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York Independent Shopping Guide: Christmas


Christmas is just over a fortnight away. Maybe you’ve had your presents wrapped and hidden away from prying eyes in the airing cupboard since October. My guess, however, is that most of us still have plenty of gifts left to find.

We really enjoyed putting together our Christmas Shopping guide last year, so much so that we’ve gone and done it again.  Here's our 2016 guide, featuring a few returning favourites plus plenty of brand new picks.

These are some of our favourite independent retailers around the city. This guide will help you find thoughtful, unusual, unique presents while supporting local businesses (and isn’t that nicer than just ordering summat off Amazon?).

Food & Drink

Looking for perfect gifts for foodies? Here are three of York’s best Food and Drink retailers.

York Cocoa House

York Cocoa House

York Cocoa House’s mission is to ‘create a home for true chocolate lovers’ and what a lovely little home they’ve built. With countless varieties of lovingly hand-crafted treats, this is a paradise for any chocoholic.

There are plenty of gift options available to fit your budget. You can opt for a cheap and cheerful stocking filler like a chocolate lollypop, an indulgent collection of boxed chocolates, a voucher for high tea in their Chocolate Cafe, a seat at their Chocolate Supper Club or even a place on one of their chocolate making workshops.

Writing this has made me very hungry all of a sudden.


The Hairy Fig

The Hairy Fig York

Oh you had us worried for a while there, Hairy Fig. After Fossgate was hit particularly badly in last Christmas’ floods, this lovely wee shop was forced to close for what felt like an age. However, The Hairy Fig is back in action and you’d really never know they ever closed as everything looks as good as ever.

The Hairy Fig is a joyous little treasure trove of foodie delights. Spilling over two side-by-side shops and rammed top to bottom with chocolate, tea, coffee, wine, cheese, nostalgic sweets, biscuits, breads and unusual fruits and vegetables, the sheer abundance on offer is enough to work a glutton like me into a state of near frenzy.

This shop is a must-visit if you’re looking to impress the gourmet in the family. Their counter full of sweet treats provides plenty of grown-up stocking filler options too.


Rafi's Spicebox

Rafi’s Spicebox

Our good friends Rafi’s had to make the list. This family-run Asian deli is well loved in York, frequently gracing the lists of the city’s best independent retailers.

Rafi's Spicebox Cookbook

Rafi’s friendly, knowledgeable team of curry crafters will help you find brilliant gifts to please your foodie friends. Alongside their hand-mixed curry packs (tailored to your taste) - with all the spices needed to produce a low effort Indian feast -  Rafi’s offer loads of ideas and recipes to give people the confidence to to cook the amazing food at home. Their wide selection of Asian deli products, cookware, gift sets and hampers are a fantastic option for anyone who loves to eat.

AND hot off the presses -  Rafi’s have just published their very own cookbook! Filled with fresh and tasty recipes, inspired by traditional Indian cooking with modern British twists, this hardback book is a thing of beauty. And wouldn’t you know, it’s out just in time for Christmas.



Discerning tastes

We all have those people in our lives. You know the ones. The people who are impossible to buy for. They know what they like and they definitely know what they don’t like. They love quality, they have great taste, and buying presents for them is bloody nerve wracking. Well worry not, here are three shops to please the trickiest of customers.

The Sound Organisation

Sound Organisation York

For the audiophile in your life, turn to one of our newest clients (new website in the pipeline) and a stalwart of York’s independent scene, The Sound Organisation.

Based in York since 1985, The Sound Organisation cater for those true music lovers who want to listen to their favourite artists with the highest possible quality sound. This really was a client match made in heaven for Simon, a proud music geek.

OK, so it's not going to be a stocking filler, but if you’re looking for something special for your own Simon, take a look at their range of high-end speakers, headphones, amplifiers, turntables and more.

Visit their welcoming shop on Gillygate for friendly expert advice to help you select the perfect present.


The Inkwell

The Inkwell York

Just a few doors down from Sound Organisation is The Inkwell. This fascinating little shop is set up like an old school classroom - desks, blackboard and all.

Head here for new release, reissue and second-hand vinyl and an eclectic selection of new and second-hand books, magazines and annuals.

You can’t fail to find something interesting at The Inkwell.



Bowler Vintage

The Bowler Vintage York

Formally Purple Haze, Bowler supplies a wide selection of vintage and reproduction clothes and accessories for men and women.

Bowler offer a wide range of styles: from Victorianesque dapper menswear, '20s glamour, '50s rockabilly, right through to brightly coloured '80s and '90s threads.

Bowler isn’t your typical grufty vintage shop. Their stock is carefully chosen, clean and high quality, presented in beautiful, Old World surroundings.

Alongside brilliantly quirky clothes, coats and shoes, you’ll find plenty of smaller gift options such as scarves, gloves, purses and wallets and ties.


Something a little bit different

...give the dog a bone

give the dog a bone York

Looking for something a bit more fun, a bit more unusual? Returning to our shopping list is ...give the dog a bone, the place for ‘things you don’t need...but really, really want’.

This bright and cheery shop stocks a whole host of fun items for kids and ..err... big kids. You’ll find gifts including mugs, bags, jewellery, toys, games, decorations, posters and much, much more.

This is a great place to shop for film/ TV buffs and gamers - as they have a good range of pop-culture inspired pieces an official merchandise from various franchises. I'm quite excited about the amount of Harry Potter stuff they have in there at the moment!

Get seriously festive

If you want to feel really Christmassy, don’t forget about York’s annual Christmas Market.

With over 100 festive chalets lined up on Parliament Street, St Sampson’s Square, The Judge’s Lodgings and Coppergate, this year’s market is bigger and better than ever (and is free to enter). It’s even been listed among the UK’s best Christmas markets by Olive magazine.

Shop for gift homewares, clothes, food and more whilst sipping on a mulled wine, or stop for refreshments by the fire at Thor’s Tipi on Parliament street.

St Nicholas Fayre York Thors Tipi York York Christmas Market

We’re so lucky in York to have so many great independent businesses, why not show them your support this Christmas.

Have we missed your favourite? Let us know.