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Photo: Kiersten Vuorimaki.

#Support613 Gift Guide: For people who don’t need “things”

By Kiersten Vuorimaki on December 8, 2020

Part 13 of Apt613’s gift guide gives you some ideas for those non-material girls and guys on your list.

Some people are impossible to shop for. This year of distance and postal delays doesn’t make gift-giving all that much easier. Whether they insist they don’t want “things”, or you haven’t seen the inside of their home for nine months and have no idea how many plants they already have, we’ve got you covered.

With so many arts and culture organizations affected by closures and and shutdowns this year, why not give the gift of culture to the person who has everything? Membership is one way to support local arts organizations who rely on funding, admission, or special events to stay alive. Sometimes membership dollars are what helps keep the lights on and the employees paid. Whatever 2021 holds, organizations your gift recipient cares about will need support. Maybe a charitable donation would mean the most to them?  Here are just a few examples that come to mind, to get your ideas flowing!


Show your community museum that you love them and want those nerds to keep their jobs! The Bytown Museum, Diefenbunker, and Vanier MuséoParc are just three examples of hardworking local museums that tell the story of our city to our citizens. Membership includes free admission, voting at AGMs, often special events or publications and merch. The Muséoparc even gives a piece of their own maple taffy for the individual membership beginning at $25!

The Ottawa Art Gallery has long been one of the blog’s favourite places, and they sure know how to treat their members! Members save on gallery merch, the OAG café, and special screenings, and get invited to the gallery’s coolest parties. (Remember parties?) For a gallery that offers free admission all year round, we could certainly give a little bit of love back. Student memberships are only $30 and a family of 4 is $100.


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Staying in Arts Court, SAW Gallery offers a membership as well, and you could get your gift recipient’s name put on the wall! The honour! The prestige! Help keep the cooperative and engaging space open for the arts community, and get advance notice of all the cutting-edge things happening.

What about a friend or family member who is into filmmaking? Like, really, really into filmmaking? Ottawa’s Digital Arts Resource Centre (formerly known as SAW Video) offers membership levels that begin at $35 for newsletters and access to workshops, up to full access to editing suites, equipment, and free workshops for $350 annually.

If your person is a photographer at heart, think about supporting SPAO with a donation to their new Outdoor Exhibit Wall or enrolment in a class.

Heritage Ottawa has been providing amazing content throughout lockdown, in addition to their regular tours and lecture series that are available to the public. Advocates for Ottawa’s history, this is the group who spearheaded legal action against the jerks who wanted to ruin the Chateau Laurier with a big ugly box of architectural gross a few years ago. Any Ottawa lover or history nerd would love a membership to this group!

Finally, does your recipient belong to a profession that has professional organizations? Could you look into memberships, or courses that they might benefit from but wouldn’t afford, or otherwise think to join?


Some people don’t need a gift to unwrap on the 25th, but are deserving of something special all year round. Lots of different businesses offer subscription services, which get delivered as regularly as you like, and would be easily no-contact and well-loved!

Get freshly roasted coffee beans delivered from a local roastery! Happy Goat, Little Victories and Bridgehead offer subscriptions for different frequencies and types of beans for the caffeine lover in your life.

Do you know a book lover who is also a beer lover? (it me) Dominion City just launched their Winter Book Club. Recipients receive one new book and a six-pack of Dominion City brews for three months. This is even better than books and warm beer under the tree!

Flowers always brighten a room, and are rarely something that we treat ourselves to. What about having a fresh bouquet delivered to mom every month? Or a cute mini vase delivered regularly to your favourite work-from-home #bossbabe?  A few local florists offer subscription packages made to make someone special smile, especially through the winter! Capital Florist is a creative genius that is easy to work with, and blumenstudio is still delivering jaw-dropping blooms from their new home in Westboro.


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If nothing else, the pandemic has underlined that all of us need to focus on the things that matter. Family, friends, community, our health, and our pets have taken centre stage. Here are a handful of groups that would be grateful for financial support, right now and always.

Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services provides non-faith-based, cost-free mental health and addiction support in Ottawa, and they are undoubtedly on the front lines of the ongoing mental health crisis of 2020.

Ottawa Stray Cat Rescue finds medical assistance and homes for so many of the city’s at-home coworkers, and are entirely reliant on volunteer and donation support.

So much more awareness is being spread about diversity and racial justice now, so consider supporting groups that are doing the hard work on the ground. Wabano offers health and social services to the area’s Indigenous community, and especially individuals at risk. Minwaashin Lodge provides support and services to women and children in need in the capital and beyond.

These are just the tip of the iceberg—let us know other great ideas in the comments!