The 613 Holiday Special | Holiday Traditions

Well, for the last instalment of this 613 Holiday Special, the topic was Holiday Traditions. So, I’m going with my family’s favourite tradition, the Christmas stocking.

Turns out that there are no written records of the actual origin of the Christmas stocking, but there are popular legends that exist.  This is one of the favourites that is told :

A long time ago, there lived a poor man with his three very beautiful daughters. As he had no money to have them marry, he worried about them.  Saint Nicholas was passing through his village and heard talk of the girls.  He wanted to help, but knowing that the poor man would not accept charity, he thought he’d help in secret.  So, after it got dark, he threw three bags of gold through one of their open windows and they landed in their stockings that were hung by the fire to dry.  When the family awoke the next morning and found the gold they were overjoyed, as you can imagine.  The girls got married and lived happily ever after.  

This legend led to children hanging stockings or putting out shoes to await gifts from Saint Nicholas.  Sometimes the bags of gold in the story are changed to gold balls, and this led to the tradition of putting oranges in stockings to represent the gold balls.

This is my childhood stocking that my Mom bought and embellished with the figurines and glitter when I was a baby.

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When had my first child I thought I would carry on this tradition and made us all stockings customized with embroidered names at the top.  We use these every year and even  my kitties get their own stockings.  Does your family embrace this tradition?

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Time to go and check out the other fabulous Holiday Traditions from the 613 bloggers. Thanks so much ladies it was great to collaborate with you all. I loved reading all your posts!

613 holiday special


The Sweetest Digs

Just Settle Down

Keep it Beautiful


Merry Christmas and a very healthy and

Happy New Years to you and yours! 

See you in 2014!


The 613 Holiday Special | Gift Shopping Ottawa Style

So for something a little different, follow five Ottawa bloggers as we set our tables, deck our halls & try to survive the holiday season with style & cheer. Grab your eggnog and toast to the season with us every Monday until Dec 23rd. Happy Holidays!

613 holiday special

Alicia @

Fiona @

Gemma @

Meredith & Sue @

Here’s the schedule –

Dec 2:  Gifts, gifts, gifts 
Dec 9:  Holiday Decorating
Dec 16: Oh, Christmas Tree
Dec 23:  Holiday Traditions 

So without further ado, here’s my tips for some serious holiday shopping in the Ottawa area.

First, make a list, of who’s naughty and nice,  of who you need to get gifts for.  I always start this as early as possible, in case you need to order items that are hard to find or get.  This also helps to keep you on budget, or at least that is what I tell myself.  I then organize my shopping excursions to try and avoid hitting the same stores more than once. which saves on gas and perhaps some parking rage during this busy time of year.



1. If you are heading to the Originals Craft Show (December 12 -22 at the Ernst & Young Centre) check out Cori Lee Marvin’s artwork. It is so whimsical and detailed, they are sure to please almost anyone on your list.  I have a little piece of her artwork at my cottage, it makes me smile every time I look at it.

2. You can never go wrong with a spa certificate. There are so many wonderful spas in the Ottawa area, finding either the one that they frequent or one near them, will ensure that it gets used quickly.  I have to mention Le Nordik Spa here, located in Chelsea, Quebec (only 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa) it is an absolutely relaxing and breathtaking spot to spend a few hours or most of the day.  **Photo courtesy of Le Nordik Spa website

3. For the environmentally conscious on your list, head over to Terra20 for some environmental friendly and ingenious gift ideas.  Like this Preloved Roma Scarf. made from recycled sweaters and at 8 feet long, very warm and cosy for our cold Ottawa winters.

4.Another green gift idea is this 3 piece set from Purple Urchin. Check out their online site to see their other natural products, which are available at many different locations across the city.

5. Believe it or not, these adorable Canadian style pillows are from Shepherd’s. This would be perfect for a cottage or log home loving person on your list.

6. This placemat from Terra20 that’s green and great for the feline or feline lover in your life.

7. If the man in your life, wears cuff links these Billy Cuff links are a cool find.  Reused and dyed wood make an original statement. also from Terra20.

8.  If I had a dog, I would so buy this adorable dog jacket from Bark and Fitz, for him/her to wear.

9. Close to my own heart is my love of trinkets and bling. So this is usually my go to gift for the ladies on my list.  A piece of handmade art that you can wear, what more could you want?  Urbanite Jewelry – makes pieces inspired by cities around the world, and they are based right here in Ottawa (that’s right no customs or duties and a quick delivery).

SHOPPING2tiffFor the Senators fan in you life, there’s always tickets to a game or games, a jersey, scarf or hat, therefore a trip to one of the Sens stores may be in order.

For Grandparents, how about enlarging a special photo and having it framed or made into a canvas from PosterJack?  And yes they are Canadian.


And if you haven’t heard about it yet there’s always Givopoly, it is an online site which features Ottawa area shops and small businesses.  The perfect thing to help with the hard to buy for.


As I previously mentioned check out, OttawaStart, to find a list of local craft shows.  So no more excuses, get shopping so you can finish up and enjoy the rest of the holiday season. And a big thank you to Meredith and Sue from NewberrySykes for including me in this 613 Holiday Special.

**Please note I have not been compensated in any way for my selections above.

Be sure to check out the rest of the 613 Holiday Bloggers posts!

613 holiday special


The Sweetest Digs

Just Settle Down

Keep it Beautiful




Silver and white holiday urn

This year I was feeling the sparkly and white decor, especially after I found this great wreath at Home Sense.
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Now to tackle the interior.


Naturally rustic holiday exterior

I have started my exterior decorating…yay!  I went with my usual at the cottage, just need some snow there..(did I just say that out loud?) to complete the look there.  You can also see my newly painted green doors and a little hint of the yellow window trim.  I really needed somethings to be in colour as there is just only so much wood a girl can take.





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Monday, I’ll share the one I did for my home.  Have a great weekend!





Shopping locally

Sorry my posts have been rather sporadic here, I am now writing for three blogs and I still haven’t quite got into a routine for them all. I’ll get there!

I’m also gearing up for the Christmas season.  This year I’d like to purchase more thoughtful gifts from local shops and artisans and get it done early. Well, hopefully early….you have to have a goal don’t you?  I’ve been noticing on social media and among my friends and family,  that there is kind of a movement to do just this.

So I thought I’d share some ideas to do just this, right here in Ottawa.

Check out Givopoly there are a great source for local gifts, particularly for the hard to buy for.  I was particularly taken with these handmade and customizable soft blocks as a baby gift from Liv.Well toys. Click on the picture to go to this site.



Etsy. of course, has a wealth of ideas. I scale down my search for my local area when I’m shopping there.   These adorable earrings caught my eye and the seller is right here in Ottawa.  Again, click on the photo below to go to the site.



Of course, there are always local craft shows and you can talk directly to the artisan or artist.  OttawaStart has a great list of local craft shows coming up.  I’m sure there is one or two or even three in your area.  It’s a great way to support your community and many of these shows donate part of the proceeds to a charity.

These two larger shows are also a great source for gifts, not necessarily made locally (especially with the Third World Bazaar) but definitely hand crafted.

Third World Bazaar – Oct 4 – Nov 24, 2013 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday only)

Signatures Show – November 13 – 17, 2013

Of course, you can always go the DIY route and make some personalized gifts yourself.  Receiving a hand made for you gift is always a treat!  I have made many, many, many Christmas ornaments in the past, something that I always love to do, when there is time, of course.  Be sure to check out my Christmas Pinterest board for some DIY gift, decor and wrapping ideas.

How about you, what are your plans?  Will you be shopping locally or making some of your own special gifts?