Small Business Christmas Gift Guide
Written by Peter Chesters.
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Let's support our local small businesses this Christmas by purchasing beautiful handmade gifts from independent creatives based in Merseyside! Featuring 17 of the very best makers and creators in the North West we've got you covered. From sumptuous chocolate making experiences to mistletoe cacti. The perfect gift for your Nan and gorgeous handcrafted jewellery for your girlfriend. Festive jumpers for the little ones, and fragrant bath bombs and scents to help you unwind and relax. Let us guide you through the very best Christmas gifts that Liverpool has to offer...
Decorating and Wrapping Accessories
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in that huge queue in L1 two days before Christmas, juggling 7 different rolls of wrapping paper and 12 different cards, because you forgot to get any of that sorted until the last minute. So, this year, let’s put the decorations and the accessories first and make this our first ever organised Christmas.
Our friends at Ren and Thread have got the cards, wrapping paper and tree decorations all sorted together for us, so you don’t have to look far and wide. For the dog lovers in your life you can wrap all of their gifts in these doggy designs to let them know you really thought of them this year.
P.S. if anybody in your life isn’t a dog lover then you might want to consider whether that person is somebody who deserves anything more than a sack of coal at Christmas anyway.
Jules, from Mollycat Craft Co, also makes decorations and personalised cards. She doesn’t use any plastic in her work, so you can decorate your home this Christmas guilt free!
Turns out bunting isn’t just for decorating the streets when there’s a royal wedding on! Who knew!?
Mollycat has 7 different special Christmas bunting designs and my personal favourite is this cute robin pattern that can fit in perfectly amongst any Christmas decorations with its neutral colour scheme and a nice splash of red.
Presents Felt also make decorations for the house and the tree. Some of them are a bit more niche, so if you haven’t found that unique thing you are looking for so far, then these may be the ones for you.
I told you this would be a bit more niche! If you’ve got a ginger friend or loved one, get them this gift and remind them that we do love them, despite all the jokes that may come their way for the other 11 months of the year. It’s a bit out of order all that when you think about it anyway, isn’t it? So, give them something to hang from the tree with pride and let’s all share the love this Christmas.
An adorable gift for the little ones here. I used to love putting out carrots for Rudolph and seeing that he had eaten them the next morning. Now with this cute gift your kids can let Rudolph know exactly which carrot is for him.
Apparently, most people put out a glass of milk for Santa too, but my parents always thought it was a better idea to put out a glass of wine for him, I’ve got no idea why…
Sometimes the most thoughtful gift isn’t a new toy or gadget, it’s a piece of art. Choosing the right artwork to get somebody can be a difficult task, but if you find the perfect piece, it can show somebody just how much thought you have put into getting them something they will love. Luckily, Liverpool is full of amazing artists and we have picked some of our favourites for you to choose from this Christmas.
Becka is a local artist whose print works have garnered so much acclaim that she was featured on This Morning last Christmas! If it’s good enough for Schofield, it’s good enough for me.
She also uses no plastic in her works so her gifts are perfect for the environmentally conscious amongst us.
The artwork that Phillip and Holly were raving over was the Brighton skyline. But Becka has got skyline prints from all over the world so let’s represent Liverpool this Christmas with this print of our own world-famous skyline.
Becka also sells these personalised prints as anniversary gifts, but with the ability to put 4 lines of any message underneath the city print of your choice, why not make one that celebrates the location of where you spent the first Christmas with your loved one?
Can you believe we managed to get this far into this post before mentioning The Beatles!? Remarkable.
April has come through and fixed that for us though with her illustration of Strawberry Fields, inspired by her experience on the Magical Mystery Tour. You can’t go wrong buying Beatles themed gifts for people in Liverpool. We all know at least one person who is just a bit too into The Beatles.
April is also catering for the health conscious amongst us this Christmas with her Vegan Alphabet print. Everybody claims vegans go on about their life choices too much, so give this to your vegan friend and you can make a game of how often they bring up one of these in conversation. Make it like a swear jar for fresh produce. If they ever manage to sneak a Xigua into the convo then it may be time to stage an intervention.
