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The ultimate Manchester Christmas indie gift guide – shop local for quirky festive presents


If you’re still stuck for some last minute Christmas shopping inspiration, then look no further.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the great quirky gifts you can pick up at independent stores and businesses across Manchester. So you’ll not only be picking up a real offbeat treat, but you’ll be helping out local businesses too.

Here’s our pick of ideas for all your family and friends.

For Manc music fans

If you’re trying to buy a unique pressie for a big fan of Oasis, The Smiths, The Charlatans or New Order, then you’ve got plenty to go at in their home city.

Over at Manchester’s independent emporium Afflecks you can pick up a host of quirky crockery adorned with Manc music royalty. Think Bez and Shaun Ryder salt and pepper pots, or a Morrissey tea-set.

And we are particularly loving the wooden icon keyring range (see top image) featuring caricatures of famous Mancs – including Noel and Liam Gallagher, poet John Cooper Clarke, The Charlatans’ frontman Tim Burgess, Timperley’s finest Frank Sidebottom and The Smiths’ icon Morrissey. £4.95 at Thunder Egg on Oldham Street.

For fashionistas

Now here’s something completely out of the ordinary – glamorous shoes with SNOW GLOBES built into the heels! You can’t get much more festive than that.

Cult brand Irregular Choice only opened at The Royal Exchange Manchester last month, but luckily it’s just in time for Christmas. And you can even get a pair with actual Santa in the heels. Snow globe heels from £250.

For foodies

Food classes at Food Sorcery

With a wealth of amazing independent restaurants across Manchester, plenty are offering gift vouchers as a way of getting a present you know will raise a smile. And there are also some unique experience gifts being offered by restaurants, too. You can buy vouchers for cookery classes from Chaophraya from £25, and Food Sorcery from £25.

If you have a budding chef in your family, then you can help them recreate some of the best dishes from Manchester’s restaurants with the Manchester Cookbook Second Helpings. It’s available to buy in most of the restaurants featured in the book, including the Victorian Chop Houses, The Refuge and Hatch, RRP £14.95.

For Manc mums/grandmas

We’re loving all the bee-designed goodies to be found at Jenny Jones in The Royal Exchange Arcade. What mum or grandma wouldn’t be delighted with one of these bee mugs, teacups or leather make-up bags with “Busy as a bee” embossed on the front. Prices from £14.

There’s also a huge range of incredible bee jewellery here if you have a slightly bigger budget to play with.

For Manc dads/grandads

Guaranteed to be a fun one for all the family round the Christmas table, you can get your dad or grandad (or mum or gran for that matter) to give their head a wobble and don this velcro-laden target hat. You then take turns to throw the soft Brussels sprout to win the most points.

Hours of fun for £12.99 from Oklahoma on High Street in the Northern Quarter.

For kids

We are loving the quirky string lights over at Thunder Egg on Oldham Street – there’s dinosaurs, unicorns and adorable woodland animals to choose from. From £22.99.

For those who like a tipple

Manchester Three Rivers gin distillery has become a top tourist attraction with their award-winning gin experience – if you know a gin lover it’s a real treat for £95. Or snap up a bottle of the local gin for £33.99.

Also for gin fans you can pick up a whole bottle of your favourite from Atlas Bar on Deansgate, through their Gin Bible.

For fitness fans

While this is definitely the season for indulgence, many of us will be keen to pull the trainers and trackies back on once the feasting is over. And if you have a fitness enthusiast in the family there’s a host of great new independent sports stores that have just opened in the city centre to have a snoop around.

We’re loving the stylish yoga clothes and running gear at lululemon at The Royal Exchange, and just along St Ann’s Square is the new realbuzz shop specialising in running gear.

For chocolate fans

Or you could just ply them with some quirky chocolate goodies from everyone’s favourite independent chocolate emporium, Slattery’s. Give someone a surprise with these chocolate champagne-filled sprouts (£12), or how about a miniature bottle of your favourite liqueur wodged into choccie?

If you’re not in the vicinity of their Whitefield headquarters, the good news is that this year they also have a special concession in Kendals on Deansgate.

For Manchester fans (who isn’t?)

Naturally here at I Love Manchester we have got you covered with lots of fabulous goodies to show your love for the city – from t-shirts, hoodies, bags and mugs, available from our online shop and at Kendals House of Fraser on Deansgate.

And new this year, you can snap up our collaboration with Manchester’s KitKase for these stylish I Love MCR suitcases for £49.99.

For thrill seekers

For something a little bit different, you could always buy vouchers for an experience at one of the wealth of Manchester’s escape rooms – you can buy a voucher for Breakout with prices starting at £40 for two people.

Or new to the scene this year is Virtual Hideout on Deansgate Mews, a virtual reality and gaming centre with experiences suitable for children, teenagers and adults using state-of-the-art technology – prices start from £30.

For the person who has everything…

And finally, for that really difficult person to buy for who seemingly has EVERYTHING, how about getting them a box of gratitude? Handily gratitude has been boxed up by the guys at bookstore Magma on Oldham Street and we’re loving it.

It comes complete with lots of little cards with reasons to feel grateful with thought-provoking life quotes. Priced £12 from Magma.

Did we miss something? Let us know: [email protected]

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