If you ask someone what they enjoy most about the holiday season, the answer probably isn’t “holiday shopping!” No one loves crowded stores, frustrated shoppers and endless commercial Christmas music.
Toronto’s current lockdown and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means we are not able to do what we normally do this time of year. Holiday craft fairs are pretty much a no-go. Small shops are not open for in-person visits.
The bulk of holiday purchases will happen online and the options are limited to delivery or curb side pickup. Everything is virtual which may be a challenge if you’re not accustomed to online shopping.
Fortunately for you I have come up with a list of several wonderful online shops you will definitely want to check out.
Jewellery, Textiles and Crafts
A great place to find Indigenous-made crafts and apparel is Pacha Indigenous Art Collection.
All of their collections can be found on their website, and they offer curb side pickup or local delivery. Pacha Arts is launching a digital market on December 10th, 11th and 12th. They will be showing live videos of all of their collections as well as introducing new items to the shop.
If you’re in need of a face mask, Pacha Arts sells beautiful handmade PPE. Check out the story behind the Uma mask here.
I’ve recently started following a couple of local Indigenous artists on Instagram, and a couple of them have some really cool art pieces for sale.
Jennifer Lawes is a multidisciplinary artist in Port Perry. While Jennifer is better known for her tattoos, she recently added custom-made tufted toques and embroidery to her shop. She has a limited supply of items to purchase, so I recommend following her on Instagram for updates.
One last website to check out is led by the Indigenous Arts Collective of Canada. This online marketplace features hundreds of Indigenous-made home decor, apparel, sculptures, paintings and more. You can even opt to donate to the non-profit organization instead, if you can’t decide what to purchase.
During the first weeks of lockdown, I cooked all of the time. It was wonderful. Until I remembered how much I love eating food made by other people
Cooking fatigue also tends to hit me pretty hard during the holidays. This is why I recommend checking out Tea N Bannock, an Indigenous restaurant in Toronto’s east end. They offer a wide variety of entrees, sides and desserts, and they deliver hand-picked batches of Cedar tea, wild rice and popcorn right to your door. Learn more about the benefits of hand-picked teas right here.
Looking to avoid ordering books on Amazon and Indigo? A Different Booklist offers a variety of Indigenous titles, ranging from children’s novels to adult lit. Plus, you’re supporting a Canadian Black-owned business. It’s a win-win situation. I also highly recommend Glad Day Bookstore and Another Story Book Shop for all your literature needs.
This year has been particularly tough on food banks, not for profit organizations and shelters across the city. There are a lot of incredible Indigenous-led organizations all over Toronto who are sustained by volunteers work and donations. The Native Women’s Resource Centre as well as the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto are two important organizations who accept donations year round.
If you’re strapped for cash but can donate food or prepared meals, check out the Instagram page for Community Fridges Toronto. I know a lot of folks who donate food to these fridges on a weekly basis. Donating non-perishables to the Daily Bread Food Bank and Second Harvest is a wonderful idea as well.