Around October of each year I make a promise to myself to start shopping early and to hit up stores other than the big box chains.

I say, “This year, I will find more creative gifts and support local business owners.”

Then, suddenly, it’s the week before Christmas and I run into boring old Walmart for the big gifts and fill my cart with cheap Dollar Store stocking stuffers that get used for half a minute.

I was worried that quitting my full time job would make shopping even more stressful, this year.

Well, I think I’m doing pretty well in my quest to change up my shopping habits. So far, I have hit up four local stores in Southwest Saskatchewan.  I know, there are so many more, but I think I’m off to a good start and wanted to share, so you can get some motivation to #shopsouthwestsask.

( Search that hashtag to get a closer look at some of my shopping adventures.)

I was lucky enough to get sponsored to shop at these places, but I reached out to them because I knew how awesome they were!


Leader Pharmacy


Leader Pharmacy is owned by 2 local ladies. I love that they showcase local photographers, artists, and entrepreneurs.  Christmas themed décor was scattered throughout along with the essentials like wrapping paper and chocolate.  There was the all important Rider section, clothing wracks with lots of PJ choices, and funky socks.   The back of the store was where the fun was found.  There were a ton of kids toys available.  My step kids are 10 and 12 and there were a few things I considered getting them, but I think you’ll definitely find something for the younger kids on your list.  There is also a whole section dedicated to chalk painting!

I can’t tell you what I picked out…. Or should I do it as a test to see if my husband reads my blog? Ha


Dirk Family Pharmacy

Dirk Family Pharmacy, in Leader, Sk,  is another place you must stop. I could spend hours browsing the shelves.  Each time I scan them, I find something I hadn’t noticed before.  Purses, jewelry, scarves, wall art, Christmas décor, and much more!  There was a really neat Viking themed collection that I think would make a cool gift.  I know my husband would have thought it was really cool.  ( Sorry, I didn’t get it for you.)

If you’ve been to Dirk’s with kids, you know that they B-line to the back room. There is a whole section for kids.  Toys, puzzles, remote control cars, stuffies, trinkets, games… the list goes on.

I don’t have any coworkers to buy for this year, but Dirk’s is a great place to check those items off of your list. My favorites were the compact mirrors and pins with funny sayings on them and the big leather bags.  ( hint hint)


Maple Creek is a town that should not be missed as you do your shopping.

The Broken Spoke Fine Art Gallery

The Broken Spoke Fine Art Gallery was my first stop in Maple Creek. There is a gallery full of amazing paintings and sculptures, but there is also a room full of unique items.  I found my crystal loving girl a few things that I know she will love.


The wood carvings, glasswork, jewelry and cultural items are right up my alley. You can’t find this type of thing at the big box stores.  Buying a piece of local art would be a great investment, especially as a gift for those people who have everything.

( Do you remember when I displayed my art here after the tour in Cypress Hills?)


Keep in mind: If you go to The Broken Spoke in the summer, they have delicious fresh shakes!!

Grotto Gardens

Grotto Gardens, in Maple Creek, is known for their goat yoga and Saskatoon berry treats. Although they are usually closed for the winter season, they have opened up on Saturdays and some evenings for the holidays.  Their gift shop has all sorts of interesting goodies.  You’ll find some Christmas themed items along with handmade gifts.  My mom and I loved the Alpaca shawls!

You MUST get the hot chocolate. Sit and rest to break up your shopping.  I honestly don’t order hot chocolate that often, but if I knew it would taste like the one I had, I might be in trouble.


I still have a lot of shopping to do, but I feel good that I’ve supported local small businesses.  There are so many more places that I know I should visit and I encourage you to share your favorites in the comments.

Grab a friend and make shopping an experience.  Have fun with it.  Drink the hot chocolate. And don’t forget to buy yourself a gift or two!


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