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A Merry Little Country Christmas Shopping Trip

My name is Jenna and I have lived in Haldimand County my entire life, and one of the things I try to do as often as possible is shop local. The holidays are a great time to support our community and the small business owners that make our downtowns what they are. Although I do love to shop locally, living in the small rural area of Haldimand County, it can be hard to know all the different shops that are located in Haldimand’s different towns and hamlets. Do not worry, I have done the work for you, search for the best holiday shopping! I spent the day traveling around Haldimand County visiting some small local businesses and finding perfect gifts for family and friends along the way. Join me on this shopping trip where I will let you in on the secret gems hidden in our county where you can find those perfect and unique gifts for the holidays!

I started my day in Caledonia and knew exactly where my first stop would be. Bella and Coop is a home décor and accessory boutique store located on Argyle Street North. They have just about everything for the holidays in there. The second I walked into the store I was greeted with an army of gnomes and knew I had come to the right place. My grandpa loves the eccentric gift, he has an entire collection of magnets on the fridge that makes noise, so when I saw the gnomes I knew his gift was here. I ended up selecting the cutest little gnome whose nose is the only thing that sticks about behind his scruffy hair. And just like that, the first stop on my shopping trip was complete.

Just across the street from Bella and Coop on Argyle Street North is a cut shop called Just One. I went in looking for some jewelry for my friend who always wants simple yet unique jewelry. There were numerous options here to choose from and I ended up selecting a beautiful bracelet that my friend will be able to wear every day. The Ushindi bracelet means victorious in Swahili and I love getting gifts that have a meaning behind them. Once the owner of the store told me that this bracelet was made by artisans in Kenya, it was an easy purchase for me.

Next in Caledonia, I went to Bikers Haven, which is located in Haldimand House, an impossible building to miss when you are coming across the bridge on Argyle Street South. I went into Bikers Haven not knowing what I would find but I easily discovered a perfect gift. Like everyone my age, my friends and I are obsessed with Marvel, my one friend and I have seen every film together. I knew I wanted to get her something Marvel-related but their merchandise is usually so expensive. When I went into Bikers Haven there was a Deadpool T-shirt that I knew my friend would love, and priced at just $25 made it even better.

A short drive to Hagersville and I couldn’t resist a visit to My Sweet Sweet World. This shop is located right on Main Street North, and trust me this needs to be somewhere you visit. My Sweet Sweet World is a chocolate factory and I don’t know what screams the holidays more than chocolate. These hand-crafted artisan chocolates are a great stocking stuffer, I bought a couple of bars to use as a little extra something to add on to a few gifts I had already bought. All the chocolates use locally sourced ingredients where possible and taste amazing. My personal favourite is Milk and Coconut so I, of course, bought one for myself. Shopping takes a lot out of you and I needed something to keep me going, or that’s what I told myself.

Thinking of my four-legged baby, the next stop was probably the most important for me on my entire shopping trip. Hagersville Pet Supply,  located on King Street East has something for all your pets and furry friends from cats to reptiles. I treat my dog as if she is a member of the royal family, and when the holidays come around I spoil her rotten, so pet stores are an important stop for me when buying holiday gifts. I picked up a stuffed turtle toy for my dog and was unable to resist giving it to her, so she got to enjoy it when I got home, don’t worry she will get more gifts on Christmas morning, she won’t even know what to do with herself.

After Hagersville, I made my way to Jarvis which was just a short drive away. I first stopped at Michaud Toys which is a family-run business that makes beautiful wooden board games. Family game night is huge in my house, and we are very competitive. There were numerous board games to choose from, including all the classics. I decided to go with a Chessboard, as I figured it is the board game that would cause the least amount of arguments during family game night. The board game itself is such a beautiful piece that I am sure my mom will use it as decoration as well.

No trip to Jarvis is complete without a stop at one of my favourite places, Concession Road Brewery. My brother loves craft beer and I know he will be getting a lot of craft beer from his friends and others during the holiday season, and I figured I might as well add to his collection. While there I saw their great selection of merchandise including beer glasses branded with the Concession Road Brewery logo, which I decided would be the perfect gift, so my brother could have something to drink his beer out of. The glass is simple yet perfect for the craft beer lover in your family.

Making my way to Selkirk for some much-needed lunch, I visited The Sunflower Café located at the main intersection and serves your classic soups and sandwiches. I was too hungry that I forgot to take a picture of my food, but I did snap a picture of the specials board and that is exactly what I had. What I can tell you is that the food is absolutely delicious and fueled me to continue on my day.

Heading off to Dunnville I started my shopping at Blooming Designs Florist and Gift Shop located on Queen Street, but it is impossible to miss as it is completely covered in Christmas decorations, so much so I originally thought it was a Christmas shop. I went in looking for something for my Nana who loves all things cozy, including blankets, socks, and pillows. I found a pillow that I was going to buy when the owner of the store told me she was going to turn the lights on inside the pillow. Now I was already happy with the pillow, but then I found out it also lit up, I mean I couldn’t have found a better gift.

Another stop in Dunnville is Sweet Retro-spect which is a retro candy store that instantly teleports you to being a kid when you walk in the door. I come from a big family and all of my cousins are having their own children now, and it is my job to become the kid’s favourite cousin. What better way than to bribe them than with candy!

Any candy you can think of is found here and I knew this was the place to go for all my sweet treats. I ended up selecting a candy kabob which has a little bit of everything so that the kids can try all of them. This will make sure I am the favourite cousin this holiday season.

A short trip from Dunnville, I made my way to Cayuga where I stopped at Closet on the Grand (now called The Thrifty Dresser) which is a new consignment shop. My other Grandma is looking for a purse and I think consignment shops are a great place to go for these gifts, not only do they have a wide variety but they are also good quality and help stretch my budget. There was a large assortment of purses here that I could go through to find the perfect one, I was able to do just that and got my grandmother checked off my shopping list.

My last stop was The Carolinian Café. I wanted to top off my day of shopping with a treat, and what better way than a delicious coffee. I asked the lovely lady who served me to make me the most Christmas drink on the menu and I was not disappointed. I was given a Peppermint Mocha – half peppermint hot chocolate, half coffee. That would be enough to suffice, but they did not stop there. The mocha was topped with a mountain of whipped crème, crushed candy cane, and a chocolate fudge drizzle. I had to end the day enjoying my drink and a karaoke session in my car to Underneath The Tree by Kelly Clarkson, trust me it’s a classic.

Want a little more inspiration to shop local? Visit Haldimand’s Holiday Wish Book.

Several stores listed have online shopping options.

Jenna Beemer is a student working till early 2022, as part of Haldimand County’s Digital Service Squad, tasked with helping Haldimand businesses increase their digital profile.