Buying from small businesses and independent makers keeps dreams alive and post offices open. With another UK lockdown now underway, many of the outlets that makers rely on to sell their wares—shops, markets, events—have evaporated. So, with festive thoughts in mind, here’s a sparkling Art Desk gift guide featuring not ten, not twenty, but thirty-four (phew!) gift ideas from UK creatives and small businesses, all making things you simply can’t get anywhere else.
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Sequinned decorations by Kate Gwilliam
Shimmering jars of mayo, golden lobsters, and glittery bottles of milk and hot sauce – perfect gifts for that one friend who loves Strictly Come Dancing and condiments. Kate also offers a variety of kits, including a sparkly DIY gin bottle…
Beginners’ embroidery kits by Chloe Hardisty
For the pal who inevitably took up cross stitch during lock down: Chloe’s 2020 embroidery kit includes everything you need to stylishly memorialize the year that everyone stayed at home. Why not subscribe to Chloe’s Hoop Club?
Botanical beaded jewellery by Carol Bruce
Carol uses Czech glass beads to transmute local flora into wearable art. Highlights include: beech leaves (left), hawthorn (right), pear blossom, daisy chains, sycamore seeds, forget me not, cherry blossom, and lily of the valley.
Wooden trees by Berwyn Woodwork
These timeless trees are hand-turned from native, locally-sourced hardwoods like ash, beech, and oak. David acquires his raw materials via foraging, chance encounters, and notoriety; his final pieces are simply and beautifully made.
Winter hare card by Elizabeth Moriarty
Elizabeth’s ‘Hare on Winter Stubble’ is really more of an artwork in itself than a greetings card. Check out her 12 days of Christmas designs: Three French Hens, Six Geese A-Laying, Ten Lords A-Leaping, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree!
Botanical Jewellery by Hannah Kyriakou
Trained in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, Hannah uses methods like lost wax casting and hand forging to create delicate, detailed seed pods, buds, and leaves. Crafted in fine silver, her lovely range of nature-inspired jewellery is available here.
Botanical prints by Samantha Rock
Sam’s design process begins with photographs and observational sketches, taking inspiration from her own garden as well as local countryside. Print highlights include: rudbeckia, sweet pea, sloe, and cosmos; find Sam’s Christmas cards and wrapping paper here.
Bees wax candles by Lindsey Robinson
Lindsey’s candles are handmade in Yorkshire with bees wax sourced from her local apiary. Bees wax candles burn more slowly than their paraffin counterparts, and don’t release toxins into the air. They also smell absolutely incredible!
Driftwood scenes by Desi Dimowa
Sweet miniature scenes made from driftwood and upcycled material found on the beaches of south-east Kent. Christmas scenes feature garlands of festive lights made from tiny coloured beads; Desi also makes highly creative use of old brushes and clothes pegs…!
Charming, illustrative winter greetings cards. Nicky is a landscape architect by trade, something which involves a lot of model-making – she also stocks some lovely DIY paper scenes (nativity, woodland, ice skaters) for you to cut out and arrange!
Embroidered badges by Amy Wilson
Amy uses eco-fi, a felt made from recycled plastic bottles, to make her delicately embroidered botanical badges. Pieces feature dainty sprays of heather, rowan, cornflower, chamomile, clover, and dandelion. Find Amy on Instagram, Folksy, and at amypandashop.com.
Ceramic palettes by Emma Jo Alford
Elegant shallow-welled paint palettes made from subtly rustic, flecked cream stoneware. Emma’s palettes are lightweight, easy to clean, and decidedly charming. Perfect for mixing watercolours, they make unique, portable gifts for creative pals everywhere.
Small-batch crepe paper flowers. Pam’s handmade snowdrops, mistletoe, and cyclamen are intended as seasonal keepsakes, complete with presentation box, stand, and greetings card (very postable!) She also stocks a DIY anemone craft kit.
Gift wrap and cards by Rachel Appleby
Rachel’s festive, nature-inspired wrapping paper, gift tags, and greetings cards are all hand-printed from carved lino blocks. She also stocks a varied mix of affordable prints in her shop, including ‘Summer Greenhouse‘.
Hair accessories by Holme & Moss
Impeccably finished hair accessories made with Liberty of London fine printed cotton. Items arrive beautifully packaged and customer service is excellent – what’s more, if you’re after a particular print, they’ll order it in for you at no extra cost!
Hand-printed seed packets by WeePicturePress
These charming hand-printed seed packets make lovely tokens for the zealous horticulturalists in your life. What better way to spend lockdown than sorting and labelling seeds? Alternatively, Lyndsey also stocks an excellent cat-themed range…
Embroidered Brooches and buttons by Pippa Haynes
Pippa is a textile artist specialising in 3D botanical fibre sculptures. Committed to making her work accessible to all, she has created a range of delicately embroidered brooches and buttons, as well as a beginners embroidery kit.
