Christmas inspiration created by YMM Locals
Editor’s Choice: Fort McMurray Holiday Favourites
Christmas is my favourite time of year. With three of my party-of-five family members born in December, planning birthdays amongst the concerts, holiday parties and the rest of the many festivities can be hectic.
And though, I’m learning more, and more, to go with the flow and enjoy the ‘sleigh’ ride, I am still determined to make each of my family member’s birthdays exceptional. With that, Christmas has to be well-prepared in advance to manage everything else as it comes.
A couple of weeks ago, I started planning by searching for unique, local gifts and holiday add-ons. I’m not surprised by what I stumbled upon because we have some marvellous local entrepreneurs. There are also some places in the city I visit each year because I’ve made it a personal tradition.
The following list is a few of my favourite things with some gift ideas and options to consider to celebrate your holiday season. The best part, they can all be found here in YMM.
Heritage Park’s Gift Shop & Christmas Room
Nothing cheers me up more than going to the Heritage Park’s Christmas Room. Each year, Fort McMurray Historical Society’s Programs & Office Manager Tammy Plowman carefully selects beautiful holiday décor and Christmas items to bring into the Park’s seasonal shop.
I like to purchase a new ornament to have my family’s name and present year put on it. It’s a Christmas tradition of mine. I also like to see what’s new.
This year, I found an adorable tiny, wooden ladder, which I know will be climbed on by our Elf-on-the-Shelf at some point. These are just two of the many items available at the Christmas Store, but you will have to go to explore the entire collection.
Don’t forget to check around the Heritage Shop, as well. There are many locally-crafted and distributed products available year-round.
Give the gift of history and purchase your loved ones a copy of the late-Frances K. Jean’s book; More Than Oil: Trappers, Traders & Settlers of Northern Alberta.
Mrs. Jean gave her heart to our community as she valued all it had to offer to its residents, and her book is a gift in itself for the robust knowledge and information on local history.
The Gift Shop and Christmas room are open seven days a week from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Christmas Dessert Platters
I have to be honest. Of all the things, I’m most excited about this one. My baking skills don’t go far from adding one egg and half a cup of water, which I’m OK with because some of those packaged bakes are delicious.
However, the taste doesn’t compare to the creations made by the skilled treat makers in our hometown. So, when three of Fort McMurray’s best bakers announced they are working together to prepare assorted dessert platters for the holiday season – I begged them to take my money.
Frost Like A Boss, A Perfect Piece and Cuckoo for Cookies are baking an arrangement of sweets, including chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, fudge, snowballs, gingersnaps and much more. The platter will include two and a half dozen desserts for $45 each.
Want one? Pre-orders are due by December 17 and will be ready for pick-up on December 20 onwards. Email Saveryl@hotmail.com to place your order.
Tea Over Tales Storytelling Doll
Did you know we have doll maker living amongst us? Well, I just recently learned this. And the dolls she makes, these dolls aren’t the type you’ll find mass-produced and wrapped in commercial packaging. No, not these. These dolls are extraordinary. They come with a cause and are handcrafted with love by the local multi-talented entrepreneur Katie Mcinnes.
A nursing student by day, Katie founded and launched Tea Over Tales in October 2019 with a vision and mission to empower children with the ability to change the world by creating a collection of reversible dolls.
Katie also dedicates her new small-business in her late-Grandmother Doris’ honour and calls her “the woman who instilled a little piece of magic in my childhood.” She is just starting out and already has three dolls in her first Bows n’ Bloom collection, which includes Iris, Lavender and Primrose.
After an online introduction, I’m still eager to meet the owner in person. And, I’m equally excited to have my daughter open her Christmas gift of Primrose and see the smile Katie’s beautiful, handmade doll gives to her.
To order a handmade Tea Over Tales Storytelling Doll, go to www.teaovertales.com.
What special local treasures are you finding this holiday season?
About the author
Dawn Booth is the Editor-in-Chief of YMM Parent Magazine and Your McMurray Magazine. She has actively worked in the Wood Buffalo region's media industry since residing in Fort McMurray in 2007.
Her passion is writing poetry and puts it at the forefront of the community through her volunteer work as the President of NorthWord Magazine. Most important, Booth puts her family of five first, which includes her husband Ryan and their three children, Landon, Dawson and Tessa.