Tis the season to support local as you do some gift giving and spread a little holiday cheer. This year, forget the big box store and check out these Oxford gems for a great selection of holiday gift ideas. Here are just ten of our favs!
1. A Musical Instrument
Where: The Ingersoll Music Academy, 40 King St. E. Ingersoll, ON. (View Map) or Shop Online
Spending so much time at home this year has meant people have been taking up a lot of new hobbies- including music. Guess what? We LOVE that. If you have a musically-inclined person on your list, why not treat them to a new instrument from Ingersoll Music Academy? From your standard accoustic and electric guitars to instruments as quirky as a banjo ukulele, you're sure to find something your giftee will love. Have somebody who is already a seasoned musican? Consider upgrading their guitar strap, buying a few new strings or some other accessory they may need.
2. The Oxford County Tee
Where: Bear and Fox Apparel Online
Bear and Fox Apparel out of Embro is a great local advocate and this long sleeve tee is a testament to that. With a big ol' map of Oxford County on the back, the description for this shirt reads, "If you live here you know someone named Terry, have been known to enjoy an Upper Thames brew and most definitely call home “The O.C”." That's a shirt we can get behind. Shop a number of other pieces online from flannels and quarter zip hoodies to crewnecks and more.
3. A Handcrafted Charcuterie Board
Where: Kintore Custom Hardwoods, 155999 15th Line, Kintore, ON. (View Map); Ottercreek Woodworks- shop online or get one from Pedlar's Quay or Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese; Solid Edge Wood Products, 292599 Culloden Line, South-West Oxford, ON. (View Map)
Would you expect the home of the Cheese Trail or have any shortage of boards to display all those lovely Goudas and cheddars on? Certainly not! Oxford County is home to a number of talented woodworkers, each with their own unique style and each of which creates beautiful cheese and charcuterie boards. In Kintore, Kintore Custom Hardwoods specializes in kiln-dried lumber and custom furniture. Their boards exhibit a raw, natural vibe that we adore. In Tillsonburg, woodworker David Schonberger of Ottercreek Woodworks specializes in charcuterie boards and his signature Feasting Board as well (spoiler alert: that's a beautiful, massive charcuterie board that runs the length of your table). Inspired by the knots and gnarls of each individual tree, each piece is a show-stopper. Finally, in South-West Oxford, Solid Edge Wood Products creates boards with funky designs, epoxy rivers and even carvings. It's so neat to see how different a charcuterie board can be from one end of the county to the other! Now all you need to do is pick up some cheese and preserves. It's a gift made perfectly for the foodie on your list.
4. Chocolate in the Box or in the Bar
Where: Chocolatea, 38 King St. E. Ingersoll, ON. (View Map) or shop online ; Habitual Chocolate, 389 Dundas St. Woodstock, ON. (View Map)
We think Forest Gump was way off base when he said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." In Oxford, we know EXACTLY what we're going to get when we dig into a box of chocolates or bite into a bar because the ingredients are simple and there's no hiding them. At Chocolatea in Ingersoll, chocolatier Cindy Walker creates tasty chocolates using a base of the finest Belgian chocolate and adding in local ingredients like craft beer, lavendar, honey, coffee and more. You can select exactly what chocoaltes go in your box! Cater to the giftee on your list and their favourite flavours. In Woodstock, Habitual Chocolate starts with cacao beans and brings them right to bar right in house using only the cacao nibs, cane sugar and sometimes milk or a single local ingredients like Early BIrd Coffee or mint from Nerd Teas. You'll be able to taste the differences between chocolate bar flavours based on the variety of bean used!
5. A Cool Vintage Find
Where: Louis Lime Vintage, 93 Thames St. S. Ingersoll, ON. (View Map); Modern Hipster Antiques, 70 Thames St. S. Ingersoll, ON. (View Map); One-of-a-Kind Antique Mall, 97 Wilson St. Woodstock, ON. (View Map); Tacky to Terracotta- shop online; The Finding Fern- shop online
If you love a good vintage find, you're in the right place. Seriously, there are some wicked spots to find a treasure or two in Oxford. In Ingersoll, Louis Lime Vintage and Modern Hipster Antiques are right on the main drag and run by two seasoned pros. You'll find everything from beautiful, vintage home decor and kitchen ware to antique sport goods and more. Those who love a good treasure hunt will ove One-of-a-Kind Antique Mall in Woodstock. Canada's largest indoor antique mall, One-of-a-Kind boasts for floors full to the brim. The first three are packed with antique vendor booths with loads of unique treasures to be found and the fourth floor is home to a curated selection of shabby-chic interior home decor.
