getting to know the person and story behind a business. Natural Bella is a skin care brand started by one woman in Dundas, Ontario, right from her own kitchen. Janet Henderson had been working as a seasoned aromatherapist when she decided to experiment with creating skin care products that are clean, vegan-friendly, and effective! After 2 years of perfecting the recipes, she launched Natural Bella to share her hard work with the world. Skin care is for all seasons, but, especially in winter’s dry air, everyone can do with a little more hydration and nourishment.
- Trueshot Coffee
Nothing says “cozy” like a good cup of coffee or tea. Trueshot Coffee is located right here in Hamilton, offering the perfect, local coffee hangout spot with high quality espresso and tea beverages. Do be mindful of social distancing measures (wear your mask!) and reduced store hours (don’t forget to check!). Fortunately for us, Trueshot Coffee goes one step further and offers online orders of coffee grounds and brewing equipment like brewers, coffee filters, and coffee servers. This is perfect for at-home coffee dates or as gifts for coffee-lovers (and I know there are a lot of you out there)!
- The Hearty Hooligan
Who says vegans can’t be indulgent? That’s exactly what this Hamilton-based all-vegan junk food restaurant sets out to prove. The Hearty Hooligan opened in 2017 with the mission to make vegan food more accessible and prove that going vegan doesn’t have to be as intimidating as people may think. Food is a remarkable way to show someone you care, so why not treat a loved one to a “hearty” meal from The Hearty Hooligan? Their holiday menu is stacked with savoury stars like pot pies and roasts, not to mention dessert dreams like cookies and cupcakes (complete with special holiday flavours of gingerbread and eggnog).
- Burrito Bandidos
The best way to someone’s heart truly is through their stomach, which brings me to our last small business to support: Burrito Bandidos! Burrito Bandidos opened their first location in the Downtown Toronto area, capturing local hearts with their use of simple ingredients and traditional recipes, creating absolutely delicious burritos at an affordable price. These burritos are cooked right in front of you with no additives or artificial flavours, providing a healthier and fresh alternative to fast food restaurants. In the true giving spirit of the holidays, Burrito Bandidos also regularly gives back to charities like Sick Kids and the Daily Bread Food Bank. There’s really nothing more special than time spent eating burritos together. You can also make a quick gift of Burrito Bandidos through mobile order and delivery (now offered on Uber Eats) for some social-distanced dinner dates!
From clothes to beauty products to coffee to food of-all-sorts, there is a gift for everyone out there. Even if an item on someone’s wishlist hasn’t been included in this one, I implore you to explore the local small businesses around you — I guarantee that you’ll find some gems. Small business does not mean small reward. It’s actually quite the opposite. There’s nothing quite like the heart poured into local businesses and the happiness you glean from connecting with them. A little goes a long way is the philosophy here, so with that in mind, happy hunting and don’t forget to treat yourself along the way!