shop small this christmas

How you can avoid Amazon and help out independent businesses this holiday season


By Darcey Sergison / 9 November 2020


Illustration by Juliet Welshman

This year has been incredibly hard for lots of people for different reasons.

Small businesses have been among the worst hit by the economic crisis we are facing. With non-essential shops forced to close twice this year, this largely impacts small businesses with shop closures and an increase in unemployment inevitable consequences. Small businesses deserve your support by shopping either online or through click and collect services during November.

On the other end of the scale, Amazon exists as a one-stop shop for all our last minute needs, from groceries to gifts to decorations. With Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, set to become the world’s first trillionaire, what is the cost of Amazon’s convenience? This Christmas, you can make meaningful change by turning to small businesses and those friends we all have who have finally set up Etsy websites during lockdown.

Christmas markets are usually an ideal place to shop small, but this won’t be quite so easy this year. With Manchester’s Christmas markets cancelled as well as many others around the country, shopping small and online is a convenient alternative. I found London Makers Market a great online platform to buy from independent creatives. A scroll through their Instagram, @londonmakersmarket, provides all the inspiration you need to find unique gifts this Christmas. For example, @emmavineceramics does some great pieces for under £10, and @nibuletterpress is perfect for sustainable Christmas cards. There is a vast range of other creatives you can find too, so be sure to mark your diary for their online Christmas market weekend on 21st-22nd November.


Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash

Making the time to do your research can also save you money while reaping your rewards. I have found that in contrast with the plain cardboard boxes large corporations provide, shopping small can provide not just a product but an experience.

Mmmuah by Millie (@mmmuah_by_millie) is a great example of this. Their packaging is just as meaningful as the product, which makes it ideal for when the frenzy of Christmas present wrapping gets too much.

Christmas has become such a consumerist-orientated time of year. If you are planning on splashing out, make sure you at least buy your stocking fillers from small businesses. Stocking fillers are typically some of the most creative and useful gifts we receive at Christmas, and don’t traditionally require you to spend a fortune, so shopping small is a good option. Scrunchies by Abbie (@scrunchiesbyabbiex) provide great stocking fillers in the form of scrunchies and headbands that come in a variety of styles, including festive-themed and more for everyday. As well as looking great, I always find gifts like these some of my most used throughout the year. When don’t you need a hair tie?

Another reason to shop small this Christmas is that buying from small businesses facilitates a more personal touch. As great as the latest toys, trends and gadgets at Christmas can be, shopping small means you can directly contact the creatives to add personal touches, ultimately designing elements of the gift yourself. I have found that searching Instagram can be a great way to find and personalise small and unique gifts for friends and family. If you are looking for fun, quirky jewellery to personalise this season, I recommend you check out Fun Femme Jewellery (@funfemmejewellery). With the option to make custom orders, supporting this small business is a great way to make your gift thoughtful and unique this Christmas. This is another major reason why I support small businesses – I think it is great to co-create custom pieces, for others and for myself.


Shopping sustainably is increasingly rising on shopper’s agendas when looking for an ideal present. Most small businesses are built around an environmental ethos. Their aim being to preserve and recycle products so that they can be sold as vintage pieces or redesigned into contemporary fashion. Buying sustainable fashion from small businesses is one of my favourite ways to shop. For 'one of a kind', re-worked and handmade sustainable pieces I recommend Soon by Emeila (@soonbyemelia) on Depop. I recently discovered this account and have fallen in love since with all of their pieces. Another great place to find reworked fashion is Beyond Retro. This small business creates unique recycled pieces as well as stocking vintage designs from brands including Disney, Adidas and Nike. Lastly, the student run denim business Demoo Jeans is a must have when thinking about buying sustainably. Creating upcycled hand painted and adapted pieces, Demoo Jeans is one of my favourite jean shops out there. I would definitely recommend scrolling through there Instagram for all the denim inspiration you never knew you needed.

Make a change to your shopping this Christmas by investing in independent creatives and making a massive difference to the business owners you choose to support. It may be easy to argue that Amazon has all the answers, but isn’t it better discovering new favourite brands and gifting something special that nobody else has? I love finding new, small businesses and getting to discuss designs with their owners. The joy of giving is one that cannot be matched, so give twice by shopping small this Christmas.


Here are some small businesses to check out in December, and all year round:


Offering a fun edit of luxury homewares, this store will have you redecorating your home as well as finding the perfect gift.

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Found and Vision

This store sources collectable, fine and fun vintage clothes and accessories and has curated an ever-evolving collection where you will be sure to find something that catches your eye.

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Bring Your Own

For an unconventional hamper gift why not make your own by visiting Bring Your Own and reuse containers for whole foods and much more. This is a great way to provide friends and family with gifts they will use while staying sustainable.

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Present & Correct

For all the stationary lovers, this shop is ideal for new and vintage stationary sets and designs and is sure to provide a great but practical gift.

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The Old Cinema

This is a great place to find gifts for vintage furniture lovers or even a great for new home owners. They also offer restoration services which is a great idea to revamp much loved family treasures.

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The Prawn Shop

Beautiful unisex clothing and accessories in bold prints, designed & run by Georgia Hamilton with worldwide shipping.

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ELB Handmade

Delicate and comfortable lingerie designed and handmade by one woman alone!

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Printed Goods

Offering a range of affordable, unique prints, textiles and jewellery.

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Rose Sol Designs

Handmade accessories and clothing from recycled materials in cool prints.

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Omolola Jewellery

Beautiful and affordable west-African inspired jewellery.

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Art by

Juliet Welshman
Words by
Darcey Sergison

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