Isabella has some amazing designs of Liverpool and Manchester that you can have printed as posters or tote bags. With bright, vibrant colours on each of them, they are a really cool and unique look to get if you are searching for a city themed gift.
However, my favourite items of Isabella’s are her musical score prints with an image artistically splashed into the middle of the page (e.g. Elsa in a frozen sea of blue on Isabella’s ‘Let It Go’ print and Ziggy Stardust’s lightning bolt on ‘Life on Mars’). She’s got all the classics of Liverpool and Manchester with prints of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ (none of that Z-Cars garbage though, sorry Everton fans).
There’s a bar near my apartment that plays Purple Rain every Friday night at midnight, so maybe I should buy this Purple Rain print so that I can learn to play along with them, rather than curse them as I try to fall asleep? Or maybe I should just get a life and go out more on a Friday? Anyway, not important… Go check out Isabella’s website for more examples of her awesome work!
Food and Drink
The best part about Christmas is eating yourself into a food coma on the couch. However, we can get stuck in a familiar rut of having the exact same chocolate and dinner choices every year. So, this year vary up your selections with our favourites from these local retailers.
We’re great in Liverpool at bringing the world to us when it comes to our food. On Bold Street alone you can find yourself in Peru, Greece, Mexico, the USA and plenty more. We’ve even adopted a Chinese dish to basically make it our own. Salt and Pepper Chicken? That’s not Chinese anymore, mate, that’s a scouse speciality. Even the dish THAT WE LITERALLY HAVE NAMED SCOUSE actually comes from Norway. So, Spice Kitchen is right up our street. Grab a set of their spices from whatever corner of the globe is your favourite for cuisine and you won’t even have to leave your own home to get a taste of the world.
At just £1.75 per 20g of spice and with over 60 different options to choose from, the gift hamper from Spice Kitchen is a great option for a gift. If you know somebody who likes it hot then compile them a spicy selection. If your loved one is a fiend for chicken then get them the Piri Piri Rub as one of their selections.
I was lucky enough to receive one of their sets for Christmas last year, and let me tell you, I will never have a kitchen in my life that doesn’t contain the Mexican Spice Blend from now on.
Now, I’ve been a barista for a number of years. I like to think that I don’t meet most of the clichés that we have all developed about baristas but it’s impossible for some to not sneak in there. For instance, I don’t have a top knot, but I do only drink non-diary milk, so I’m about halfway along the cliché scale. One cliché that I have definitely bought into is the fact that I like to think that I know a thing or two about coffee, and the guys over at Kickback Coffee have got everything that a wannabe connoisseur like myself could want to make everybody think I know what I’m talking about.
Cold brewing is all the rage in the States at the moment and it’s just starting to make its way over here too, with the big chain stores and some independent coffee shops offering cold brewed options. Get yourself ahead of the curve and give the gift of a cold brewer to the biggest hipster you know. You’ll look like a genius once they start seeing cold brewed coffee popping up absolutely everywhere in 2019.
Alternatively, why not join the Kickback Coffee Club and get a regular dose of caffeine sent directly to you. With different plans for The Regular Drinker, The Avid Drinker and The Addict you can find the plan that suits your full-blown addiction coffee needs.
Fashion items can be some of the most difficult to find when you are trawling around town to find gifts. Guys, don’t worry about having to awkwardly walk through the lingerie section in M&S anymore whilst you desperately search for women’s accessories. We’ve got you covered.
Rebecca is an illustrator who focuses on wildlife designs for prints, greetings cards and gifts. But it’s the scarves amongst her collection that have caught my eye most.
If you’re like me and you can never think of anything decent to get your nan for Christmas then look no further than these Liver Bird scarves from Rebecca.
