And just like that, Christmas is here. But before that C word sends you into a present-related panic, we should start off by saying that we believe this year we should all take an alternative approach to the annual Christmas consumerism. After this year’s findings on our country’s throwaway culture, Christmas is a time when we should all become a little more thoughtful and considerate for what we buy, and where we’re buying it from. So, before you make a dash for the high-streets, we’ve put together a short guide for the best places in Leeds and York to buy a more considered gift. This year, less is more is the Christmas spirit!

 

As far as trends go, this year has no doubt seen an influx of indoor plant enthusiasts. So, if you (like all of us) know someone who has recently become a plant parent, then here are some spots in Leeds and York where you can pick up some houseplants and add to their foliage family. In Leeds’ Corn Exchange, the Plant Point are doing everything right, showcasing spectacular succulents, potted plants, and cacti in handmade pots and delicate terrariums, you’ll struggle not to leave here with a gift or two for yourself. Short Press in Burley Park is the perfect spot to fill a plant lover’s gift bag, with handmade pots, plant-related prints a hanging baskets. In York, Botanic will provide you with some of the city’s most exotic plants and succulents in a range of different sizes; from cheese plants to air plants, Botanic will be sure to sort you with a supreme green gift.

 

Naturally, as the festivities of Christmas simmer down, we prepare to celebrate our next annual holiday which seems to have grown in popularity over the years. Lasting no longer than two weeks, January marks “New Year, New Me”, a celebration of clean eating, circuit training, and motivational quotes. If you know of anyone joining this trend in 2020, then we know just the places for you to stop by. If you’re in Leeds, a gift card from Millie’s Health Food Store on Vicar Lane might just be this person’s perfect present; not only is Millie’s filled with colourful organic veg, vitamins and supplements, and free-from foods, this place also has its own beauty salon offering vegan and organic treatments. Just out of the centre in Otley, at Chevin Health and Wholefood Store you’ll be able to find enough vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies to fill a gift bag in no time. Over in York, Costellos Good Food Deli in Bishopthorpe is another gift card hot spot, serving nutritious food for on the go, or for saving for later. And lastly, to create the perfect wholefood hamper, visit the Nut Centre on Market Street, where you’ll find dried fruits, minerals, spices, dried lentils and beans, oats, seeds, and of course, nuts!

Now, let’s talk drinks, all kinds of em’. If you’ve drawn a coffee lover out of the secret Santa hat, you need not spend a day deciding the difference between Ethiopian and Nicaraguan beans, instead, over at Episode 1 Coffee in Leeds you can purchase one of their barista courses as a gift; take your pick from a range of courses like latte art, home brewing, and barista basics. For craft beer fans, head to Beer Ritz and Little Leeds Beer House to get your hands on some of the rarest of craft ales, beers, and ciders. For tea fanatics, head to York’s Hebden Tea Company, where you’ll find everything from the familiar camomile tea, all the way to their spectacular blooming tea flowers. And to buy for those who just like a bit of it all, head over to McMillan’s of Malton to pick up a craft gin and whiskey, or alternatively take your loved one out for an evening of classically-inspired cocktails at Sotano in York.

 

And finally, homeware. Whether you know people who have moved home this year, or plan on doing so in the new year, or whether you just think your friend could do with a new set of dinosaur-themed tea towels, there is always an excuse to turn to homeware for gifts. And lucky for us, Leeds and York is full of the stuff, so let’s kick things off with Helston Street in Bishopthorpe, where you can find smaller gifts such as dried flower bouquets as well  as unique vintage furniture pieces. At Ken Spelman Books, you can put together a collection of antiquarian books for anyone looking to fill an empty bookcase, or for anyone putting off building a bookcase. A trip to Braithwaite Gallery will supply you with a gift which will be cherished for years; choose from a collection of local and international artists’ landscape paintings and prints. Kemps in Malton, and Nora’s in Ilkley are just the spots for if you don’t know what you want until you see it, with everything from utensils to coffee table books, Kemps and Nora’s are homeware treasure troves. And finally, in Leeds, you can give the gift of Yorkshire at the Great Yorkshire Shop, selling everything from cooking books and make up bags, to mugs and wall hangings.