'Tis the season to be... stressed about shopping. Let's face it, it's not always easy to get the right presents, especially in this time of collapsing supply chains and global shortages.
But every problem is an opportunity in disguise. And the fact that ordering stuff online has become a lottery shouldn't fill you with horror. Instead, treat it as a fresh chance to support smaller local firms, and independent artists, designers and makers; all of whom have had difficult times over the last couple of years.
Not to mention that buying something original, lovingly crafted and totally unique will endear you far more to your loved ones than just opting for the same safe, generic products from big brands.
In this article, we've pulled together some inspirational suggestions for Christmas gifts, whether you're buying for family, friends, or fellow creatives. And if you need more, check out this Twitter thread too.
Let's Get Kooky by Jean Jullien
This new card game by Jean Jullien challenges you to collect over 50 quirky and close-knit cats. It's a bit like Happy Families meets Go Fish, but where all the fish have been eaten by cats, and instead of being happy, the families are all a bit bonkers.
Socks by Yinka Ilori
You might not expect it, but Yinka Ilori's unmistakable designs look great on your feet. This trio of woven socks, each covered with Yinka's signature patterns, would make a great gift for anyone with their own distinctive and quirky sense of style.
Haring-isms by Larry Warsh
An excellent stocking filler from Counterprint, Haring-isms features a brilliantly curated selection of quotations from renowned artist and pop icon Keith Haring. Taken together, this selection reflects Haring's distinctive voice and reminds us why his work continues to resonate with fans around the globe.
Body Language Decoder by Martin Brooks
People give away more by their body language than what they actually say, and learning to decode it can really help you improve your communication skills. Created by Martin Brooks, this set of cards will help you unlock the secrets of what people are thinking, by learning to read their unconscious body language. Anyone who has a client they find difficult to read will love this gift!
Pencil Chocolate by Ocelot
Made in Scotland by Ocelot, this new chocolate is inspired by pencils. Dark milk chocolate infused with cedar and pine, two types of wood most commonly used to make pencils. The bar is scattered with roasted nibs. A good choice for creative nerds.
My Papercut Forest by Silvina De Vita
This kit by paper artist Silvina De Vita contains all the elements needed to create a beautiful papercut model of your own. When you finish, you can put your creation in a dome and give it as a gift; or depending on who the recipient is, you might just want to give them the kit and let them make it themselves.
Dorothy Decks: Music Edition – Playing Cards by Dorothy
Check out this unique deck of 54 playing cards designed by Liverpool studio Dorothy for music fans. Each of the four suits represents a genre of music (alternative, electronic, hip-hop and rock) and each of the 54 cards depicts an iconic song representing its face value, for example, The Ace of Spades is Motörhead while The Queen is Dead is The Smiths.
Wabi-Sabi Pot by Clae Josie Swift
A cute Wabi-Sabi pot by ceramicist Clae Josie Swift, made from warm biscuity clay with a white glazed inner. Hand-built and purposely irregular in shape and glaze. The perfect size for holding incense cones, or use as a ring dish. Made in small batches, and fired in Josie's studio in Folkstone.
Wooden Trees by Forge Creative
These handmade wooden trees by Forge Creative are individually hand-turned on a lathe and made from a wide variety of wood, so each one has its own uniqueness and character. Sold Individually via the independent shop, Form, they make the perfect little stocking filler for someone you love.
Team Demi Office Set by Naoto Fukasawa
What stocking would be complete without this impeccable reissue of a classic, designed by Naoto Fukasawa. Brought to you via Present & Correct, this portable office set has been given a 2021 makeover. Inside the magnetically closed case, you will find a pair of scissors, a ruler, tape dispenser, knife, tape measure, glue, stapler, and Sim card pin. Each tool is magnetic, so they click into place in a satisfying way.
Puzzles and games that creatives will love
Kinstler by Rami Metal
Kinstler is a new Brooklyn-based art world puzzle company founded by Rami Metal who wanted to do something to support new and emerging artists. His debut collection includes three jigsaw puzzles featuring the work of Simone Johnson, Andrea Joyce Heimer, and Rusudan Khizanishvili. Take your pick and help support the creative community.
