Christmas shopping this year will feel different. No doubt about it. So, I am doing things a little differently too.
In previous years I have crafted Christmas gift guides that almost exclusively showcase the products of small, independent businesses throughout the UK. You can find them, if that’s what you’re looking for, here and here. There are some truly brilliant and beautiful products featured.
This year, however, if you are looking for a one stop shop that is packed full of independent business suggestions for your list, then I have updated my Pinterest board which you might like to take a look at here. I am updating this on a regular basis so do keep checking back.
I have also shared on Instagram stories some of the small businesses that I have bought from over the course of 2020, and have added them to a highlights reel.
Small businesses are so important, always. They breathe life and soul into the heart of town centres, and create memories for us all too. I fondly recall the most perfect of toy shops that used to reside on Regent Street in Leamington Spa, my birth town. That it was lost in 1995 due to surging property rental prices remains a loss to the town and the wider toy market. It was the first shop in the UK, for example, to stock Playmobil!
Back to independent stores, they are run by people who are passionate about what they do and the products that they make or sell. The person you meet behind the till or on the other end of that Etsy order is real, someone who has taken the time to create what you’re buying or choose something beautiful for their store.
With that still in mind, this year I am also trying to mix up my shopping with some of the bigger retailers too. The likes of William Clark (original founder of Debenhams in 1778) and Montague Burton (who created Burtons Menswear) may no longer be alive, but their legacies live on in the hard work that they put into creating their businesses. Those too are tumbling this year. They may not have the same appeal, but people losing their jobs, and perhaps their slightly different retail dreams, is just as hard hitting. It feels that we are losing our beautiful high street stores before our eyes, and having once worked behind the scenes in retail myself, these shops and their staff are important too.
I hope whatever this period brings for you, you are able to find some joy and perhaps sprinkle some magic. It’s going to be a really strange Christmas for us all this year, but more than ever before, when you are shopping for gifts for loved ones, shop small or shop local.
N.B. Images are courtesy of Canva. For more information please see my disclosure page.