The CBC Arts holiday gift guide: 2021 edition

You've seen these makers on CBC Arts. Here's where to find their one-of-a-kind wares.

You've seen these makers on CBC Arts. Here's where to find their one-of-a-kind wares

We come bearing gift ideas! (Clockwise from left: Puzzle Lab, Heather Buchanan, Vivian Rosas, Hanna Eidson, Monique Martin, Baggins)

'Tis the season. Not the holidays, kids — technically, those are still a long way's off. But shopping season is definitely at its peak, with Black Friday deals in full swing this week. The lure of a deeply discounted flat-screen holds certain appeal, sure. But what if you're on the hunt for something that can't be found in a box store? Maybe there's someone on your nice list who deserves something extra special — something unique, something unusual, something that was made in Canada.

And if that's the case, read on! So many of the artists and makers that we've covered on CBC Arts are open for business, and we've scoured their online shops to curate a guide to one-of-a-kind treasures at all price points. Happy browsing!

Things to wear

(Manitobah Mukluks)

Emily Kewageshig's waterproof leaf tamarack boots - Manitobah Mukluks, $319.99

These boots have been embossed with a leafy motif. The design is by Anishinaabe artist Emily Kewageshig, and according to Emily (who recently finished another big design collab here at CBC), that subtle pattern is meant to remind the wearer of the "beauty all around us." But really, what could be more beautiful than keeping your toes toasty — and stylish! — all winter? 

(Shanna Van Maurik)

Sketchbook T-shirt - Shanna Von Maurik, $35 (US)

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens? These are a few of my favourite things, and probably Shanna Van Maurik's, too ... though the Toronto artist is just as likely to paint toadstools, spiders and snakes. This T-shirt is like wearing a page straight out of her sketchbook, and the design is available in black or pink. 

(Heather Buchanan)

Pain T-shirt - Heather Buchanan, $29.95

If life is pain, then this is the very definition of an everyday T-shirt. 

(Le Galeriste)

Hangama Amiri scarf - Le Galeriste, $36

But maybe you'd prefer a gift that hints at the luxe life. This wispy chiffon scarf features a print by Hangama Amiri. The pattern has been lifted from one of her brilliant textile works. Its title? Paradise.


Nicenothings slip-ons - Baggins, $125

Here's something nice for someone nice: custom Vans by Vancouver street artist Nicenothings.

(Laura Dawe)

Cool tote - Laura Dawe, $38

You're going to need something to haul all these goodies — something cool.

(Vivian Rosas)

Unconditional sublime powerful love tote bag - Vivian Rosas, $45

More totes! These one-of-a-kind bags are hand-dyed and printed by Vivian Rosas

(Quinn Rockliff)

Tote bag - Quinn Rockliff, $40

Artist Quinn Rockliff is also in the tote-bag game. Per the product description, this one's got enough room for all your "snacks and feelings and other things."

Things for around the house

(Remai Modern Art & Design Store)

Zachari Logan vessel - Remai Modern, $400

This porcelain vase is embellished with drawings by Zachari Logan. (The artist teamed up with another Saskatchewan artist, Jay Kimball, to release a collection of ceramics.)

(Monique Martin)

Paper dandelion - Monique Martin (via Saskatchewan Craft Council), from $30

Winter is definitely here, but these paper sculptures by Monique Martin are a cheery reminder that better (warmer) days are just around the corner. Purchase them ready-to-display (as pictured) through the Remai Modern's online gift shop ($120) or browse the artist's other stockists to select your own arrangement.

(Heather Buchanan)

Premium matte weed grinder - Heather Buchanan, $36

If you're shopping for a different kind of weed, maybe throw one of these in your cart. Illustrator Heather Buchanan has several designs to choose from.

(Julya Hajnoczky)

Paper sculpture - Julya Hajnoczky, $200 

Level up your annual holiday photo. Order a 3D family portrait from artist Julya Hajnoczky.

(Alex Sheriff)

Bronto - Alex Sheriff (via Patel Brown gallery), $150

Tricera-stop them in their tracks with a Bronto figurine by artist Alex Sheriff

(Hanna Eidson)

Banana wall hanging - Hanna Eidson, $140

Rugs were huge this year, so it stands to reason they'll be hot this holiday season, too. Many makers have already closed their books to custom orders, but you can find some cheery ready-made options — like this totally bananas wall hanging — in Hanna Eidson's online shop.

