top of page

Sick of Black Friday? My ideas for more thoughtful Christmas gifts

Who else is sick of Black Friday?

I thought I’d share my top tips on Christmas gifting...

Support artists, makers and independent businesses

Shop local and support artist and makers and independent shops.

Have you heard about the ‘Just a card’ campaign? It celebrates artists, makers, independent galleries and shops and encourages people to buy from them.

Last week I took part in the ‘Just a Card - Indie Week’, a kind of anti Black Friday campaign. Search for the hashtags #justacard, #indiefriday and #indieweek on Instagram for lots of inspiration.

It really does make a difference. As well as supporting local businesses, you’re often buying something that is unique and hand made, rather than something mass-produced in another country.

So a big shout out to these lovely artists, makers and independent shops.

A few of my favourite local Independent shops...

  • Blossom Street Gallery - Who have exhibited by prints from my first exhibition in Oct 2016.

  • Kemps in Malton- Liz is a champion of shopping local.

  • Owl & Monkey in York - A lovely gift and homeware shop in York, as well as a graphic design client & somewhere I’ve exhibited.

  • The Cartshed - A fabulous new home and gift shop near Scraborough.

  • Holgate Windmill - I can see it from my studio. I love buying flour to make bread from. It was a pleasure to donate my artwork to digitally print a bag for the mill.

A few of my favourite local artist and makers...

  • Jane Shaffer Ceramics - I commissioned noodle bowls with my birthday money. I love using them.

  • Joanna Wakefield - Gorgeous jewellery. I will find the ‘just right’ button to commission a ring one day!

  • O’Crumbs - THE best carrot cake ever! Commissions for special occasions. (another graphics client. I only work with lovely people)

  • Kate Pettitt - Artist and scribbler. I love her plein air sketches and she’s been a massive support to me as I’ve grown as a business, both in graphics and artistically.

  • Bumblewap - eco friendly beeswax wraps ( another graphics client)

  • And of course all my fellow York Printmakers.

Make it

I’ve always made gifts for friends and family. It’s a thoughtful way of giving. Made with heart and truly appreciate by the other person. It could be as simple as a homemade card or jam. An old friend and my mum have every card I’ve ever made in a old shoebox. How lovely is that? Here are a few ideas:

  • Make a hamper of deliciously locally made treats.

  • Make jams and chutneys or something a bit boozy.

  • Make cards.

  • Make cushions or relaxing lavender eye bags.

Gift an experience - Workshops

We live in a world of too much stuff, so why not just an experience instead? What’s nicer than spending quality time with friends or family?

My best friend and did this a couple of years ago. We ‘bought’ each other a willow weaving workshop and spent quality time together in January making a bird feeder together. Yes, mine is rather tall but I like to be different! The blue tits like it though.

Cheeky plug...

Would you like to learn how to create a linocut print?

There are a few dates free in February and March. I promise there will be more new dates added soon. I’m just in the mists of planning research trips for my prints next year.

I’m happy to run bespoke dates if there are a group of four friends or family. I’ve had quite a few friends and mothers and daughters or sisters come together.


Think creatively and make your own.

A few ideas:

  • A night in a B&B.

  • Gift your time, that could be as simple as walking the dog.

  • A voucher saying you’ll buy flowers once a month.

The gift vouchers for my linocut workshops where very popular last year. I can also do vouchers my linocut prints. After all it’s hard to choose a print for someone else’s.

Gifts that keep on giving

  • Walking books - so you can share experiences together.

  • Plants and seeds.

  • Cinema membership - Membership for York City Screen is always a good one that I like.

  • Notebooks and sketchbooks.


This year my best friend and I are sharing a subscription to The Simple Life magazine. It’s something that seems like a luxury to buy but we both enjoy reading it. I don’t mind if I read the Feb issue in March. Plus it gives us the opportunity to share ideas from it together.

Reduce - set a limit or say no

Be honest with friends and family and say no to buying unnecessary gifts. Consume less.

It's better for the planet and it takes the pressure off Christmas. I don't mean taking the fun out of it for kids. How many times have you been stressed about what to get someone or embarrassed as someone got you something and you haven't?

My mum, dad and brother and I have set a limit. It’s a maximum of £10.

Listen to Martin Lewis here. He make some really valid points about why we give and why we should buy less so that we don’t get into debt.


Re-gift. This may not feel very in the spirit of Christmas but my family and I have had a laugh with this.

My brother and I decided to just re-gift things. We wrap up things we don’t want as a bit of fun. Two of my best re-gifted presents have been my brother's old iPad and my mums unwanted digital radio. Both things I would have liked but couldn’t justify buying at the time.

It doesn’t need to be as fancy as that though. My brother wraps all sorts of silly things. One year I had some dried tuna he’d been given!

Something else I bought for my mum one year was a selection of vases. She loves flower arranging. They didn't need to be new, as they're often used once or twice for arrangements projects set on her evening course. I bought a few different ones in local charity shops.


Think about the type of paper you buy to wrap gifts in. Foil and glitter papers usually can’t be recycled.

Avoid buying things that have lots of excess packaging.

I love up-cycling things too. This was an old bike wheel I polished up and made into a clock.

One last plug! Don't forget to come and see how I create my prints in my studio. They're all hand made in my York studio, so each one is unique.

Christmas Open Studio, 1 December 2018

My studio in Holgate, York. 10am to 4pm. Demo at 11am.

Linocut prints of nature and local landscapes.

  • Framed prints to order.

  • Mounted prints.

  • Christmas cards & greetings cards.

  • Workshop & print vouchers.

I'm running low on a few designs until I print some more in the new year.

It take a while to print designs. I use oil-based inks and leave them to dry between printing each colour. I usually print my limited editions in batches of 10. I can't just press print on my Mac unfortunately!


Most of all Christmas is about spending quality time with friends and family. So enjoy.

Merry Christmas!



61 views0 comments
bottom of page