2023 Gift Guide: 8 Awesome Gifts from Local Indigenous Businesses

Shop clothing, jewellery, food and more from Indigenous-owned businesses in and around Vancouver this holiday season.

I’m starting a weekly gift guide for 2023: tune in every Friday this holiday season for another lineup of Vancouver-focused gift ideas. I announce this with as much excitement as my fellow editor Nathan did when he took on 24 Days of B.C. beers in 2020, and am planning to be just as exhausted—though not quite as drunk—as he ended up by Christmas.

First up is a collection of gifts from Indigenous-owned businesses—find comfy hoodies, customizable jewellery and the coolest charcuterie below. If you really want to impress your giftee this season, number one is a foolproof choice… unless they’re afraid of heights.

8 Gifts from Indigenous-Owned Local Businesses

1. A Scenic Plane Ride from Gulf Island Sea Planes

Experiences > physical gifts, if you ask me—and if your giftee has never been in a seaplane, this is one splurge that’s totally worth it. Gulf Island Seaplanes co-owner Alison Evans is from the Hagwilget Nation, and the company offers scenic tours around Vancouver from $135 per person (there’s also an elopement package, hint hint). gulfislandseaplanes.com

2. A Cozy Hoodie from Decolonial Clothing

Nehiyaw musician Dakota Bear and Nehiyaw/Saulteaux artist Casey Desjarlais launched Decolonial Clothing during the pandemic, and their bold and beautiful wares are perfect for Vancouver winters. The Land Back Rose hoodie ($85) is just one of the local brand’s awesome designs. decolonialclothing.com

3. Moon of the Crusted Snow from Massy Books

If you’re feeling stuck for holiday gifts, we suggest heading down to Massy Books (owned by Patricia Massy, who is of mixed Cree, Métis and English descent) and browsing the shelves—the Chinatown store has an incredible selection of books from local and international authors alike. Moon of the Crusted Snow ($20) by Waubgeshig Rice of the Wasauksing First Nation is an award-winning dystopian thriller… and the sequel Moon of the Turning Leaves is available, too. massybooks.com

4. Bannock Mix from Bangin’ Bannock

The best gifts are the ones you can enjoy together (let’s face it, it’s like you’re getting a present for yourself, too). Here’s another bonus: to make fry bread with Bangin’ Bannock’s OG Mix ($12)—a local brand founded by Indigenous entrepreneurs Kelsey Coutts and Destiny Hoostie—you only need to add oil and water. banginbannock.ca

5. Blingit Customizable Acrylic Earrings from Totem Design House

I’m a bit obsessed with statement earrings, and these customizable ones from Totem Design House (starting at $35) can be up to six (six!) tiers. There are four colours and four patterns—hand tattoo, fish flesh, raven tail, eye pattern and head of salmonberry—available. Fun fact: Haida and Cree founder Erin Brillon just won an Indigenous Business Award from the BC Achievement Foundation. totemdesignhouse.com

6. Charcuterie from Tawnshi

We were super excited to cover Tawnshi’s launch, and the Indigenous charcuterie company owned by Marina LeClair (who is Red River Métis) and Trevor Jansen (who is Gitxsan) is taking the meat-and-cheese world by storm: they’ve been in business less than a year, but their unique boxes (think smoked salmon, bannock and red cedar jelly) have already developed an awesome rep. Their gift boxes start at $55—it’s hard to go wrong with an edible present. tawnshi.com

7. Kalkáy Wild Rose and Yarrow Salve from Sḵwálwen Botanicals

The reviews are in, and literally 100-percent of the feedback for Sḵwálwen Botanicals’ Kalkáy Wild Rose and Yarrow Salve ($25) are five stars. Founded by ethnobotanist and Squamish Nation member Leigh Joseph, this brand uses Indigenous plant science to formulate their hardworking products (there are candles, tea and other skincare available, too). skwalwen.com

8. Chardonnay from Nk’ Mip Winery

When in doubt, go with wine (only if your giftee drinks, of course). Nk’ Mip Cellars’ estate winemaker Justin Hall of the Osoyoos Indian Band has fermented up some pretty spectacular grapes: reach for the Chardonnay ($23) for notes of pineapple, butterscotch and spice. nkmipcellars.com