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Christmas Shopping

Carmel Smickersgill, Tours & Activities Editor

We love the festive season as much as anyone, however the yearly mission to find ever new and exciting present ideas can quickly become an arduous task. In a time where funds might be tight and more of us are increasingly keen to be more conscientious consumers, it might take a little more effort, but Manchester is full of independent retailers, markets, makers and pop ups that are brimming with gift ideas to make Christmas shopping a joyful task.

At a time where supporting individual sellers is more important than ever, why not check out one of the many markets or pop ups. Levenshulme Market is going strong as ever and with their late Friday night openings you can make an evening of it; shopping, eating and  drinking, content in the knowledge that you’re money is going directly into the community. For something more relaxed check out GRUB’s sustainable Christmas market. Over a slow Sunday you can find responsibly sourced art, clothes, craft and cake to mention just a few of the stalls.

Further into the suburbs the Makers Markets are going strong right into December. These hubs of independent stall holders always have a good community feel about them and can be found in locations ranging from Chorlton to Cheadle, Chester and beyond.

A good book is a present that never disappoints. We heartily recommend supporting your local bookshops rather than throwing your money into Jeff Bezos’ empire of doom. You’ll have a much nicer time exploring the shelves of Anywhere Out of This World, especially as they’ve recently opened a tea room in the shop. For children’s books, Chorlton bookshop never disappoints and they’re always happy to order titles in if you can’t find them in the shop.

For home and lifestyle shops there is something for everyone between the two extremes of Moth on Burton Road and Oklahoma in the Northern Quarter. The former prioritises sleek design and minimal aesthetics combined with comfort and homeliness. Whereas Oklahoma is an explosion of colour and imagination that spreads joy through the use of soft furnishings and unusual gifts for all tastes.

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

Here are our picks

  • 1. Leeds Corn Exchange Christmas Markets

    Leeds Corn Exchange

    Leeds Corn Exchange Christmas Markets, Call Ln, Leeds, LS1 7BR - Visit now

    The Christmas Market at Leeds Corn Exchange has arrived, for seven weeks of fun. With additional food outlets, markets, tasting rooms and a bar plus free entry this is looking to be even better than last year.

  • 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. Food Sorcery Manchester

    Food Sorcery

    Food Sorcery Manchester, Deansgate Square, Manchester, M15 4UA - Visit now

    Struggling to come up with ideas for a next-level Christmas present this year? Take a seat because we’ve got the ultimate gift: cookery class gift vouchers at the wonderful Food Sorcery Manchester. It doesn’t matter if the recipient is a budding Heston or can’t even slice a sprout, there’s something here for all skill levels.

  • 4. Moth, Didsbury

    Moth, independent shopping in Manchester

    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.

  • 5. Manchester Craft & Design Centre

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

    Formerly a fish market, the craft and design centre is home to local ceramicists, jewellers and visuals artists. You can be sure to find beautiful, precious and useful objects that will make the perfect gift.

  • 6. Afflecks

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

    Afflecks, 52 Church Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1PW - Visit now

    Afflecks in Manchester, formerly (and still affectionately) known as Affleck’s Palace, is a labyrinth-like hub for independent sellers whose stock is prime-picking for alternative Christmas gifts.

  • 7. Levenshulme Market

    Image courtesy of Levenshulme Market

    Levenshulme Market, Stockport Road (junction with Albert Rd), Levenshulme, Manchester, M19 3AB

    Levenshulme Market is a cornucopia of local makers, artists, food producers and entrepreneurs. You can find everything from jewellery and visual art, to speciality foods and one-off coffee blends.

  • 8. 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.

  • 9. Anywhere Out of The World

    Anywhere Out of This World

    Anywhere Out of The World, First Floor, 70 Tib St, Manchester, M4 1LG - Visit now

    Climb a staircase on Tib Street to discover the atmospheric and unexpected literary treasure that is, Anywhere Out of This World.

  • 10. 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.

  • 11. 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.

  • 12. Cheese Hamlet

    Cheese and Win platter by Cheese Hamlet
    Image courtesy of Cheese Hamlet

    Cheese Hamlet, 706 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Greater Manchester, M20 2DW - Visit now

    Christmas is a time for decadence and the Cheese Hamlet does this better than most. Their selection of artisanal cheeses and endless shelves of speciality condiments will brighten up any foodies Christmas day.

  • 13. Beermoth

    Beermoth shop in Manchester's Northern Quarter.
    Creative Tourist

    Beermoth, 70 Tib Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1LG - Visit now

    Manchester is blessed with so many excellent independent breweries. You’ll find the best bottles from the local scene as well as excellent international imports at Beermoth, making it an excellent place to find presents for the drinkers in your life.

  • 14. Sea Change Wine

    Sea Change Wine: Provence Rosé

    Sea Change Wine, The Lodge, Guildford Rd, Effingham, Great Bookham, Leatherhead, KT24 5PE - Visit now

    Sold in several on-trade places in Manchester and the North, including The Botanist, you might have sampled Sea Change’s wines before. If you have, you’ll know they hit a little bit different – think big, fresh, memorable flavours. What’s more, for every bottle sold, the company donates to marine conservation charities. Enter Christmas, and the perfect gift for the eco-conscious wine lover in your life.

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