The alternative Brighton Christmas gift guide

Tis the season for sustainability!


As fun and thoughtful as Christmas gift-giving can be, there’s nothing too festive about battling through stuffy high-street stores or paying for unnecessary waste or harm whilst scouting for stocking stuffers.

But, fear not! Whether local, homemade, second-hand or waste-free, there are many more sustainable ways to gift here in Brighton that won’t cost the earth or your dwindling student loan.

With our guide to Christmas shopping like a true conscious Brightonian, you can save the world, win at housemate secret santa AND avoid the chaos that is Churchill Square this festive season. Happy shopping!

Arts and crafts

Why not beat the Christmas shopping dash all together this year by playing elf and hand-making your gifts? A fun, therapeutic time for you, and an extra thoughtful gift for your loved one. Win-win!

Grab some pals and treat yourself to a session at one of the North Laine’s pottery painting workshops, The Painting Pottery Cafe and Paint Pots Brighton (where you can even bring your own food and drink for an extra festive time), and bring home some charming crockery or ornaments to be treasured forever.

Cult Milk run weekly affordable craft workshops at the Hope and Ruin, ranging from printing to macrame plant hangers to nipple tassels! With both the creative and alcoholic juices flowing, what’s not to love?

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Paint Pots, Trafalgar Street

Experiences

Sometimes, treasured memories are the best gifts you can give. Why not create some special festive ones by gifting a trip to the Pavilion Ice Rink this Christmas? (Go at an off-peak time to avoid higher prices!)

Other fancy choices could be cinema tickets, tickets to a show at The Theatre Royal or a cocktail-making workshop at The Mesmerist (Prince Albert Street). The possibilities are endless!

Food

Speaking of homemade, let’s not forget edible gifts.

Sustainable food shops like Hisbe (York Place) and The Source Bulk Foods (Western Road) can provide you with zero-waste ingredients, then you provide the skills behind some killer mince pies, Christmas cookies or homemade mulled wine!

Not too handy in the kitchen yourself? The Spice Shop (Gardner Street) has a huge array of homemade spice blends and exciting sauces and ingredients. You’ll be sure to find a gift that keeps on giving for both the clueless student chefs and the seasoned domestic goddesses in your life.

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The Spice Shop, Gardner Street

Cosmetics

For friends and fam who love to get glam, there are many sustainable gift options here in Brighton.

Eden Perfumes (Gardner Street and Western Road) can match you loved-one’s favourite scent using handmade, natural and vegan oils. A softer, more sustainable way to smell sweet this Christmas.

Looking for bath and beauty? WiDEYE (Gardner Street) is an ethical store with all natural ingredients in the North Laine. Who doesn’t love a bath bomb?

Clothes

Whether it’s the perfect ugly jumper or a sneaky designer steal that you’re after, you’ll be sure to find something in one of London Road’s many, MANY charity shops.

Whilst donating to a huge choice of brilliant causes, and making a more sustainable choice, you may be surprised at the quality and range of clothes you’ll find where Brightonians donate their old clobber.

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British Heart Foundation, London Road

Books

The lovable bookworms in your life can also be catered for in a second second-hand, charitable and sustainable way.

Ubu Books (The Open Market), Oxfam Books and Books for Amnesty (North Laine) are just a few of the brilliant second hand book shops Brighton has to offer. Whether good as new or charmingly tattered, a pre-loved book with a little bit of history can be even more endearing than a fresh Amazon order.

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Books for Amnesty, Sydney Street

Christmas markets

The Open Market is definitely the place to be for all festive, local and homemade street shopping this Christmas.

An absolute highlight will be their Zero-Waste Christmas market (a first for Brighton!) on the 15th December.

Music

Living in Brighton, you must have at least one hipster record-collector friend, right?

Lucky for you, Brighton is home to many a second hand and vintage music stores. Shops across the city like Bella Union (Ship Street), Rarekind Records and The Wax Factor (Trafalgar Street) have a brilliant and eclectic selection across the genres, so you’re sure to find something for everyone.

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The Wax Factor, Trafalgar Street

Local charitable donations

Finally, making a donation in the name of your charitable loved-one can be a very thoughtful token, showing more than one person that you care this Christmas.

Donating food or money to local causes such as Brighton Voices in Exile or Mind Out can be an extra special gift, allowing you and your friends and/or family to give back to your community at this often very difficult time of year.