Thursday 9 December 2021
Does Christmas shopping sometimes feel like a stressful trawl, the shopping centres in big towns heaving with people, or your eyes bleary from scrolling up and down Amazon and the big players’ websites on your tablet or smartphone?
We recommend veering off the beaten track and shopping local in the Chilterns! You’ll find some unusual Christmas gifts, or locally produced Christmas food, a welcoming, friendly shopping experience, and plenty of local craft ales, gins and wines. Plus you can feel good knowing that you’re reducing your food miles, supporting local businesses who might have struggled in the pandemic, or even finding a gift that helps nature and the environment.
Ayres House Artist Studios: Christmas Shopping is now open at the Studios Gallery. 10.30am-4.30pm until December 14th (Closed Wednesdays). Find art for all budgets, hand crafted items, unique gifts, homeware and decorations. All created by studio or local artists and makers.
Chilterns Gifts has gorgeous Chilterns themed aprons, oven gloves, mugs and tea towels made by a designer and local photographer. See image.
Visit the Chilterns : Art & Craft is fantastic list of local artists, makers, and craftspeople you can buy unusual gifts from in the Chilterns.
Adam King in the Chilterns makes carved Welsh love spoons.
Welsh Love Spoon commissions carved by Adam King – Welsh love spoons by Adam King
Alex Bushcraft’s shop has herbal skin balms, personalised hand carved wooden butter knives, herbal soaps and wild garlic pesto.
Chiltern Valley Winery and Brewery has an array of wine hampers, beer hampers and bespoke hampers as a lovely treat for friends or family.
Malt the Brewery is offering fun beer crackers, gift boxes and a virtual brewery tour in a box gift.
Mr Hobbs Gin Shop does some divine gins and gin liqueurs for those who like a gin and tonic.
Other Foodie Gifts or Deli Christmas Table buys:
Nettlebed Creamery Check out the amazing organic cheeses and cheese boxes from this organic dairy farm.
Marlow Cheese also has a wonderful selection of local cheeses as individual items or in Christmas hampers.
Chiltern Charcuterie sells award winning salamis and air dried charcuterie.
Social media “Buy local” groups such are a great place to find local makers and artisan food producers, such as this Facebook page covering Chesham, Amersham and Chalfont.
You could give a memorable experience as a gift – something your loved one will always always remember - and they’ll learn new skills along the way.
If you’ve got active friends and family, an outdoor cooking, whittling, or family bushcraft session would be a great gift. You can also buy 1 to 1 sessions.
Try Alex Bushcraft or David Willis Bushcraft.
For example: The Chiltern Society are offering Campfire Bread Baking on 15th January with Dave Willis.
A day outdoors in an semi-ancient, replanted, broadleaved woodland, learning how to bake a variety of breads - loaves and others such as bannock and flat breads which will be enjoyed with lunch! Price: £97.50
GG Wildlife Experiences. Buy someone a guided wildlife walk with ‘the bird whisperer’ or wildlife photography workshop - with GG Wildlife Experiences.
Ayres House Studios in Wallingford offers fantastic mosaic making courses and workshops for adults, or parents with children, along with drawing workshops and more. Make beautiful works of art from recycled china and tiles with CracktPot Jo.
Where Inspiration Blooms offers a mix of arts and bushcraft courses, from a windswept watercolour painting workshop to wheel pottery throwing and play with clay sessions. A great gift for someone who loves learning creative skills.
The Coaching Barn at Littlestoke Manor Farm offers a range of courses in nutrition and wellbeing, painting and more and you can buy vouchers.
Brewery & Distillery Tours
If you have a craft ale, wine or gin fan in the family, you could treat them o a vineyard or brewery tour. See this list for a comprehensive choice: Visit the Chilterns : Vineyard and Distillery Tours & Tasting (visitchilterns.co.uk)
Here is one example:
Tring Brewery Tour – Historic Beer Styles – 12th January
This fantastic event, led by a member of the Tring Brewery Team, will take you behind the scenes of this famous local brewery. You’ll hear a detailed history of British beer styles with tasters to accompany the talk. There will be a focus on British brewing history, and the sensory analysis of various styles indigenous to the UK. An amazing Christmas pressie for those interested in beer and a chance to visit their amazing beer shop. Price: £10 - For full details and to book your place here.
If you’ve got a nature lover in the family, you could give a gift that supports wildlife or nature in the Chilterns.
Sponsor a Tree by the Chiltern Society and mitigate climate change while supporting local wildlife.
The Woodland Trust also offers the opportunity to sponsor bluebell & hedgerow planting, and has gifts you can order such as bags, toiletries, stationary, funghi and leaf swatch books. You’ll help the Woodland Trust to support woodlands in the Chilterns and elsewhere. You can buy a robin shelter and bird roosters, mammal shelters, ceramic
Chiltern Society Membership makes a unique gift for those who care about protecting the wild spaces and landscapes in the Chilterns. Membership just £30 for individual and £45 household.
Local Producers Food and Drink Shopping:
Buy a very very special turkey from Copas Traditional Turkeys – all birds are truly free range, roaming the cherry orchards and grass meadows, and eat an ethically sourced cereal diet.
Order some 100% grassfed longhorn beef from the Butchery at English Farm, Nuffield.
Find locally made sparkling white wine and sparkling cider from Daws Hill Vineyard.
Wonderful Campfire gin and accessories from Puddingstone Distillery and get delivery locally.
Rebellion Brewery in Marlow can offer free home delivery Welcome to the Rebellion Beer Company Shop
See also our blog on local Zero Waste refill shops for your spices, raisins and dried fruit, nuts, flours, cake ingredients, sweets, vegan and organic chocolates and other festive snacks, all sold in any weight amount. Bring your own container.
Get in the mood for Christmas with some Christmas crafts.
Festive wreathmaking at Woodoaks Tea Shack
11th and 12th Dec 9am – 12pm, £60. Led by local florists, using natural sustainable materials - in aid of Crisis homelessness charity.
Christmas Family Bushcraft Session
1.30pm to 3pm on Tuesday 21st December
This will include fabulously festive activities including weaving willow stars, using woodwork tools to create reindeers and snowmen from branches and logs, making cranberry bird feeders and all of our usual bushcraft activities as well as toasting cinnamon bread on the open fire.
£15 per adult & child pair | £20 family of 3 | £22.50 family of 4 | £25 family of 5 | Under 2's Free.
Christmas decoration making at Where Inspiration Blooms
Saturday, 18th December 10am - 11.30am
£35 per pairing - £10 per extra family member.
All materials supplied. Suitable for children aged 5+
An illuminated night walk and nature trail at Lindengate near Aylesbury with festive refreshments. December 17 @ 5:30 pm - December 19 @ 8:30 pm
Christmas Baroque Concert by Candlelight, Sat 16th Dec at St Marys Old Church Amersham.
Echor Music – a recently formed Chilterns orchestra made up of some of the best local musicians based in the Chilterns is offering a concert.
The 5.30pm performance is free for under 18s, and the 8pm performance is followed by a jazz soiree.
A Gardener's Christmas at Hughenden Manor is this year's fantastic chance to see the sumptuous decorations at the the house for Christmas, it’s a real wow.
Have a wonderful time preparing for Christmas 2021!