It is getting decidedly close to that time of year when we run around like headless chickens, panic buying bumper packs of chocolate or smellies from high street shops just in time for Christmas. Whilst there is nothing wrong with chocolate or smellies from high street stores, if you can get organised, you will discover that the Island has a vast array of makers and artisans, all creating some wonderful items that would make really thoughtful gifts this Christmas and you will also be supporting local small businesses.
Here is our guide to some of the people and places for a truly local Christmas…
Little Joy Jewellery in Bembridge ethos is simple: minimalist jewellery, mindfully made. Lauren is an award-winning designer, specialising in fair trade jewellery that is made with meaning. Visit Lauren in her new studio on Bembridge Harbour and between 8-25th December she will be running the ‘Shop Small Pop Up Shop’. For one week only, Shop Small takes the concept of a minimal pop up shop and aims to provide a high-end showcase of exceptional talent including Jo Hummel, Sue Paraskeva, Pen & Plant, Heather Scott Design and many more.
Arreton Barns is home to over ten individual artists and makers. Here, you can watch the skilled artisans whilst they work and maybe even commission a bespoke piece for an extra-special gift. You will find glassblowers creating stunning ornaments and vases; leather workers creating intricate belts and wallets; furniture makers crafting interesting items for your home and much more.
Quay Arts is the Island’s leading gallery and showcases a wide range of local talent. Situated in a converted 19th century brewery warehouse, the crafts-council listed shop is a treasure trove of locally made items. Locally made jewellery, ceramics, textiles and one-off pieces share shelves with work by the artists at nearby Jubilee Stores.
For beauty-lovers, Blue Labelle based in Ventnor is an award-winning natural skin care brand. Blended & bottled by hand in small batches, every item is vegan friendly and entirely natural. You can purchase individual products for skin, hair and home fragrance or go for the gift set, with a little bit of everything inside!
Try a cookbook with a difference this Christmas. The Vegan Build Christmas is the second book from Emily and Custom Build. Focusing on the seasonal products and treats for this time of the year, it is everything you need to create a totally vegan Christmas at home. Recipes include super tasty roast ideas, Irish creams and vegan fudge.
For sweet treats, Chocolate Apothecary are master chocolatiers, making their amazing goodies in their Ryde shop. Pop in for a cuppa of their legendary hot chocolate and then pick up a box of chocolates, choose the flavours yourself or let the experts make the choice for you. Wrapped up with a festive bow, you will certainly earn some brownie points with this one.