Finished your Christmas shopping yet? If panic is starting to set in, fear not. West Hampstead Life has scoured the shops in the area to bring you these twelve hand-picked local presents. Instead of getting into fist-fights at Westfield, why not have a leisurely shopping trip without leaving the neighbourhood. And if you’re out and about on Saturday, there’ll be more gifts – and mulled wine – available at the West Hampstead Christmas Market.
1. Build A Robot kit, £14.99
West End Lane Books, 277 West End Lane
For inquisitive children – or adults for that matter – this cool kit contains all you need to build your own wind-up robots and learn about them in the process. It’s unclear whether the robots can cook or clean up after the Christmas lunch though.
2. Craft beer selection, £14.99
Brooksby Wines, 278 West End Lane
This selection of craft beers is great value and includes two chalice glasses in case you’re feeling fancy. While you’re there, Brooksby also sells a good range of champagne, wine and spirits for all your Christmas drinking requirements.
3. Gourmet hamper, prices vary
Sherriff Centre, St James Church, Sherriff Road
The Sherriff Centre has plenty of delicious treats for your foodie friends and relatives. Either pick a custom-made selection or create your own hamper of artisan goods – post boxes and bubble wrap are available at the attached post office if you need to post your gift. Also look out for Moleskine notebooks and other covetable stationery, as well as a good range of children’s gifts including pencil sets, friendship bracelet making kits, notebooks, bookends and cute cushions.
4. Vintage brooch, £95
Passionate About Vintage, 66 Mill Lane
Passionate About Vintage is a treasure trove of beautiful and unique gifts. This quirky gold-plated peas-in-a-pod brooch caught my eye. It’s a genuine Trifari piece from the 1960s and is bound to be a talking point. And on Small Business Saturday, the shop is offering a 10% discount.
5. Venison marrowbone cracker, £6.99
Nutts 4 Mutts, 108 Fortune Green Road
This cracker “for paws only” contains a satisfyingly chewy venison treat, as well as a silver hat and a joke (which your dog may or may not get). Nutts 4 Mutts, despite the name, also stocks a good range of treats for cats.
6. Silver strand bracelet, £79.95
North West 6, 122 West End Lane
Delicate strands of silver beads catch the light in this pretty and fluid bracelet, made by Navajo craftspeople. North West 6, next to the tube station, has a big range of silver and amber jewellery and is well worth a browse.
Ms Marmite Lover‘s, (aka Kerstin Rodgers) legendary supperclubs at her house just down the road in Kilburn, have made her a star of the food world not just locally, but far beyond NW6. Who better to pick up tips from on hosting your own tea party? This would be a good gift for a baking or tea fan, with the bonus that you might get invited round in the new year…
8. Beanie hat, £16
Social, 184 West End Lane
If there’s a hard to buy for, but fashion conscious man in your life, Social has some good ideas. There are wallets, scarves, shirts and jumpers, and these hats from Danish denim label Revolution.
9. Wine tasting vouchers, from £25
North London Wine School, Cotleigh Road
The North London Wine School is opening in West Hampstead in the new year, at the old library on Cotleigh Road. It will offer wine tasting courses for beginners or just for fun, as well as the more serious industry-recognised WSET qualifications. You can buy vouchers (with no expiry date) on the website.
10. Frog slipper socks, £10
JoJo Maman Bébé, 258 West End Lane
These slipper socks are perfect for keeping tiny feet warm and cosy – and with their anti-slip suede soles are perfect for first walkers. Available in sizes up to age 4-5 (Sadly, adult versions not available.)
11. Chocolate covered walnuts, £20
Cocoa Bijoux, Broadwell Parade, Broadhurst Gardens
You can find all sorts of delights at Cocoa Bijoux, including these sophisticated French walnuts coated in chocolate. There are many less expensive items too. The shop carries a great range of chocolate, conserves and other gourmet products you won’t find in the supermarket.
12. Nutcracker, £27.99
James Nicholas, 166 West End Lane
According to the shelf sticker, this is “the world’s best nutcracker”, and at that price you’d hope so. The shop staff kindly let me try it out, so I can vouch for its effectiveness at cracking an almond shell. It’s very solid and stylish, too.
Happy shopping! Let us know in the comments if you have any more local present-shopping tips.