If you read my Holiday Gift Guide for the Ladies, you’ll have read all about why I chose the items that I did. (I suggest heading there first.) I wanted to put together gift guides that were filled with items from small and local shops and business as well as feature more higher-quality, longer lasting gift options. Living in a small town, many of these proprieters are my friends, people I went to school with, or people I know because– well, because it’s a small town. All of these items are either from small businesses, many of whom are craftsmen and artists in their respective fields, and/or can be purchased from local, independent shops in the area. I hope you’re inspired to shop small and local this year!
Do mix and match between the two guides! Melissa Jean paintings are beautiful gifts for both men and women, as are the cabin slippers from Egli’s. Lot.15 also has a beautiful coffee pour over and Little Sister in Osborne has some additional coffee equipment and fresh beans for the coffee lover on your list. As for me, I’d probably choose more things off the guy’s guide than the girls! I can’t stop thinking about those knives and the musky rod…
1. YETI coolers from The Hardware Company & Lake of the Woods Sports Headquarters | 2. Tag water bottle in Kenora plaid from Sweet | 3. Heartbeat Hot Sauces from Miller’s Meats & Lake of the Woods Brewing Company 4. Beard & Brawn Citrus Up Aftershave from Forth | 5. Buck, Buck, Moose by Hank Shaw from McNally Robinson 6. Handmade filleting or bushcraft knife by Zoltan Blades 7. Framed Lake of the Woods lake chart from Tangled Tree Framing and Gifts 8. Bottle opener keychain and growler of local beer from Lake of the Woods Brewing Company 9. Hat (example) from Rednex Rebellion 10. Rapala X-Rap lures from Lake of the Woods Sports Headquarters | 11. Mammoth Beard Co. beer soap and beard oil from Fort Knoxx Barber & Salon | 12. Cash Fold Wallet or Travel Duffle from Wilder Goods | 13. St. Croix musky rod from Lake of the Woods Sports Headquarters
Whoever thought a cooler could be this exciting? The YETI was created to fulfill a need for top-quality outdoor gear. Made for the outdoor enthusiast, the hard cooler can keep its contents cold for days in the sun, is bear proof, and terribly resilient. Use it as a seat when camping or a casting platform when fishing– it’s going to hold up. The hard sided coolers are absolutely a dream for transporting and temporarily storing any kind of game meat or fish. Perfect for hunting trips near or far, this is the cooler for a travelling hunter. Equally as perfect for bringing back fresh caught fish on ice from your winter vacay– this is your go-to. While perhaps not bear-proof, the soft-sided YETI has its advantages. Far easier to travel with, the Hopper is a breeze for canoeing and just generally being on the go. Grab the soft sided YETI Hopper Two 30 from The Hardware Company on Main St. If your guy is more into paddling, they have a selection of stand up paddle boards, kayaks, and other outdoor gear. For a large selection of YETI coolers, including the YETI Tundra, head to Lake of the Woods Sports Headquarters and talk to the guys to see which model they’d recommend. If you’re in a smaller town without a local dealer, Amazon also carries them.
Slide this bottle in our iconic Kenora Plaid under the tree for the guy who’s always on the water, on the trails, or on the run. Double-walled, it’ll keep cold drinks cold for 24-hours or hot drinks hot for 12. So whether he needs some ice cold water after hauling in a huge musky or to warm up with some hot coffee in a blind while hunting, this bottle should do the trick. Find it at Sweet on Main St., and pick up a handful of caramels to throw in his stocking (they’re incredible!) or any of his other favourite treats. Whatever you do, don’t leave without something for yourself!
Make him hot this Christmas with a bottle (or three) of Heartbeat Hot Sauce. Hailing from Thunder Bay, ON, Heartbeat Hot Sauce is the little fire engine that could. After years of obsessing over hot sauce, Nancy & Al decided to stop buying and start cooking. After acquiring 40 pounds of local hot peppers, they set out to create their ideal hot sauce– and Heartbeat Hot Sauce was born. Now retailing across Canada and available online, these little bottles can find their way into anyone’s stocking. If you’re in Winnipeg, run down to any of the Miller’s Meats locations to pick up a bottle. As they’d say, it’d be a huge missed-steak if you didn’t grab something for dinner. Tip: they also accept wild game for processing! If you’re in the Kenora area, grab your hot sauce from Lake of the Woods Brewing Company. If you can’t find it locally, it’s also available from Amazon (though a bit pricier).
Can’t stand your guy’s scratchy beard? Entice him to shave by popping a Beard & Brawn aftershave under the tree. Grab the Woodsman if
you he likes earthy scents– it’s filled with essential oils of Atlas cedarwood, frankincense and balsam fir. Or, if he likes to feel a bit more invigorated in the morning, go with Citrus Up, which has grapefruit, sweet orange, and lemongrass. A Winnipeg based company, Beard & Brawn is one of the most recognized and trusted brands in the prairies for beard care. They use only natural ingredients and their products are hand made in small batches. Find them across Manitoba but I suggest picking up a bottle at Forth on McDermot in the Exchange District. Leave lots of time to browse the various products they have for sale and to linger over a coffee and light lunch, or a cocktail if the desire should arise. This is a great little spot!
