The start of December brought with it an early sensation of the overstuffing of Christmas. Way before the huge food fest of the 25th I was feeling the excess of the festive period.
I listened to a Radio 4 programme about buying what we need rather than what we want and I was enthusiastically nodding my head to it in the car. It really rang true.
A couple weeks down the line, however, with huge tree installed in the lounge and a gaudy gold stag head up in the hall those feelings seem to have been digested. And, while I don’t want to be materialistic, I have to admit I love buying things for people that I know they will like and I love unwrapping presents myself. So it is going to be a lot about what we need and also a bit of what we desire because Christmas is a time for some excess.
This is the start of the final Christmas in our home. The house we have worked relentlessly on for the past five years is almost complete – ready to pass on to the buyers who are (hopefully!) moving in mid-January.
So this year Christmas doesn’t feel as much like the buying frenzy craziness which leads to the wind down of the holidays. It doesn’t seem so much the end point as a time to think about new beginnings – a little earlier than we might feel it in the New Year.
Christmas 2013 means consciously buying less so we don’t add to the mountain of moving boxes. We will be buying for our future family place (er, not certain where that will be up to date) and we will be buying locally as much as we can.
Here is our top ten present lust list from the Hebden high street for the whole family with emphasis on smaller things, goodies to eat and items for our next step.
1) Great Rock Co-op. This amazing little shop held at a farm at Blackshaw Head is open on Saturdays from 10-2pm. It is staffed by volunteers and has shelves of goodies which are prepared/baked/crafted locally. It’s a gem and the last chance to visit before Christmas is 21st December. Staups Lee Farm, Higher Eastwood, Todmorden, West Yorkshire, OL14 8RR. http://www.greatrockcoop.co.uk/home.html
2) Snug. We are looking for something beautiful and ornamental in here.I’d like to say we’ll be going for a fine piece of pottery but with a toddler and a boy charging around the house we would be better going something well attached to the wall. There’s a lovely choice in here. http://www.snug-gallery.com/
3) Molly and Ginger. The big Market Street window of this shop often draws me in and this dress is really lovely. It’s a gorgeous purple above the knee number, with a lace bodice. (It’s a tulip shaped skirt which also gives a bit of room for the post-dinner stomach stretch).
4) The stalwart of the high street, The Bookcase, has been open for 30 years has enjoyed a recent update. I did a bit of last minute the first year I was in the town and bought a Moleskine diary for my other half from this place. It’s now become a tradition. I also got a great Moomin book for the children too. http://www.bookcase.co.uk/
5) Valley Organics will be the place I’ll head to for veggies to roast for Christmas dinner and will stock up for dairy-free chocolates for our little allergy-ridden one. http://www.valleyorganics.co.uk/
6) Made in the Valley Pop Up Shop. Valley-crafted loveliness! Got my eye on new crockery for the new house and lots of things for under a tenner so a great place to head for teacher gifts which might be better received than the smellies and chocs they usually get 25 of. Open every day but Mondays until Christmas.
7) Dynamite. Fairtraded and organic and sustainable clothes that don’t necessarily look it. I’m on for a cosy Seasalt grey cable-knit cardi. Will also be picking up some great stocking fillers here.
8) Greens Vegetarian Café on Albert Street. I’ll be drawing out a voucher for us to visit on an evening for our first date night of the new year. http://greensvegetariancafe.co.uk/
9) Radiance. Beautiful things to light up the place so that when the fairy lights come down post-Christmas with a little something from here your lounge won’t look so shockingly bare. http://www.radiancelighting.co.uk/
10) The Old Treehouse. I was in labour in a Burnley hospital over five years ago and thinking about buying in Hebden. The midwife, who was from Halifax, told me about this beautiful shop. She said visiting Father Christmas here was the most magical one she could have imagined. Unfortunately he doesn’t have time to get to the shop anymore (he’s got to spread himself thinly throughout the world remember) but the toys in here are fabulous though so we will be popping in without the children this week to buy some last minute gifts.
It may not be practical to dump Amazon but if you still have some presents to buy for your loved ones then get down to our lovely high street stuffed with independent shops.
The business owners will thank you for it and the town will continue to be great because of it. If you are working during the day then try the late night opening on Thursday.
Merry Christmas, wishing you peace and good times x