Christmas may have come around once again, but there’s no need for despair. We’ve engaged in some outside-the-box thinking and compiled a fail-safe list of alternative gift-buying suggestions – including what to get the person who has everything – that will keep you as far from the hellish throngs of Market Street as possible. Christmas shopping sorted.
Here are our picks
Give the gift of Scranchester this Christmas and take the food lover in your life on a culinary tour of Manchester. Use the discount code CREATIVESCRAN (valid until December 20) and get 10% off gift vouchers which are valid for 12 months from date of purchase. Just tick the ‘purchase as gift voucher’ box when booking. Still not convinced? Read why we love Scranchester Tours.
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.
HOME Manchester, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4FN - Visit now
What do you get the person who has everything? For just £30, HOME Membership grants an art, film or theatre-loving friend a year’s worth of exclusive benefits, including reduced-price cinema tickets, priority booking access and discounted dining.
Along similar lines, Manchester’s biennial celebration of art, music, performance, dance and theatre recently announced the first artists for its 2019 programme, including major names such as Yoko Ono, Idris Elba and Skepta. Treat someone special to MIF Membership and they’ll gain access to priority ticket booking, receive advance information about MIF events, and benefit from a range of selected discounts and other exclusive benefits.
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.
The Life Centre North, 293A Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4EW - Visit now
Christmas may (in theory) be a time to unwind, but after all the food, booze, presents and family, who isn’t in need of some relief? Set a health-inclined friend up for 2019 greatness 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 getting stretchy in Manchester for other tried-and-tested recommendations.)
Clay Studio Manchester, 61 Old Birley Street, Manchester, M15 5RF - Visit now
If the gift of downward-dog isn’t quite what you had in mind, how about calmness through creativity? Starting from £35, a Clay Studio Manchester voucher can be redeemed against any of the studio’s popular ceramic courses, half-day pot-throwing workshops or private tuition sessions.
The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6ER - Visit now
Art gallery shops are a lifesaver when it comes to buying more traditional, object-based presents, and the Whitworth of course comes up trumps. 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, you’re unlikely to leave empty-handed.
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.
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. And if you’re strapped for cash this year, the store’s buy-or-trade service may come in handy.
Altrincham Market, Market Street / Greenwood Street, Altrincham, Greater Manchester, WA14 1SA - Visit now
Escape the crush of the city centre and head out to the ‘burbs. ‘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 leading North West traders. Plus, it’s never too early to enjoy a warm mug of mulled-wine at the same time…
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.
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.
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.
Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.
Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.
Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.