Absolutely one of the best cookbooks for antlered game! This one is definitely on my wish list. Gift this to the hunter in your life to nudge him into the kitchen. Filled with mouthwatering photography and the incredible knowledge of Hank Shaw, it covers instructions on how to butcher, age, and store venison and use almost the entire animal. Featuring over 100 tried and true recipes, this is an absolutely fantastic book that any new hunter would appreciate. Hank Shaw has also written Duck, Duck, Goose and Pheasant, Quail, Cottontail and Hunt, Gather, Cook. See if you can find Duck, Duck, Moose at your local independent bookstores, otherwise I recommend McNally Robinson because it’s Winnipeg-bred. They ship throughout Canada. Alternatively, his books can also be found on Amazon.
A man can never have too many knives. But these, these are something special. Entirely handmade by Aaron Zoltan Virag in his main studio in Tofino, BC as well as his new summertime studio right here in Minaki, ON, these knives are as sharp as they look. Every part of the blade is made by Aaron– the blade, the handle, and the leather sheath. An incredibly special gift, perfect for a new (or old!) husband, a father, grandfather, or even a wise-beyond-his-years son. These also make very special groomsmen gifts. Head to Zoltan Blades to check out Aaron’s current stock. While he’s a summertime resident of Minaki, he lives the rest of the year in Tofino (the man has good taste!) so you’ll need to have the knife shipped. I definitely want to get my hands of one of these one day.
Beautiful, sentimental, and practical all at once, framed lake charts make exceptional gifts. A perfect gift for grandpa or the one who now lives far away, maps of LOTW easily trigger memories and inspire future adventures. The perfect heirloom gift. Go see Jade and her staff at Tangled Tree Framing and Gifts on Main St. She also sells a variety of gifts, artwork, and cards– so leave enough time to browse!
For the beer lover, look no further than Lake of the Woods Brewing Company. They make some pretty great beer. (It’s made with Lake of the Woods itself, so obviously.) LOWBC revived both a building and business when they opened in 2013. Originally a century-old firehall (indeed, I can still remember it when I was kid), they’ve stylishly blended the old with the new. Much of the interior of the taproom is unchanged, with the original fireman’s pole and firehouse doors on display. The name has just as much history– Lake of the Woods Brewing Company was fully operational in Kenora from 1898 to 1954. Tours are available to get the whole scoop ($12). Start at the store to grab a growler of your guy’s favourite beer. Sultana Gold is an award-winning blonde ale which is often a sound choice, but look at their other flagship beers and seasonal offerings. The growler is $7.95 and the beer itself is $12.52 (as well as subsequent refills) so it’s the gift that keeps on giving. For that guy who just can’t give up his Bud Light, grab the bottle opener keychain. If you’re not in town, LOWBC beer can be found around Ontario and Manitoba, so pick up a 4-pack, slap on a bow, and throw it under the tree. Once you’re done shopping, head into the tap room for a pint for yourself. Cheers!
The iconic hat and clothing company from Kenora, there’s always room in a man’s wardrobe for more Rednex merch. The locals will especially appreciate all the nods and throw backs to local islands, meet ups, and landmarks in the area. While the hats are a good year round choice, definitely check out the variety of hoodies, toques, and t-shirts they have for both men and women. While they do have a website, they tend to have more in stock in their brick & mortar. So pop in, say hi, and knock a few items off your list. Find Rednex Rebellion on Second St.
A guy can never have too much tackle. Ok, so there’s a lot of things a guy can never have too much of. But especially tackle. Fill up his stocking so he can fill up the live well. Head down to see the boys at Lake of the Woods Headquarters and they’ll help you pick out the perfect Rapala lures, whether your guy likes to fish bass, walleye, musky, or all of the above.
Literally a mom and pop shop– Mammoth Beard Co. is owned and run by entrepreneurs and parents Lee and Lindsay out in Calgary. Using only the highest quality essential oils and absolutes, butters, waxes, and plant oils and Lindsay’s knowledge as an aromatherapist, their products speak for themselves and are now available at retailers across Canada. Pick up a bar of the Scottish Ale Beard Soap to pop in his stocking, and a bottle of the Argan Beard Conditioning Oil. I go crazy for cedarwood, but choose whichever
you’d he’d like best. You can find Mammoth Beard Co. products at Fort Knoxx Barber & Salon on Lakeview Drive in Kenora. While you’re there, why not book him in for a holiday cut?