Everybody’s nan loves a good scarf and Rebecca’s super soft chiffon polyester can be worn all year round so nan is always looking the freshest when she goes out to gab with the other ladies of leisure. For a few extra quid you can have the scarf arrive boxed and with a Christmas card. Sorted!
And don’t worry if Nan is a bluenose who wouldn’t be seen dead with a Liver Bird round her neck, Rebecca’s got her covered too with this scarf. With an autumnal colour scheme and a festive robin print, this look will never go out of style at this time of year.
Okay, now we’re cheating a little bit on this one. Ruby actually isn’t from Liverpool, she’s a Yorkshire lass, but she’s such a bright presence at the local art events in Liverpool which she frequently attends, that we’ll let her in. And Ruby is going to be a big help for all the guys looking to treat their girlfriends this Christmas, so we better be extra nice to her. Ruby’s simple, elegant jewellery designs are never going out of style and therefore you can’t go wrong with whatever you pick out for that special somebody.
Take, for instance, this gemstone ring of Ruby’s. At just £20 you won’t be breaking the bank to afford it and its simple design will always be in style. Ruby has got the same design in loads of different colours on her site, so you can adapt to whatever you know your loved one likes. And with resizing from only £4, you don’t have to worry at all about forking out a load more money if you get the size wrong.
You might still have to worry about your girlfriend biting your head off for not knowing her size though. That’s all on you, chief.
For resizing information, click here.
Hearts and Coronets make adorable children’s clothing from wool, so pick up some cute designs to keep the little ones nice and snug during the festive season. It takes Jenny, the company’s owner, around 6-8 hours to complete each of her products, and the care in her designs really shines through in each product.
We all get the sniffles whilst we’re walking round town at Christmas, so have your baby match your look with Rudolph’s big red nose on their jumper complementing your own red nose.
Jenny also hand knits cuddly toys, and this cheeky little monkey is my favourite one on her site. With no buttons or fasteners on his stylish Christmas jumper, he can safely stay in the cot with his new best friend at all times.
This type of gift can be something that your little one can spend years growing up with, and he’ll always be able to keep an eye out to welcome Santa to the house each year on Christmas Eve.
The quirky, unusual, and unexpected!
The most memorable gifts at Christmas can be the ones that you can’t really put into a category. The type of thing that you never would have considered until you walk past it in a shop one day and think “oh my god, that’s perfect!” This is our selection of those weird and wonderful gifts that somebody might never expect.
InkSmudge Journals is run by the amazing Gemma who painstakingly crafts and puts together every aspect of her journals.
The first item of Gemma’s I want to feature isn’t a journal though, it’s her festive gift set of reindeer keys. With 9 keys in the set, you can choose to place them all on the tree or give them as gifts to loved ones when they arrive for the festivities. Just remember to leave the special red key somewhere for Rudolf to find to let himself into the house!
The best thing of all about this gift is the fact that Gemma is really getting into the true spirit of Christmas and is donating 10% of her sales on this item to World Animal Protection’s ‘Reindeer are not for Christmas’ campaign to stop the exploitation of reindeers around the world. For more information on the wonderful cause that Gemma is supporting, click here
Gemma’s handmade journals are her calling card and the amount of effort she puts into crafting them makes it worth every penny you will spend on them. I’ve picked out her journal cover in a nice festive red colour which you can have gift wrapped and personalised so that the scribe in your life knows you were thinking exactly of them when you bought it.
Kate is a local artist whom I could obviously go into much greater detail about than the rest of the business owners on this post (spoiler alert: if you didn’t pay attention to who wrote this article, Kate is my sister).
But you already know who Kate is anyway because you’re on her website right now! So, whilst you’re already on the site you may as well click around, have some fun, buy a chopping board, go crazy!
Kate has been honing her craft for several years since starting her own business and has become specialised in using resin to create her artworks, which are frequently inspired by the natural sights she has encountered on her travels around the world. Some of Kate’s most popular works are her chopping boards, which are adorned with her signature resin designs. I’ve picked out a couple of my favourites for you to see.
