December has officially arrived and it’s time to launch our first ever Holiday Gift Guide 2019 and Instagram Contest!
Every item in this guide will be given away in daily contests over on our Instagram page running December 5, 2019 – December 15, 2019.
Recently the City of Calgary launched #BuyLocalYYC, a celebration of local businesses and services in Calgary. We wanted to get involved to help spread the good word about supporting local businesses especially throughout the holiday season.
We’ve partnered with some of our favourite local businesses (there are more than we can count) to bring you this holiday Gift Guide. Here you will find something for everyone including chocolate, beer, spirits, cookbooks, popcorn, spices, coffee, and restaurant gift cards.
But this is more than just a Holiday Gift Guide – every item you see on this page is going to be given away in a contest over on our Instagram Page! We have over $900 worth of gifts to giveaway!
Instead of supporting the big box stores or doing all your shopping online, take a peek at some great gift ideas for the holidays featured below.
Bakersbeans 2019 Holiday Gift Guide
Best of Bridge Cookbook – Comfort Food
Best of Bridge cookbooks and recipes have become staples at dinners and celebrations across Canada and many recipes are now part of family traditions.
Giveaway: 3 x Best of Bridge – Comfort Food Cookbooks (December 5th)
Cococo Chocolatiers Chocolate Gift Pack
In our house the holidays aren’t complete without a little chocolate in the pantry. Chocolate manufacturer Cococo Chocolatiers believes everyone needs to embrace a Cococo chocolate lifestyle over the holidays and we couldn’t agree more!
These guys create award-winning chocolates and handcraft fine cocoa confections using couverture chocolate made with Rainforest Alliance Certified™ sustainable & fair trade cocoa and cocoa butter. New to the line up this year is the fourth kind of chocolate made with pink cocoa beans, Ruby Couverture. Definitely a need, not a want this holiday season!
Giveaway: Dark Chocolate Dipped Cherries 9 pc, Ruby Cocoa Ingot 300g Bar, Milk / Dark Chocolate Shavings 200g (December 10th)
Crafty Cocktails Full Kit & Old Fashioned Kit
Crafty Cocktails offers a monthly box subscription service that includes expertly curated craft cocktail ingredients, tools and recipes all delivered to your doorstep in a stylish box.
Each month discover a new box delivered to your door with everything required (except the booze) to create perfectly balanced craft cocktails at home featuring the best quality, local ingredients. Love making cocktails? Sign up today!
Giveaway: 2 winners, 1 – Crafty Cocktails Full-Size Box and 1 Old Fashioned Kit (December 9th)
Citizen Brewery Basket of Goodies
Citizen Brewing Company is both your neighbourhood craft brewpub and hidden beer oasis. Located in a residential / slightly industrial area just down the road from a bus depot, Citizen Brewery strives to make beers people want to drink.
You’re going to want to check out their core line up of beers, rotating seasonals, dog friendly patio, plus some of the best brewery burgers and bites North of downtown Calgary.
Giveaway: Gift Basket with a hoodie, hat, pint glass, growler and fill, mix beer 4 pack (December 12th)
The Silk Road Spice Merchant – Popcorn Seasoning Kit
The Silk Road Spice Merchant in Inglewood has more than an extensive assortment of spices, they also offer accessories, supplies, books and gift packs. Their Spice Sets are seriously one of my favourite things as they are beautifully packaged in a box with whole spices added to the box making it a stunning gift to give, and to receive.
Everyone enjoys popcorn, that’s why this is the perfect gift to give this holiday season!
Giveaway: Popcorn Seasoning Spice Set (December 14th)
Sunterra Market Cookies
Sunterra Market is a family-owned company featuring farm to market products. They offer fresh ingredients from their own farms, and the local farms and businesses they support.
Their unique European-style shopping experience ensures they nourish customers with affordable, fresh, wholesome food, offer a unique selection of items throughout all their stores and keep prices affordable.
Grab a coffee while you shop, take a break for lunch, pick up one of their take home meals or fresh ingredients to whip up an easy and delicious meal. They are a full grocery store for all your one stop shopping.
Giveaway: Sunterra Holiday Cookie Collection (December 11th)
Midtown Kitchen and Bar Gift Basket
A stroll through Kensington isn’t complete without stopping in to Midtown Kitchen & Bar for a bevy and a bite. From tap takeovers, local collaborations, house and guest taps, and supporting community through various events, Midtown also offers up a variety of delicious bites on their menu to suit all appetites.
Come for the beer, stay for the food…or is that come for the food, stay for the beer?! Either way you won’t be disappointed!
Giveaway: Basket filled with gift cards, wine, glasses, accessories, hoodie and hot sauce. (December 7th)
Poko Popcorn Tin of Popcorn
Poko Popcorn was born out of the minds of a small group of friends in a tiny kitchen in Calgary. Their popcorn is made in small batches in each Poko Popcorn location and they offer a variety of sizes and flavours to choose from.
While delicious to eat, it’s also fun to craft garlands with popcorn for your holiday decorations!
Giveaway: 1.0 gallon tin of popcorn (December 8th)
Moonlight and Eli Champagne + Fondue Bar for Two
Champagne is the drink most associated with love, and love comes in many shapes and sizes, as do champagne glasses. The bubbles of the carefully selected sparkling wines at Moonlight & Eli cut though the richness of the fondue they offer making this duo the perfect pairing.
Fondue options include cheese or chocolate and for those who prefer still to sparkling, there is a lovely selection of wines available.
Giveaway: Fondue and Champagne for Two (December 6th)
Eau Claire Distillery Gift Pack
Situated about 35 minutes southwest of downtown Calgary in a historic hamlet called Turner Valley, is where you’ll find Eau Claire Distillery.
