With just mere days until Christmas, making a difference with dollars spent, and getting the perfect gift can be a difficult task.
Be Local, Calgary’s network of community-focused businesses, is offering a few last-minute gift basket selections that they say make a measurable impact in supporting immigrant, BIPOC, and locally owned businesses, alongside supporting Alberta farmers and sustainable practises.
The gift boxes, which range from $40 to $112, can be ordered until Dec. 23, for a Dec. 24 delivery. Each box contains products from Calgary businesses that are committed to creating impactful improvements to the city, and engage in ethical community practices.
“The impact boxes themselves there are curated products from these local businesses, but what separates them from local gift boxes is every product selected makes a positive impact in some way,” said Jenna Walsh, local social business coordinator for Be Local.
The boxes, said Walsh, are different than previous year’s gift boxes from Be Local because of that focus on community impact.
“Be Local has always been focused on supporting entrepreneurs that are super mission driven, and want to give back to their community,” she said.
The Impact Holiday Gift Boxes can be ordered at shop.belocal.org/collections/christmas.
Boxes contain products from many local businesses
The small $40 box contains natural Lohees Honey; beeswax candles from YYC Beeswax; a oats, milk and honey bath bomb from Coco Bath and Soap; and direct trade coffee from Good Trade Coffee Co.
The regular sized $65 box contains a rum and eggnog cookie kit from Lazy Bake; natural honey from Lohees Honey; candy cane lip balm from YYC Beeswax; a oats, milk and honey bath bomb from Coco Bath and Soap; a fair trade vanilla bean candle from Tribal Vanilla; and a chocolate peppermint coca bomb from Cocobakes YYC.
And the large sized $112 box contains a balsam and ceder candle from Farmhouse Charm; a chocolate peppermint coca bomb from Cocobakes YYC; eucalyptus mint shower streamers from Bloom Body Co; beeswax wrap from Nature’s Wrap; locally crafted hotsauce from Hungry Volcano; northern lights soap from Ambrosia’s Treasures; hibiscus lip balm from Ruby’s Healing Garden, and up-cycled brownie mix from GroundUp Eco-Ventures.
“Actually one of my favorites is the GroundUp Eco-Ventures brownie mix,” said Walsh.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s made from up-cycling, brewery waste and, and coffee waste and the Calgary community, so it keeps waste out of landfills and it’s also a super tasty holiday treat for people.”
Getting great local products doesn’t need to be expensive
Walsh said that Be Local is aware that some consumers have with buying local this year, given rising prices on consumer goods.
“This year in particular, as we’re headed into a recession, people are more reluctant to buy local and we hope that emphasizing the fact that it’s not only local, it’s having an impact—so giving to people beyond ourselves—we hope that that’s an extra incentive to purchase local,” Walsh said.
“In times of recession, people are more hesitant to buy locally because it can be more expensive, and while it’s true that local can be more expensive, in particular, Be Local businesses are often pricing their products to acknowledge the true cost of those products.”
She said that the perceived premium price for Be Local products covers things like the actual environmental cost for the product, along with the social costs like paying a living wage to employees that live in Calgary or where the goods are sourced from.
“When you’re paying people a living wage to create something, yes, it’s going to cost more, but it’s also more healthy for our local economy and it’s providing someone else in our community a fair wage,” Walsh said.
Be Local continues to a place where Calgarians can find local products year round, well beyond Christmas, Walsh said. Momentum took over the network in 2020, and began to provide e-commerce services through the service to local businesses throughout the pandemic.
“The store has been really successful over the past few years, particularly during the holiday season, where people are looking for sort of a one stop shop for local,” she said.
“And beyond the store too, we run networking events for for our businesses.”
For more details, see shop.belocal.org.