(Little Brummie)

Fried egg coasters - Little Brummie, $65 (set of four)

A small-scale take on a big trend: hand-tufted coasters! These ones are made by Halifax brand Little Brummie (a.k.a. artist Victoria Brumwell).

Things to do


Oxford punch needle kit -  Rosa Nguyen Chau, $95

Overwhelmed by the gifting options? Bah humbug, let them make their own present. This DIY punch-needle kit is assembled by Vancouver textile artist Rosa Nguyen Chau (a.k.a. Butter Cloud). 

(The Artist Cookbook)

The Artist Cookbook Vol. 1 and 2 - The Artist Cookbook, $60 each

These cookbooks will teach your favourite home chef how to feast like a Canadian artist. Choose from two volumes, or get the full set.

(Kenna Barnes)

Recipe notebook - Kenna Barnes (via Etsy), $30

Or help them write a cookbook of their own. Pick up a recipe notebook illustrated by Kenna Barnes, the in-house artist for The Great Canadian Baking Show. Bonus: her drawings double as colouring-book pages. Scribble while you wait for your pot to boil!

(Beam Paints)

Mini birch cookie set - Beam Paints, $75

Beam Paints founder Anong Beam was raised by artists on Manitoulin Island, and her company makes sustainable art supplies using natural materials from the region. You can find a variety of gift bundles online, including this deluxe option. (The paintbox is made of reclaimed wood.)

(Puzzle Lab)

Luke Ramsey Rare Moon Wood jigsaw puzzle - Puzzle Lab, starting at $66

Here's a classic holiday time-waster if ever there was one. Puzzle Lab carries several wooden puzzles featuring work by Canadian artists. Feeling too lazy for a 1,000-piece challenge? This orca scene by Victoria's Luke Ramsey is available in a variety of sizes.

(Puzzle Lab)

Jeremy Herndl Eden Grove Wood jigsaw puzzle - Puzzle Lab, $80

(Puzzle Lab)

Benny Bing Nkatha limited edition wood jigsaw puzzle - Puzzle Lab, $200

Pictured: The Amyot Lake Trail diamond willow hiking stick with bison engraving and leather fringe. (Michelle Thevenot)

Hiking stick - Michelle Thevenot (see website for prices)

Or maybe you're shopping for someone who actually likes winter. Before they head outdoors on their next sub-zero adventure, pack them up with an engraved hiking stick by Michelle Thevenot.

Things that sparkle

(Sacha Stephan)

Stickers - Sacha Stephan, from $5

OK, OK … these stickers don't literally sparkle, but they'll definitely add a heaping load of flair to someone's stocking. 

(Jessa Dupuis)

Hello pendant - Jessa Dupuis, $22

Jessa Dupuis is known for her collage work, and these pendants are possibly the teensiest items in her entire portfolio. Every necklace is unique. Check her website for what's available.


Beaded earrings (pictured) - Sarah Hannon, $135

Remember Sarah Hannon's beaded CBC logo from earlier this year? As of writing, they're taking jewelry orders via Instagram. Get in line!

Things to spread some festive cheer

(Hiné Mizushima)

Hiné Mizushima print - Etsy, $26

Hiné Mizushima's holiday prints are so damned adorable you could keep them up all year.

(Aya Rosen)

Tenderness hardcover journal - Aya Rosen (via Redbubble), $24.60

This Christmas-y hardcover journal can be ordered with unlined pages. That would be perfect for a sketchbook, something the cover artist (Aya Rosen) knows a thing or two about.

(Flycatcher Press)

Greeting card - Flycatcher Press, $7

Phoebe Todd-Parrish is the artist behind Flycatcher Press. The brand has a greeting card to suit anyone on your mailing list, even a wannabe Scrooge.


Leah Collins

Senior Writer

Since 2015, Leah Collins has been senior writer at CBC Arts, covering Canadian visual art and digital culture in addition to producing CBC Arts’ weekly newsletter (Hi, Art!), which was nominated for a Digital Publishing Award in 2021. A graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University's journalism school (formerly Ryerson), Leah covered music and celebrity for Postmedia before arriving at CBC.

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