It’s the most wonderful time of the year… until you remember you have to buy a gift for every loved one, colleague, party host, Secret Santa recipient, boss, teacher, and their dog. This becomes especially tricky when you hardly know their taste, what they have use for, what they really want, or, most difficultly, how to shop consciously whilst also on a budget.
But have no fear – it is totally possible, and actually easier than you think. One of the few benefits of the pandemic has been the boom in small, independent businesses across the globe, which consumers are gravitating towards over larger chain shops. New data has revealed that independent shops in the UK have recorded their first rise in sales in four years, proving that our collective desire to shop small is growing.
Shopping from independent businesses is not only better for the planet, but can also be easier on your purse. In most cases, you will find you get more for your money, and you can be sure that the money you are spending will be appreciated much more than it would be by a large corporation. You will also be able to find a one-off gift, usually hand-crafted, that will mean much more to your recipient than an Amazon Prime delivery.
By now you must be convinced that shopping independent is the way to go, so here is a rundown of some of the best businesses to buy from this Christmas:
Bee is a UK-based illustrator and creative who has a beautiful range of prints, totes, and notebooks available on their site, all of which they have drawn themselves. Their designs are queer-focused and motivational, as well as beautiful pieces of art. Prices start at £2 and go up to about £15, and if you have a particularly fussy friend, you can also buy a gift card.
2. Scar Makes
Scarlett makes one-of-a-kind mudlarked jewellery from pottery fragments found on the banks of the River Thames. The ideal sentimental piece for your London-based pal comes at a great price too, with everything being under £15.
Studio Midori creates stunning hand-made lino prints inspired by the natural world, each hand-signed. On the brink of another lockdown, a reminder of the outside world hanging on your walls won’t go amiss.
4. Maggie Cross
If you have slightly more to spend, Maggie Cross’ jewellery is the ideal place to splash the cash. All of Maggie’s pieces are designed and made at her studio in West Wales, and she aims to be as sustainable as possible, using eco-silver sheets and recycled metals. You won’t find these funky yet classic pieces anywhere else, and they’ll last a lifetime.
5. Zebra Knits
Zebra Knits makes hand-made pillow knots that can be used as cushions, or untied into a bolster to spoon you to sleep. We all know someone who spends more time in their bed than anywhere else, so why not treat them to something to keep them company.
6. Hissy Fit
Hissy Fit is a small clothing business rapidly gaining popularity thanks to TikTok. Based in Birmingham, all pieces are designed and made locally using only deadstock fabrics. They stock sizes XS-3XL, so there is something for everyone. For stocking-filler gifts, they also have a gorgeous selection of accessories and tops for under £15.
Peach Fuzz crafts incredible hand-made candles that will make your whole room smell heavenly. They are each hand-painted to look like fruit and really are good enough to eat. They are designed to be for decoration, however, you can burn them too. We all know someone candle obsessed, but Peach Fuzz brings something different to the candle game.
There’s only so many times you can walk up and down your local high street looking for the perfect gift that just doesn’t exist in chain stores, so it might be time to stop trying. There are hundreds of small businesses out there that create incredible pieces you won’t find anywhere else, and who are so grateful for support. Whatever it is you’re planning to buy this Christmas, see if you can find a small business that makes it. I guarantee you’ll get a better gift out of it.
Image courtesy of freestocks