A Sussex Christmas Gift Guide
When it comes to gift buying, sometimes it’s easy to miss the bounty of unique ideas that sit right under your nose and head for the shelves of department stores instead. But, why not mix and match? Head to bigger shops for the practical things you ‘need’, but shop closer to home and you’ll find all sorts of things you love – plus, you’ll be supporting the smaller, independent retailers across the county, which is never a bad thing. Here’s a few of our Sussex favourites…that, helpfully, sell online, so you can buy what you need at the touch of a button.
Working under the name, LittlePapa, Brighton-based artist, Yvette Driver, specialises in laser cutting, resin work and hand-drawn art. From badges, to jewellery and bespoke artwork, if something inspires her, she makes it! “I am usually led by anything retro, or music related; anything that takes me back to my childhood,” says Yvette. “My laser-cut FAB lolly and Mr. Whippy ice cream necklaces and badges were created after a stroll along the seafront.”
Yvette’s Open House, LittlePapa House, returns this Christmas with an exciting and eclectic range of artwork and gifts alongside a winter wonderland garden and a Santa’s Grotto in the shed. You can buy all sorts of beautiful things including glass ornaments, Italian leather clutch bags, Norwegian knitted hats, hand painted wooden tree decorations, handmade soap, and local artwork.
“Our garden shed will be taken over by Santa himself this Christmas,” adds Yvette. “He will be having a much needed break before he sets off on his worldwide journey delivering presents, and is happy for you to drop in and say hello. The grotto will be open weekends from 12-3pm from November 26th until December 11th and will cost £4 per child.”
Giddy Prints create statement pieces for the home in the form of handmade cushions and lampshades using their eye-catching fabrics, which are designed in house. Behind the scenes, Giddy Prints are Helen and Sue, who have a love of interiors and design. Helen studied interior design and fine art and Sue has long had a creative streak that was waiting to be unleashed.
Giddy Prints has a bold and colourful style; their products show a playful use of colour and pattern and each of the pieces is a one off. The fabric originates as a hand-drawn piece of art, which is a really important element of the design process. Each carefully drawn design is then skillfully made into a repeat pattern that works in print. They use high-quality cotton/linen blends onto which the designs are eco-printed, and every piece is lovingly handmade – the cushions are finished with a delicate zip and stuffed with luxurious feather inserts.
Dear Diary Vintage
“At Dear diary vintage we believe normal is boring,” says owner and artist, Georgina Warrick.
“We have created a quirky online shop where you can buy lots of handmade, fun and unique jewellery items. If you’re stuck for ideas about what to get someone, or trying to find a different present for the person who already seems to have everything, we are here to help! Our jewellery makes the perfect Christmas present, or stocking filler for your friends and family; cats, unicorns, glitter, dinosaurs, Alice in Wonderland, typewriters and space are just a few of the themes I work with and my prices are really reasonable with lots of lovely gift ideas going for as little as £10, so there is something for every bank balance – great for those secret Santa missions!”
Homegrown Flower Company
The Homegrown Flower Company is a flower farm and florist based in Mayfield, East Sussex. They grow and sell a wide variety of English country garden flowers and foliages throughout the seasons, including classic florists favourites and other more unusual varieties not often found on the high street.
“Everything we grow is grown using organic principles and without harmful pesticides, and care is given to growing varieties, which provide a nectar source for bees and other pollinating insects,” says owner, Zelie Billins. “With 80 per cent of the flowers brought into the UK being imported, it is great to be able to buy such beautiful flowers that haven’t been transported for thousands of miles! Over Christmas, we offer gorgeous hanging wreaths, table decorations and potted bulb arrangements, all hand made in our workshop here on the farm. We’re also running a series of floristry courses throughout 2017, which make brilliant Christmas presents for budding flower arrangers.”
“I am a photographer and collage artist based in Brighton with my fiancé, three children and a whippet,” says Cassia. “All of my collages are hand cut using different papers and vintage magazines in my home studio. I love to play with paper and rarely plan my pieces; they evolve as I work.”
“Since I started selling my prints, I have slowly introduced more products such as badges, notebooks, postcards and greeting cards. Some are humorous and surreal while others are more graphic, which means my work appeals to a wide range of people. You can buy small affordable goodies for stocking fillers, right up to original framed collages for art lovers. I will also be introducing handmade jewellery to my shop soon. I am taking part in two Brighton Artists Open Houses this Christmas: LittlePapa House, 338 Queens Park Road, and The Stanley Road Store at 25 Stanley Road. Both are full to the brim with amazing talent. Come and say hello!”
Launching in 2014, WordChatter make 100 per cent soy wax candles in three sizes of jars, as well as gorgeous tealights, wax melts and reed diffusers.
“Since we opened for business, we have grown from six fragrances to the 40 we make today, all of which are still hand poured in our kitchen at home,” says co-owner, Beth Emery. “We make a whole array of fragrances from our deliciously fruity strawberry and rhubarb, to musky ‘Arabian Nights’, and our Christmas range, which includes my personal favourite, gingerbread.
“Our prices range from £3 to £20 with gift packs starting at just £10,” adds Beth. “Christmas this year has seen the introduction of our ‘12 Days of Christmas’ Maxi Tealight Stack and our Wax Melt Gift Jar – these are flying off the shelves and make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves home fragrance. We don’t have a shop but you can find us at various events around the country in the run up to Christmas – find us on Facebook (/WordChatter) and check out our events tab to find out where we’ll be.”
The Sussex Hamper Company
Nick and Muir started The Sussex Hamper Company after many years of trying to find gifts for difficult folk. To make it easy, they started with a range of base hampers with an added range of personalised jewellery, accessories and cards, making each gift unique to the recipient. They know a few things about gift giving and have a couple of helpful pointers.
“Firstly, never underestimate the value of a surprise,” says Muir. “Unwrapping a gift is one of life’s great pleasures and brings out the child in us all. Secondly, make it personal; adding something well thought out will take you that extra mile to make it special. Lastly, if you’re not sure what personal message to write, remember conversations and what their sense of humour is. A bit of everything means that you have struck gold on giving a personal gift. Giving a hamper can tick many of the [gift] boxes, but likewise, remembering something important to your recipient will also truly make that gift sparkle.”