Handmade Stoneware by Consall Forge Pottery at Form Lifestyle Store

Christmas Shopping

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Christmas Shopping! Yes, we’re nearing that time of year again. Whether you’re one of those exasperating souls that already have your shopping done and dusted (wrapped and all) by mid-November, or invariably find yourself weeping and in cold sweats on the floor of John Lewis each Christmas eve; we’ve compiled a list of alternative-led, gift-central suggestions to inspire – and keep you as far from the hellish throngs of Market Street as possible. Christmas sorted.

If you’re looking for more things to do this Christmas, check out our guide to the best Christmas theatre and concerts.


Here are our picks

  • 1. Oi Polloi

    Oi Polloi

    Oi Polloi, 63 Thomas Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1LQ - Visit now

    Clued-in insiders have known for years that Oi Polloi is Manchester’s best pick for men’s clothes. With racks and shelves jam-packed with sharp garments from across the globe, it’s a one-stop-shop for anyone looking for Christmas gifts for men, or simply self-respecting shoppers aiming to upgrade their wardrobe.

  • 2. Manchester Craft & Design Centre

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

    A veritable mecca for all things artisanal, handmade and one-of-a-kind, Manchester Craft & Design Centre is home to an array of artist-run studios and shops selling straight from the makers. Head here for a tasteful selection of reasonably priced jewellery, ceramics, pottery, painting, clothing and more.

  • 3. Rapha Clubhouse Manchester

    Rapha Clubhouse Manchester
    Courtesy of Rapha

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

    For any cycle-loving friends and family, 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.

  • 4. The Whitworth

    The Whitworth, Photo: Alan Williams

    The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6ER - Visit now

    Selling a tastefully curated selection of artwork, ceramics, jewellery, stationary, homeware and more to complement the spirit of one of Manchester’s most loved cultural destinations. Check out HOME and Manchester Art Gallery’s shop too.

  • 5. 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 stock up on those more eclectic stocking-fillers.

  • 6. Fred Aldous

    © Fred Aldous

    Fred Aldous, 37 Lever Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1LW - Visit now

    Nearly 130 years old and still going strong, Fred Aldous is Manchester’s one-stop-shop for high-quality art, craft and design supplies. Full of inspiration, a trip here is guaranteed to make creative friends and family members happy.

  • 7. OBJECT, Chorlton

    Courtesy of OBJECT

    OBJECT, Chorlton, 519 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester, M21 8QA - Visit now

    A tiny, carefully-curated independent store in Chorlton with an unwavering devotion to quality, craftsmanship and simplicity. Well worth the tram ride.

  • 8. Fig and Sparrow

    Fig and Sparrow © Jan Dixon

    Fig and Sparrow, 20 Oldham Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1JN - Visit now

    Not only the place for great coffee (and cake), but also a stylish selection of gifts and homeware from local designers.

  • 9. Cass Art Manchester

    Courtesy of CASS Arts

    Cass Art Manchester, 55-57 Oldham St, Manchester, M1 1JR - Visit now

    Cass Art has finally come to Manchester, and just in time for Christmas. Not only does the shiny new store offer an inexhaustible range of art materials to satisfy any creative itch, but also workshops in areas such as Islamic Geometric Pattern Design and Contemporary Resin Jewellery Making, in case you’re going for a less ‘wrappable’ approach this year.

  • 10. Magma Books

    Image of Magma bookshop in Manchester

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

    A bright, shiny publishing trove of beautiful art, culture and design books and magazines, plus limited-edition t-shirts, hipsterish temporary tattoos, upside down plant pots and more.

  • 11. Altrincham Market

    Image courtesy of Altrincham Market

    Altrincham Market, Market Street / Greenwood Street, Altrincham, Greater Manchester, WA14 1SA - Visit now

    ‘Passionately regional. Fiercely independent.’ As well as being a food-lover’s paradise, Altrincham Market’s themed weekends are also ideal for picking up unique handmade jewellery, vintage clothing, homeware and design-craft from North West traders.

  • 12. Vinyl Exchange

    Vinyl Exchange

    Vinyl Exchange, 18 Oldham Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1JN - Visit now

    Thirty years young in 2018, Oldham Street mainstay Vinyl Exchange has been a must-visit for second-hand record collectors since before the Northern Quarter was a thing. But while it does still offer an overwhelming array of pre-owned vinyl and CD’s (including rarities and box sets), it also now offers new releases, as well as a huge selection of DVD’s, both in store and online. Add to this its buy-or-trade service for your unwanted items, and it’s easy to see why Vinyl Exchange is such a treasured spot on the musical map of Manchester.

  • 13. 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.

  • 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 a great selection of cards and wrapping.

  • 15. Form Lifestyle Store

    Courtesy of Form Lifestyle Store

    Form Lifestyle Store, 6 Bradley Street, Manchester, M1 1EH - Visit now

    Form Lifestyle Store is founded upon a love of the well-designed and perfectly-formed; encouraging the principle of buying fewer things and valuing them for longer. Everything on sale has been made by local, independent designers and creatives, selected for their unique attention to detail and craftsmanship.