The distillery is housed in the circa-1929 Turner Valley Movie Theatre and Dance Hall that in early days served as town hall, political rally centre, dance hall and community gathering spot. They produce their spirits using local Alberta grain and offer a variety of spirits to wet any appetite.
These spirits are the perfect accompaniment to any cocktail, even a cocktail subscription box!
Giveaway: Christmas Gin, Apple Brandy, 2 glasses (December 15th)
Analog, Fratello, Corbeaux Bakery Gift Card
Local coffee company, Fratello Coffee is available both wholesale and at any of their five Analog Coffee retail locations in Calgary. The Fontaine brothers work directly with farmers in the world’s best coffee growing regions to produce a product that is not only delicious, but also ethically sourced.
Their bakery Corbeaux Bakery, offers European food and baked goods available in the Analog cafes, through their wholesale division and catering. These items are made fresh daily using locally sourced ingredients.
We like this coffee so much we’ve even included them in our 10 Days of Coffee Round Up!
Giveaway: 3 Gift Cards (December 13th)
One of the things we love to do is explore little towns. Whether it’s touring across Canada, the US or right here in Alberta we love to hop in the car and go somewhere new for the day. You learn so much about a community when you stop to discover what makes them unique and take the time to talk with the locals. Maybe it’s because we grew up in small little towns that we are drawn back to them so often.
We had the opportunity to experience some great little towns recently as we participated in a Cool Little Towns Tour originating in Calgary and less than an hour away. With four featured tours to choose from, Cool Little Towns encourages you to follow the routes as planned or use them as a guideline to plan your own adventure. With over 250 kilometres of Alberta’s most scenic driving routes to you should set aside the day to enjoy your drive, the beautiful views and great finds in each community. We decided on the Made in Alberta tour, a feast for your senses.
It was a Saturday morning with no commitments and we were looking forward to hitting the road. Our first stop was Turner Valley and the award winning Eau Claire Distillery. They offer tastings and a tour of their Artisanal Spirits offering a Farm to Glass experience as they produce their spirits from local Alberta grain. The distillery itself is housed in a circa-1929 Turner Valley Movie Theatre and Dance Hall and if you are hungry, there are light bites available.
After a few samples and purchase or two, we carried on our way and discovered MotoBurrito, an eclectic Mexican food truck featuring burritos, tacos, burgers, fries and more. Sitting on two acres of land next to Motorrad, this 14 foot food truck boasts a fun and colourful seating area with a variety of hot sauces to choose from and purchase. It was lunch time so we grabbed a seat and stayed to eat. While we enjoyed our fries, burgers and burritos we were able to watch a team roasting a pig for a pig roast they were having the next day.
On the road again and just a short drive down the highway, we sailed into Black Diamond. The Stop Coffee House and Gathering Place was on our list of places to visit for an after lunch coffee. This little coffee house boasts a spacious patio situated in front of a rustic outdoor bandstand. They feature Calgary’s Fratello coffee and homestyle café food. A rather large cookie accompanied our coffee, big enough to be shared by all four of us.
Our tour continued on by foot weaving our way through the town of Black Diamond. We browsed Cool Hand Luc’s Treasure Shop, bought some treats at Black Diamond Bakery & Coffee Shop and pulled up a stool at Marv’s Classic Soda Shop. All of the little stores along this side of the street were so much fun but Marv’s totally left a lasting impression! Here you can order burgers like Fonzie, Lana Turner, James Dean and more! The kids went crazy with glee as there was so much to look at including cool drinks and nostalgic candy. We shared a couple of sodas and vowed to return for a longer visit. Across the street we got lost in a unique boutique called Bohemia. This cool little store has the best prices and they carry fair-trade, local, cool items from fashion, knickknacks and jewelry.
Watching our time we made a quick stop in Longview at the World famous Longview Jerky Shop. From Alberta Beef made jerky, pepperoni and sausages, to a butcher shop with custom orders, there are so many reasons to stop in an visit this cool little shop. Leaving with a few jerky road snacks we headed to our last stop of the day, the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site.
Bar U Ranch was established in 1882 and was one of the foremost ranching operations in Canada. Recognizing that the Bar U Ranch’s long history provided an excellent opportunity to commemorate Canada’s ranching heritage, Parks Canada acquired 148.43 hectares (367 acres), including the ranch’s headquarters area, in 1991. Artists, princes and outlaws have all called the Bar U Ranch home at various times in its colourful history. Famed western artist Charley Russell, H.R.H. Edward Prince of Wales, and Harry Longabaugh (better known as the Sundance Kid) were among the famous and infamous characters who graced the ranch’s vast expanse at various times.
There’s lots to do on the ranch like visiting with the ranch hands, learning to rope a steer, saddle a horse, make bannock, repair a bridle or boil up cowboy coffee on a fire. You can wander the trails and dirt roads, pop into the stables, the post office or even the cookhouse to learn about “home on the range”. Did you know if you carry a valid Canada National Parks Pass you can use it at Bar U Ranch and get in for free?!
Our day touring these cool little towns was a fun way to have an adventure and spend the day with the kids. We found many little gems and already planning our return visit to many of them.
#CoolLittleTowns encourages locals and travellers seeking a cool day trip or staycation to drive within one hour south of Calgary for amazing food, unique art, great boutiques, shop-local experiences, rural beauty and eclectic offerings. Visit Turner Valley, Black Diamond and Longview to enjoy a driving tour like mine.
I am an ambassador of Cool Little Towns and have received perks to participate. However all opinions shared here about what makes these Cool Little Towns so cool are my own.