15 North American Made Gift Ideas

We choose products made in Canada and made in USA

We look for quality products ethically made. From the best of the best, we have chosen our favourites to recommend to you 15 North American made gift ideas for the whole family.

Since we have been focusing for the past several weeks on issues that can come up with imported products, as we turn our minds toward holiday gift ideas, we want to share with you our favourite made in Canada and made in USA products.

Nature Mom, who works with these products every day in our Orillia store, says, “I just love all of these products, and they are all amazing manufacturers to work with.”

For Baby

Babies have little awareness of holidays other than the fun and the sparkly lights, but giving holiday gifts is an opportunity to get something special and long-lasting for baby.

Ringley Teething Ring
Natural Teething Ring
Made in Canada from untreated Canadian Maple and certified organic cotton loopy terrycloth. The two different materials provide very different textures for a baby to feel with their gums. This straight teething ring is best for smaller babies because our Ringley teething ring with knots may be too big for small mouths. Note that the animal teething rings are not made in Canada. The simpler organic cotton teething rings are handmade in Toronto.

Wooden Rattle
Handmade Wooden Baby Rattle
Made in Canada. Because of the differences in the colour and grain of the wood, each wooden baby rattle is unique. No lacquer or paint to worry about, just 100% natural hemp or flax seed oil. Handcrafted with love by a family in their home workshop in Muskoka, southern Ontario.

Kleynimals Key Ring
Kleynimals Key Ring for Baby
Made in USA. Does your child want to play with your keys? The problem is lead contamination, sharp edges, and the nasty dirt that accumulates on keys. Give them Kleynimals instead, made from 18/8 food grade stainless steel. This is a new product that we loving. You’ll want to take a turn to jangle the keys yourself.

Wooden Building Blocks
Natural Wooden Blocks Set
Made in Canada. Every child needs a set of basic building blocks. These beautifully plain blocks can be anything. These blocks are made by a family business in Nova Scotia.

Wee Urban Sleep Sac
Wearable blanket sleep sack for baby
Made in Canada. Made from super soft organic cotton and bamboo viscose. When your baby is done with swaddling at about 10lbs, these sleep sacks are designed as a wearable blanket to replace loose bedding, which your baby will roll around and kick off anyway. Keep your baby warm in a sleep bag.

For Family

Giving a board game covers the whole family. You aren’t just giving them a thing; you are giving them the opportunity to spend time together and have fun. As my children grow, we continue to buy new games that we play together as a family.

Caves & Claws Cooperative Games
Cooperative Board Game Caves and Claws
Made in Canada. This game is a teamwork adventure in which a museum hires a team of Archaeologists to travel deep into a Jungle to find Ancient Artifacts. The players are that team, ready for action and adventure! There are dangers and obstacles to avoid, such as The Creeping Claw, The Nasty Hairy Thing and Big Boulders rolling over entrances. We carry 15 different cooperative games with a variety of themes and pieces. You may want to collect several.

Endangered Species Memory Game
Endangered Species Memory Game
Made in Canada. By the time your child can communicate clearly, you can start to play visual games. This board game can be adapted by age, using just 9 of the card pairs for younger children and all 36 pairs for older children and adults. Includes a full-colour book highlighting the animals in the game that their threatened habitats. Artwork is by Toronto artist Anouk Bickers. Constructed from 100% Forest Stewardship Council Paper (FSC) and printed using vegetable-based inks.

For Mother

I think it is important to give a new mother a gift that isn’t for her baby or her family but for her. She probably needs that care even if she doesn’t say so.

Anointment Skin Care Clay Cleanser
Anointment Skin Care clay cleanser
Made in Canada. Anointment Skin Care products come in a wide range of prices and products from lip balm at $4.98 to skin ointment at $19.98. I chose the Herbal Clay Cleanser from two reasons: I love clay skin products, and our customers have left nice reviews for this cleanser as well. A collection of these products would make a nice gift on its own, and a couple of bars of handmade soap would fit nicely in the toe of a Christmas stocking.

