As you know this is the place where I bang on about the joys of independent bookshops. This is because I love books, and independent bookshops are the one place where everyone else feels the same. The owner has carefully crafted his/her stock, the staff are bursting with recommendations and the whole layout is designed to make you feel warm and comforted.
Bookshops however, now have competition in my heart. In protest to all the headlines about our failing high streets I have decided that my Christmas this year is going to be non-Amazon, and where I can, non-online. I want to support local businesses by putting money into real people’s pockets, rather than faceless organisations that don’t really care. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete saint and I know full well that on Dec 23rd I’ll hate myself for missing the last Amazon postal date, but I’m going to try my best to support the super shops that are in my area. I’ve realised it’s also a win-win as I want to be a bit more eco. This means less plastic, less petrol, more craft and better quality. With three kids, I’ve had Christmases swamped in things we don’t need, and I’m going to try my hardest not to fall into that trap again.
So far my quest has turned out pretty well. I thought I’d ease myself in gently, so to begin with, yes you guessed it, I took a trip to my favourite independent bookshop. I came out with a huge bag of books, lots of ideas for my well-read nine year old and a little something for myself. As usual it was so much more satisfying than a brown box through the door.
Today I went one step further and visited an artisan market that has been on my to-do list for years. Altrincham market didn’t let me down. It was a really lovely morning out, surrounded by things that people had put their heart and soul into. Jewellery, ceramics, records, plants, as well as the legendary food hall. I loved every second and can’t wait to take the rest of the family. Again, it filled my heart with joy as everything on offer was being sold with such care, something you can’t get in a chain store.
I’m hope I’m not preaching. I think I’m just proud that I am trying to make changes that matter. I don’t want to trawl the shelves of a supermarket to find the cheapest gift. I don’t want to sit at home and use Amazon as Santa’s sleigh. I know we are all busy, but I ‘m pretty convinced once you try it, you will be hooked. Go retro, buy less but better. Actually go into a shop. You may also be surprised by how much you enjoy it.