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.
Here are our picks
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Expect heritage brands with an urban edge.
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, Manche, 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.
If you fancy a day trip, how about Chester? With its cosy pubs and winding cobbled streets, is not only the perfect chocolate-box town, but also, perhaps one of the most festive places you could possibly head in the run up to Christmas (except maybe Lapland).