Where, how, why… Shop locally and independently in Newcastle this Christmas

I think this year I finally admitted it to myself. I mean you only had to take a quick look around at the Christmas decorations popping up in October to get the real spirit of Christmas cemented into your brain.

The bottom line… commercialism, obviously. The whole world is in the spirit of making money, and letting people know exactly how much money we are all making and why.

So really, why should we expect anything different during the ‘festive’ season. But instead of fighting against this giant tidal wave that would make Scrooge McDuck cry out in glee, I thought maybe I would offer up a half way point, a somewhat solution. An alternative to shopping with the big chain stores, a challenge almost, if you’re into that sort of thing. Why not shop independently this Christmas?

Don’t know where to start? Don’t know how to go about things? Think maybe it’s just all too hard? But surely it has to be a lot easier than trying to find a car park at Westfield right? Well, here’s a delightful little guide to shopping locally and independently this Christmas.

Hit the farmers Markets.

You may be a regular, you might be a one hit wonder, but regardless it’s really the most wonderful time of year to hit the markets. Whether you’re after some really delicious organic food for the table (even if it is just to say, ‘oh I picked that up at the farmers market this morning, it’s organic’). Or, you’re after some handmade goods or even some antiques, surely you can’t do any better than some sweet market finds. Grab your keep cup and your enviro bag and check out the upcoming local market schedule.

Darby Street Anyone?

I feel like Darby Street holds a really special place in the hearts of Novocastrians. I remember hanging out in cafes straight after I finished year 12, dreaming my life away and spending all my money on coffee and second hand books. I mean, in all honestly, not much has changed. Now I just have slightly more money to spend on coffee and used books. Whether you wander into Blue Star Elements, Ramjet, Blackbird Corner, or Cooks Hill Books, surely you are bound to find something with a Novocastrian flair and flavour and support some really great local businesses whilst you’re at it. Speaking of, some of our favourite local businesses actually depend on the festive season to not just survive but thrive through the rest of the year, why not do your part?

Kindness, kindness projects everywhere

I’ve spoken about a few kindness projects before, but I think maybe it’s the most important around Christmas time. Two of my personal favourites? Secret Books Stuff (because books, duh) and The Grateful (because flowers, obviously). Both of these particular projects work on a pay it forward system. Firstly, why not purchase a secret book for the bibliophile in your life? Each one comes with a handwritten note which makes things just that little bit more special. In terms of The Grateful, for every bouquet purchased, they donate another to the patients at John Hunter hospital. So much goodness, and kindness, all wonderful things. It’s probably as close to embracing the ‘true’ spirit of Christmas as you can get.

Don’t wanna leave the house? This one’s for you.

Shopping online is far (far) too convenient, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw your hard earned cash towards big business. Although they may not all be local, there are so many independent business owners floating around on Etsy. There’s just something so great about taking the time to select a gift for someone, knowing they will genuinely love what you bought for them. Instead of buying a gift because you have to, buy something because you genuinely really want to.

Make something, I believe in you.

Hot tip. Only heartless people don’t like handmade gifts. There I said it. If someone takes the time to make me something, instead of buying me something, I am always so incredibly stoked. I mean, even if it’s a rainbow macaroni necklace I’ll still smile, appreciate the thought, and wear that necklace with pride. That’s what Christmas is all about after all.

Written by Laura Kebby

I write words about talented people doing talented things, and translate chatter by putting pen to paper.

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