Block-printed cushions by Hannah Madden
Hannah’s hand-printed fabric has a distinct Arts and Crafts feel. Single carved blocks are inked and printed onto natural UK cotton to create beautiful repeating patterns of fieldfares, robins, foxgloves, wrens, goldfinches, and hellebores.
Cards and advent calendar by Molly Lemon
10p from every Christmas card sold goes to the Woodland Trust. Head over to mollylemon.com to see a selection of original prints available for under £30. Follow Molly on Instagram for some great behind the scenes print-making action!
Cally’s nature-inspired prints are an elegant celebration of the flora and fauna of the British Isles. Artworks feature deer, otters, foxes, hares alongside ancient native plants (rowan, hawthorn). Beautiful gifts for the wildlife enthusiast. Check out Cally’s Christmas cards here.
Festive paper decorations by East End Press
Deck the halls three times over with a unique range of brightly coloured paper garlands and hanging decorations, including baubles, fir trees, reindeer, turtledoves, and stars. A low-key, high-impact way of making your Christmas decor sing.
Embroidered artworks by Sylvie McCracken
Sylvie’s detailed, one-off artworks arrive ready framed – perfect for gifting. The snakeshead fritillary (right) is particularly beautifully observed. Sylvie also makes embroidered brooches edged with plush velvet ribbon – how festive!
Ceramic jewellery by Melanie McGready
Melanie creates her ceramic pieces by taking impressions of herbs (dill, fennel, coriander) from her garden, as well as the odd hedgerow find. Her pendants, brooches, buttons, and bobbins all have the same delicately brushed, worn finish.
A lot of work goes into a handmade card – Alison’s are individually screen-printed. Other designs include Blackbird on Holly and Robin and Ivy. If you find yourself needing something nice to wrap something in, Alison also prints small cotton bags with leaves.
In addition to creating beautiful original lino prints, Lou has designed a range of other items—enamelled tin mugs, tea towels, tote bags, notebooks—bearing her unique artwork. Read more about Lou in our Contemporary Printmakers article.
Tactile, sculptural pieces that’d make anyone’s breakfasts, snacks, or teas at three significantly classier. Tamsin’s pieces embody a unique balance between rustic material, practical form, and elegant detail; highly functional and resoundingly beautiful.
Screen-printed bags by Lorna Robey
Lorna studied Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds Arts University. Hand-printed with tropical monstera and banana leaves, her bold purses and pouches are made from linen with an unbleached calico cotton lining. She also makes face masks!
Pin badges by Eleanor Longhurst
Eleanor’s detailed enamel pin badges are based on her own watercolour illustrations. Each badge is presented on a gift-grade backing card – unique little tokens for hats, bags, and lapels. Eleanor also sells fabric patches, magnets, cards, and prints.
Tissue paper decorations by Tamsin Ireson
Inspired by mid-century children’s illustrators and vintage greetings cards, each of Tamsin’s honeycomb paper decorations is cut and embellished by hand. Visit her shop to see a festive offering of angels, mice, toy soldiers, and footmen.
Judith’s robin and partridge cards are printed on recycled paper using mellow, vegetable oil-based inks – eco-friendly reproductions of original lino prints. Her hand-printed sage and silver mistletoe cards are created using a 130 year old cast iron Victorian book press.
Ceramic decorations by Joanna Clay
Bright, quirky, hand-painted hanging decorations in an unusual palette of red, indigo, mint, orange, pink, and red. Joanna’s aim is to ‘bring colour and joy into people’s homes’ – her pin badges and Christmas cards are as cheerful as advertised.
DIY paper decorations by Vicki Johnson
Vicki’s explosively colourful, folk-inspired DIY decorations arrive in flatpack form, ready to be assembled by you (or a delighted recipient). She also offers a fabulous range of Christmas cards and wrapping paper.
Jewellery by Justine Nettleton
Colour-enthusiast Justine has found an unusual way to add a little something to fine metal jewellery. Pieces are hand-detailed, washed in enamel, then sanded back to reveal the copper underneath. Check out a wide range of earrings in her shop, most of which are ready to ship!
Little paper Shops by Clare Dales
Assemble your own mini high street from 3D paper shops—ironmonger’s, fishmonger’s, butcher’s, hat shop—all based on Clare’s original lino prints. A variety of Christmas cards are available in her shop; she also sells directly on Instagram.
Every sale means the world to an independent maker, even if it’s just a card. The Just A Card campaign is on a mission to raise support for Artists, Makers, Independent Shops, and Small Businesses. For more information, visit justacard.org or follow the #justacard campaign on Instagram. [Images by @angela.chick.illustration]
Images used with the makers’ permission.
3 thoughts on “Shopping small this Christmas ❄”
A most necessary, wonderful article! I can’t wait to go through all these lovely shops and fill my Christmas basket!
Thank you kindly! I might have made a few purchases myself along the way… 😀