Diva Cup
Diva Cup menstrual solution
Made in Canada. OK, a reusable menstrual cup is kind of odd as a holiday gift. Maybe between girlfriends it would work. I just can’t help but mention Diva Cup because this is such a good product that will be helpful to every mother. Flexible silicone is great for women who are sensitive to other materials.

For Father

We don’t carry a lot of products for fathers, but he deserves a nice, North American-made gift, too.

Handcrafted Shaving Scuttle Set
Handmade Shaving Set
Made in Canada, and Made in USA. Switching from conventional shaving foams and gels will reduce irritation and razor burn and provide the perfect lather for a smooth, close shave. Shaving scuttle is made in Price Edward Island by a small family business to be used with Anointment Skin Care Shave Soap. The scuttle and shave soap are made in Canada, and the shaving brush is made in the USA.

Practical Choices

Hitting the right tone with gifts depends on each family. Some families will welcome more practical gifts. If you need to buy for that family, these are great products from great companies.

AMP hemp diaper inserts
AMP hemp diaper inserts
Made in Canada. Annie Marie Padorie (AMP) diapers can be used as flat diapers or as inserts for pocket or duo diapers. We chose the hemp flat inserts because our customers really like this, and they are such a cost effective cloth diapering solution.

Bummis Super Brite
Bummis Super Brite diaper covers
Made in Canada. We chose Super Brite covers among all of the Bummis products because they are a customer favorite, and because the colorful prints are a toddler favorite as well. Once your child is old enough to start to show a preference, you might find that they prefer the bright, fun prints. All Bummis cloth diaper covers are made in Canada.

Blueberry daytime trainers
Blueberry training pants
Made in USA. Getting a pair of big kid underwear can be exciting for a toddler. These trainers look at feel like underwear while hiding an absorbent layer of microterry and waterproof polyester to avoid accidents. We love how colorful they are.

Cuddly Wrap Organic Cotton Baby Carrier
Cuddly Wrap organic cotton baby carrier
Made in Canada. Sometimes the holidays are a time to give a family what they don’t or can’t give themselves. This is by far the most comfortable baby carrier wrap we have found for a newborn. It correctly supports the developing curves of a young spine. Manufactured under fair trade labour practices.

Image © Lev Dolgatshjov | Dreamstime.com

Baby Carrier Is a Travel Essential – Simple Travel with Children

You don’t need a lot of gear to have a great trip with a baby. One essential to make travelling easier is a baby carrier. Many parents put a lot of thought into a stroller but forget about the carrier, which is exactly backward. If I had to choose between them, as I often have, I would choose the baby carrier.

Less bulk

Ergo baby carrier makes travel with baby easierEspecially if you are travelling without a car, it is much easier to move around without a stroller. A customer of ours who goes to Europe a lot mentioned how terrible the cobblestone roads are for a stroller. She was very pleased to have her baby carrier with her. Getting on and off public transit or a subway is a breeze when you have baby secured in a sling. When my first child was born, I travelled by bus and train a lot. It was easy to get up and down stairs without having to lift a stroller. I wasn’t the least bit inconvenienced with my daughter in her baby carrier, and I always knew she was safe and secure. It also helped keep unwanted strangers from touching and poking at her. A carrier is great in crowds!

When I did have a stroller, it was often filled with my carry on luggage, which is quite convenient, so don’t let me convince you not to take a stroller anywhere.

Restricted access

Some places aren’t suitable for strollers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t suitable for babies. If you are into serious family hiking – the Grand Canyon, for example – you won’t be able to use a stroller. With a baby carrier you won’t be restricted in any way, and you can explore all the areas a destination like this has to offer.

But which baby carrier?

When you consider which baby carrier to take on a trip, decide your highest priority. Do you need to pack light? If so, a sling is very compact compared to a structured baby carrier. Will you be walking or hiking for long periods? If so, a structured baby carrier may offer more support. Match the carrier to the specific needs of your trip.

