This year of all years you'd be forgiven for clinging to Christmas in the hope that it will be the saviour of 2020. Sadly, the closer we've gotten to it, the more we've all had to come to terms with the fact that we can't have our normal knees up to celebrate our good pal Jesus' birthday, and instead we will have to make certain concessions to keep everyone safe. We've been doing that all year, though, so we should be pretty good at it by now, right? News of a vaccine feels like the Christmas present we've all been waiting for, but as it is being rolled out bit by bit and we probably won't all get it in time for the holidays, we thought we'd do you a favour in this time of pressured Christmas shopping, and pull together some of our favourite independent sellers and artists who can put a personal, special touch to your Christmas buying this year.
At this point, we'd like to make it quite clear that in no way are we receiving any kind of bonuses or discounts from any of the people listed below (however, if any want to get in touch and do us a deal, that would be fab). In this year of all years, we are firmly behind the drive to shop local and independent, to help everyone out in these tough times, and these are just a few of our friends and favourites who are pushing products that we genuinely think are pretty fantastic.
If you know of any other independent businesses who could do with a boost this Christmas season, let us know and we will add them to the list!
CraftsByRubyUK - Jewellery
We start out with one that we at OTG were mega impressed with. Ruby, one of our YT members, has started up her own craft business over on Etsy, at the moment making ear rings of all varieties - take a look!
GoalStarPrints (Karl Thyer) - Art & Print
This is one of Exec Director Connor's personal favourite online artists. Karl specialises in all things Liverpool FC, including Christmas jumpers! If you know a mad red among your family/friends, then GoalStar is the place to look.
Toast - Food/Café
This café in West Kirby is an absolute favourite among OTG members. Ran by the family of one of our touring actors, it's a wonderfully warm and welcoming place that has employed our YT students part-time for years now (and been very generous with time off during production weeks!)
El Creative - Art & Print
A friend of ours who creates simply stunning art in many different forms. Incredibly flexible with requests and works closely with customers to make sure there's a real personal touch to her products.
WYLDE Coffee - Coffee/Café
These boys have been smashing it since they opened up their first coffee shop in Heswall a few years ago. They extended an incredibly generous offer to help out families in hardship over half term, and we think they're more than worthy of your custom if you know a coffee lover.
Chester Beer & Wine - Booze
We're biased on this one, but that's only because we've been fortunate enough to attend tastings, had gifts from, and bought copious amounts of special beers and wines from this independent shop in Chester. The range on offer here is fantastic, and consists of things you'll never find in supermarkets, making it perfect for a unique, boozy gift. They also recently began deliveries, so get those orders in for Christmas.
Literally Bookshop - Books
It's quite 'Literally' a bookshop, as friendly owners and friends of OTG Pete and Cathy had a laugh telling us the first time we visited, a long time ago. Opened in New Brighton (with a ribbon cutting from Ken Dodd) back in 2012, this place is home to some absolute gems, as well as being a great place for a chat about all things Wirral and Liverpool.
Delifonseca - Food/Café
Just thinking about this place has got us salivating. If you like a deli lunch (and I think everybody does) and anything that comes with a bit of 'treat yourself' eat and drink, then this dockside deli is a must visit in Liverpool.
Brok - Menswear
This is a lovely clothes shop we've encountered out on our travels, tucked away amongst a whole range of fabulous independent businesses on the quaint high streets of Shrewsbury. A bit far away for this blog, I hear you proclaim, but they have free shipping on orders over £50. So take a look.
Workshopsy - Homeware
While we are in Shrewsbury (and talking UK-wide delivery) it would be a shame not to mention this place. Filled with artistic, bespoke homeware treats, this could be the perfect place for a classy gift this Christmas.
Good Beer Club - Booze
Do the words 'craft beer selection box' mean anything to you. Yeah, us too. That's all we need to say for this one, we think.
Aubergine - Food/Café
We bring our promotion back local with West Kirby's longest established café. They too extended a generous half term offer to help out families in hardship. Their food is fantastic, and the setting is cozy and delightful.
Amanda Oliphant - Art & Print
Interdisciplinary artist Amanda has been a friend of OTG's for many, many years. She's an incredible artist and an even better person. If you don't believe us, just take a visit to her studio off Banks Road and see for yourself.
One More Bite - Food/Cakes
This one came to us as a recommendation, and having had a flick through what's on offer, we're pretty confident that there's something sweet for everyone here.
Lepidoptera - Jewellery
Another recommendation, this handmade jeweller's specialise in clay and cute designs. Check them out, it might just be perfect!
Fizzy Leopard - Clothes & Printing
This independent clothing brand are right on trend. With fashionable jumpers, bags, tees and more, it's well worth a look. Our personal favourite is the 'Not Today' range.
TurnYourselfAnime - Art & Print
This artist came to our attention by way of a gift we received ourselves. Carl (the artist) specialises in all things anime, mainly doing exactly what it says on the tin, and turning you into a character matching the style and surroundings of your favourite anime or cartoon.
Grey Rabbit Flowers - Flowers
A friend of a friend's, this business is currently smashing it with their Christmas wreaths range. Even if flowers aren't your thing (and once you see these flowers, they will be) the page is worth a visit to see the adorable bunny that inspired the name.
Butter Bakery - Cakes
We had to include this one, though delivery may be an issue for you. Based out of Pittsburgh, USA, this incredible bakery is co-ran by former OTG member Emma, who frankly makes some of the best cakes we have ever seen anywhere. It was a shame for all of us when Emma moved to the USA, not least because a good friend was moving so far away, but so were all her tasty treats.
News From Nowhere - Arts & Books
This one probably needs no introduction. Famous across Merseyside, we'd be loathe to not include it in this list. If you're looking for books and curiosities, look no further than this place.
Time: Bump & Beyond - Services
If you know someone who is expecting this Christmas, then why not introduce them to Terri at Time? Specialising in making pregnancy and birthing as healthy for mother and child as possible, Terri has all sorts of treatments and therapies to make pregnancy easier.
Stories Told by Sarah - Arts & Entertainment
This new independent business specialises in storytelling. From former Off the Grounder Sarah, check out this page for warm and wonderfully read stories, all by Sarah herself!
Knitchcraft - Jewellery
We finish on another former OTG member, and it is a strong finish indeed with these custom, knitted ear rings by En! Her Halloween range was delightful, while her knitted heart ear rings are knockout. Everything knitted (and modelled) by En herself, at the moment she's a keen hobbyist taking a few custom commissions, but do go and have a nose anyway!