The count-down is on! With every radio rendition of “Baby it’s cold outside,” Christmas gets a little closer, and we get collectively giddy about spending good times with our favourite people. But some of them are tricky to shop for. Not to worry – we’ve scoured the Bay of Quinte for the most unique gifts that are bound to delight even your most discerning loved ones.
What you’ll find there: craft sets and supplies, Lego and Playmobil sets, Melissa and Doug wooden toys, puppets, music boxes, kaleidoscopes, colouring books, educational and building toys, science sets, and lots of games.
Bonus: Scalliwag boasts more than 1500 board games, has a ton of information about various games, and even hosts role playing game (RPG) nights. Dungeons and Dragons is on Wednesdays, and Magic: the Gathering is on Friday nights.
What you’ll find there: A good selection of paints, brushes, sculpting tools, solvents, sealers and more. Pre-made and custom gift baskets are available.
Bonus: Classes are offered in the large studio behind the shop, as well as on-line, by certified oil and acrylic teacher Cat Hardy. Master painters from all over the world also come to Hardy’s to teach, with seven renowned painters already lined up for 2015. Upcoming classes are listed at www.hardysartstudio.com and gift certificates to classes are available.
What you’ll find there: Exclusive specialty brands, including Michael Kors, Lacoste, Tiger of Sweden, and Canada Goose.
Bonus: Richard Davis has become a destination store for good reason: it carries brands that can’t be found anywhere else in the area.
What you’ll find there: Bikes, accessories and safety equipment, along with all manner of other sporting goods, and attire. Stephen Licence Ltd. also has a large selection of novelty and collector items, including jigsaw puzzles, models, train sets, games, collectable figurines (everything from Star-Trek to Hello Kitty), and retro toys. It’s also the most celebrated skate-sharpening shop around, with people traveling from hours away to get the perfect edge on their blades.
Bonus: In 1958 Stephen Licence’s son-in law, Gerry Bongard took over the business. He’s still there today, and if you stop in you’re likely to witness three generations of Bongards working together.
What you’ll find there: The Bookworm currently has a good selection of holiday-themed reads, as well as a large fiction section, how-to-guides, history and non-fiction, and even videos and DVDs.
Bonus: Run completely by volunteers, the Bookworm’s proceeds support the local hospice house and Royal Canadian Legion. You won’t spend much at the bookworm (even if you leave with an armful of reading material), but you can feel great knowing that what you do spend is going to a good cause. (Note: the Bookworm is cash only.)
What you’ll find there: delectable imports such as black winter truffles from France and arbeguino olive oil smoked with organic oak wood, alongside locally produced artisan cheeses, deli meats, mustards, chocolates, honey, jellies and sauces.
Bonus: You can feel great about supporting local producers while you take a well deserved break from your holiday shopping to enjoy a latte and gourmet sandwich.
What you’ll find there: Rustic wooden furniture, beautiful traditional moccasins, hand-crafted jewellery, linens, Tilley hats, fashion, fur hats, retro toys, housewares, home decor, novelty items, lamps, pottery, and so much more!
Bonus: According to the owner, the theme of the Unconventional Moose is “fun,” and this rings true. The vibe inside is cheery and laid back. Plan to have at least an hour to roam the various rooms, and check out all the neat stuff!