I never went on a trip with a small child without a baby carrier – usually, in my case, a Maya wrap ring sling. If you need to choose between your baby carrier and a stroller, there is no contest. Take the baby carrier.

Camping with Cloth Diapers – Simple Travel with Children

Of course we camp with cloth diapers! We trust cloth diapers, and we understand how to make them work for us.

There are two kinds of cloth diaper camping trips (or any cloth diaper vacations): short trips when you bring the diapers back home to wash and longer trips when you wash on the road.

Cloth diapers for short camping trips

If you are planning to wash your diapers back home, pack diapers as you would for a day trip only pack more. If you will be away for more than two days, consider washing diapers while you are gone. Dirty diapers that sit longer than a couple of days will smell bad and be much hard to make clean and fresh when you return.

Cloth diapers. Multiple the number of changes in an ordinary day by the number of days you will be gone (no more than three), then add a couple. For example, for a 48-hour, two-night camping trip for a baby who goes through 8 diapers a day, pack 18 diapers (( 2 x 8 ) + 2 ). Use the diapers you would normally use, and don’t forget the covers and wipes. Pack your diapers in a wet bag to keep them from getting dewy and damp.

Wet bag. Next to the cloth diapers, the diaper wet bag is the most important part of your camping cloth diaper system. Make sure the bag does not leak. You know why this is important. That’s two bags: one for clean and one for dirty.

Essential oil. My choice: tea tree. Others may prefer lavender or other oils. Tea tree oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, and I like the pleasant aroma.

During the trip, dump the poop where you would dump your own. Squeeze wet diapers, so you carry around as little urine in your wet bag as possible. Doing this will also minimize the smell.

There you go! For a short trip, you take care of the cloth diapers by putting them off for a couple of days. For a longer trip, you will need more preparation.

Cloth diapers for long camping trips

If you will be camping for more than 2 days, you will probably want to wash your cloth diapers on the trail. It wouldn’t take you more than three days of hauling around a heavy bag of urine-soaked diapers to figure out why.

The packing list starts out the same, then includes a few washing essentials.

Cloth diapers. Because you will be washing and drying without the help of highly efficient machines, you may want to choose the simplest diapers you have. My preference is flat or prefold diapers because they are the easiest to clean and the quickest to dry. Though I prefer wool diaper covers in most situations, I would probably choose something less breathable for a child who is going to be sitting heavily in a baby carrier for hours a day. A cover like Bummis Super Whisper Wrap will work nicely then wash easily. Don’t forget the cloth wipes.

Wet bag. Pack two.

Tea tree oil.

Laundry liquid. Be sure to choose a detergent that won’t leave residue on your diapers or in the water. You might even want to choose a simple soap you would use for your own shower. When you wash, scrub the diaper against itself with a little soap, agitate if you have a container to do this, and rinse very well. Do not dump your dirty water into anyone’s water supply. Dump the water out on the ground well away from standing water to avoid contamination.

Clothesline and clothespins. Or not. I tend to drape my clothes over whatever bag, chair, or rope is nearby. If you might be in a hurry, pack a rope. Cloth diapers waving in a breeze will dry much more quickly than those draped over a plastic tent. If you don’t dry your diapers thoroughly, they can get musty smelling and even mildewy. Sun dry your diapers, then roll them gently between your hands to soften.

Even for long trips, the system isn’t much more complicated than for day trips. If you plan ahead, you shouldn’t need to think about diapers any more than you would every day. Just go about the daily task, and enjoy your trip.

6 Simple Natural Teething Remedies

Babies get a lot of information by putting fingers and toys into their mouths. At age three to five months, you may see your baby really gnawing away at toys and fists. If the hard gumming is accompanied by drooling and irritability, maybe even a stuffy nose, your baby is likely teething. Teething behavior can start a few months before the first little teeth poke through those beautiful pink gums.

Start with the simplest solutions to teething pain.

