Black Friday is a not-so subtle reminder that Christmas is coming, and can induce fear and dread into some when it comes to buying gifts. Rather than running into town to be hypnotised by consumerism and discounts, take a look what the independents of Leeds have to offer. Your loved ones will probably thank you for it on the day, and you’ll have a lot more fun in the buying process, as most of them conveniently sell alcohol, because shopping is thirsty work.
Tailor make a box of booze.
For an additional £1.50, Little Leeds Beerhouse will provide you with their branded gift boxes to fit your hand picked selection of beer from the bottle shop. There’s a fantastic range, so you can make up a selection depending on what they’re into or go for the most eye catching cans the likes of Cloudwater or Mikkeller. They also stock an exceptional display of sharing bottles and lambics, perfect for tucking into post Christmas dinner.
Little Leeds Beerhouse, Unit B3B, Leeds Corn Exchange, Leeds LS1 7BR
Treat them to some merch from one of their favourite locals.
Let’s face it, Yorkshire is the best place EVER and local businesses have all the merchandise to help embrace it. Laynes Espresso have collaborated with cycling apparel brand Paria to produce branded tops and Northern Monk leaves you spoilt for choice with their hoodies, posters, bundle bags and glassware. Spice up their life with goodies from Bundobust, designed by artist Drew Millward, or head to Sacred Electric and pick up a print designed by one of their talented artists. Why not commit the selfless task of going to Temple Coffee and Donuts and peruse the stuff at insanely cool Red Temple Prayer whilst sampling their donuts.
Feed their interests.
Colours May Vary stock a carefully curated range of books, zines and prints so you’re bound to find something different. I was surprised to find books that perfectly matched the odd personalities of my friends and family and their specific tastes. Hours saved trawling through big name book stores and the daunting array of what’s on offer online means more time for mulled wine drinking...
Colours May Vary, Munro House, Duke St, Leeds LS9 8AG
Buy a hamper full of goodness.
It’s near impossible to go wrong with a hamper full of top quality cheese, meat and wine...unless you’re buying for a vegan or a teetotaller, in which case could be an embarrassing mistake. Hampers at Ham & Friends range from £35 to £325 (for the Daddy of all Hampers) or you can build your own from the individual items in stock. Plus, get down to the Hammy Christmas Preview evening on November 28th, where for £10 you can browse the gift ideas all in one place - hampers, ham legs, decorations, cards, wrapping, books, homewares, and alcohol, all whilst enjoying a glass of fizz. Christmas shopping or an excellent excuse for a wine sesh...
Ham & Friends, 7 Merrion St, Leeds LS1 6PQ
Help them make tasty food.
For someone who likes to be the chef of the house, a range of herbs and spices would come in handy, especially if you’ve tried their cooking, and well let’s just say it’s a gift you’d both appreciate. Rafi’s Spice Box stock ready made curry kits, dish sets and mix bags for making warming drinks like masala chai or mulled wine.
Rafi’s Spice Box, 12 Market Hall, Leeds, Leeds LS2 7HJ
Commission a local artist.
Giving a gift that’s totally one-off and personal is always going to win you brownie points, but before you dig out the PVA and trawl through old episodes of Art Attack on YouTube, consider commissioning a local artist. Have something designed and made from scratch or upcycle a neglected piece of furniture with their favourite character or quote.
Dazzle them with jewels.
Show you’ve put the effort in by hunting down something rare and unique in one of the City’s vintage jewellery shops. Aladdins Cave is a treasure trove of unusual rings, pocket watches, earrings and more where you can guarantee to find something individual. If you’re prepared to part with the cash, Watchfinder & Co stocks second hand watches from luxury brands such as Rolex and Omega that are unlikely to ever go out of fashion, so you can remind your girlfriend what an amazing gift it is for years to come.
Ditch the Quality Streets.
Nobody wants to be that person who gifts the same generic box of chocolates every year, only for them to still be sat there months after Christmas, desperately offered out to every visitor. Get some that are so good they won’t actually want to share from award winning Leeds based chocolate company Lauden. Expect some unusual flavours such as Japanese Guzu and Chocolate Ganache and Lapsang Souchong Whiskey and Venezuelan Rum.
Spoil your man.
Be proud walking around holding hands with your boyfriend by ensuring he looks up to scratch. The Hip Store is a haven for top quality menswear brands such as APC, Universal Works, Norse Projects and luxury skin care by Aesop. Even the socks here are cool and guaranteed to look impressive in his stocking. Of course, if he’s been naughty he might just find a lump of coal!
The Hip Store, 84-86 Vicar Ln, Leeds LS1 7JH
Treat them to a new skill.
Great for a know-it-all sibling or just someone who’s always hungry to learn, buying a course is a gift that will last forever. North Star’s Coffee Academy offers home brew masterclasses so they can learn to perfect their barista skills. Yorkshire Wine School sell gift vouchers from £25 to £95 for their tasting evenings and courses.