It’s time to crack out the mulled wine, mince pies and questionable headwear, Christmas has once again descended upon us. We’ve engaged in some outside-the-box thinking and compiled a fail-safe list of alternative gift-buying suggestions. If, once again, you find yourself lost and uninspired in the present department, we’ve got you covered, so consider this year’s Christmas shopping sorted.
Most of our suggestions are also available online, for those who are too organised to wait until the shops reopen. With beautifully designed home furnishings from Moth, quirky and wonderful stocking fillers from Oklahoma and the colossal range of Afflecks at the click of a mouse, there’s more than enough choice. For those people who are particularly hard to buy for, why not invest in some zen time for them with courses at the Life Centre.
Christmas shopping locally and meaningfully, gives a gift that extra sentimental spark we all love to receive. While you’ve mustered the strength to go on this gift based journey, there’s never any harm done in buying a few Christmas presents for yourself. So delve with wild abandon into Manchester’s alternative retail scene and see what gems you find.
Here are our picks
Oklahoma, 74-76 High Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1ES - Visit now
As Manchester’s biggest independent gift shop, selling everything from fish-shaped plastic pens and vintage dominoes to two-metre folding wood rulers and hand-crafted jewellery, Oklahoma is the place to find those more eclectic stocking-fillers. All their stock is currently available online for those who want to get organised.
Oi Polloi, 63 Thomas Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1LQ - Visit now
Voted Manchester’s finest independent boutique by GQ Magazine and named style pioneer by the Guardian, Oi Polloi has one of the most covetable selections of classic and contemporary designer menswear around. Hoping to use Christmas as an opportune excuse to upgrade a male-friend’s wardrobe? Regard this as your one-stop-shop.
Wilderness Records: shop and cafe, 9 Egerton Crescent, Withington, Manchester, M20 4PN - Visit now
For the musically inclined people in your life, check out Wilderness Records. Their cross genre collection of heavy hitting vinyl, is sure to help you find the record your loved one needs in their collection.
Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Market buildings, Thomas Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1EU - Visit now
From ‘sushi socks’ for salmon lovers and panda-themed eco-friendly tableware sets to jewellery, artist books and limited-edition prints, CFCCA’s shop has plenty to offer by way of left field gift buying inspiration.
Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair | The Online Edition, online, Until 13 December 2020, free entry - Visit now
Woolwich brings fresh thinking to print curation. With an ever evolving catalogue, this online print cornucopia is the perfect place to find something rare and beautiful for the art lovers in your life.
The Life Centre North, 293A Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4EW - Visit now
Christmas may (in theory) be a time to unwind, and after the year we’ve all had getting stretchy may be a welcome release. Set a health-inclined friend up for 2021, by booking them on to one of The Life Centre North’s many one-day yoga workshops or mini-retreats and watch the zen energy unfold. (Also check out our guide to online yoga and pilates in Manchester for other tried-and-tested recommendations.)
Vinyl Exchange, 18 Oldham Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1JN - Visit now
Any music geeks on your gift list? Satisfy even the most obscure taste for vintage vinyl and rare CDs in one fell swoop at Manchester’s legendary Vinyl Exchange. With collectors items sat side by side with second hand steals.
Chorlton Bookshop, 506 Wilbraham Road, Manchester, M21 9AW - Visit now
A cosy, independent bookshop in Chorlton with a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. Anything they don’t have in, they’ll try and order for the next day – very helpful for last minute Christmas panic! Also stocks a great selection of cards and wrapping.
Fred Aldous, 37 Lever Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1LW - Visit now
Nearly 130 years old and still going strong thanks to its unbeatable reputation for high-quality art, craft and design supplies; a visit to Fred Aldous is guaranteed to make creative friends and family members happy.
49 Hilton Street, 49 Hilton Street, Manchester, M1 2EF - Visit now
49 Hilton Street is as much about ethically sourced, conscious consumerism as exemplary craft and style. Offering a wide selection of luxury artisan homeware and accessories, as well as lifestyle workshops and clothing by Beaumont Organic.