Christmas Series! Gifts: Shop Local!

Growing up, I often found myself cheap when I asked for Christmas gift even if my parents or family were happy to give them to me. As we live in a weird society were children make toys for other children on the other side of the planet, more and more people are questioning the ethics and need for Christmas gifts. A simple question remains: Are Christmas gifts crucial to Christmas?

No… and… yes…

I really like the idea of gathering all my loved ones and giving them something special to let them know that I care and that I pay attention to their happiness. I also think there is a good way to do it. The next few Christmas series articles will let you discover my tips and tricks to have a stress-free gift giving Holiday season. Don’t forget to check out La Végé d’à Côté as she will also be sharing her ideas. Enjoy!

I hate shopping! Therefore, you won’t find me in any malls during Christmas season. Instead, I love perusing Christmas fairs and Market. They really are the best because most of the things you find in such events are unique, hand-made and local.

What else is there to ask?

This year Montreal has a ton of Christmas markets planned and announced, so I wanted to let you know about a few that are bound to be exciting! Here they are, but hurry because some are happening this week-end!

  1. Marché Haut + Fort
    This is the place to go if you are a design or architecture fan. Taking place at Concordia University (represent!), this event will be on Saturday and Sunday November 21 and 22. A special book signing is also organized for Saturday afternoon and bring your kids on Sunday for an architecture workshop (Ted Mosby would die at this event!).
  2. Souk@Sat
    This is also a place to find really unique gifts for the modern art lover in your crowd. Happening at the mysterious Société des Arts Technologique, this event goes from November 25 to 29, so you have plenty of time to figure out what some of these objects are. In doubt, you can always check out Rose Madeleine’s vegan cake and cookie mixes! Take note that this event is 18+ (some finds are that weird).
  3. Marché Prince Arthur
    This is a new one this year! Starting on December 2, you will be able to buy your Christmas trees, and local crafts and food products. Organized in part with the Marché solidaire Frontenac, this will transform an iconic Montreal street in a Christmas market. 
  4. Marché chez Rhubarbe
    This is also a new Christmas market. Taking place in the bakery Chez Rhubarbe, you will be able to see ceramics, kitchen apparel, plants and the thing that I’m really looking forward to: Preservation society! Seriously, go taste their amazing jams, ketchup and pickles! This event will happen on December 3rd and 4th.
  5. Salon des Métiers d’Art de Montréal
    This fair has a special place in my heart because I have been religiously going there with my parents every year. Starting on December 10, this is the best place to do all your Christmas shopping at once: you are bound to find something for everyone on your list as you will see 400 “crafters”. I’m very excited to see Mademoiselle Poire‘s umbrellas which are simply too joyful to use only when it rains.
  6. Le Grand Marché de Noël de Montréal
    This too as a new comer to the Christmas market scene. ‘Go big or go home’ must have been their mantra while organizing this fair that will open on December 12. Not only will you find unique hand-made products here, but there will also be animations and shows during the day and night.

Fiou! That’s a lot, and still this list is quite incomplete. I suggest you head over to La Végé d’à Côté for her favourite Montreal holiday fairs, or check out Moi, mes souliers  for a complete list of Quebec’s Christmas markets.

Finally if you are not in Montreal, there are usually a ton of craft fairs organized in every community. Poke around, ask friends and keep your eyes open for great finds!

Let me know if you know any other craft or Christmas fairs that I should check out!



Montreal Vegan Fest

So yesterday was the Montreal Vegan Festival. Needless to say, I was really excited and had spent last week planning which conferences I wanted to go to, which stands I really wanted to go spend my money at, and what cooking demos I wanted to watch. I had planned to go with my friend La Végé d’à Côté, and we were just really excited about this!

Well, I didn't have enough energy to wait for his cooking demo, but it was nice to see the Vegan Black Metal Chef!

Well, I didn’t have enough energy to wait for his cooking demo, but it was nice to see the Vegan Black Metal Chef!

And then reality caught up with me.

As a teacher, there are several week-ends in the school year when you just want to curl up in your bed and disappear until report cards are far, far away. This week-end was one of those week-end. After correcting my last projects for the term until 12.30am on Friday, I still had to compile all the grades and finish everything so that all my 192 students would have grades in their report card to fuss about. So, I was late for the Vegan Fest which was a bummer because as I was quick-walking my way to the Marché Bonsecours, I was thinking that I had already missed the one cooking demo that I was really excited about: The Frangipane- Ginger Pie with Véronique Saint-Pierre (Rose Madeleine).

And then I got there… as 10 000 other people did.

There was quite a line up to get it...

There was quite a line up to get it…

At first I was a little bit overwhelmed by the crowd, but then it got me really excited and positive. Isn’t it incredible that so many people are willing to wait in line, fight for hemp bars, and spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon indoors buying vegan pastries and cakes? Yuh-yuh!

In the end, I couldn’t meet with my friend because she was in the conference room, and after waiting for an hour outside to get in, I really didn’t want to wait again to get in there. So I went around the stands two times, enjoyed a really nice almond roll from Rose Madeleine’s bakery and bought a few things. Alright, I bought a lot of stuff, but I’m very excited to review them and enjoy them! I was also a little bit overwhelmed by the crowd and did not stay for the demos.

I got the Afro Vegan cookbook, Rose Madeleine's vegan pastries book, wonderful spices from Arayuma and a free hemp bar. Exciting stuff!

I got the Afro Vegan cookbook, Rose Madeleine’s vegan pastries book, wonderful spices from Arayuma and a free hemp bar. Exciting stuff!

So, overall, this was a fun afternoon, but not what I had planned. Next year, I really hope this totally free event (amazing!) will be in a different more open place so that the lines are not such an issue. I’m really happy with my book finds and spices. So what’s your city’s vegan fest like?