Stratford shops putting away the black and orange and bringing out the green and red

The Stratford Tourism Alliance officially launched its 2019 Christmas Trail on Friday.

Stratford Tourism Alliance marketing manager Cathy Rehberg, the owner of Touchmark in Stratford, Diane Gloor, and store manager Della Rooke look through some of the goodies available as part of this year's Christmas Trail, which officially launched on Friday. (Galen Simmons/The Beacon Herald)

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The Stratford Tourism Alliance is giving locals and visitors an early start to the holiday shopping season.

On Friday, only a day after Halloween, the Stratford Tourism Alliance launched its annual Christmas Trail, which gives residents and visitors a unique shopping experience across 25 local businesses.

“Hit the Christmas Trail and get your shopping started,” Stratford Tourism Alliance marketing manager Cathy Rehberg said at the trail’s launch on Friday at Touchmark, one of the businesses participating this year. “It’s really easy. All you have to do is pick six gifts for $30 of your choice of trendy and distinctive offerings at 25 shops on the trail. Share with friends and family or keep a treat or two for yourself.”

To get started, this year shoppers can purchase their trail vouchers at the Stratford Tourism office, as well as Village Craft and Candle in St. Marys and The British Touch in Shakespeare, both of which are also stops.

Good for stocking stuffers and secret Santa gifts, the season’s offerings include Canadian-made bath bombs, soy candles, ginger and wintergreen bath salts, lavender-scented hand lotion, an assortment of shortbread cookies, maple leaf luggage tags, leather device clips for charging cables, sour apple and sweet maple crabapple mixers, a Stratford Festival ornament with bits of costume inside, handmade wooden coasters and live-edge maple serving trays, Christmas-themed socks, locally distilled alcoholic samplers, olive oils and balsamic vinegars, and more.

“I participated in the trail for several years and then I took a break. This is my first year back,” said Diane Gloor, owner of Touchmark. “The excitement it’s created over the last couple years has really taken off and I wanted to be part of it. Any time you can get someone through the door it’s great. And people are excited. It’s almost like adult trick or treating in a way.”

For full details and to looks through the list of participating businesses, go to or call 519-271-5140. Shoppers are also encouraged to share their experiences on social media using #ChristmasTrail.

The final Christmas Trail shopping day will be Dec. 20.