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Fork in the Road: Love and cheer with local gifts that disappear

Thoughtful gifting that says ‘Christmas’—then keeps on giving
FITR Dec 1
A huge community supporter for years, Moguls Coffee House is about as local as it gets, including all the good vibes from (L to R) Midori Holland, Diana Chan (owner), Peggie Murphy, Annabel Wallace and Justine Pace. On Saturday, Dec. 4, five per cent of sales will go to the Whistler Community Foundation.

If there’s one thing you can do this holly-dazed season that will gladden your heart, and many others, it’s block Amazon from your search results (yes, you can!) and shop local, local, local. I like what fellow Pique-er G.D. Maxwell says: Every dollar spent online hurts. And it does, if you spend it the wrong way. 

So grab your newly configured phone—you’ll need it for a few quick local searches—and head on down to your favourite local hangout for a favourite local drink to celebrate. Mine? A turmeric latte (made from local Ranger Tea) at Moguls, that longtime Whistler coffeehouse in a classic location with giant windows perfect for people watching in Village Square. 

While you’re hanging out, wherever it is in Sea to Sky, consider how many people on your Santa list would appreciate a thoughtful gift, including a gift certificate, from there or any shop you can see through the window. In the case of Moguls, and other local businesses (see below), they’ll even ante up a portion of their sales to the Whistler Community Foundation when you shop this Saturday, Dec. 4. 

For if there’s one thing that’s going to spread the love these days—to family and friends, our community, and our shared world beyond—it’s giving a gift with the tiniest eco-footprint and the biggest heartfelt impact. The more local, the better.

Bonus: you don’t need to spend much. A good book that can be passed along. A nice meal or loaf of bread from your favourite supplier. A donation in the name of loved ones to a community cause that resonates, like the Dr. Rob Burgess Primary Care Fund via the Whistler Health Care Foundation, which does so much good. Ditto the Whistler Centre for Sustainability. The gift of time and service to help a neighbour in need—offer to babysit, clear a driveway, chop some wood. Write it up in a homemade card. Slip it under their door. No purchase necessary.


The Whistler Community Foundation has already done a lot of the thinking and connecting for you with their Give Local, Shop Local program. Simply go shopping on Dec. 4 at any of the participating Whistler businesses, including Armchair Books, Coastal Culture, Home Hardware, and more. In addition to Moguls, Zog’s Whistler and another iconic eatery, Sushi Village, are also taking part. 

On Dec. 4, five per cent of all sales at participating businesses will go to the community foundation and the many initiatives it supports, like Sea to Sky Hospice, the local library and Whistler’s environmental group, AWARE. You can also target a gift donation through something like the Environmental Legacy Fund, or the Chili Thom Memorial Scholarship Fund for the art lovers on your list.

More in the arts and culture department, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and the Audain Art Museum both have outstanding gift shops. And check out the Arts Whistler gift shop in the Maury Young Arts Centre for everything from paintings to weavings by local artists. Buy a gift membership online to this great organization that’s supported art and culture at Whistler for ages, or gift a ticket to an upcoming show. 

As for more writerly-type giftees, a $30 donation will get them an All-Access Holiday Pass to this year’s Whistler Writers Festival. It includes access to dozens of readings and workshop events. Who knows? You might even help them produce a bestseller! 

Lots of locals give back by supporting the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS), which runs 20-plus much-needed initiatives, including the local food bank, outreach and counselling services, and my favourites for gift shopping anytime: the Re-Use It and Re-Build It Centres, and the new online Re-Love-It Online Store. (You’ll be cutting edge—giving gifts from thrift stores is all the rage in New York lately.) 

You can make a donation to WCCS in general that honours your intended recipient, or donate to the Holiday Hampers program, a special helping hand this time of year and a locals’ favourite, especially for businesses and groups that round up donations from colleagues in lieu of buying gifts for each other. 

If you need to thank a deserving teacher or be a Secret Santa, try the lovely gift of a Zero Ceiling Family Dinner Friday, Dec. 3. Proceeds support local youth and the Work 2 Live program. 

As for our four-legged friends, and those who love them, Moguls and Zog’s Whistler, which serves up hot dogs and more at Sundial Crescent, are also helping with two great fundraisers for WAG—Whistler Animals Galore, the local animal shelter voted Whistler’s favourite non-profit for the past five years. 

Moguls and Zog’s are matching all donations to WAG, with the goal of raising $30,000. These two eateries, which have been so generous to the local community over the years, are also helping to sponsor the annual Pet Photos with Santa on Sunday, Dec. 5, noon to 4 p.m. at the Westin Resort and Spa. Details on WAG’s website will help you arrange a gift photo shoot for the right someone this Christmas. 

See how easy and thoughtful giving can be? You can have some fun, shop locally, and do a lot of good in your community before your holiday latte’s done. Best thing is there’s virtually nothing to wrap or throw away, so relax and order another round!

Many thanks to all the wonderful Whistlerites who shared their ideas for disappearing gifts: Stella Harvey, Cate Webster, G.D. Maxwell, Pauline Wiebe, Cheeying Ho, Kris Shoup, Annabel Wallace and Claire Mozes. 

Glenda Bartosh is an award-winning journalist who gladly buys less and less wrapping paper each year.