It’s a scary old world out there and you hardly need me to remind you of it. I feel like keeping my little squad right here at home, safely cuddled up by the fire at least until Christmas is out of the way.
Cowardly I know, but with the whole world on a heightened state of terror alert, now seems like a great time to keep travelling to a minimum. So whilst my heart may be trawling Parisienne flea markets for unique Christmas gifts, my head says hunting out a hotbed of homespun talent is a far more sensible way to fill those stockings. Folks, the Christmas Craft market season is upon us and if ever we needed our local communities to restore faith in human nature, now is the time.
The Great British Bake off and Great British Sewing Bee were once again the year's runaway TV success stories - proving that the Great British craft scene is bigger and more popular than ever. We know, don’t we, that one-of-a-kind gifts, lovingly hand made in the local area, kick the ass of something mass produced by underage, underpaid, under valued factory workers in some far flung corner of the globe. Yada yada... But it’s not just ethical righteousness driving my mission to support local crafty folk this year. Last year I picked up some hand made Christmas decorations that were so worthy of their own uber trendy Instafans that I’m on a mission to find more.
Pretty garlands and whimsical wreaths can be mega money in swanky interiors boutiques but are available for just a few grateful pounds at Christmas Markets. Of course I’d rather say "I made it myself”.. but buying a "one-to-watch-artist” (even if it is Auntie Vera) well that sounds pretty impressive too, yah?
With this in mind, I insist you venture out and support your local craft people over the coming weeks and buy at least one Christmas gift or gorgeous decoration that’s been lovingly hand made in a kitchen, a cowshed, or (please God) a converted vintage caravan near you.
I’m heading to Holmbridge Rural Christmas Fair this Saturday 20th November and not just because it's set in the cutest of cute village halls, right in the heart of Yorkshire's stunning Last of the Summer Wine country. Imagine Kate Moss rocking up in her Hunter wellies and you’re …. um…. well you’re miles away actually. Imagine me spilling mulled wine down my Parka and that's totally more like it. Here’s just a tiny taste of treats I’m hoping to take home:
1) Gifts that know the way to my sweetie pie’s heart
2) Soap that cleans your actual conscience
3) Hand knitted bonnets for a few bonny bairns
4) brown paper packages tied up with hearts
5) The mother of all mince pies
I mean, I’m not saying I’m going to get the whole gift list nailed here. The painful last minute trolley dash round Toys R Us is sadly inevitable. I’m talking a few bits and bobs to add a personal touch to my shopping. Stuff that get’s an oooooh and an aaaaaahhh and hopefully a mmmwwwwahhhh come December 25th.
Remember this produce is so unique, so limited in stock that even Santa will struggle to get hold of it. So don’t do that whole embarrassing bartering bit on these lovely artisans will you? Try to remember they pricked their fingers on thorns to make you that jam. It’s £4 price tag covers actual blood, sweat, tears and most probably a permanent scorch mark on their work top. This is jam made with real community spirit and an insane amount of love. And boy could the world do to spread a bit of that on its toast.
So keep calm and carry on shopping my House Candy Crew. Be sure to keep me posted of any fab crafty finds you stumble across at your local craft market won’t you? Now that would put a tinkle in my bell.
Love Claire xx