It’s that time of year again where town centres are jam-packed, shops become crowded and the Christmas panic-buying begins. Everybody flocks to the shops as the retail giants ramp up their Christmas advert campaigns and cities become flooded with frantic shoppers trying desperately to purchase all their gifts ready for the big day.
This year though, why don’t you cut back on the rammed shops, stay away from the commercial big guns and start to look local instead. Avoid the shoppers stampede, the hellish march around the huge department store and instead celebrate your local makers, artists and small businesses.
It’s so easy to shop independently because as long as you order enough in advance to give time for your product to be made, it can be ordered to be delivered right to your front door. There are lots of places you can have a browse such as Etsy, Folksy, Redbubble, or Not On The Highstreet, where you’ll find unique designs, hand-made products and one-of-a-kind gifts. Amazon and eBay also stock plenty of independent businesses and artists, so there’s lots of huge platforms giving you the chance to support artists.
2. Pop Up Markets
Christmas is the ideal time to wander around your local Maker’s Christmas market and find that something special. Better yet, you can chat with the artists to find out all about where they source their materials, how they made their products and how much they enjoy creating and making. By purchasing their goods you will help them to continue to enjoy their passion and work in what they love, plus that’s your Christmas shopping sorted.
3. Social Media
Instagram is jam-packed full of super talented artists, makers and designers. It’s a fantastic visual platform to find a variety of products, artists and styles that you like. It allows you to connect with makers on a personal level, to get to know their brand before making that all important purchase. Feel free to message them directly, comment, like and interact with their posts, to support independents. You have access to an international creative hub so what better way to find the perfect present that nobody else will have already bought.
If you contact a maker, designer or artist most will happily produce bespoke products and tailor their hand-made gifts especially for you. This is something you cannot get from big brands, the retail giants or common shop chains. There is a personal touch and a level of customisation that shopping local can provide, making gifts original and truly unique. Granted, the closer it gets to Christmas the less likely makers will be able to have time to accept new commissions, but that won’t stop them sending personal notes, customisable packaging and that little extra personal touch you won’t receive from the high street.
5. Independent Shops
Most city centres have hidden independent gems tucked away within their streets. These magical places will allow you to escape the hustle and bustle of the Christmas chaos whilst browsing comfortably in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. These might be shops that sell a collection of various makers and artists products, or they might be an independent small business which has its own premises. Make sure to stop by and help keep their small business going. You’ll receive a service like no other from the staff in store which will keep you in the festive spirit whilst every purchase you make will make their day a little bit brighter.
Of course you can always stick to your huge department stores, busy high streets and frantic present buying, but why not shop local, have an enjoyable experience and better yet get your Christmas shopping sorted and finished early! You’d have more time to put your feet up as Christmas rolls around the corner and less stress from last-minute present panic.
Better still, your small purchases will make an artist smile, keep their business going well and they may even do a little happy dance. The maker will be happy you’ve bought their product, you will have warm fuzzy feelings from supporting an independent business, and your present receiver will be happy that they have a unique and thoughtful gift. It’s truly win-win and Christmas cheer all round.