There’s no denying it now – Christmas is on its way. If you, like me, wholeheartedly embrace the jolliest of seasons and throw caution to the wind when it comes to observing the ’12 days of Christmas’ rule, then tinsel, mince pies and present buying will have been on your mind for quite some time.
I’ve been in the Christmas spirit for a number of weeks, scouting the country to source really special presents for, well, the really special people in my life. As you might be aware, Scotland has a rich creative offering, with diligent craftsmen and talented artists to be found across all regions. The run up to Christmas is a splendid time to check them out – you may just find the perfect gift.
Glasgow offers a wealth of shopping opportunities with its bustling Style Mile filled with all the high street names. A stone’s throw from the bustling shopping thoroughfare is the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) shop, my first stop to discover truly unique gifts. Currently on offer are covetable ceramics, fine jewellery, cosy knitwear and quirky products designed by students, staff and alumni of the art school. Linzie Devine, a textiles graduate, has produced woolen scarves inspired by the Mackintosh Building, one of the city’s most prominent landmarks and part of GSA.
It’s well worth a visit to not only the gift shop, but to the art school itself. Tours of the exquisite Mackintosh Building, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, are available seven days a week throughout winter (closed 24 December – 5 January). If you think this is something a friend or family member would love, a tour gift voucher might make an ideal stocking filler?
If you’re stumped for what to buy the person who has everything, then I’d suggest you check out what’s on offer in Scotland’s only designated Craft Town. West Kilbride in Ayrshire, with art hub The Barony Centre at its heart, is filled with artists’ workshops where bespoke creations are carefully designed and crafted; from colourful glass vases and perfume bottles to sleek handmade objets.
If you visit on 6 December, you can enjoy a spot of late night shopping among the festive fun of West Kilbride Yuletide; relax with a tipple as your browse independent stores and galleries, and the wee ones will love the free face painting, parade and fairground rides. Personally, I’ve got my eye on a chunky necklace by Karen McMillan (it’s already on my wish list to Santa!).
Don’t forget that our Visitor Information Centres across the country also stock a sparkling range of authentically Scottish items, such as Harris Tweed purses and bags. I’m in love with the original textile designs by Gillian Kyle, available from the Edinburgh Visitor Information Centre – the new ‘Local Heroes’ range features fun mugs, coasters and tea towels of some of Scotland’s best-loved icons.
Feeling inspired? Discover more about arts and crafts you can find in Scotland.