Finding the perfect Christmas presents for family and friends is easy in the Ottawa area. No matter your budget, you’ll discover unique items and memorable experiences for the foodies, animal-lovers and Canada fans in your life. Check out our themed list of places to find epic gifts in the Ottawa region this holiday season. (Note: Many of the businesses mentioned below have online shopping options.)
For the person who loves…
- Do your Christmas shopping all year round at Tinseltown Christmas Emporium, located just west of downtown. The charming boutique is full of gingerbread houses, snow globes, ornaments, artificial trees, stockings, candles, wreaths, life-sized reindeer and cute Santas.
- Local craft and artisan markets are always a great source for gifts, especially when vendors offer special holiday items. Shop in person or online at year-round and special Christmas markets including the ByWard Market, the Ottawa Farmers’ Market and Parkdale Market.
- Ottawa-area businesses create fun seasonal products, like Garden Path Homemade Soap’s candy cane bar soap, Purple Urchin’s ginger spice bath bomb and Doozy Candle’s holiday options.
- Bakeries and other treat shops always produce cute holiday-themed items that make cute (and yummy) gifts.
Canada and Ottawa
- Maker House in the urban Hintonburg area carries products made by authentic artisans from across Canada. Cross everyone off your list with DIY craft kits, handmade blankets, hipster art and wood furniture.
- The stylish and cozy Boogie + Birdie boutique on Elgin Street also focuses on Canadian-designed and made goods. It’s a lovely place to pick up holiday items, jewelry, décor and wellness products for men and women.
- Ottawa’s Made in Canada Gifts presents a wide variety of Canadian-made products including art, jewelry, décor and apparel. Visit their boutiques at CF Rideau Centre and Bayshore Shopping Centre.
- The Snow Goose has been specializing in items created by the Indigenous Peoples of Canada since 1963. Their store near Parliament Hill presents a large selection of First Nations and Inuit art, apparel, carvings and jewelry.
- Chez François - Plaisirs de Provence in Westboro Village carries gourmet food, sweets and housewares from France, as well as homemade items like baked goods, jams, chocolates, and prepared meals. Bon appetit!
- Stubbe chocolates in the Wellington West neighbourhood uses premium quality chocolate in all of its products. Choose from advent calendars, hot chocolate mixes, truffles, and even specially-shaped treats like santas, snowmen, cats, dogs, and even high-heeled shoes!
- Foodie experiences make memorable gifts. Consider C’est Bon Cooking’s gourmet food tours and cooking classes, Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa’s short courses, and excursions with Ottawa Tasting Tours, La Vida Local Food + Wine Tours, The Good Food Tour and À la Carte Shuttle and Tours.
- Consider treating your giftee to an outing or takeout from their favourite restaurant, or buy them a gift certificate.
- Little Ray’s Nature Centre is offering special experiences including private zoo tours to see exotic species including reptiles, as well as encounters with a live sloth!
- Did you know you can take woolly animals like llamas and alpacas for a walk at a local farm? This therapeutic outdoor experience is available at Jock River Alpaca and Llama Farm and Serendipity Farm and Sanctuary, both located in the countryside southwest of Ottawa.
- Animal lovers flock to Park Omega in Montebello, Que. all year long. The self-drive Canadian safari and nature trails are surrounded by wildlife including deer, bison, bears and wolves. The ultimate gift: an overnight stay in a year-round cabin that looks directly into a wolf den!
- Reserve a spot for the cat lover in your life at the Feline Café in the Hintonburg area, just west of downtown Ottawa. All the resident kitties are up for adoption and the on-site shop has fun items.
Beer and spirits
- Options abound for beer lovers: the 2020 edition of Nita Beer Company’s Craft Holiday Beer Calendar contains 24 (surprise) cans from 23 Ontario breweries; dozens of breweries across the region sell cool swag (and delicious beer); and Brew Donkey’s fun brewery tours and virtual experiences are basically fun adult field trips.
- Ottawa-area distilleries make smooth spirits (as well as hand sanitizer). Get some quality gin, vodka, rum, whiskey and more at North of 7 Distillery, Dunrobin Distilleries Artisanal Canadian Spirits & Bitters, Dairy Distillery, and Artist in Residence Distillerie.
- Local spirits need local mixes to make perfect drinks! Local Split Tree Cocktail Co. produces all-natural cordials with flavours like raspberry mint and ginger vanilla. Their gift set of 4 makes a great gift!
Outdoors, wellness and adventure
- People who love winter activities will love a season pass for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or even fat-biking in Gatineau Park. You can also reserve accommodations in the park.
- Downhill lovers would appreciate a day or season’s pass to one of the downhill skiing and snowboarding resorts around the city including Camp Fortune and Mont Cascades.
- Give the gift of a flight over the city in a small Cessna airplane with Ottawa Biplane Adventures. The family-friendly tour fits up to 3 passengers and departs from the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.
- Plan a relaxing spa outing at businesses like Nordik Spa-Nature near Gatineau Park, Holtz Spa, Au Naturel Spa at the Brookstreet hotel, or Renu Spa.
Culture and leisure
- The ultimate gift for museum lovers is an annual membership. Choose from the seven national museums in Ottawa, in addition to the many other attractions like the Bytown Museum and the Diefenbunker. Or purchase some nice products from the museum boutiques.
- Get specific gifts at niche businesses like Knifewear (handcrafted knives); World of Maps (maps, puzzles and geography items); The Gifted Type (games, toys and silly gifts); and The Papery (writing supplies, decorations and crafts).
- Keep your favourite reader happy with items from independent bookstores like Perfect Books on Elgin Street, Books on Beechwood in New Edinburgh, Octopus Books in the Glebe, and Librairie du Soleil (French books and games) in the ByWard Market area.
- Zero-waste Nu Grocery’s two urban locations carry much more than food. Shop for self-care items, home products, and lots of useful accessories like reusable containers.
- All products at Terra 20’s three locations are cruelty-free, non-toxic and ethically sourced. Shop for quality lifestyle and wellness items that range from beauty products to games for kids.
- Visit the city’s antique shops to find the perfect previously-enjoyed treasures. Stores like A Fine Thing and Yardley’s Furniture carry furniture, lighting and accessories. And charity shops like Highjinx and Saint Vincent de Paul carry a large variety of antiques, vintage and retro items.
- Find rare literary works or popular bestsellers at used bookstores, including Book Bazaar in Centretown, Black Squirrel Books in Old Ottawa South, as well as Benjamin Books and Barely Bruised Books in Sandy Hill.