ArtNet Set by The Art of Ping Pong
The Conran Shop's exclusive collaboration with The Art of Ping Pong allows you to transform any table into a ping pong match. Crafted from powder-coated steel, the three net pieces can be easily overlapped to create a ping pong net for your game. Complete with an oak bracket to attach to your wall, the zig-zag forms can become a unique art piece when not in use. The stylish table tennis set is accompanied by two FSC-certified rosewood bats, and four ABS plastic balls. Game on!
Love is Power by Jacqueline Colley
Illustrator and pattern designer Jacqueline Colley is behind this gorgeous jigsaw, which features work from her ongoing typographic series exploring type and printmaking. The power of love is something to be inspired by this Christmas. It's a 500 piece puzzle, includes a cotton drawstring bag for easy storage, and it's made from recycled board. Made via Print Club London and Luckies.
Colder & Closer Puzzle by Maaike Canne
Featuring a thousand pieces, this beautifully illustrated puzzle by Maaike Canne is just one of many jigsaws via Wrap, waiting to be solved. Responsibly produced using FSC certified material, you can pre-order now ready for shipping in early November.
Nkatha Jigsaw Puzzle by Benny Bing
This captivating wood jigsaw by Puzzle Lab has approximately 300 wacky organic pieces and was crafted on Vancouver Island in Canada. It features artwork by Benny Bing, a contemporary Canadian artist of Nigerian descent who explores beauty and blackness and celebrates the power of the black female form.
Books about art and design
Palette Perfect by Sara Caldas
Palette Perfect will be loved by graphic designers and illustrators everywhere for its deep dive into colour combinations, meanings and cultural references. Written by Sara Caldas, it's illustrated with projects by renowned creatives, and organised by colours (identified with CMYK, RGB and HEX codes) and moods associated with the time of day.
Who doesn't love the work of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki? Now comes this sumptuous book by Counterprint, which also marks a landmark exhibition in LA. A wonderful gift for the Japan-ophile or animation fan in your life.
This is Everything 1: Instagram Drawings by Bedwyr Williams
Published by Southwark Park Galleries, this book brings together over 100 of Bedwyr Williams' drawings, replicating the original scale of his artworks, drawn habitually since 2018. The Welsh artist offers a touch of sardonic humour throughout his practice, often picking up on the clichés we're all so fed up with hearing in the creative community.
Perambulations Box Set Walking Guides by Stefi Orazi
Perambulations is a series of guided trails, started by Stefi Orazi during the pandemic and various lockdowns. Each handy folded guide is a single walk and features a map alongside informative text about modernist buildings along the route. With illustrations by Jay Cover, what's not to love. Grab them all in this lovely box set.
Young, Gifted and Black by Jamia Wilson
In Jamia Wilson's Young, Gifted and Black, we meet 52 icons of colour from the past and present through stories about changemakers to inspire and empower the next generation. The book is stylishly brought together by Andrea Pippins' colourful and celebratory illustrations. Written in the spirit of Nina Simone's song To Be Young, Gifted, and Black, it's a vibrant book that offers a perfect introduction to both historic and present-day figureheads, leaders, pioneers, cultural trailblazers and athletes.
Books: Art, Craft & Community by London Centre for Book Arts
In this beautiful title, Books. Art, Craft & Community, the London Centre for Book Arts presents a thriving ecosystem of papermakers, printers, bookbinders, artists, designers and publishers from around the world. All of whom draw on traditional skills, art and experimentation to make books that matter today. In twenty-six profiles, spanning traditional craftspeople to modern makers, along with contributions from experts, we are given an insight into the history and contemporary context of the processes behind the books.
Miroslav Sasek by Martin Salisbury
Czech artist Miroslav Šašek (1916–1980) was remarkable for his unique and pioneering approach to non-fiction picture books, illustrating daily life as if seen from a child’s perspective. In this book, Martin Salisbury analyses Šašek’s multifarious oeuvre, and how he became one of the twentieth century’s most beloved and significant contributors to the world of picture books.
This revised and expanded second edition of Hey: Design & Illustration contains many new projects as well as the work and collaborations carried out as part of the studio's expansion into the world of retail. Working in a variety of mediums and fields, uniting both spheres of graphic design and illustration seamlessly, the work and accompanying text within this book covers clients such as Monocle, Paypal, Nokia and Uniqlo, as well as promotional pieces and illustrations that give an insight into how the studio's ideas are hatched and their problems solved.
