The post presented in partnership with Country Hills Village Shopping Centre

How are you on the holiday prep front? I bought tickets to all the concerts I want to go and finally got the house decorated over the weekend. What I’m behind on is gifts. Our family is tiny, but there’s still so many other people to buy for. There’s the dog sitters, teachers, coaches, and colleagues of mine to consider. And of course, our adorable mutt, Buddy. Last week I ducked into Country Hills Village Shopping Centre in north Calgary to make a good dent on my list. Here’s some gift giving inspiring for you, based on what I found.

Your holidays sorted at Country Hills Village Shopping Centre Calgary

What’s a holiday without Baileys? Pretty sad! Stock up at RJ Liquor Store. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Country Hills Village Calgary

Uniques gifts for all in Country Hills Village Calgary

If you haven’t met The Real Phil Kessel (that’s his IG handle) you’ll want to pop into Global Pet Foods for some cuddles. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Global Pet Foods

Is there anything more precious than your pet getting super excited about a new treat or toy? The Real Phil Kessel (that’s him above) comes a close second. Sorry, Buddy! This pet celebrity calls Global Pet Foods in Country Hills Village home, and is happy to recommend product to you. Top of his wish list are these adorable bakery pet treats and reindeer poop (dog biscuits covered in carob – which is OK for dogs).

Global pet foods calgary

Are you also tempted to try these pet treats? Asking for a friend…. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Besides all the options for pet stocking stuffers, you can snap up all natural hormone and antibiotic treats, squeaky toys and handsome knit sweaters made of plant-dyed wool. Just steps away is VCA Canada Country Hills Animal Hospital. Even if you already have a vet, you can pop in here to pick up Royal Canin products, quality biodegradable poop bags, cat feeder balls and assorted pet treats.

Diva Salon and Spa

This salon has all those awesome Aveda holiday gift sets. They’re already packaged up nicely,  so you don’t even need to wrap them. (If anyone in my family is reading this, I’d very much like the Damage Remedy gift set, please!) Also, they have a super sale going on of Aveda hair pure-fumes at 40% off. For teachers and those random people on your list, the Aveda Comforting Tea or one of their candles should fit the bill.

Diva Salon and spa calgary

When you try too many samples the only answer is another sample! But in the dry shampoo variety. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Before you start browsing in earnest though, ask to get a complimentary scalp consultation. Diva uses this 200% magnification camera to do it and it’s way cool. Scalp treatments are going to be the next big thing. You heard it here first!

Music Makers Calgary

After recently participating in a Guinness Book of World Records attempt for the most people air drumming, The Huz really wants drumming lessons. I suppose that’s way better than asking for a drum set. Luckily, I was able to sign him up for classes at Music Makers.

music calgary

Guess what? I’m not at all musical. But I can still appreciate a harmonica in my stocking. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Even if the person you’re buying for isn’t a musician, a harmonica is a super fun item to receive. Music Makers also has a good selection of Mahalo ukuleles, which everyone seems to love. Plus you’ll find a lot of little things to stuff into any music lovers stocking, like sheet music, guitar straps and strings. When my daughter Eve was around 8 or 9 years old, we got her an acoustic guitar, only the be followed a year later by an electric. They make great gifts for kids of all ages.

Black Earth Floral

Stepping into Black Earth Floral at this time of year is like walking into an enchanted forest. At first, I thought it was their greenery (Real! Fresh!), but no, it was their awesome Thymes Fraser Fir candle providing that heady woodland scent. Besides Thymes hand cream and soap, Black Earth sells pretty jewelry and artisanal wooden cutting boards.

black earth floral calgary

I might just snag a few of these scented candles for myself. It’s always good to have hostess gifts on hand. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

You’ll find tons of uniques hostess gifts inside Black Earth Floral. I was drawn to their massive decor pine cones and twinkling lights set on fine wire. What I really love though, is their card selection made by Calgary’s Stevie + Bean. If you happen to receive a Christmas AF or I Love How We Don’t Have to Say Out Loud I’m your Favourite Sibling, you’ll know where I got it from. Oh yeah, Black Earth is legit a flower shop, so they can whip up bouquets, wreathes and table settings, too!

To inspire active living

In addition to funky boxing gloves (Camouflage! Rose gold lettering!) Rumble Boxing Studio has a super affordable boxing starter kit. For $35 you get a free class, sox and six hand wraps – all enclosed within a mesh laundry bag. Brilliant!

Rumble Boxing studio

This starter boxing kit has it all. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Rumble boxing studio calgary

Never have I ever found a T-shirt more perfect for me! (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

When in doubt

Starbucks always has fun items – think sparkly coffee mugs and snowflake-shaped marshmallows. Best are the scratch-off gift tags. You write a short message on the tag, then cover it with the gold sticker provided. The person receiving the gift gets to scratch the tag with a coin to find your hidden message. So cute!

starbucks holiday gifts

The Starbucks scratch-off gift tags are the best! (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Famoso is a choice spot to revive flagging energy levels, but there’s also a great gift to be found. Pick up a jar (or three) of their Campania tomato sauce. Every jar sold means Mealshare gives one meal to somebody in need. If you think about it, gifting this sauce gives you bonus charity points. Double score!

famoso campania sauce

When you really have no idea what to buy someone, sauce them! (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Nailing your errands

It’s the holidays, so likely there’s a few parcels you need to send out tout suite. The UPS Store can have your package delivered the very next day (within Canada). Pro tip: Don’t forget to whip out your Aeroplan card as they offer up to 3x the Aeroplan miles on packing and shipping.

UPS holiday

I don’t know if it’s just me, but there’s never a line up when I go into UPS. Phew! (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

Being such a busy time of year, it’s easy to forget things. Take a moment to review your driver’s license. The Alberta government has stopped sending out reminders. Should you need to renew your driver’s license, you can do that at the Country Hills Registry. Also in the complex is Country Hills Massage Therapy. Book in here for massage to use those benefits up while it’s still 2018.

fishman's calgary

When you’re pressed for time, outsourcing can be a lifesaver. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

You want to be shopping, baking and holiday entertaining this month, not doing laundry! Skip laundry duty with Fishman’s Wash and Fold service. Or drop off your pesky alterations (even shoe repair!) to have it returned looking like new.

calgary dry cleaning

I’m always so proud of myself when I manage to knock off a few errands while holiday shopping. (Photo credit: Mark Eleven Photography)

And bookmark this for the New Year: January 26, 2019 is Kid’s Day at All Smiles Dental Care. No treatments will be going down that day, just check ups and a whole lot of fun and prizes. Don’t have dentist? What luck! They’re accepting new patients.

Country Hills Village giveaway

A few of the vendors at Country Hills Village Shopping Centre have banded together to give a variety of gift cards to one lucky Travels with Baggage reader. You could win four $25 gift cards from different retailers.

To enter:

  1. Comment below with what you buy for people when you’re really not sure what to gift them. Receive a double entry for liking the Country Hills Village Facebook page. (We cross-check this, natch.)
  2. All comments and likes must be received before midnight, December 16, 2018.
  3. Contest open to residents of Alberta.