Written by Emma Mitchell


The handmades’ tale

Sick of slick Santas and the same-old shineys? Well our canny crafter Emma Mitchell has been shopping for alternative handmade Christmas gifts to warm your heart and keep your wallet well-fed.

Katie Abey's handmade cards are bloody lush. http://www.katieabey.co.uk

Katie Abey’s handmade cards are bloody lush. http://www.katieabey.co.uk

Style and fashion blogs across the world right now are awash with Christmas gift/wish lists. They’re all rather swanky, some require a month’s salary for a single item, many are colour-coordinated and, frankly, most of them are just too samey and shiny for me. As part of my Making Winter series a year ago I made some slightly more unusual recommendations for Yuletide, an alternative to scented candles that cost the same as a pair of jeans and coffee-related gadgets that were clearly built by NASA.

Here is my 2015 crop of handmade, brilliantly designed, made-in-small-batches present ideas for those who are tired of super-spendy smellies. Hold on to your individually hand-crocheted beanie hats…


Most Christmas cards are so mind-numbingly dull. Why do you think all the robins on them stare balefully into the middle distance? They’re BORED.

Excellent news, however: I stumbled on Katie Abey’s cards yesterday whilst on a voyage of festive Etsy discovery. I have such a sudden and enormous handmade crush on her designs that I may invite them out on a group date. SMILEY FESTIVE FRAZZLES ffs. I’m buying. Oh and she’s got an offer on: 10 utterly genius handprinted original designs for £15.

Rachel Basinger of OH NO RACHIO!  is a renaissance woman: Etsy star (her gear is part of the Etsy pop-up in Selfridges), photography guru, maker of adorable ceramics, curator of the finest collection of baby succulents this side of the desert and doting cat mum. This card is brilliant. The end.

CassetteCuttersBaked joy    

3D-printed biscuit cutters are my new jammy dodger. Give them as the present or make a batch of genius gingerbread and pop it in a bag. The recipient will be cock-a-hoop.

Get the C90 cassette and floppy disc from here. Get the minuscule gingerbread house cutter from here.


The person who will make you this embroidered sampler does not have an online shop but I found her on Twitter and this small rectangle of stitching makes me happier than I can express by typing on a keyboard. She has time to make just two of these before Christmas. Get in touch with her QUICK. Handstitched (slightly sweary) joy for £40. Email her on [email protected].

HowToDrawAReindeerTshirtHow to draw a reindeer

This T-shirt from Jolly Clothing. No words are needed.


This little Lego Father Christmas kit from 1986 (at Present and Correct) is a brilliant stocking filler, an alternative to a Christmas card and creates a perfect (ever-so-slightly angular) St Nick, whilst distracting hands from the Quality Street and minds from the monstrous to-do list. Knock up FC and bring some plastic brick-ish cheer.

Clare Trowbridge of Little Conkers is a bona fide crochet genius. I mentioned her crocheted robin last Christmas and this year my favourite design of hers is a pattern for a carrot that has clearly been nibbled by a woolly Rudolf. Oh and I have a serious soft spot for this aubergine, which would look excellent on the tree (disclaimer: has nothing whatever to do with the bawdy use of vegetable emojis).

However tacky and rubbish the prize, I blurry LOVE crackers, but then Day-Glo paper hats make me very happy indeed and much of my Twitter feed contains cheesy puns. Imagine my excitement then, at finding these crackers for stationery-lovers in the Present and Correct shop. Pull the snap and a collection of miniature office supplies pops out, including a tiny 2016 calendar and a rubber stamp. Let cardboard joy be unconfined.

Bottlebrush squirrelNuts

Finally Christmas isn’t Christmas without my beloved bottle-brush squirrel. I found one in the brilliant Smug shop (see also their utterly delicious selection of stationery).


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Written by Emma Mitchell

I make things, mostly out of silver, sometimes out of wool. I’m never too far from a bottle of PVA glue.