Gadgets and stationery gifts for creatives
Office Bag by Present & Correct
A gift idea that promises to change someone's life, this Office Bag is made from thick, kraft board and faux leather handles, and it opens up into a portable desk. Sheer genius! It'll suit those who use co-working spaces or coffee shops and want to carry their office with them. Inside you will find space for tools, paper and more, plus there are five sections that pull out for a permanent set-up. It closes with a strong magnetic seal.
The Colour of Things Notebooks by Tom Crawshaw
We're a little bit in love with this series of six beautifully crafted notebooks featuring foiled typographic covers. Designed by Tom Crawshaw, each one features a collection of seemingly unconnected things but they share one common element: colour.
Polaroid Now+ by Polaroid
Brand new from Polaroid is this analogue instant camera that connects to your phone via Bluetooth, giving you loads of creative possibilities. Just hook up to the Polaroid app to unlock new creative tools or mix it up with five experimental lens filters. It's fully analogue, totally controllable, and brings a whole new perspective to the instant camera we all love.
Italian Toolbox by Present & Correct
Any stationery-obsessed creative will love you for this smart, useful toolbox from Italy. Made of steel, painted grey and dark green, it's a substantial size and in the top tier, you find 12 removable plastic compartments, which are ideal for small tools and parts. Heaven.
Type Planner 2022 by Marjolein Delhaas
Back for another year via Present & Correct, this wonderful type planner for 2022 comes in a fresh set of colours. With flat lay tomes exposing Coptic binding, it has a year overview inside and then week to view pages. It's a paperback with painted edges. And at the back is a blank notes section, always useful. Designed by Marjolein Delhaas in Rotterdam.
Gifts for creative fashionistas
Laptop Tote Bags by MAMIMU
Keeping with its Japanese roots, MAMIMU's Laptop Tote Collection was developed with the spirit of Omotenashi – the Japanese word for 'wholehearted hospitality'. Its features include secure double-compartments to hold a laptop and A4 documents (no one knows you are carrying a laptop), as well as handy pockets for all your daily essentials. Durable, lightweight and travel friendly. The screen-printed designs are of the artist MAMIMU’s manhole collection from Tokyo, London and New York.
Scarf by Hilary Grant
This St Ives design by Orkney-based textile design studio, Hilary Grant, comes in a gorgeous 'sea pink and oxide green' and is knitted and hand-finished in Scotland from 100% superfine Lambswool. Other designs are available but this is our favourite.
Ceramic jewellery by Beth Lamont
Beth Lamont jewellery collections bring striking simplicity to an outfit, with little splashes of colour added through rope or glazing. Inspired by the clean form and feel of ceramics, she makes unique pieces that stand out and make a statement about the wearer and their individual style.
Happy-sad puffer bag by Lazy Oaf
Celebrating their 20th anniversary soon, Lazy Oaf is one of the good guys, and do regular collaborations with the creative community. This happy-sad puffer bag is a great way to celebrate the fact that life has its ups and downs, but we all just keep on going.
Zebra Necklace by Materia Rice & Miriam Frank
This Zebra Necklace from Materia Rica is bold and playful, created in collaboration with tattoo artist Miriam Frank and brought to life in the Materia Rica workshop in Barcelona. It's inspired by the artist's love of nature. Laser-cut and carefully hand-painted, it has a gorgeous handmade finish.
Cloudy fleecey scarf by King Owusu
Another treat from Lazy Oaf, isn't this fleecy scarf just amazing? It's one of those great designs that's brilliantly simple, and yet utterly entrancing. Consider us fans, and we'd be overjoyed to get one of these for Christmas.
Gifts for the creative home
QT-30 Flip Clock in Yellow by TWEMCO
Crafted by TWEMCO, this yellow QT-30 Flip Clock has been expertly crafted in Hong Kong using the finest quality materials and is fitted with exquisite German movement for a precise time. Developed with style and personality, it's a vintage flip-clock that's a contemporary take on an industrial staple.
