I love to shop with independent makers when I’m choosing festive gifts for my friends and family. It means so much to those creative folk that you’re supporting their small business, and you’re sure to find something completely unique that you just wouldn’t find in the shops.
Plus, it feels really special to receive something that has been specially commissioned for you – whether that’s customised with your choice of colours, a personalised named gift or a design that’s significant to your recipient’s life.
So, if you’re a fan of shopping with artists, potters, makers and indie businesses, you need look no further than Etsy to get your shopping started right now. Closer to Christmas you’ll also be able to find special gifts at local makers’ markets and craft fairs so be sure to keep an eye out for festive markets in your local village hall, church or town centre.
The reason to start shopping now is that, if you want something custom, the order will take a little longer to process while the maker creates it especially for you. Many makers close their order books at the end of November to make sure that they can fulfil their orders in time for Christmas so you’ll need to start shopping now if you’re after something personalised.
To make it easy to find what you’re looking for via an independent Etsy shop, check out the Editors Picks Page for gifts they’ll love. Or, for more inspiration, here are some of the makers’ shops that I personally turn to time and again for my festive gifting.
Gifts for kids & teens
For many years I’ve been buying local author Victoria Brock’s books for my niece. I bought the first one from Victoria in person at a local makers market, where she was able to sign it for my niece. Since then, each time that I’ve ordered from her on Etsy, Victoria has been kind enough to fulfil my request to sign each of the books for my niece.
After many Christmases and birthdays, my niece now has the whole series and it’s a beautiful library of illustrated books, plus the fact that they are signed makes the whole collection feel extra special.
Another maker that I know locally is Lovely Lydia. I already own a couple of handmade pouches designed by Lydia and I love her selection of festive-themed purses too.
I think this is a lovely gift for a youngster, who could keep their crayons or their pocket money in the hand-printed zippers. And teens could make use of the make-up bags and water-resistant lined washbags from Lydia’s collection.
When I’ve bought artwork for one of my nieces in the past, I’ve chosen a vibrant print by Abby Sumner Design. I personally own a few of her pieces, including a neon cactus design and initial prints, which look beautiful when framed in a simple white frame.
I also chose an alphabet print for my niece in bright pinks and yellows – it’s the ideal artwork for a youngster’s bedroom and it helps to get them interested in art from a young age. Plus, Abby’s prices are really good, starting at just £7 for a limited-edition print!
For custom-made jewellery, a great eco-friendly choice at a reasonable price point is Lydia Miriam Design. Her beaded necklaces are made from sustainable tagua and you can create your own designs from the wide variety of colours available. If your teen is a fan of Barbie, Lydia can make them a necklace in shades of pink, from pastel to cerise. Or perhaps all the colours of the rainbow would be ideal for your youngster.
This is also a great present for adults, as I’ve previously commissioned Lydia to make a necklace in shades of green as a gift for my mother and she wears it all the time.
Gifts for adults
Most years, I find myself asking for gifts from the Crafty Cats Club shop on Etsy. I’ve requested a zodiac print in gold foil, which I’ve now got up in my home office, glinting away. And I proudly wear my ‘cat off’ enamel badge whenever I get the chance.
So it’s no surprise that I would recommend them if you’re shopping for Christmas gifts for adults or teens. I think one of their custom pet portraits would be a lovely gift for someone who loves their cats or dogs and, again, their prices are very good at just £25 for a unique, personalised artwork in gold foil.
Hannah Berridge is a local maker who I enjoy seeing at local markets. Her hand-painted ceramics are beautiful and you can have them customised for your recipient if you order early enough before Christmas.
I’ve previously commissioned Hannah to make the cat decorations at the start of this blog post, which she hand-painted to look exactly like my cats. I hang the decorations on my Christmas tree every year and truly adore them.
When it comes to buying unique artwork, I love Hannah Farthing’s work. I have three of her letterpress prints in my home, along with three further lino prints. So, when I want to buy art for my husband or my friends, I always check out Hannah’s creations first.
Earlier this year, I bought one of Hannah’s newly launched fern prints for my friend’s birthday, which Hannah gift-wrapped and posted directly to my friend with a personalised message from me. Such a kind maker, with a beautiful talent.
For adults and, in particular, parents, I don’t think you can go wrong with a calendar for Christmas. But why choose a generic one from the high street when you can get something outstanding from artist Rebecca Pymar? I’ve long been an admirer of Rebecca’s vibrant artworks and now she has brought out an Art Deco calendar for 2024, which is available to order now via her Etsy shop.
I hope you’ll consider shopping with independent businesses, crafters and artists this Christmas – and make sure you get started on your shopping now to give the makers plenty of time to customise those special presents for you! Let me know if you can recommend any Etsy shops that make personalised gifts and please share your own ideas for unique Christmas presents in the comments below.
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