All I want for Christmas is…a lot of local products!

When I sing it at home the subject of this song is of course my husband but for the purposes of this post I’m using poetic license. Buying novel gifts for Christmas gets harder every year but lucky for us Norn Irish we live on an island that is bursting at the seams with talented artisans. There is no better time to be buying local and supporting your own economy and local people, Christmas presents us with the perfect opportunity to do so. Here’s a sneak peek at my Santa letter for Christmas 2016 to help you to shop locally for the lovely ladies in your life.

Dear Santa,

I hope you’ve had a good year, I’m hoping I’ve made it onto the good list despite a few misdemeanours throughout the year. If you’re passing our neighbourhood on Christmas Eve we’d love to see you, in fact if you swing by we’ll leave you out a tipple of Jawbox Gin, some gingerbread men from Deli Muru and a few treats from Neary Nogs. There may even be some tasty snacks for your snowdog from Armstrong’s Twisted Fish (or the reindeers if they’re so inclined). It will be worth your while I promise!

Anyway, you know why I’m writing, I wanted to give you a few hints for the big day to save any disappointment, you always seem to appreciate the guidance and I do get fuzzier every year. We’re normally limited to requesting two items in our house but forgive me if I break my own rule here Santa, my children need never know. The first thing on the list has to be a scarf/dress from the Eadach collection by Sara O’Neill. I just love the Pirate Queen and Children of Lir designs. These can be found in the BTS Concept Store in Coleraine, in Grainne Maher in Spires Mall in Belfast or in Brown Thomas if you’re passing Dublin. This is a big ticket item Santa if you’re feeling flush but I will totally understand if it doesn’t appear under the tree. Sure why don’t I give you a few more options.

You know I’m a sucker for earrings and I’ve spotted some lovely rose gold plated Lines and Current bar earrings, as well as the Mini ‘D’ drop earrings. I’m loving everything by local glass blower Catherine Keenan of late, not least her bluebird earrings. I bought her blackbird earrings earlier in the year and have worn them lots. Catherine’s Etsy shop is down at the minute but you can buy her work in the lovely Space CRAFT shop in Belfast City centre.

It’s cold in Northern Ireland pretty much all year around so some knitwear wouldn’t go amiss. I particularly like the scarves and hats by ONA by Agne, you can find these in Studio Souk in Belfast. While you’re there you could also pick me up pretty much anything by the White Chalk Studio. I love it all!

Finally, a few lovely things for the house would be most welcome, maybe a Heart of Winter candle from the Bearded Candle Makers, a nice Christmas decoration of a local landmark from Deborah Toner and a novel wooden sign for the hallway from Once upon a Dandelion.

Finally, just for the craic, I wondered if you could throw in a packet or two of the Rory’s story cubes ? The mythic ones have taken my fancy and these should add to the banter around the table for Christmas dinner.

I think I’ve given you enough suggestions Santa, I’m sure I’ll love whatever local goodies you bring me. See you on 25th, or will I?!

Love

Lisa xo

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Have yourself a local little Christmas


For those who read my blog you’ll know I love to shop local and to encourage others to do the same so there could be no better time to suggest a few local companies to you than in the run up to Christmas. I’ve compiled a list of local lovelies for all of your lovelies!

Gifts for Him:

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The Bearded Candle Makers Turf Candle – not normally considered a ‘manly’ gift this candle will bring out the Hunter Gatherer in your mate, as well as producing an earthy, homely aroma in contrast to the usual rose scent. Candles are available from St. George’s Market, the Fine & Dandy Market and the Market @ Ballyhackamore in Belfast, as well as on Etsy.

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Shortcross Gin – from the award winning Rademon Estate Distillery, this is a classical gin with a unique twist. Think armchair, turf fire and a large glass of gin and tonic in hand! Shortcross Gin is available throughout Ireland, for stockists check here.

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(Image by Liberty London)

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The Brobow – a creative venture by County Down girl Sara-Louise Martin. All the bow ties are made in Liberty fabrics, they cost £30 (plus P&P) and profits from orders placed in November will go directly to an anti-trafficking charity. I do love a purchase with a purpose! To order PM Sara-Louise here.

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Wee Choco – this is a Community Interest Company who hand-craft a range of delicious chocolate products. Their chocolate will make the perfect stocking filler, Lime and Chilli is a popular choice. Not only do you get to enjoy yummy chocolate but your money goes towards supporting and benefiting people with learning difficulties and autism in the local community. Find out where you can buy Wee Choco delights here.