The Party Sculpture by Aman Khanna
Created in observation of "the common man and his dilemmas", the Party Sculpture is designed by ceramicist Aman Khanna and handcrafted using unglazed white stoneware clay. It's inspired by the notion that we're all "negotiating life, one by one by one" and Khanna's hope is that the figures will challenge you to think. As every The Party Sculpture is handcrafted, each piece leaving Khanna's workshop carries its own uniquely charming expression.
Scatter Cushion by Yinka Ilori
London-based multi-disciplinary artist Yinka Ilori draws upon his own British Nigerian heritage to create stories through his work. Here he uses the jacquard weaving technique to weave the intricate patterns of the designs directly into the cotton. The result is a soft and luxurious feel, whilst also being very hard-wearing.
12" Vinyl Record Chopping Board by Pikkii
Prepare and serve your greatest hits on this 12-inch vinyl record inspired chopping and serving board by Pikkii. Produced from premium sustainable bamboo, the LP cutting board has two sides; Side A for chopping and cutting, and side B, with its laser-engraved grooves, for serving and impressing your guests. A must-have kitchen accessory for music lovers and DJs alike.
Len Felted Wool Decoration by Cari Vander Yacht
There are a whole heap of gorgeous hanging decorations via Wrap this season, made of felted wool by various artists. It was so difficult to choose just one but we just love this pooping pup by Cari Vander Yacht. Even better, it's handcrafted in Nepal, as part of a project that provides employment and opportunities to Nepalese women living in poverty.
PC Portable Table Light by Hay
Pierre Charpin’s PC Portable Lamp is a refined and portable freestanding lamp for indoor and outdoor use. Constructed in robust plastic and featuring a matte scratch- and water-resistant finish, its battery-powered design gives the freedom and flexibility to move it anywhere.
Nappula Plant Pot by Iittala
Designer Matti Klenell took inspiration for this elegant plant pot from a peculiarly shaped table with ‘swollen’ feet at the Iittala Glass Museum. A fun play on the signature silhouette with its flowing curved design, this pot invites you to bring a slice of nature inside.
Abstract Shapes Towel by Donna Wilson
Who buys anyone towels for Christmas, I hear you say! And we'd agree, usually. But we couldn't resist adding these colourfully clashing abstract towels to our gift list. Designed by Donna Wilson, they're super-soft and made from absorbent cotton, perfect for the bathroom, gym or beach.
Mugs by Maz Leyden
Maz Leyden is an illustrator and textile designer working from her studio near the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire. She loves making images of the natural world using bright colours and squiggly curves and wants people to feel happy and positive when they see them. We certainly do, and we reckon they'd make great gifts to put a smile on your loved ones' faces.
Rainbow Coasters by Pikkii
Colour is everything for us creatives. It's why this unique set of five cork-backed wooden drink mats will warm the hearts of any artist and designer. Designed by Pikkii, a London-based studio that creates fun, sustainable and thoughtful gifts, games and lifestyle items guaranteed to make you smile and feel happy inside.
Art Trays by various artists via Wrap
If your pal can't get enough art in their home or have run out of space on their walls, then these Art Trays by Wrap will definitely raise a smile. Available in different shapes and prints from various collaborating artists including Cari Vander Yacht, Alejandra Garcia Y Gutierrez, Isabelle Feliu, and many more.
LEGO Wooden Home Accessories by Room Copenhagen
Let's face it, who isn't mad about LEGO? Now, for the very first time, you can get something pretty special for your friend's home that pays tribute to the popular toy, as LEGO launches its first-ever wooden home accessories collection this December. Brought to the market via Room Copenhagen, the new range includes picture frames, wall hangers, book racks and desk drawers – so there's something for everyone. It'll be sold online via various retailers such as John Lewis, Nordic Nest and Moodings.
Figurative Bowl by Karen Atherley Ceramics
Can we all just take a moment to admire this large figurative bowl by Karen Atherley? Decorated with colourful slips and a transparent glaze plus the addition of ceramic decals, this will suit the design maximalist in your life.
Prints and posters for creative walls
The Home Stayer by Luis Mendo
For Creative Boom's new print shop, Tokyo-based illustrator Luis Mendo has created this exclusive A3 artwork titled The Home Stayer. It's based on a personal project Luis began during lockdown, making a series of covers for a magazine that doesn't exist. It's a charming tribute to The New Yorker and also reflective of our times.
