If you’re behind on starting or too tired to finish your holiday gift shopping, don’t stress. It’s not too late to buy for your friends and family while also supporting local and local-ish Indigenous business.
With less than one month to go before Christmas Day, there is still time to whittle away at your list with these gift ideas from companies based in Toronto and the GTA.
aaniin retail inc: aaniin started as a streetwear brand in June 2021 and its growth has been fast-moving. The store’s founder Chelsee Pettit wants people to view Indigenous products, art, fashion and design as more than souvenirs at a gift shop or gas station on your way through an Indigenous territory. aaniin is popping up in Sherway Gardens for the Holiday Market located in the previous Nordstrom space from Thursday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Dec. 23 and will also have a standalone storefront this holiday season at Square One Shopping Centre. www.aaniin.shop
Indigenous Box subscription: Indigenous Box is the subscription box and corporate gift service that promotes Indigenous entrepreneurship by creating opportunities for emerging, under-represented and established Indigenous businesses to reach new customers and enter new market spaces. Indigenous Box has several packages and subscription services to help you give the perfect gift this season. www.indigenousbox.ca
Native Canadian Centre of Toronto: The University of Toronto listed The Cedar Basket Gift Shop as a great place to look for gifts showcasing Indigenous artwork and design. The shop is located inside the NCCT on Spadina Avenue in Toronto which may be your best bet to avoid late delivery. www.thecedarbasket.com
Tea-N-Bannock gift card: Tea-N-Bannock has been serving dishes that reflect culture both past and present since 2012. It not only provides a platform for Indigenous chefs and traditional cooks but also a place for youth to get introduced to professionals and given space to dream. The restaurant’s website states that guests looking to experience true Indigenous flavour can come try some wild rice, bison, and of course, traditional bannock. Gift cards and e-gift cards can be purchased online. www.teanbannock.ca
Cheekbone Beauty: Founder Jennifer Harper conceived and created Cheekbone Beauty in her basement several years ago. The brand also incorporates Harper’s Anishinaabe heritage and is aimed at empowering Indigenous youth. Cheekbone Beauty also curates holiday-ready kits, such as a collection of all six Sustain Lipglosses or the Sustain Lip Kit with a lipstick, liner and gloss. The Daily Hive says the company’s signature item is its ultra-creamy and buildable Sustain Lipstick, which comes in eight shades ranging from neutrals to browns, pinks and reds. Each colour is named for the earth or land in one of the 7,000 Indigenous languages. www.cheekbonebeauty.com
Donations to Indigenous business: For the friend or family member in your family who seems to have everything, what better way to acknowledge them while also making an impact than by making a monetary donation to a local charitable organization in their name? Take Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) for example. It is an Indigenous-led organization guided by a diverse group of Indigenous knowledge keepers, water protectors, and land defenders from communities and regions across the country. Also consider the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, a grassroots network of Indigenous youth and intergenerational relatives that works across issues around reproductive health, rights, and justice. Another great option to support the education of Indigenous youth and students would be to donate to Indspire. On Giving Tuesday 2023 Indspire matched donations up to $80,000. www.indspire.ca