Gifts for Her:

imageThe Elska Infinity Necklace – Simplicity, daintiness and the embodiment of what Lines & Current is about. This is your ‘you & me’ necklace, your ‘sister & sister’ chain or your ‘only I really know why I bought it’ charm. Designed to be worn, time and time again, the ELSKA infinity necklace will be your forever-pal. Minimal but with meaning.

L&C is dedicated to following the current and giving 10% of profits to causes that bring hope and change to peoples lives. For November and December they are partnering with STOREHOUSE – a wonderful local charity instilling dignity and practical care to individual and families. You can buy the Elska necklace and more here.

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Half Irish – the debut novel by the talented Irish author Pete Waugh. Follow 17-year-old Tyler from the busy streets of Manhattan to the empty beaches of Ireland. From gigging in coffee shops in Tribeca to standing on the Cliffs of Moher, busking in Belfast to late night drives with his beautiful summer girlfriend Tabitha. A story  of hope, love, loss and self-discovery. You can buy the novel here.

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Crocheted Collar by The Painted Bunting – This is one of my favourites having purchased my own collar recently. It looks classic and much more expensive than the mere £5 it cost to buy, check out more from The Painted Bunting here.

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Bog Standard Lip Butter – another little stocking filler, this lip butter is made by Bog Standard a company based in Newtownards. At £5.95 it won’t break the bank. Find out more about Bog Standard and their products here.

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Tied together snag free hair ties – a creative collaboration between Aly Harte, Rebekah of Lines & Current and Ruth of The New Portals, these snag free hair ties are perfect as a stocking filler this Christmas. They cost £9.99 (free P&P) and the packaging also doubles up as a bookmark with some artwork by the girls themselves. Buy your hair ties here.

For little Hims:

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Superhero Prints by Aly Harte – what little boy doesn’t want to be a superhero?! Why not decorate their room with their legends. Available to buy here for £30 per print. Please note the cute models are not included!

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Wool Peak Cap by The Painted Bunting – it’s not as easy to find cute clothes for boys as it is for girls but these peak caps are a steal at just £6. Sure to keep your little man snug and warm this winter! Once again you can order them here.

Gifts for little Hers:

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A unique rag doll from Grace James – handmade by Lucy Evangelista, these dolls are made to order so can be personalised for your own little ones. Such a unique and special gift for a little lady this Christmas time. To place an order find out more here.

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Kids Create craft set by Edie Sloane – crafting with your little ones is time well spent but not all of us our crafty by nature,have no fear Karen Weston of Edie Sloane is now offering easy-to-make craft sets. These are only £5 and the results will be enjoyed for years to come! Contact Karen here.

Some of our readers are also big fans of Janice Armstrong over at Gathered Threads who is now selling a DIY hairband set for just £8, check it out here.

For Family and Friends:

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Blue Ridge Craft Co Lantern – based on the North Coast the Blue Ridge Craft Company produce bespoke handmade lanterns, the likes of which I haven’t seen anywhere else. They offer festive designs for this time of year also. Lanterns cost around £27 and come in exclusive jute gift bags. You’ll find more information here. Lanterns are available to buy from the Market @ Ballyhackamore and Studio Souk in Belfast.

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Deli Muru Gift Sets – hand made by local girl Kay Armstrong, these chutneys are divine . The perfect gift to take to family and friends this Christmas time. A large gift box containing nine chutneys can be bought for £32, a small box of three is £12.50. Get your orders in quick here.

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Personalised Christmas Decoration by Edie Sloane – nothing says it’s Christmas in our house quite like a new Edie Sloane Christmas decoration. This year the decoration of choice is this personalised one. You can order your own version here.

Gifts for the Teacher:

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Baked by Jayne shortbread – this melt in your mouth shortbread  is just the thing for rewarding those hard-working teachers at Christmas. Large jars cost £11 but get your orders in quick as orders are set to close soon! Find more information here.

Gifts for the dog:

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Armstrong’s Twisted Fish Dog Treats – I love everything about this company. They collect their fish locally and then hand make their range of premium natural dog treats, they also print the majority of their own packaging to give the treats a very handmade feel. Personalised Santa Paws packaging is now available for your pet. These products are available at a number of local markets or you can buy them here.

We are fortunate in Northern Ireland to have so many gifted people on our doorstep so why not encourage them and support your local economy this Christmas time!