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Canadian and handmade: Seven stylish gifts for the ethically obsessed

Christmas shopping. It’s either the time of year to tear out your hair in overcrowded malls (and their overcrowded parking lots). Or the time of year to tear out your hair looking for the best deals online. It’s all well intentioned: trying to find tokens of love for your friends and family. But it’s fraught with stress. It’s especially difficult if your favourite person is the kind of ultra-discerning (not to say difficult) somebody who only likes items that are made locally, with natural materials, preferably by hand. Oh, and it has to fit into their perfectly styled home. Normally, such criteria would be a nightmare, but fortunately, we’ve done some digging. Scouring gift fairs and blogs and online shopping sites for seven, standout items for the ethically obsessed decor-savvy person on your list. All of it made in Canada, all of it made by hand and all of it gorgeous. Happy shopping.

So fragrant

As a child in Surrey, B.C., Sonia Chhinji made tea lights with her mom. Her partner, Fouad Farraj, grew up in the Mediterranean and learned to make soap from his father and uncle. Both experiences were fundamental to their current endeavour: handcrafting quality, all-natural candles at their Vancouver studio, Woodlot. Their line is made with petroleum-free coconut wax (for a cleaner burn), but scented with local, natural, Christmas-perfect scents such as fir, cedar and sweet orange. $29.

So useful

British Columbia-based ceramicist Cathy Terepocki imbues her wheel-thrown clay creations with a sense of nostalgia. Her Gladstone jars are a 1970s throwback: speckled and earthy stoneware overlaid in folksy patterns. The stopper is the best part: a huge, natural cork disc that adds a rich, rough texture. $64.

So bright

Designer Matthew Cleland runs Score and Solder, a Permberton, B.C., studio that, as the name suggests, produces hand-cut and welded lights, planters and terrariums. The iceberg light is made from a reclaimed-fir base with a sculptural, crystalline top. It makes for a table lamp that doubles as a piece of art. $365.

So smart

John Clausen is a carpenter. His partner, Jennifer Lupien, is a printmaker. Together, at their Montreal shop Per Diem, they make elegant wood clocks covered in subtle, elegant patterning. Their iPhone docks turn cell phones into bedside alarm clocks while charging the batteries overnight. $80.

So elegant

Husband-and-wife glassblowers Terry Craig and Jennifer Wanless-Craig are inspired by the boreal forest around their studio in Tory Hill, Ont. Their scotch decanter set reflects a winter scene – the crinkly bases of the glasses appear like frost on a cottage windowpane. $195. At Toronto’s One of a Kind Show until Dec. 7.

So soft

Toronto-based quilter Lindsay Stead updates traditional patterns by pairing down the geometries and using modern colours. Her sawtooth star, for example, looks elegant at Christmas (because, well, it’s a star), but works all year round in non-seasonal navy blue or grey motifs. $180. Or at Toronto’s One of a Kind Show until Dec. 7.

So cozy

Combined, New Brunswick-based, husband-and-wife blanket makers Lyne and Gérald Levesque have more than 60 years of weaving experience. Both are second-generation weavers, both have been perfecting their craft for decades. The catalogne (a wool bedcover used by French Canadian settlers) is their specialty. It looks particularly good in bold, bright colours. From $82. At Toronto’s One of a Kind Show until Dec. 7.

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