Living, working and writing in the rainy city of Manchester.
Published November 28th 2017
5 places away from the high street to find Christmas gifts
It's that time of year again when the shops are so busy you can hardly look at what's on the shelves, you may lose what little Christmas cheer you have fighting for the last gift set on the shelf and realise that you bought the same thing last year and who needs another bath set anyway?
Support independent sellers this year and find some unique gifts
Christmas can be quite commercial and we often forget that it is not all about the gifts we give but cherishing what you have and perhaps showing the people we love how special they are. A well thought out gift perfect for the person you are buying is better than a generic, overpriced present so ditch the high street this year and find something unique. Here is a list of places to buy unique gifts from in Manchester this Christmas, avoid the high street crowds and ditch those 3 for 2 bubble baths and find something truly special this year.
Based in Northern Quarter this is the place for that person in your life who loves to be different. The treasure trove of curiosities has something for everyone from new and exciting products like light boxes and letter boards for the home to more classic gifts like handmade pendant necklaces and handcrafted cards. You might get all your shopping done in this one shop as there is a huge selection of gifts perfect for the whole family. Located just across the street from Manchester's Arndale this is a nice central location but thankfully away from the high street stores. If you can't stand the crowds head over to Oklahoma and find something special. As Manchester's biggest independent gift shop it is the perfect place for special presents which will show how much you care.
Support local artists and craft makers whilst giving a gift which is unique and beautiful. Manchester's craft and design centre located in the trendy and artistic Northern Quarter is a perfect place for a unique gift. The centre is full of local, independent sellers who make beautiful items from jewellery to art. This is the place to go for contemporary art and crafts, it is a haven of rare and handmade gifts. Worthy of note are Ink Inc the illustrating duo who make amazing fashion and print designs from cards to cushions. The animal inspired illustrations are beautiful and make brilliant presents, pay them a visit in studio 20. With so many independent sellers you are sure to find one you'll love. The onsite cafe is perfect for a relaxing lunch after stocking up on presents. Watch out for the Christmas opening hours of Monday-Saturday 10am-5.30pm & Sunday's in December 11am-5pm. The craft centre will close on 3pm on Christmas eve so be sure to get there early for any last minute buys, the centre will then be closed over the holidays until January 8th. Open: Monday-Saturday: 10am-5.30pm Sunday: 11am-5pm (December only) Address: 17 Oak Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 5JD Telephone: 0161 832 4274
Why not stop off in the Oak street cafe for a cake whilst shopping?
Next door to the craft centre is the RSPCA's boutique charity shop. As this is based in the trendy Northern Quarter there is always something unique to find. Secon hand chic is very in this year so this is perfect for people on a budget. It's the thought that counts and with many designer and unique items you might just find the perfect gift without breaking the bank. The best part is the shop is open seven days a week, so pay a visit and find some fabulous, thrifty items.
Another place to find some pre-loved items is Cow Vintage. The store makes vintage affordable with great pieces sourced from around the world. The shop is unique in the way it re-uses vintage materials to make new items or customise pieces, this means a lot of the clothing is a complete one-off. Vintage clothing like this is perfect for anyone who loves to be unique or enjoys eco-friendly gifts. You will not find anything like the clothes here in regular shops so you can pick up something completely different. With fashion for both men and women and a range of footwear and accessories, there is something for everyone. This is definitely another place in Manchester you can find unique gifts. So why not recycle, reuse, and rewrap a gift and send someone a one-off present rather than something from the high street.
If you only want to visit one place and find all your unique Christmas presents this is the ideal place. Afflecks Palace is described as 'an emporium of eclecticism, a totem of indie commerce' and it does not disappoint. The large building is home to independent sellers and lots of small businesses. From cafes to crystal shops there are places to buy gifts, clothing, jewellery or sit and have a meal. From handmade items to goods imported in from other countries it really is a treasure trove. Worthy of note is the new all-vegan store The Vegi Hut which sells lots of vegan food and cosmetics which can be hard to find elsewhere. With so many shops and stalls in the building this is the place to go for all your gifts and handmade cards. You can then stop for lunch and make a day of it. You will be surprised at all the amazing shops in one place. Why wander the high streets looking for gifts when all the best places are under one roof.
Afflecks Palace is the perfect place to find local, independent sellers (Photo viahttps://www.flickr.com/photos/raver_mikey/7662242138)
These are just five places in Manchester to find unique gifts this year. Supporting local businesses is so important as it puts back into the economy and allows you to buy fair trade and handmade goods. With presents it is definitely the thought that counts so show someone you were really thinking of them by buying them something special, step off the high street and discover new treasures all around Manchester.