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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.