December 18, 2019
Leeds Indie Christmas Gift Guide
Check out our list of the best Leeds indies to sort the ungiftables on your Christmas list!
We know that Christmas present buying can be fraught. You have all these good intentions in October – you’re going to make sloe gin for your dad, crochet a coat for the cat, write and sing in your own Broadway musical as lunchtime entertainment…and then suddenly it’s mid-December and you haven’t bought anything for anyone yet!
This year, we’ve written up a Leeds Indie Christmas Gift Guide. So, instead of freaking out and buying everything on Amazon Prime last minute, we’ve put together a list of gifts from around Leeds’ great independent shops. Rest easy with your Christmas list, knowing that the person you’re buying for will end up with a smile on their face – and so will the indie shop owner you’ve bought from! (FYI we are pretty sure Amazon CANNOT smile. It just rubs its hands together like an evil genius and rumbles MWAHAHAAAAA! When you buy anything…)
For the quirky, arty one
Colours May Vary
Gallery and shop Colours May Vary offers a wealth of Christmas-appropriate gifting options, from prints to stationery and homeware. Pick up a print from renowned artist Tom Pigeon (he has collaborated with The Barbican, The V&A and Tate Modern!), or grab a beautiful ceramic ghost courtesy of Copenhagen-based Studio Arhoj (they somehow all have their own cheeky personalities).
For the quality toiletries / all-natural one
ID Aromatics on New Station Street is very unassuming from the outside (in fact, it looks a bit like the sort of spot that would reek of cheap incense and the tinkle of wind chimes and dream-catchers. No offence meant to the purveyors of those items…but ID Aromatics is actually a treasure trove of natural, beautiful toiletries. A Leeds brand since 1983,
The shop is full of staff who know their products and are happy to give advice. For fans of London’s favourite Aussie luxury brand Aesop, ID Aromatics is a real find, offering very similar smells and all-natural ingredients for a fraction of the price. The packaging is no-frills, but the smells of the products are undeniably beautiful. Opt for the ‘Tranquility’ mandarin and frankincense bath foam, or the ‘Refreshing’ Geranium and Lime shower gel.
For the craft beerhead one
Little Leeds Beer House
They don’t have an online shop, but the Little Leeds Beer House can be found in the gorgeous Corn Exchange, which is always a pleasure to visit. For any beer lover, this is the place to be. LLBH has some amazing cans from amazing breweries all over the world as well as locally (they’re the place to pick up the latest Northern Monk Patron Project cans), and if you can’t decide, they offer gift vouchers. They can gift wrap too, so that’s one Christmas present ticked off the list!
For the adventurous drinking / wine loving one
Wayward Wines import great natural wines from small independent producers, and sell them both in their Chapel Allerton store and online. Their newly-launched mixed cases are a great call for the wine lovers on your present list, with three options – Slightly, Reasonably or Completely Wayward – coming in at different price points. All three cases get free shipping, as long as you order before 19th December, so whether it’s sorting the wines for your own Christmas table or making sure someone’s got some options for entertaining (or a secret night in on their own, so they don’t have to share so much!), Wayward are a great call.
For the sparkle-loving one
Dion Smith’s small jewellers in the Corn Exchange is the front of a very talented jeweller. Whether you want something bespoke created from your own designs, want to choose from his range of designed jewellery or are trying to find the perfect piece of antique jewellery, Dion can sort you out. Although his popularity means there is often a wait time on designs, his talent and execution (and approachable, friendly nature) can’t be faulted.
For the edgy one
The unofficial home of Leeds street art, this is the place to find the perfect gift for an artist, whether you’re introducing them to a new medium (spray paint) or supporting their existing talents with new kit. They also sell cool branded attire
For the ‘is it single origin?’ coffee loving one
Coffee shops and roasters North Star are famed for their amazing coffee, and ethical support of the growers they associate with. As well as being a great pitstop on your Christmas present purchasing whistlestop tour of Leeds, North Star’s special edition festive blend is on offer in store now, combining Brazil Rainha da Paz beans with Guatemalan Finca La Bolsa and Honduran Miriam Perez, for a flavour profile designed to go particularly well with Yuletide yumminess the likes of mince pie, gingerbread, stollen and Christmas cake. Good for aeropress, espresso, French press and stove top brewing methods, this is a great prezzie for any coffee lover on your list.
For the fashion guy one
All Blues Co
All Blues Co has some amazing sartorial options for the guy on your list who loves high-quality, heritage indie clothing brands. All Blues Co stocks classic shoe brands like Sebago and Drake’s, and clothing brands from classic Levi’s to new and unusual brands like Uniform Bridge, Double RL and Frizmworks, amongst many others.
For the music loving one
A bit of a Leeds institution for great music, Jumbo Records has long been the preserve of great vinyl, the newest most exciting releases and a purveyor of the region’s hottest gig tickets. Radio 6 Music even broadcasted live from Jumbo last year.
For the ‘no dessert, cheese for me thanks’ one
George & Joseph
Chapel Allerton cheese Kings George and Joseph really know their cheeses, and are full of advice on the cheeses to choose for your Christmas cheeseboard (or as a particularly stinky stocking filler)! Their hampers come in three sizes, from the small but perfectly formed Yorkshire Cheese Hamper (£21.50) through to the indulgent Deluxe George & Joseph Hamper (£95), and they can create bespoke hampers designed exactly with your tastes in mind, too (add salami, wine, beer and pork pies to the amazing selection of cheeses on offer)! Shop online or even better, nip into store now. Check out their Christmas selection of hampers and beyond here: https://www.georgeandjoseph.co.uk/collections/christmas
For the ‘experiences, not things’ one
Indie Xmas Out
A fail-safe prezzie for any foodie is a meal out at one of the city’s best indie grub spots. Whether that’s making the most of Bundobust’s pre-Christmas festive menu (featuring our all-time faves, the Sprout Bhaji), Christmas dinner at Leeds’ oldest pub Whitelock’s, a fabulously festive Christmas Burger courtesy of friendly neighbourhood indie pub The Brunswick or getting a booking in at Sarto for some amazing and innovative homemade pasta, an ‘IOU’ meal experience is both easy and a win (plus, hopefully you might get to accompany them on their chosen booking?!)
If you’re more about the parties, get a booking in now with Sarto. They’re hosting Christmas parties and are also bringing it bigtime for New Years Eve, and the informal vibe (alongside amazing booze and food) mean that you know it’s going to be a party to behold. Get booking!
Hopefully our list has provided a bit of inspo for the dreaded ‘ungiftables’ on your list. If not…well, you can always make a pilgrimage around them all in the New Year for yourself!