Indy Xmas shopping in Bristol

by Anonymous

Like a lot of people I was dreading going Christmas shopping. Particularly tough for some of us guys – which is worse; going it bravely alone only to return empty-handed and bewildered, or the feeling of being dragged round thinking ‘I really should be able to do this on my own at [fill in as appropriate!] years of age’?

So this year my girlfriend and I decided to try something different as you will see. It turned out to be by far the best Christmas shopping experience to date. To be honest, it didn’t even feel like shopping.

Here’s the route:

Starting off at Antlers & Drawn In Bristol, Quakers Friars. Here for an snip £20 we got this gorgeous print by Martha Ford:

Also these incredibly cool playing cards with kinda twisted characters made up for each suite… £15 and perfect for… well, for someone who likes that kinda thing.

So far so good.

Then it’s a walk across the centre, stopping off for a Fair Cup double shot to celebrate, and on up the hill to Blaze www.blazestudio.co.uk, Bristol’s unique gem on Colston Street.

For not too many pennies we came away with Rebecca Teigland’s beautiful ceramic keys. As well as being beautiful each one was printed a unique word and with some of them, as soon as you see the word you know they were just made for that certain person on our list. There’s also Hanne Rysgard’s amazing ceramics. (Now if you’re a gent reading this, top tip; I don’t know what it is but most women I know love this stuff, and I mean LOVE it. I think it’s pretty cool too.)

Just across the road is Snap www.snapstudio.org.uk. Be careful in here – basically you want to buy EVErything. We got a pop up moose head – another present sorted for not very much at all and this ticked three boxes – I can guarantee our friends Rob, Vicky and 8 year old daughter Elsa are going to dig that in equal measure. Not sure whether Elsa is going to get a look in in the making of it though…

Next stop was the legendary Chris Chalkey’s “mug store” on Jamaica Street. Two “difficult” family members ticked off. Result!

By this time we’d worked up a thirst and an appetite, and Poco met the challenge head-on. One way of looking at what I ate was it was a very expensive sandwich. If that’s what you think when you look at the menu, don’t kid yourself. Another way of looking at it, and this isn’t an exaggeration, is that it is one of the nicest lunches I’ve had in Bristol. Straight up.

It was here we mused on the weird mindset we have when it comes to pricing. Those People’s Republic of Stokes Croft Mugs range between £5 and £10. Chris himself points out you can buy a mug for 39p from Ikeal. It’s true tea tastes the same out of both. But that is to miss the point in a mindblowingly dumb way, I’ve recently come to realise. If you give someone a 39p mug then really, good luck to you. You’re probably not going to have the best of Christmasses and just maybe you don’t deserve to! But if you think of it as £7 for a present that is completely unique, no one outside Bristol is going to have; is WAY more than “just a mug” because of the art on them and messages they carry. Hell, these days £7 for a present – I’ll take that.

We then wended our way up the Gloucester Road stopping in various places from the Reclamation Yard to all the plentiful charity shops and culminating in a real treat (for me at any rate) buying a couple of tools we’d been hunting down for the Father-out-of-Law from the wonderful Bristol Tool Shop. Definitely kid-in-a-sweetshop time and certain items were much better quality than Wickes or B&Q equivalents.

I’ll confess that we didn’t get every single present we needed so a little internet shopping back home to fill in the gaps – but it was STILL local: At Paintworks-based www.tangentbooks.co.uk we got the new book by That Guy Who Does The Radiohead Album Covers and a cracking little number by Don Pedro on Bristol graffiti and subvertising.

Job done and nothing over £20!

So leave the chain stores to the hard of thinking and go independent this weekend and enjoy the double whammy of presents that will be loved and a stress-free, enjoyable day.

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