How to shop small this Christmas!

Now, I’m sorry to mention the C word so early however it’s been my birthday so I’m now thinking about gift buying for Christmas!

But the reason I’ve decided to write about this now is that shopping small is made easier the earlier you start. Supporting small businesses is such a rewarding way of shopping, not to mention being more sustainable and helping the economy … so basically it’s amazing !

I’ve compiled a few top tips to help you get started now and have also created a useful planner template to make shopping easier for you. So let’s get started!

Get yourself a list …

A list will be your best friend … it doesn’t have to be super organised, or fancy but writing a list will be so useful.

You could use the template here by downloading and printing it (old school!). Or just create a list in your phone notes or in your journal.
Note down everyone you need to buy for along with any possible ideas you’ve already had or interests they have. You could also pop down how much your budget is per person if that’s how you work!

Be sure to keep space to write down what you have bought, if you’re starting your shopping now you’re going to need to keep note of what you’ve bought. This will help you avoid doubling up on gifts by accident!

Utilise Instagram, Etsy and Not on the High Street!

I love using these places for gathering ideas and discovering new businesses. So let me talk you through how to get started…

Use Etsy and Not on the High Street when you have an idea or a specific person to buy for. So for example maybe you know you want to buy a necklace for a friend, search for necklaces along with any specifics (eg, gold, birthstone, personalised etc) and see what pops up. I generally use these sites for gathering ideas and then will often have a little search to see if I can shop with the businesses directly or just see if they have other products available on social media etc.

With Instagram I love using the save button to gather ideas. If you don’t follow many small businesses a great way to discover more is to scroll back through pages such as mine. Brown Paper Festival’s instagram page features all the past stallholders from my online markets so there is a wealth of over 100 small businesses … the same can be said for other market pages. Checkout Mindful Market or London Makers Market for more amazing small businesses!

Have a scroll through and like any businesses you find, being sure to click the little save button if you spot anything that could be a great gift. I like to create a folder within my saves for gifts, it’s so useful when something has caught your eye but you don’t need any gifts yet. It’s also really great for the businesses as allegedly Instagram takes notice of saves and favours pages who get saved alot!

Start buying now!

There are a few reasons I say this …
1. It gives you a chance to spread the cost of Christmas … whatever your budget it’s often better to try and spread out the buying over a few months so your bill isn’t quite so dramatic in December!
2. You can take advantage of buying products that small businesses may have for a limited time. Many indie businesses will have a Christmas specific range that will be their main focus in November/December, which means that sometimes other products are taking a back seat. So if you see something now it’s often going to be worth snapping up to make sure you don’t miss out!
3. It gives you a chance to spend December enjoying the festivities without the panic of gift buying!

My favourite gifts to buy from small businesses …

Jewellery is obviously a great go to gift, and I will always buy it from handmade businesses! You know that each piece has been made with love and care and is completely unique. I’ve bought some really lovely earrings, necklaces and rings as gifts over the years.

clockwise – Gilly B Jewellery, Astral Tides, Eden Silver-Myer Jewellery, Cicee Creative

Things to pamper your loved ones with … think skincare, candles, soaps … or you could even add yummy treats to this section too! Who doesn’t love a candle right, and there are such a huge number of amazing handmade ones out there. But also skincare which is super luxurious and something that they may not buy themselves.
Plus something yummy like cakes, chocolates, even chutneys or bread … obviously this isn’t as easy to buy now but get planning and saving any businesses that take your fancy!

clockwise – Evergreen soaps, Eila Natural Skincare, Vie’s Jamaican Rum Cakes, Albion Candle Co.

Art and Stationery is always a winner ! There are so many amazing artists and illustrators who create beautiful stationery such as notebooks, note cards, prints and more.

clockwise – Ionna Marie Designs, Fox and Fauna, Jasmine Chin, Tres Paper Co

You could go a bit alternative with an experience or workshop maybe ! I was bought a virtual art class during lockdown and it was such a great gift as I learnt a skill and created something wonderful to keep! There are so many different craft workshops for people to try as well as buying a voucher for a service business such as beauty treatments, local museums or walking tours, or even something like a garden analysis or style analysis!

clockwise – The Girl Who Gardens, Ruth’s Little Kitchen, Kirstin Wood Art, Style Me Happy

Kids are always tricky to buy for, particularly if you are wanting to avoid plastic toys, but there are so many beautiful gifts that would be kept for years to come! Toys made with love, unique fairly made clothing and decorations for their bedrooms are some of my favourite things to buy!

clockwise – Mutha Hood, Jennifer Jackson Dolls, Colour Me Happy Pegs, Dinky Artist

Remember they’re not Amazon!

This is a big one … please remember that the small businesses you’ll be buying from are not Amazon! They aren’t huge corporations with tons of employees there ready to answer messages and post orders at every minute. They make take a little longer to post your order, it may be made to order so be sure to check lead times before you order. And most importantly remember that they are just people, speak to them as you’d like to be spoken to and cut them some slack if something goes wrong that is accidental or unavoidable.

So … this Christmas (and all year round) use these tips to get shopping small ! I’m going to put together some gift guides over the coming weeks to help you discover amazing small businesses so be sure to sign up to the mailing list below to get it sent straight to your emails …

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