We don’t want to sound all Ebenezer Scrooge about it, but sometimes that massive pile of toys that Santa brings turns our seasonal spirit more to the humbug side of things. Lucky for us, Ottawa is chock full of amazing experiences and alternative gifts that can bring the joy without the clutter.
Our kids consider a wintertime swim to be the ultimate in fun—and passes to any of the city’s pools for a family swim is a perfect stocking stuffer to use over the holiday. For a special treat, spend your passes at the brand new Minto Recreation Centre in Barrhaven. The shiny, clean, state-of-the-art facilities feature a gorgeous six-lane pool with a Tarzan rope and diving boards for extra fun.
If you prefer something more immediate, consider the gift of a family board game—we absolutely love the choices at local toy store Tag Along Toys. From classic Crokinole to miniature Curling to kid-fave Froggie Boogie, there’s something to keep the whole family entertained during those long, chilly winter days. The store also happens to have the best selection we’ve seen of science and craft kits—another great toy alternative—and you can find all this cool stuff at their brand new second location in the Blue Heron Mall on Bank Street.
Lastly, Christmas is all about the treats, and the best thing about sweets is that they’re a temporary addition to your home. We love Vanessa’s Dessert Apples—goodies that are as pretty as they are tasty. Place your order through her Facebook page for caramel chocolate apples, snowballs and see-it-to-believe-it adorable snowmen apples for a gift they’ll remember long after it’s gone.
When Santa thinks outside the box, the memories are sure to last much longer. Happily, we’ve got 8 more great gifts that aren’t toys lined up to inspire you.