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Mad About . . .

Christmas Shopping: Supporting Small Businesses

8th December 2021
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It’s more important than ever to support small businesses and since I have, for once, managed to post this early in the month there is plenty of time to allow for slower shipping and nicer working conditions for those who are selecting, wrapping and delivering what you have bought. Last year I posted a Directory of Small Businesses, (the first three posts at this link might be useful) and today I have selected a few places to add to that with some suggestions.

diffusers from plum and ashby

diffusers from plum and ashby

I am also linking to this Christmas Shopping post, first published in 2017, which is a guide to how I shop because (as I said at the time) I often end up getting irritated with Christmas Gift Guides. I don’t want to be classed as the “foodie” or the “gardener” or the “best friend over 40” or the “mad woman with the cat”… actually that …. And the Mad Husband has never yet wanted anything from a must give gifts for the man in your life list.

And while we’re on the subject of shopping for men, this, from that same post is what he said to me the year he thought he hadn’t had a present and I “vigorously reminded him of the jacket I bought for him, which he said hadn’t been a ‘surprise’…. Further interrogation produced the following brief: It must be a surprise. But it must be something he sort of needs to justify buying it in the first place. But not something that he needs so much that he would actually buy it himself. However, in addition to the need there must be the want. For if he doesn’t want it why would anyone buy it for him? And it shouldn’t cost the earth. Because that is silly. But an element of “reassuringly expensive” never went amiss.”

figue candle from miller harris

figue candle from miller harris

For anyone battling with similar issues do read the rest of the post to see how I germinate an idea and build on it – in essence pick their favourite room in the house and buy things for it: sitting room – ie relaxing – books, a magazine subscription, great tea/coffee/whisky and a cup/mug/glass etc etc until your budget runs out.

So, with that in mind, here are some small businesses that you might like to look at when coming up with ideas. As for The Mad Husband, well apparently he likes coats like I like bags so this year he is getting another one.

infinity candle holder from diptyque

infinity candle holder from diptyque

Now I don’t know how this pandemic has changed you and maybe it’s being at home with two teenagers (well they were at the start of all this) but I’m all over the scented candles these days and that’s something I never thought I would say.  I’m quite fussy and I only like more savoury perfumes like fig, leather and wood – that sort of thing. So I’m going to recommend Plum & Ashby whose candles, reeds, soap and hand cream I have used and loved (try fig and saffron and cypress and eucalyptus). The candles burn clean and last while the reeds are a lovely way of scenting room if you are a candle catastrophist (which I still am).

I also love Miller Harris Figue (50 hours burn time) and the Malin + Goetz leather, which says it will last for 60 hours. Less of a small business but while we’re on the subject is Diptyque whose Feu de Bois manages to scent the house even when not lit (which is definitely a win) and whose chandelier holder can be added to year after year so while it’s very expensive, it’s something you could build on.

 vase from birdie fortescue and candle holder from folie chambre

vase from birdie fortescue and candle holder from folie chambre

Leaving candles and moving to other ideas. These fluted glass vases from Birdie Fortescue are so pretty and come in several different colours. The small one is £14.50 and the large is £16.50. This is the kind of thing you could include with the gift of a flower subscription if you wanted to add to it and remember, while they will suggest you sign up for weekly flowers you can do monthly (which is what I do and it gives me great joy every month). But have a general browse round the site, there are lots of other lovely things you might like. The wooden candle holder is £65 from Folie Chambre, and the matches from The Frugality.

bags made from recycled plastic for £2.95 from re-found objects

bags made from recycled plastic for £2.95 from re-found objects

I have long been a fan of Re-found Objects and these nylon bags made from recycled plastic cost £2.95 so you could use them instead of wrapping paper, instead of stockings, give on their own or fill with treats which could be edible, drinkable or even wearable.

Another great small business is The Cornrow, set up by sisters Kemi and Lara with products including Christmas socks from Ghana, foodstuffs, homewares and books, including fiction, non fiction and children. Well worth dropping in for a browse.

mermaid cushions from the cornrow

mermaid cushions from the cornrow

Coming back to vases and this is a a beauty as its sculptural lines means it doesn’t have to be full of flowers and will sit prettily on a shelf when empty. It’s from Att Pynta – another small business that’s a great browse.

halfdan vase from att pynta

halfdan vase from att pynta

As an unabashed stationery nerd there is nothing I love more than wandering round Present & Correct. There are so many things I could buy from here but I’m going to show you the Office Bag because I haven’t seen anything like it and I rather loved it. But you can find all sort of notepads both novelty and nice as well as gadgets and pens and new and vintage. They sell books too and I think it might be a good place to start for those tricky people.

office bag from present and correct

office bag from present and correct 

Now clearly this is a post that could go on for days so I’m going to finish with Glassette, the new homewares store from Laura Jackson. Packed full of small brands and collaborations, it’s a great place to start the search. This rather lovely blanket by Fable Things is on there as well as on their own site.

checked blanket from fable things

checked blanket from fable things 

I hope that has given you some ideas. I will be back with presents for under £50 and eco presents next.

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  • Pia 8th December 2021 at 3:38 pm

    Gloves. The nice ones. The more costly ones. The ones he doesn’t buy for himself. That is my go-to for a gift for my husband. He is terrible in keeping track of them so usually by the end of winter he is again lacking gloves. Both the ugly and nice ones…

  • Anna Noble 8th December 2021 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to RE. I had no trouble whatsoever in shopping online with them having read your plug Kate. Such an amazing selection on offer, especially the second-hand items. The prices are low and the individuality is wonderful.

  • C C 8th December 2021 at 7:59 am

    What a lovely post! I have that vase from att pynta and can confidently state that it’s even lovelier in real life. I want everything!

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