You may remember I pledged to shop small this Christmas. So how did I do exactly? Now that the presents are open, I can reveal all!
My best friend moved to Canada 10 years ago and I always make sure she gets a reminder of the north east with her Christmas package.
I also spotted a wheat and lavender heat bag by Meelie Moon on Twitter and had to buy the one with the moose cover, for obvious reasons!
I also picked out a vintage stamp art picture from Centrepiece in South Shields, as she’s a bit of a traveller.
I love that the packaging was so pretty with both I didn’t have to do any wrapping!
My sister was the lucky recipient of a scented candle and matches from The Crafthood, which I bought at the Thought Foundation Thoughtful Night Market in November.
It was perfect match for her reclaimed wood bath caddy, bought via Etsy from Harriette Simmons Home Interiors.
I also bought some Domaine de Palejay wine at the event for the in-laws (the maker is originally from Newcastle but now lives in the Rhone Valley) and a hand-stitched moose head from By Suzy Lifestyle, whose packaging alone was worth the purchase!
I even took the support independent message on holiday with me, snapping up some Swiss chocolate direct from the maker on a stall at Montreux Christmas Market, which made for cute teacher gifts
I also made a point of using actual, physical shops as much as possible, rather than ordering online.
I really missed Bhs this year – and I still pine for Woolworths too – so I don’t want any more big names to disappear from the High Street either.
Fortunately, James has a love of retro toys, so comic book stores and independent sellers on Amazon and eBay felt the benefit of his Christmas list being made up of The Nightmare Before Christmas toys and Batman figures from the mid-90s!
We also bought some advent letters from Durham-based Elf for Christmas to shake up our Santa’s Naughty Elf routine this year. And our advent calendars came from independent Flamingo Paperie seller Jane Horn, a fellow member of the Inspire Network.
Cards, gift wrap and decorations
In the spirit of the Just a Card campaign, I bought my Christmas cards from Ruth Thorp Studio and The Treasured this year and even made one for the UK Wedding Stationery Collective Secret Santa recipient.
It was my 10th wedding anniversary in November and the hubby and I whisked each other off to York for the weekend, which is always a great place for quirky finds.
A pair of earrings from Diane Lee Jewellery caught my eye in a craft market marquee and I ended up buying the matching necklace too.
I now have to rotate them with a handmade ink blot bead necklace and earrings set my sister bought me from The Wellington Boot on Etsy.
I think the message is catching on!