On Instagram, we also have a couple of uber-cool antiquers in Oxford. The Finding Fern does batch drops of cool vintage finds that you can claim on her Instagram feed by commenting "mine!". From wicker baskets for produce to beautiful glassware and more, Katie (behind the account) has a great eye for chic and retro pieces. The account From Tacky to Terracotta is antiquing with a twist. Finding beautiful old gems, they take the pieces and paint them for an old-world meets new-world Scandanavian vibe.
6. Gift Card to an Oxford Experience
Browse what experiences you can sign up for now online
Skip the stuff in favour of time well spent together doing something fun and meaningful. In Oxford, we're home to a number of experiences that let you meet the makers and take in a bit of their craft in a special way. From building your own charcuterie board out of raw, sustainably harvested lumber to learning the science of roasting coffee, there are plenty of ways to get together with your buble and do something hands-on.
7. David Gifford Art
Where: Dwell Urban Boutique, 147 Thames St. S. Ingersoll, ON. (View Map)
We absolutely love these pieces that Dwell Urban Boutique is stocking from local Ingersoll artist, David Gifford using watercolour and a few other mediums. According to Dwell's website, "His artwork has a unique experience to share with his viewers. David has autism [and] is non-verbal. By painting with watercolours + other mixed medium, David has found another way to express himself where no words are needed."
8. A Beautiful Brie Baker
Where: Patina's Gifts of Art & Craft, 112 Thames St. S. Ingersoll, ON. (View Map) or shop online
Patina's is known for their handcrafted, Canadian pottery selection. Pop into the shop for shelves full with gorgeous pieces: mugs, bowls, dip kits and more. Our favourite though? Their handmade brie bakers (okay, maybe we're a little biased being from the home of The Oxford County Cheese Trail). With a few gorgeous bakers to select from, we think they'd make the perfect gift for the cook on your list (or the cheese lover). Round out this gift with some Brigid's Brie from Gunn's Hill Artisan Cheese and a maple cranberry brie topper kit from Jakeman's Maple Farm and you're good to go!
9. A Vinyl Record
Where: The Record Works, 399 Dundas St. Woodstock, ON. (View Map)
This Christmas, keep it on wax! Here's a gift that makes it on our list every year: vinyl. It may sound crazy but vinyl has been back in a big way for quite some time now and if you have an audiophile on your list, you really can't go wrong. The Record Works in Woodstock has a huge selection of new and used vinyl including some pretty rare bootlegs and variants that will please those with an impressive catalogue. Not sure what to get? Have one of the staff help you pick out that perfect record or be safe and go with a gift card!
10. Funky Tumbling Vases
Where: Rombouts Pottery & Flowers, 363988 McBeth Rd, Salford, ON. (View Map) or shop online
Honestly we had a hard time picking what to put on the list this year from Rombouts Pottery & Flowers. They have an amazing selection of Dutz pieces as well as funky pottery crafted by the owner, Ieneke Rombout. Also in house? Euro-inspired bags from Kitsch Kitchen and Arteflamme Cookware. Book your appointment online to visit the shop so you can pick a truly special piece!
11. A Show-Stopping Bowl
Where: The Raw Rock Shop- shop online (shipping or free pick up in Woodstock)
Confession time: we're pretty obsesed with the bowls from The Rare Rock Shop. Perfect for holding jewellry, bobby pins, spare change or any other little bits and bobs- they're definitely on our list this year! These bowls range a variety of vibrant colours and are made out of all sorts of gorgeous materials from amethyst to calcite and quartz.
12. Creative Kit
Where: The Tillsonburg Station Arts Centre, 41 Bridge St. W. Tillsonburg, ON. (View Map)
Since the spring, The Tillsonburg Station Arts Centre has been creating their Creative SACS which are stay-at-home fun kits to help kids get creative. Each kit comes with all the materials needed to make an entertaining at-home craft. They provide the perfect way to do something together as a family and the kids will love it! Call ahead to book your kit as they go quickly! In-town delivery and shipping available.
13. A Custom Baseball Bat
Where: ABO Baseball, D37 Tillson St. Tillsonburg, ON. (View Map)
Know a baseball player who loves the sport? They'll be STOKED to find one of these bad boys under the tree this year. ABO Baseball in Tillsonburg specializes in crafting custom bats made out of hard maple and yellow birch with some pretty wicked paint jobs. Shop from stock bats or custom bats to get them something truly unique. Want to test it out? ABO Baseball is also home to a batting cage and HitTrax.
Want more ideas? Check out our gift guides of years past or this year's Stocking Stuffers Guide.