This Christmas, Shop Local

Alison Zak Collins local Bristol

We’ve been passionate about supporting local, independent traders since the Harbourside Market first started seven years ago. Bristol is full of bright creative sparks making some of the coolest crafts out there: intricate, bright toys, perfect paintings, amazing handmade jewellery. Doing your Christmas shopping independently means you’re sure to come across some very special presents, and it also means you’re giving back to your local community.

Still not sold? Here’s a couple of reasons why we support local traders, and why we encourage others to support them, too.

The originality factor. There’s nothing worse than giving someone a gift that they’ve already received half an hour earlier. But even if you don’t give your niece the exact same Lego she got from Mum, a lot of mass-produced kids’ toys – or any product, really – look unnervingly similar. Get your present from an independent trader, and you can be sure that it’s handmade and unique. For kids, we’d recommend Purple Saurus or Dixon Does Doodles to find some great presents.

The locality factor. Local authorities research has shown that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business, 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business. So if you’re a fan of Bristol, shopping local is a great way to support the economy and make sure the city only gets better. And there are plenty of Bristol fans to be found at the Market: we’d recommend Alison Zak-Collins Photography for some amazing and iconic Bristol shots (see the header to this blog!), or Cai Burton Designs for a surreal take on Bristolian balloons.

The personal factor. There’s something lovely about speaking directly to the person who’s made the gift you’re buying: they can tell you all about it, from its very early beginnings to the cleverly wrapped bundle you’ll carry away. And some of the traders at the Market have some stories to tell – we’d recommend stopping by longtime trader and Market favourite Lynda at Lynda’s Loaf. Ask her about her recent TV trip!

The atmospheric factor. Look, Christmas shopping is a bit of a nightmare: the stress, the anxiety, the groping for the last copy of the latest John Grisham novel. Head to the harbour instead and enjoy a lazy stroll along the covered walkway, admiring the stalls and the festive decorations, and stop for a refuel with our brilliant street food heroes. There’ll be live music and mulled wine, and suddenly, Christmas shopping is looking more like a dream.

The Harbourside Christmas Market runs from November 25 to Christmas Eve: see you there.