Christmas shopping in Manchester
Faye Wei Wei Print at CFCCA. Photo by Joe Smith

Christmas Shopping

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

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.

Still in need of further inspiration? Check out our guide to independent shops in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Manchester Craft & Design Centre

    Manchester Craft & Design Centre, 17 Oak St, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 5JD - Visit now

    Visit the Manchester Craft and Design centre online (or hopefully in person), to see the visually stunning and unique gifts being made by their in house artists.

  • 2. Oklahoma

    Image of Oklahoma shop in Manchester's Northern Quarter
    Ben Williams

    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.

  • 3. Oi Polloi

    Oi Polloi

    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.

  • 4. Wilderness Records: shop and cafe

    wilderness records
    Wilderness Records

    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.

  • 5. Afflecks Palace Online

    Image of Afflecks Palace in Manchester's Northern Quarter
    Ben Williams

    Afflecks Palace Online, Visit now

    Afflecks in Manchester, formerly (and still affectionately) known as Affleck’s Palace, is a hub of independent sellers whose stock is now readily available online, just in time for the chaos of Christmas Shopping.

  • 6. Magma Books

    Image of Magma bookshop in Manchester
    BW

    Magma Books, 22 Oldham Street, Manchester, Manchester, M1 1JN - Visit now

    A treasure trove of beautiful art, culture and design publications, plus limited-edition t-shirts, hipster-friendly temporary tattoos, upside down plant pots and more.

  • 7. Moth, Didsbury

    Moth, independent shopping in Manchester
    Moth

    Moth, Didsbury, 154 Burton Rd, Manchester, M20 1LH - Visit now

    Moth is a beacon of taste on Burton Road. With unique collections of homeware, body products and kitchen items, they make gift buying easy.

  • 8. Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art

    Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art CFCCA by Michael Pollard
    Photo by Michael Pollard

    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.

  • 9. Fabric of the North: Gift Directory

    Fabric of the North

    Fabric of the North: Gift Directory, online, Until 31 March 2021, free entry - Visit now

    Fabric of the North is a blog with an excellent gift directory. They champion independents maker from across the North who are creating beautiful and ethical work.

  • 10. Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair | The Online Edition

    Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair

    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.

  • 11. The Life Centre North

    The Life Centre North

    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.)

  • 12. Rapha Clubhouse Manchester

    Rapha Clubhouse Manchester
    Courtesy of Rapha

    Rapha Clubhouse Manchester, 5 St Ann’s Passage, Manchester, M2 6AD - Visit now

    For cycling-fans, head straight to Rapha. African sheep leather mits, vintage merino woollen jerseys, bike-friendly city guides and all the ingenious gadgets you’ve never even dreamed of.

  • 13. Vinyl Exchange

    Vinyl Exchange

    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.

  • 14. Chorlton Bookshop

    Chorlton Bookshop

    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.

  • 15. Fred Aldous

    © Fred Aldous

    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.

  • 16. OBJECT, Chorlton

    Courtesy of OBJECT

    OBJECT, Chorlton, 117 Beech Road, Chorlton , Manchester, M21 9EQ - Visit now

    Whilst in Chorlton, also check out OBJECT – a tiny, carefully-curated independent store with an unwavering devotion to quality, craftsmanship and simplicity. Well worth the tram ride.

  • 17. 49 Hilton Street

    Courtesy of Beaumont Organic

    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.