The 2022 NAIT holiday gift guide

Need a great giving idea? Check out the offerings from these grads

Getting a gift tends to be a good experience.

Maybe you tear away the wrapping paper to find something you really need. Or, perhaps better yet, it’s just a fun thing that suits you perfectly. Either way, you often receive something you appreciate, like you appreciate the person who gave it to you.

Shouldn't giving a gift be just as good?

Unless, that is, you love the bustle of a big-box mega-retailer on a holiday season weekend, or losing yourself to the endless scroll of online shopping. But what if you could find that perfect something for that wonderful someone by way of a small business?

That’s our gift to you! In keeping with a techlifetoday holiday tradition, we’ve produced a fresh new gift guide featuring products and services from local independent businesses run by NAIT grads (many of them from the alumni business directory). It’s loaded with unique experiences, tasty treats and all manner of fun but uncategorizable this and that.

You’re sure to find something great! And to bring a smile to someone’s face! And probably have fun doing it!

Happy holidays from the team at techlifetoday.

(And thank you for the gift of your attention in 2022 – we hope it was fun.)

Gifts for people who like to do fun things

Great books

NAIT grads, you might think – this must be about cookbooks. It’s true! But not entirely! Grads from a variety of programs have followed their passions into producing work in several genres, from memoirs to guides to science books for kids. Check out our growing list of authors and volumes.

rolling pin on a table dusted with flour

Baking classes

The Duchess Bake Shop (co-owners include Jay Downton, Finance ’02, and Ewa Jastrzebski, Interior Design Technology '07) is recognized as a world-class bakery. Now, it’s helping customers produce world-class baking, preserves and more on their own. Give a gift card for Duchess Atelier and maybe you’ll have the chance to judge the recipient’s progress first-hand.

Birding gear

There are more than 400 bird species that call Alberta home. Given the current popularity of birdwatching, chances are good that you know someone very excited about that stat. Help them see as many as possible with gear from outfitter and gift shop Backyard Birds, co-owned by Jan Tollenaar (Biological Sciences Technology – Environmental Sciences ’87).

escape city escape room in edmonton

A great escape

There might be a double meaning to the idea of “escape room.” You need to solve clues to be freed from these popular live-action puzzle games before time runs out. But they also draw a player in, allowing them to forget the troubles of the day. Escape City, co-owned by Pamela (Finance ’05) and Dave Woolger (Architectural Technology ’05), is one of Edmonton’s originals.

Float therapy

For those looking for a more relaxing take on “escape,” almost nothing compares to float therapy. At Modern Gravity (owned by Matt Smith, Personal Fitness Trainer ’11, and Jamie Phillips, Millwright ’12), visitors can float their cares away on the surface of a saltwater bath in near or complete darkness and silence. Give the gift of sweet oblivion today!

Gifts for people who like to eat and drink tasty things

Creative mustard

The mustard empire of Carly Minish (Culinary Arts ’11) was born of the need for Christmas gifts. Back when Minish was a cash-strapped student, she decided to gift loved ones with homemade condiments. They proved so popular they led her to found Smak Dab Gourmet Mustard, now a national brand. Find it in a shop near you.

chocolate from compass chocolates, owned by NAIT grad and chocolatier priya windsor

Fine chocolates

What says “I appreciate you” more than brown wax wrapped in foil? Anything! Specifically, though, it’s artisanal chocolate, like that made by Compass Chocolates, owned by Priya Winsor (Baking and Pastry Arts ’19) and a new entry among the Edmonton area’s growing community of chocolatiers. Choose from creatively flavoured bars, gift boxes and more.

jaguar coffee beans with pot and glasses of coffee

Small-batch coffee

Locally roasted and sourced from small, independently owned farms, Jaguar Coffee specializes in beans from Central and South America, regions that owners Keyton (Management ’06) and Greg Wilson (Accounting ’02, Bachelor of Business Administration ’13) believe offer distinct, rich flavours. Your favourite coffee-lover might agree.

kathy leskow, nait grad and owner of confetti sweets, holds bags of cookies

Amazing cookies

You will ruin your recipient on Oreos with these treats. Started as farmers market confections, Confetti Sweets (owned by Kathy Leskow, Management ’96) now offers cookies, cupcakes and more at their Sherwood Park shop and a retailer near you. Consider the coconut cookie, a tried-and-true techlifetoday favourite.

Exceptional dining

Whether it’s for a wine-paired dining event or a gourmet meal at a casual-meal price, Ernest’s, NAIT’s on-campus, student-staffed restaurant, is a fine choice for the food aficionado. Pick up a gift card or tickets to an unforgettable culinary event.

Gifts for people who like cool stuff

tyler smith wearing "not alone" hoodie

Clothing for a cause

Following his recovery from the tragic Humboldt Broncos accident, Tyler Smith (Radio and Television – TV) came to understand the need to also focus on his mental health. His Not Alone clothing line, including hoodies, T-shirts, hats and more, is part of his efforts to spread the word that it’s OK not to be OK – and a way for wearers to signal solidarity with others.

Kitchen knives

A good knife, says Knifewear manager Kris Armitage (Culinary Arts ’02), should be “an extension of your hand when you’re working.” Visit the shop for a variety of exceptional hand extensions, accessories, or give a gift card for gear or for classes on sharpening, cutting and more.

Handmade everything

Seven times a year, Vanessa Antoniuk (Marketing ’00) holds Wholly Handmade, an artisanal market featuring 100% handmade items. Located in the Strathcona County Community Centre, more than 120 vendors offer everything from home decor to clothing to food and more. It’s like a gift guide within a gift guide! Visit on Dec. 10-11 or 17-18.

gift box from gray jay gifts

Gift boxes

Why stop at giving just one thing? Founded by Rima Tabet (Personal Fitness Trainer ’16), Gray Jay Gifts bundles up presents by themes. Choose from boxes bursting with wellness goodies, coffee and accessories, charcuterie delights, household knick knacks and more

nait branded sweatshirt

NAIT swag

Know of a proud alum who loves to show off where they got the excellent education that helped make them who they are today? Look no further than shop AT NAIT. In addition to all those books and school supplies, the store stocks a wide selection of branded clothing and giftware to bring back happy memories as well as make new ones on Christmas morning.


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