Suffering from Gifter's Block?

Mercantile Gift Boxes

You know the feeling.
You have people on your Christmas list and you've spent most of your brain power choosing just the right thing for that special someone. You're spent - fresh out of ideas for everyone else.

Fortunately, there are Mercantile Gift Boxes. With four unique and carefully curated collections, you're bound to find a box perfectly suited for the people left on your list: one for the seasoned home cook, one for the dinner party hosts, one for the sweet-tooth and one for that certain someone who just needs to take a day off and treat themselves to some well-deserved quiet time. As an added bonus, they're already tastefully wrapped in an elegant craft-coloured box with black ribbon. Just remove the price tag and it's ready to go under the tree.

You'll find them right opposite the checkout counter. For those of you expecting to find our killer selection of tonic waters there, don't worry we've temporarily moved them to the other side of that centre table!

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Last Minute?

Kusmi Tsarevna

You can spot the tell-tale signs almost immediately from behind the counter: those who finished their Christmas shopping days or even weeks ago and who are perhaps picking up some hosting items or additional stocking stuffers, those who are methodically going through the list and those who are just beginning. We've seen all three types over the last few days and will for the next couple as well (our full holiday hours are listed below).

Whether you're looking for something very special for a tea aficionado, a super-elegant hostess gift or a teacher gift on this last day before the holidays begin, consider the special edition gold-tin Kusmi Tsarevna Christmas blend tea.

Kusmi was founded the same year as the Confederation of Canada 150 years ago in St. Petersburg by Pavel Michailovitch Kousmichoff - a poor delivery boy who learned the blending arts at the hand of a master tea blender and rose to create one of the world's great tea merchants. The family fled the Russian Revolution and centred the brand in Paris in 1917.

Cinnamon, cardamom, orange peel, anise, ginger and liquorice are all notes in this black tea symphony and the tin is big and bright enough to be of use to your own little drummer boy or girl probably by next Christmas!

Holiday Hours

We're open 10:00am to 8:00pm today and tomorrow, the 22nd and 23rd.
December 24th, 10:00am to 4:00pm
December 25th & 26th we are closed
(Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day everyone!)

December 27th we're open 10:00am to 7:00pm
December 28th we're open noon until 6:00pm.

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A Great Fit for Christmas

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Meredith's Holiday Ginger Collection

Meredith's Ginger Syrups & Elixirs of Meaford Ontario are a great example of the world-class local products we feature at the Mercantile. They have become a customer favourite for everything from cocktails to teas to straight shots for a healthy boost during cold season.

Like many locally made products, these are made in small batches and any slight issue at the production end might result in dwindling stock on our shelves - there are no warehouses of preservative-filled bottles to draw from - so occasionally we find that demand exceeds supply. But it seems Meredith has borrowed a few elves from the workshop and just this week delivered an abundant Santa-sack of syrups and elixirs including all the regular flavours plus the holiday favourite Ruby Ginger Elixir with clementine, cranberry and orange blossom PLUS two new special edition recipes: Turmeric Cardamom Syrup and Asian Pear Elixir.

You'll find the elixirs in the fridge at the back of the store and the syrups at the front with several sizes to choose from and a special Holiday Syrup Set for the ginger fiends on your gift list.

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Not too soon for Advent Calendars!

Roger's Advent

There's always a debate this time of year: when is it too early to put out Christmas stuff? Nobody wants to push things and nobody wants to be completely sick of carols before it's appropriate (we confess our tolerance is low!) but Advent Calendars are one area where we take our cue from customers. We've already had people come in and ask if we're getting our traditional chocolate advent calendars from Roger's Chocolates of Victoria BC. Well of course we are!

This year's new design, Winter Fun, by John Burrow is guaranteed to sell out so don't wait. And apart from it being top quality chocolate - and apart from it being fun to open a different window every day in advance of Christmas, Rogers' Chocolates is proudly committed to Fair Trade Certified™ Cocoa, so making your Christmas sweet isn't making someone else's bitter.

We do offer some other advent kits as well - where you can fill the windows with your own treats - but we know some people have been waiting for this announcement as a kind of unofficial start to the season, so consider yourself notified!


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The Laura Slack Collection

Chocolate, it seems, is as essential a part of the holiday season as anything from mistletoe to menorahs. And naturally we have a huge range of chocolate from classic to fancy, Xmas-themed to potato-chip filled, super sweet to super spicy and everything in between. But at the risk of repeating ourselves, we'd like to point once more to the whole collection from Toronto chocolatier Laura Slack. Her work is truly impeccable and even her most basic bar - wrapped in chiyogami paper from the Japanese Paper Place - feels like an extra special gift no matter what time of the year you give or receive it.

At Christmas-time, Laura really goes all out and adds a whole host of additional items to her offering - including handpainted chocolate snowflake lollies, chocolate bacon-toffee-almonds and truffles - not to mention her dulce-de-leche-filled chocolate skulls (for the badass on your list) and her sublime Drink of the Gods hot chocolate mix.