1. First, distraction. Play a game if your baby is alert or rock your tired baby to sleep. If you are breastfeeding, you probably use this as the all-around soothing distraction. This worked most often for me.

If your baby doesn’t seem to be in too much pain or distress, you may not need to go far through the list of natural teething remedies.

2. Rub your baby’s gums. Wrap a clean cloth over your finger and rub. The nubby texture may relieve some of the pain, especially as those baby teeth come closer to the surface. This is also an interesting distraction, so it may work that way as well. Try both dry and with cool water to see which your baby likes best. If the cool cloth works, try putting an ice cube in the cloth and rubbing with that.

Chewing relieves teething pain.

The pressure, rhythm and massage your baby gets when chewing are the most common teething remedy.

Ringley organic teething toy made in Canada3. Frozen washcloth. Wet a washcloth made of nubby terry, wring out most of the water, then freeze. I kept several frozen cloths in the freezer, knowing I would need them more often than I would remember to freeze them.

The next step beyond the simple cloth is to use a toy or teether that can be wet and frozen. We have a great organic teething toy made in Canada, Ringley. The organic cotton terry is tied to a maple ring. It comes flat or with a big knot in the end. The great thing about a knot is the extra pressure the baby can control when chewing on the end. Our organic teething bon bon has knots on both ends as well.

4. Teethers. Natural toys made specifically for teething come in several materials: cloth, natural rubber, and wood. Anything non-toxic that will help baby put pressure in the right spot helps.

Much like the knots in the Ringley teething toy, Under the Nile makes a line of organic cotton teething dolls with slightly hard, bubbly hands and feet made especially for chewing babies. There is a cat, a bear, a frog, and a mouse.

Sophie the Giraffe, made of all-natural rubber, has been an immensely popular toy. The horns and ears and nose give the baby a variety of shapes to try until one hits the spot.

Haba wood teething ring Wooden toys give harder resistance for chewing. We carry a wooden rattle with no paint, lacquer or oil. I also love the colorful Haba toys, which include a couple of wooden teething rings. These do multiple duty as rattles, colorful noisemakers, easy-grip bangers, and chew toys. Yes, three ways to make noise — followed by a quick chew.

Stay calm.

Even if your baby is distressed, stay calm. Your mood will influence your baby. This is a new experience that your baby doesn’t understand. The more reassuring you are, the less likely mood will complicate the normal process.

It may take a month or so for the new tooth to come in, so have your remedies nearby. Don’t forget a simple, absorbent bib to keep your baby’s shirt dry longer. Soggy drooly bibs are a big part of the teething phase.

5. Food. Real food. Not teething biscuits full of salt and sugar, though you can get teething biscuits made with whole grains. Just make sure they dissolve if you go that route.

My babies loved frozen bananas. These stay cold for a long time, and they can be gummed into paste that you really don’t mind your baby eating. I have a friend who swears by cold carrots for teething. Celery or cucumbers will work as well, though be sure to watch closely if you use these. Be sure to wash well, and peel the vegetables if they are waxy or not organic.

You can find mesh bags for gumming babies. You can put a frozen strawberry or other somewhat chokable foods in these bags. A handkerchief or a reusable tea bag will work this way, too.

6. Clove oil. The last step before moving on to medicinal remedies for me is clove oil, which is very strong and numbing. Use only a couple of drops in a teaspoon of another, edible oil as a carrier. Dip your finger in the mixed oil, and massage into the baby’s gums. As my kids get older, they still chew on a whole clove as their adult teeth come in. Many people also recommend rubbing a bit of vanilla on the baby’s gums, but I haven’t tried this myself.

Simple, natural teething remedies will help most babies. Work your way through the list until you find the one that works for your teething baby.

As I read this out loud to my 11-year old daughter, she says she remembers all of these things. She doesn’t recall any pain, but she remembers that these natural remedies were “interesting.”

NOTE: Don’t leave your baby unsupervised with food or ice cubes or anything else he might choke on.