For the man with taste, wander down to Wilder Goods in the Exchange District to pick out some quality leather goods. Their products are cut, sewn and riveted in-house in small batches. The full-grain vegetable tanned leather in the Cash Fold Wallet will darken beautifully with age and wear– a classic choice that will last for years. For the man on the go, consider investing in the Travel Duffle. Made with a sturdy brass zipper, North American vegetable tanned leather and canvas, this is for the guy who needs a bag that’s just as dependable as he is. While you’re there, check out their other beautiful leather products– you may just find something to put on your own wish list!
You know what they say about guys with big rods? Big fish. Give your guy a legendary rod this Christmas: the St. Croix Legend Elite Musky Rod. Musky fishing requires a longer, stiffer rod so ensure he has the necessary equipment to pull fish in the boat all summer long. A top of the line rod, for a top of the line guy– this is everything he’s been dreaming about. Exceedingly light for a rod of its strength, he’ll be out on the water all day– so you get some much needed time to yourself. Head down to see the guys at LOTW Sports Headquarters so they can help you pick out the best one for your man.
Some guys just don’t like “stuff”. Consider purchasing a gift certificate from the following small and local business.
A particularly special gift for the photographer in the family, River Air offers short (~30 minutes total) excursions from Kenora’s Harbourfront and Minaki. A unique way to see the area many of us have grown up immersed in, it’ll likely be a trip they’ll never forget. If you really want to blow it out of the water, book a fly-in fishing day trip. They’ll fly you out to an exclusive, secluded lake in the middle of the wilderness that’s outfitted with boats, motors, and fuel. Spend the day among some of Ontario’s finest fishing, and then be flown back home with your catch. Contact River Air for quotes on all excursions.
Whether your guy could use a little help or he’s brand new to it all, local guides can offer a wealth of information, skill development and good ol’ tips and tricks to up his game. Guided trips are also the perfect gift for the city guy who just wants a day out on the water or in the bush. We have some great local guides in town. Jeff Gustafson has made a name for himself over the years– winning and placing in tournaments around North America. But he always comes home, and he knows LOTW like the back of his hand. A great choice, you may need to book around his schedule though. An up and coming angler (he’s a KBI champion– no small feat!), Jamie Bruce is also one to consider. If it’s musky your guy is after, try Tank Industries. While they can do multi-species trips, they specialize in musky. And just like Jeff, Batiuk & Son offer both fishing and hunting guiding services. If you’re looking for ice fishing and in Manitoba, consider SnoBear Excursions & Rental. They’ll take you out in the absolutely coolest ice fishing vehicle. Seriously, just go check it out. They offer both guided trips in the 2017 SnoBear TL or just vehicle rentals.
For the academic on your list consider a gift certificate for the Hermetic Code Tour of the Manitoba Legislative Building. Highly renowned, this tour by Dr. Frank Albo explores the signs, symbols, and messages that were woven into the Manitoba Legislative Building by a Freemason during its design. One of the most interesting and entertaining architecture tours in Canada, this is a unique gift for that hard to buy for guy who has everything. Tours are limited to warmer months to account for the outdoor portion, and tickets are non-refundable, so do buy a gift certificate rather than a ticket. Tours are small and book up fast, so encourage the recipient to book well in advance! After the tour, suggest lunch in the Exchange District for some additional architectural sights.
For the well-kempt guy on your list, may I suggest a gift certificate to Blacksmith Parlour? An upscale parlour (not that kind– and the first of its kind in Canada!) it’s a men’s aesthetic salon. Consider it also for the unkempt. Whether your man needs a thorough going over or just a little sprucing, give him a gift certificate for a little pampering in an environment he’ll feel a little bit more, well, comfortable than your own salon. Featuring masculine scents, large leather armchairs, personal tv’s with individual headsets, and alcohol with each nail treatment, I don’t think you’ll have as hard a time convincing him to go as in years past.
Haven’t checked out the girls guide yet? Check out FxH’s Holiday Gift Guide for the Ladies. Find the guides helpful? Share it with anyone you think might need a little help!
This post contains product affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission from the purchase of these items I’d have recommended anyway.
"When a mysterious illness sidelined my original plans in life, I packed up and moved home to Kenora, Ontario, Canada. With little money, the inability to work, and a whole lot to figure out, I moved into my family’s cabin on Lake of the Woods. So these are the moments, the recipes, the occasional heartache, and the adventures of a life starting over on the little island between Fox and Hare." Between Fox and Hare is the on-going saga of a 20-something Canadian whose heart is anchored in Lake of the Woods. With her love of all things wild, Alyssa chronicles her journey learning and developing her skills in hunting, fishing, foraging, and outdoor cooking. Providing culinary tips and recipes, a peek into the Northern lifestyle, and the insight of a life lived with a chronic illness, Alyssa tells her story of putting back the pieces against the backdrop of the beautiful Boreal forest. Alyssa can be found during the open-water season on the unnamed island between Fox and Hare with her two dogs, Storm and Lily. She spends the frozen months in the little city of Kenora, mostly in the kitchen, and enjoys winter hiking and ice-fishing excursions when the temperature hasn’t dropped below -30°C.