So as you get in your last minute shopping and top up your supply of stocking stuffers, don't forget to have a closer look at the Slack collection that really is as special to give as it is to receive. You'll find it all to the right of the checkout counter.

A reminder that we are open until 8:00pm tonight (Friday) and 10:00am to 4:00pm on Christmas Eve.
We will be closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

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Fundamental Ornamental

Fundamental Ornamental

Ornaments Galore at The Mercantile

As you enter the shop, at the far end of the main table is a large vase with some dogwood branches sticking out of it. Hung from the various twigs and branches is a small selection of our Christmas ornaments. Often, customers beguiled by a felt mouse or a glass fish or maché deer will simply pluck the ornaments off the branches and bring them to the counter. Now, that's just fine with us but if you're in the market for the most charming ornaments on Roncy, you might find it easier to pluck one from the baskets under that same table - down around shin height. If you don't see them right away, don't worry - a nearby child will! Come to think of it - as I look at this picture - it conjures the image of the passengers in steerage on the Titanic, below decks. If you think of it like that, you're actually rescuing these adorable little creatures!

Not quite sure what that means if you're picking up one of the beautiful whale ornaments - that's more Moby Dick than Titanic - which is, literally, a whole other story. The final word on that choice, though, is that many customers keep the whale ornaments up year round in the bathroom - a decoration that lasts long after the elves and snowmen are packed up for another season.

Ornaments, Christmas Crackers, holiday themed napkins and our usual amazing treats are what we're all about heading into the holidays.

If you didn't see our Tweet or Facebook posts, our extended hours starting this weekend are:

December 17th & 18th: 10:00am – 7:00pm
December 19th – 23rd: 10:00am – 8:00pm 
December 24th           : 10:00am – 4:00pm

We will be closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.


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Make your own Snowflake cookies

Last week we wrote about the gift of time - taking that moment in a busy day to just savour and reflect and chill... without Netflix. This week we come at that same idea from a slightly different angle.

If you know the Mercantile you know that we offer all kinds of delights you can enjoy the moment you step out the door (the butter tarts and peanuts sometimes don't even make it that far!) but we also carry the fixin's for a whole other kind of satisfaction: the kind that comes from making something yourself. And especially at this time of year - when there's so much pressure to impress with special gifts - sometimes the most special gift is the one you made with your own hands or one that gave you the chance to spend time with someone special making something together.

Head into the store and stick to your left closer to the back. Just before you hit the Teas section (again, see last week's post) you'll find our modest but mighty section of stuff for making your own cakes and cookies, muffins, gingerbread people, you name it. No kits - just things like cookie cutters, cupcake cups, flavours, fondant, sprinkles, icing, piping bags and other tools to help you release your inner child (or perhaps inner Cookie Monster). There's a great selection of seasonal stuff to add to our collection and these snowflake cookies are just one idea to prime your imagination.

If baking just spooks you too much we do have some brilliantly beautiful and delicious alternatives from the professionals (like Mary MacLeod's shortbreads!) but, honestly, nothing tastes quite as good as a cookie someone you love made for you special.

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Christmas to a T

Christmas to a T

We wanted to point you to a couple of new items in our already well-stocked tea section on the north-east wall. Joining the excellent selections from Pukka, Kusmi and House of Tea is a new range of exquisite blends of white, black, oolong, organic and green teas from a Vancouver company simply called Tealeaves. Go for a Lavender Earl Grey or Monsoon Chai or a sampler of flavours - all in truly beautiful packaging.

If you're a loose leaf brewer, you might also like to try the smart, fun and functional new floating tea-ball system from AdHoc. You'll find them on the shelf among the teas.

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Added Advents

Added Advents

Alt Advent

Last week we let you know that the Roger's Chocolate Advent Calendars were in. They're popular with many customers who had asked us to give them a heads up - after all, they are a time-sensitive item for the holiday season.

Still, if you're into counting down the Advent but chocolate isn't your bag, maybe a .... bag... would be more your (gosh, this is awkward) bag. Fill the simply decorated numbered paper bags with your own choice of daily treat to mark your own Christmas countdown. Simpler still, set up a string and clip a daily treat or note or decoration to count the days using these beautifully decorated and numbered clothes pegs.

A warning: not only do you need to start your Advent countdown soon but also these Advent items tend to sell out quite suddenly, so whatever your choice - chocolate or paper bags or clips - consider popping into the shop this weekend to pick them up. I suppose you could say that in some ways.... your days are numbered!

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Quality Advent Chocolate

Quality Advent Chocolate

Rogers Advent Calendars

I know there are people on our mailing list just because of this item. Customers have been asking about them since mid-October. And for good reason: there are a lot of junky-chocolate advent calendars out there. We're fortunate to get some of these every year from Roger's Chocolatier of Victoria B.C. and they always sell out, so, understandably, customers are looking for a heads-up. This is that heads-up!

There are two designs this year - by Rod Charlesworth on the left and Christine Genest on the right) and each comes in both milk and dark to accommodate different tastes and aesthetics. No matter what different stores and marketers say about the official start to Christmas, there's no countdown better than the advent calendar and no better advent calendar than Roger's!

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