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

Finding Life Balance: Family Time

Young family painting together

Building a family takes a deliberate effort. It’s easy to neglect family a little here and there until you realize what you are losing. It is important to include family time in your measure of life balance.

While the actual meaning of life balance can and must vary among us, all can understand the need to step back from the busy-ness of our lives to check whether we are giving each area of life the time and nurturing it needs. Balance doesn’t mean that you give exactly equal time to an exact number of life areas to be covered. It just means that you continually strive for the mix that brings you the greatest happiness and wellbeing.

Family Is Essential for Life Balance

In my experience, a new family—a family that includes a newly married couple or young children—is the least able to make major contributions of time to their community, and yet we are often most in demand. Young families should be especially careful to protect family time. We are modeling what life balance will mean for our children into their future. We are creating the foundation they will need to build their own balanced lives. They need that deep, enriching sense of family.

Family isn’t automatic. You need to define what family means for young children and nurture your intentions with activities and love.

Learn to say “No”
At some point, as I tried to figure out the chaos around me, I realized that this young family period of one’s life is the busiest and most difficult to protect. When you have babies, you might not realize how much time you will need to spend with your children as they grow. Before you realize what is happening, you are in charge of the co-op delivery, you are singing in the choir, you are arranging three different play groups, and you’ve started a home business. Then you wonder why your children tell you that they miss you as soon as they can talk. It is OK to turn down many, even most, opportunities for outside commitments. Prioritize, and just choose one or two activities that mean the most to you.

Plan Family Time
I’m with my children all day because we homeschool, but that isn’t the same as planned family time. We need time together when everyone is free from stress. We need all four of us. So, we protect our Saturday night. We camp out and watch movies every Saturday night. Other times, we read a book together (1001 Arabian Nights and Lord of the Rings took more than a year each), play board games, or invite a neighbor over for dinner. What we do is far less important than doing something deliberate together at least once a week. Put that time on your calender, and don’t bring your phone. Schedule it, mix it up, ask for ideas from everyone, and find your groove.

Recognize the Moments
Pull yourself into consciousness of those beautiful moments with your family. When my children were very small, I remember distinctly that my favorite time in every day was falling asleep with them, laying in bed with an arm wrapped around each child. I could hear them breathing softly as they fell asleep, and my happiness was profound. Stop at those moments. Recognize and gather them.

Keeping family time in balance doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of time. I adore the TED talk by Nigel Marsh on work-life balance. Be sure to listen until the end to hear how he recognized one of those beautiful moments with his son after a simple day together.

“Being balanced doesn’t mean dramatic upheaval in your life. With the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life.”
Nigel Marsh, “How to Make Work-Life Balance Work”

Image © Thomas Perkins | Dreamstime.com

How to Help Your Family Stay Healthy

Active family playing in the snow

Keeping your children and your whole family healthy most often falls to you. Of course, we have the best of intentions as parents, but time gets tight and actions slip. Don’t let it happen. Always cover the basics. Your child’s developing body and mind depend on the accumulation of your family’s actions, and your child’s future depends on healthy habits you set in motion.

The basics of helping your family stay healthy are so simple that every one of us can start today. Cover these then you are ready to move on to the details.

Eat Right

The basic rules couldn’t be simpler. As Michael Pollan put it in his Eater’s Manifesto, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Food is fuel, but it is also important to culture and community. Respect the importance of eating well as the core of a healthy living.

Stay Active

Do more than just exercise. Choose the active options. Chase the kids, run the dogs, and take the stairs. It doesn’t take a lot of time or a lot of activity to keep yourself and your family in decent shape, but it makes all of the difference in your long-term ability to move well.

Sleep Well

Getting the right amount of sleep is as important to your health as eating well and staying active. Not enough sleep and your body won’t function as well. Your immune system, your weight, your blood pressure, and your basic ability to think straight depend on getting enough sleep. Too much sleep can lead to back pain, diabetes, heart disease, and depression. To make it more difficult, not everyone needs the same amount of sleep. Finding your way down that sweet center is yours to figure out.

Limit Toxic Exposure

Toxic exposures to avoid include those in your house, like lead and pesticides, as well as those larger environmental exposures due to air quality and water quality. Give your child’s developing brain and body the best possible chance.

Have Fun

In part, having fun is a way of managing the inevitable stress you face, but it’s so much more than that. By taking the time and creating the space to have fun together as a family, you strengthen those ties that hold you all together. That creates your larger safety net. Don’t let it slip. Schedule time together and try a variety of activities.

Image © Yuriy Brykaylo | Dreamstime.com