Great giving: Where to buy Secret Santa gifts in Calgary

Secret Santa gifts are most often meant to be cheap (or relatively so) and cheerful. Purchasing these Christmas tokens is an act of making the thought count. But sniffing out a suitable anonymous something for a friend or colleague can be tricky. Don’t let the assignment stump you, browse these gloriously gifty shops for the perfect present.


3518 Garrison Gate Sw, Calgary, AB T2T 6N1

This gift shop on the Fourth Street Southwest food-and-boutiques strip is a real Christmas problem solver. The place is stacked with cards, fun and frivolous books (a collection of Tinder love letters, adult colouring books, etc.) and loads of smart-alecky gewgaws. Jewellery and fashion accessories from wallets and gloves to smartphone cases are likewise priced in the Secret Santa spending range.

Steeling Home

1010 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0A5

There’s always a passel of new and unique giftables at this 17th Avenue Southwest boutique. Secret Santas will find handcrafted jewellery including men’s cufflinks, attractively packaged bath products, handbags and scarves, and a book nook piled with stationary packages and stylishly whacky and often informative books.

Freak Lunchbox Inc

A-614 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0B4

A candy store and more, Freak Lunchbox carries a sweet-and-sassy rainbow array of confectionaries and laughable novelty items. Sweetly priced gift options include bacon-themed, treat-loaded Christmas stockings and lunchboxes, brightly coloured propeller beanies and giant lollypops.

Pages Kensington

1135 Kensington Rd NW, Calgary, AB T2N 3P4

Try seeking your secret Santa gifts in this Kensington bookstore. Its shelves hold myriad titles to suit the personal tastes of your giftees. For instance, find givable reading such as Purity, the latest, bestselling Jonathan Franzen novel, Kevin and Brian Van Tighem’s beautifully photo-illustrated ode to the Bow River, Heart Waters and the hot comedy-autobiography by Mindy Kaling (star of The Mindy Project), Why Not Me?

The Apothecary in Inglewood

921 9 Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0S5

A cozy redbrick stop on the Ninth Avenue Southeast boutique strip in Inglewood, The Apothecary is all about pleasingly scented products that pamper and soothe. From its treasure-trove array of essential oils and accessories, bath and beauty products, the gifts simply suggest themselves.

The Cookbook Co

722 11 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0E4

For the home chef on your secret Santa list, visit Cookbook Co. on 11th Avenue Southwest in the Design District. As its name suggests, this foodie boutique carries a selection of cookbooks that sizzles. Titles include Calgary Cooks, a collection of recipes by Calgary’s hottest chefs co-authored by shop owner and local cuisine queen Gail Norton. Also find fabulous foodstuffs and cool kitchenware.

Scottish Formal Kilt Rentals & Sales

390 Piita Rise Southwest, Calgary, AB T3B 5V6

For the secret Santa recipient of Celtic heritage, Highland Scottish Gift Shoppe carries many thoughtful tokens. Jewellery items include Celtic pendants and pewter thistle cufflinks, and wearables for men and women include tartan scarves and “Up Yer Kilt!” T-shirts. As well, the shop’s CD selection is simply bursting with bagpipe music.

Mañana Imports & Gifts

1132 Kensington Rd NW, Calgary, AB T2N 3P3

A wildly worldly Kensington shop, Mañana’s decorative and practical selection of fair-trade merchandise fills the small store to bursting. Find clothing accessories such as scarves and toques, handcrafted dolls and keychains and handmade jewellery from Central and South America. Also check out the shop’s world-music CD selection.

Ten Thousand Villages

8318 Fairmount Dr SE, Calgary, AB T2H 0Y8

With three locations including one at Fairmount Drive and Heritage Drive Southeast, Ten Thousand Villages comes alive this time of year with Christmas ornaments and decorations created around the globe. A fair trade importer of arts and crafts, clothing and housewares fashioned in developing nations, this is the place to find a gift that also benefits the maker.

With eating local being the biggest restaurant food trend ever, home cooks have turned to the city’s butcher shops to supply cuts of Alberta beef, pork, lamb, chicken and game for their own cuisine adventures. A number of excellent meat boutiques carry a wide variety of cuts, locally produced and otherwise.
Generally following a mantra of “made, baked or grown in Alberta,” Calgary farmers’ markets transform shopping and grocery getting into an adventure. As well as specialty foods, endless kiosks and counters carry locally produced arts, crafts, clothing and accessories plus an array of natural health products.
Sweet and universally loved, chocolate is one treat we can all agree on. Lucky for you, Calgary’s chocolate boutiques carry a huge variety of premium selections.
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