Stamp Books: Modern by Dorothy
For the literature-loving graphic designers in your life, this brand new print by Dorothy features 42 books reimagined as collectable postage stamps and make up an oversized sheet, as you might find if buying stamps in bulk at the Post Office. It's part of a new series called Stamp Books with two options available: Classics and Modern Classics. We're opting for the more recent titles, as who could resist seeing Orwell's 1984 in stamp form?
Music Icon Print by Tiny Riot
Tiny Riot is a three-person collective that sprung to life during the first lockdown. Together, they create playful, unique, beautifully crafted art prints. Craft is the key with even the logo focusing on the edgy but fun personality of their brand. The prints range from iconic rock and pop royalty to camo infused pop art. A must for fans of Freddie, Amy, David, George and Prince. We'll have them all.
Waveform print by Alex Szabo-Haslam
For those who love electronic music, Alex Szabo-Haslam's latest series of metallic and holographic artwork prints will make an excellent gift. Called Waveform, the silkscreen-printed pieces visualise the soundwaves generated by dance, rave and synth albums of British musicians including everyone from 808 State and Chemical Brothers to Aphex Twin and Massive Attack. It's the third series of its kind to be released by the Sheffield-based designer over the last decade.
Grace Jones print by Stanley Chow
We love the work of illustrator Stanley Chow, and this interpretation of the iconic 1980s singer Grace Jones just blows our mind. This high-quality Giclée print is signed and stamped by the artist and comes on 300gsm archival fine art paper, which combines rich colours, deep blacks and a subtly textured finish.
Yule 002 print by Nell Smith
This print by Manchester creative Nell Smith is part of her Almanac collection of folklore screenprints, reflecting her love of celebration, coupled with a fascination with folklore and mythology. In lilac, cream and green, it represents Yule, one of the oldest winter celebrations from any country. Nell prints these unique contemporary abstract screenprints over several layers, using various screenprinting techniques until she's happy with the composition.
Print by Martyna Makes
Illustrator and graphic designer Martyna Makes has a fab range of quirky prints and cards in her online shop. Each print is packed with care, with greyboard backing and cello wrap to protect it. Plus each card comes with an envelope, which is held securely via a satisfying peel-able sticker. We love this A4 print that reminds us it's ok to have a wobble sometimes.
Colourful Zodiacs by Jessica Smith
Originally painted in gouache, these gorgeous artworks by illustrator Jessica Smith are available in every sign of the Zodiac. A graduate of Falmouth University, Jessica loves to feature nature, plants, flowers, animals and people in her work while also playing around with fun colours and patterns. Choose your loved ones' star sign for their walls.
Gifts for creative foodies
Festive Foodie Hamper by That Counts
How about supporting a female-founded impactful gifting company based in South East London that believes in giving gifts that make a difference and specialise in thoughtfully curated, beautifully designed gift boxes filled with carefully selected products to support people and causes? Sounds ideal, right? That Counts is where to go if you're looking for a hamper with a difference.
The Chocolate Library by Ocelot
Handcrafted, designed and packed in an Edinburgh-based chocolate factory, The Chocolate Library from Ocelot Chocolate is a rich and indulgent experience, exclusively available at The Conran Shop. Featuring the complete Ocelot chocolate collection, the bars are presented in plastic-free packaging printed on sustainable card, with a compostable inner film. The packaging is beautifully designed, too, making it pleasing to the eye and one to make any graphic designer happy this Christmas.
Cupping Box by Climpson & Sons
For anyone series about getting more involved in speciality coffee, this cupping box by east London's Climpson & Sons is a great choice. If you didn't know, cupping is the industry-wide term for tasting coffee and the method used to evaluate the characteristics of coffee.
Rainbow Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Frantoio Muraglia
Carrying one of the finest extra virgin olive oils in the world, this bottle from Frantoio Maglia is hand-painted with bold and colourful stripes, crafted by a small family atelier in Apulia. It contains oil with rich flavours favoured by Michelin Star chefs worldwide. And you can only get it from The Conran Shop.