The ethereal colours in this piece are reminiscent of seascapes and swirling waters that Kate will have no doubt been inspired by in Reykjavik or Niagara.
And, fun fact about this piece: she stole that tea towel from our parents’ house for the picture. See, you can’t get this type of insider info for the other artists.
The colours in this piece evoke images of outer space for me and really show the immense range of beauty that the resin is capable of capturing when used well.
I don’t know where she got that lemon from, but let’s assume she stole that too.
Are you sick of your Christmas Tree dropping pines all over your living room and getting the car sticky every year when you bring it home? Who decided Pine Trees get to corner the market on festive greenery anyway!? How about heading over to Root Houseplants this year and getting a Christmas Stromanthe Tristar instead? Or a Christmas Misteltoe Cactus? I can’t guarantee they will hold your baubles as well as the traditional tree will, but they’ll make a unique centrepiece to your Christmas shrines and you won’t have to resort to buying a rubbish plastic tree.
Root Houseplants give great detailed instructions for which plants are best for your living environment. They have sections on their site specifically for beginners and those with low-light or bright-light surroundings, so you can choose the plant that will suit the needs of your home best.
Glowhush are a candle making company who specialise in scenting their candles to smell exactly like your favourite perfumes and fragrances. They do more than just candles though; their site is full of great gifts and quirky items that you may not expect a fragrance company to branch out into. Two of my favourites are below...
Advent calendars are becoming more and more creative every year, and this fragrance calendar from Glowhush is a variation on the theme that I definitely haven’t seen before. This could be a perfect early gift to a friend you won’t see again until after the festive period is over, or something you could treat yourself to so that your home is smelling fresh and new each day, no matter how many pigs in blanket you cook up over Christmas.
Not only does Glowhush sell candles and fragrances, they also sell bath bombs to keep you warm on the cold winter days. For only £1.25 per bomb you can stock up and keep yourself going right up until next Christmas. Click here to purchase!
If you are the type who likes to do their Christmas shopping in person then you are in luck with Glowhush, who have stockists all over the North West. Click this link and find the nearest one to you and head on over!
Giving somebody an experience as a gift can be a great way to vary up the usual process at this time of year. If you’ve already given enough pairs of socks then give a loved one a day to remember instead. It’s also a good excuse to get yourself a ticket to the experience so that you can get pampered too your loved one doesn’t have to go alone.
The woman behind The Chocolate Cellar is Bala. Bala is the seller of the chocolate in the Chocolate Cellar. Got it, fella? I can afford to mess around and make jokes on the description for this one because I feel like not much more needs to be said other than: she makes chocolate and it is delicious and we are approaching Christmas so you should head over and buy everything she has available.
The Chocolate Cellar’s ‘dabble’ workshop is just £35 per head (plus a £2.90 booking fee) for a two-hour course with a fun chocolate quiz at the end. Best of all, everybody gets to take their creations home and have a hot chocolate drink to warm themselves up on a cold January day!
Alternatively, if your Christmas plans involve as little movement from the couch as possible, then bring The Chocolate Cellar to you with one of their Xmas Selection Hampers. For only £11.25 (much cheaper than the high street chocolate brands’ Christmas selections) you get plenty of festive goodies in a decorative basket that can be passed around the whole family. Or kept to yourself. That’s what it’ll be, won’t it? Kept to yourself before you finish the whole thing in five minutes. The only way to do Christmas.
Noctua Jewellery is a local company ran by couple Britt and Andrew who do jewellery making experience courses. With courses starting from just £55 you can have Britt and Andrew personally guide you through the stages of making your own jewellery, no matter if you are an experienced silversmith or a complete novice.
And if you don’t think you’ll be able to make it along to a course yourself then Britt and Andrew have gift cards that can be purchased so that your loved one can choose their own course for whenever they wish.
Noctua’s social media feed is full of beautiful stories like this one below of a couple making their wedding rings at a workshop. Create your own special lifelong jewellery with them too!
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Written by Peter Chesters.
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