I love Christmas. There, I’ve said it. I love it. The music, the tatty, fusty tinsel that coms out year after year, the twinkly lights, the cheesy films; the promise of that perfect Christmas day.
It never is, of course – perfect. It never snows, someone gets too drunk or has too much sugar (or both); it can be sad, and throw up some really tough emotions. It puts huge pressure on people to have a good time (go on! Have a good time!!) which is a perfect recipe for *not* having a good time, it encourages mass consumerism, and it can amplify loneliness like nothing else.
But ALL OF THAT ASIDE, I can’t help but love it. And, as much as they shouldn’t play a huge part in it, gifts are part of the reason! Giving, more than receiving, obviously… *ahem*
Lately I’ve been trying to be a bit more thoughtful when I shop – both how much, and where. It can be incredibly difficult (when you have kids especially) not to just say sod it and buy the all the plastic, but I’m determined to cut down on the amount of “stuff” we have and be a bit more careful with where our money goes.
With that in mind, I’ve made up a Christmas gift guide of things that are all made by small businesses in the UK. It’s all pretty much stuff I’ve had my eye on for myself (ha!) but I might do a gift guide for the babes and partners in your life too.
An Independent Christmas Gift Guide
Hades is a new British knitwear brand, and I love their quirky take on a classic woollen jumper. Their band jumpers were hugely popular and this latest Alphabet range is bound to be a hit. I’ll take an L, please Bob.
There’s something about the shape of this paperweight that I just love. No, I don’t have stacks of paper lying about and I clearly don’t *need* a paperweight, but it’s beautiful. Designed by Havelock Studios, it’s from Nicely Sourced, a Yorkshire based company who do as their name suggests and seek out small, independent makers.
Studio NL is one of my absolute favourites. It’s the kind of place you want to hang out in, and owners Rox Webster and her husband the kind of people you want to be friends with. Or just be. Their print company Young Double designs simple and super cool prints and clothing in soft, gender neutral styles. I live in my LOVE printed sweatshirt (I’m wearing it right now.)
Some beautifully soothing scent to keep you calm when all the Christmas craze gets too much. Honest are based in Birmingham, but you can also get your mitts on their products at the beautifully minimal lifestyle shop and treatment space, The Method, on St Stephens Street, Edinburgh.
I had such a hard time choosing what to include from Orkney based knitwear designer Hilary Grant because I WANT IT ALL. Her range of blankets, scarves, hats and gloves are just gorgeous, and offer a contemporary twist on classic Scottish designs. Knitwear is a staple in Shetland in winter – who am I kidding, all year round – so some stylish woollens are a must.
Instagram is a wonderful thing: I adore it for finding new and small companies. It’s how I found every single item on this list, so if you have a small business, don’t be shy of punting your wears there! My most recent find was Tom Pigeon, a design studio founded by Pete and Kirsty Thomas and based in Fife, which makes incredible prints, jewellery and other design-led items. These earrings are perfect – size, colour, material.
Essence and Alchemy are a tiny company based in Sheffield, specialising in simple and natural scents. Their products are all plant based and there are no synthetic fragrances or other additives. You can buy their candles from the equally lovely The Future Kept, another independent shop run by a husband and wife team who strive to source “quality goods with an honest provenance”. You can choose to search by origin, too, so if you’re keen to keep things local theirs is a good place to start.
This is a sneaky addition as Herbivore Botanicals are actually a US company. I’ve been lusting after their range for a few years now, though I still haven’t tried their products as I couldn’t find a UK stockist. Until I stumbled on Wood/Grey! It’s an online lifestyle shop based in South Wales which stocks b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l brands which aren’t readily available in the UK.