Hello all! It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write here, but I figured, as most of you are running around to get holiday presents for everyone, that I would throw a few recommendations your way.
Now, if you take away anything from this post, it’s that if you’re going to be buying gifts for your loved ones, you can do twice as good when you get it from a small, local business. I could go on and on about why, but since this guide might already be on the long side, I will refer you to this post from Forbes and this one from Time and this neat infographic from Huffington Post, and just tell you that it’s better for your local economy. Also, when you buy from local artists and crafters, you’re supporting their growth as an artist, you’re helping their family, and you’re buying something that is so truly unique no one else will have the same gift as you!
As many of you know, my whole world is made of books, so a lot of these suggestions will be books, though I have some amazing non-book ideas for you too!
Non-Book gifts (to go with your book gifts… or not)
For the coffee-lover
JenEric Designs are some of my favourite folks. Their coffee is amazing, and it’s the only kind I’ll make at home now. I may be guilty of buying a few bags of coffee fully intending on gifting them to friends, but then ending up drinking it myself. They roast and flavour the coffee themselves, the coffee is organic and fair-trade, and they have light, medium and dark roasts. I’m not usually a fan of flavoured coffee, but I love how subtle and perfect theirs is! You can order different sizes, and it’s actually more affordable than Starbucks and a lot of other coffee beans. Choose your flavours here!
For the fan of tea
Another remarkable small business of which I am a huge fan is Heart Tea Heart. They do these amazing tea blends, and though I’ve always been a fan of tea, I’ve seldom tasted tea this good. They have wonderful gift packaged, accessories, and on top of having an online store, they also have a store in the Merivale mall in Ottawa!
For geeks and their and families
Looking for family fun which opens new horizons? Released earlier this year, the trivia card game Blush is the ideal gift for families with children or pre-teens! The game plays a bit competitively, so it’s engaging, and it has tons of questions on subjects like health, reproduction, consent, gender identity, sexual orientation and the spectrum of attraction, it’s sure to naturally bring up subjects that kids may want to discuss with their parents but don’t know how yet. Not to mention, it makes a really fun game to play amongst adults! You can get it from the Renaissance website, or it is available at Venus Envy on Bank Street in Ottawa and at Heart Tea Heart in the Merivale mall! You can also get it in French!
Are you looking for something to snuggle instead? JenEric Designs has an assortment of hand-crocheted, geeky plushies and accessories for the whole family! Check out their amazing selection here!
For the vintage lover
Do you like lovingly hand-knitted clothing items? Or vintage tableware, gloves, and collectibles? Then definitely check out Graced Moments etsy shop – she has beautiful handmade or vintage items you can order, from baby knits to porcelain plates to dried flowers!
For game lovers
Do you like a little bit of storytelling in your games? Do you know people who are die-hard fans of Jane Austen? Then A Match Made in Austen is the perfect gift! It’s a storytelling game in which you get to play out events with your imagination being the only limit, and have the Jane Austen characters in your hand react to these events by displaying various qualities. Based on those, you try to match them with each other to make happy marriages!
Know someone with a bad back? Melissa Yi’s The Emergency Doctor’s Guide to a Pain-Free Back is a great book to offer them!
For the writer
Kevin Johns’s The Novel Writer’s Blueprint is an amazing guide for writers, especially early in their career. It gives a simple, step-by-step approach to crafting a novel. I highly recommend it!
If you know a writer who’s ever complained of being “stuck” in a story, then Unblocked is the book for them! (Yes, I know it’s mine, but where would we be without a little bit of self-promotion?) It goes through every possible cause for writers to be blocked, and helps writers get to the root of the problem so that they can sort it out.
Books make great presents! What better way to show someone your love than by giving them a window into another world?
Supernatural, sci-fi, fantasy
If you love aliens and desserts, you’ll love Cait Gordon’s Life in the ‘Cosm. A funny sort of sci-fi slice of life comedy with romance, it’s the perfect gift for anyone who loves Douglas Adams.
Fan of urban fantasy, like Patricia Briggs or Charles De Lint? You’ll love Melissa Yi’s Wolf Ice, a werewolf mystery/suspense set in Montreal!
If you’re more of a fan of suspenseful mysteries with amazing setting and rich, well-rounded characters, you’ll love Evan May’s Adam Godwinson series, about an ex-priest who becomes instrumental in saving the world from an ancient evil. The first book, The King In Darkness, is set in Ottawa, and the second, Bonhomme Sept-Heures, is set in Northern Québec.
Like horror? Are you a fan of vampires who don’t glitter? Definitely check out the brilliant Human by S. M. Carriere, an urban fantasy thriller which will leave you on the edge of your seat!
More self-promo! If you enjoy funny dialogue and action-packed adventure with superpowers, you’ll love the Family by Choice series!
Love cozy mysteries with female protagonists? Journey of a Thousand Steps by Madona Skaff-Koren is set in Ottawa, and represents a woman with Multiple Sclerosis going in search of her disappeared friend.
If you enjoy historical fiction, The Admirer by Aurelia Osborne is a great mystery set in Regency England, and reads sort of like a mashup between Sherlock Holmes and Jane Austen.
Medical mystery fan? Melissa Yi’s award-winning Hope Sze series of mysteries set in a Montreal hospital is a must-read!
A Study in Aether by Éric Desmarais has so many things going for it, it’s hard to think of someone it wouldn’t please. A mystery with a teen girl investigating, disappearing teachers, fairy tale monsters, and lots of mittens.
If you’re more of a fan of dark, psychological fiction with an action twist, Kevin Johns’s M School is the right book for you! When her best friend is murdered, Lilith uncovers a hidden war and gets recruited as a special agent.
Last but not least, if you like cyberpunk, lab experiments, zombies and romance, check out my latest book Making a Living, which tells the story of Nathan, who has the ability to transform electricity in life force, and mentally connect with machines, and Annie, an undead scientist who desperately wants to bring herself back to life.
That’s it! Look forward for more posts in the new year, and don’t forget to check out my online comic, Some Assembly Required, which updates weekly!
May the next few weeks, the darkest of the year, be filled with love, food and warmth.