This year’s holiday shopping is weird no doubt. While malls, and even worse small businesses are shuttered, the online version should feel as simple as a quick search and an even quicker click. But I have lost myself in an online rabbit role trying to find the perfect gift that supports local, arrives on time and tries to satisfy my love for the gift of experience.

Each year I look forward to giving the gift of adventure so we can spend the holidays exploring and enjoying Toronto. I have come across some interesting finds that will quench that thirst to get out of the house whether it’s to experience T.O. or to support a local business curbside.

PLAY IN A BOX: Young People’s Theatre has done an inspiring job at pivoting their in theatre offerings with online experiences. For the holidays they’ve offered a special limited edition of Play in a Box, a DIY package for little theatre-lovers in TOw. The kit is filled with everything families need to create a play including an eight-story collection of Robert Munsch classics adapted into play scripts, tips and inspiration for costumes, sets and props. Delivery options include contactless curbside pick-up at YPT or three-day shipping.

BOOKS IN TOW: There are lots of new titles released this fall from Canadian children’s book authors and illustrators. One of our faves is Night Walk by Sarah O’Leary and illustrated by one of our favourite Moms in T.O. Ellie Arscott. Her streetscapes are all about Toronto. Find your local book store and arrange a curbside pick up!

VIRTUAL HOLIDAY MUSICAL: We’ll definitely miss heading to the Elgin Theatre to enjoy the Ross Petty’s annual holiday musical. But we’re looking forward to bringing ‘Plumbum’ and all his friends to our home via this year’s edition: THE WIZARD OF OZ, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS! (PS: Kid in T.O. and America’s Got Talent finalist Roberta Battaglia lends her voice.) There are two shows Saturday and Sunday, December 19 & 20 that you can watch anytime between 10:00am – 9:00pm EST. Tickets are $35 per household.

MAKE YOUR OWN ORNAMENTS: The Maker Bean, a local west end Toronto laser and 3D printing café has customizable ornaments for purchase. Verbeek Glass, an east end glass studio, offers DIY at home glass ornament making kits.

GET COOKIN’: Date nights & bake nights for the whole family with locally-run Mess Hall (gingerbread-making, with or without ingredients included, coming up on December 17, 2021.)

GET YOUR GAME ON: While getting locked in a room with friends is frowned upon, Looking Glass Adventures has lined up some remote play escape room options and offer tons of escape-room-in-a-box and board games for curbside pick-up. And in a time when it’s more important than ever to get the heck outside, throw some discs with kids in TOw – discs from The Good Disc.

TAKE A HIKE: A gift of nature that gives all 2021 year long — Toronto & Region Conservation Authority Family & Friends membership gives access to 12 local conservation areas around the GTA, an eGift card to explore Ontario Parks.

THE GIFT OF MAGIC: The Toronto Magic Company has an interactive holiday magic SHOW IN THE SNOW on Sunday, December 20, 2020. The live virtual 1.5-hour show is with packed with tricks – and you get to learn two holiday tricks.

CALLING ALL DETECTIVES: This one always arrives in the mail! The story-based mystery in a box was created by a local Toronto mom. Mail Order Mystery is great for kids of all ages or a gift for the whole family. The mystery comes in a series of letters filled with clues solve – the last instalment includes a keepsake.