Shop Slow this Christmas: our 2023 gift guide

Shop Slow this Christmas: our 2023 gift guide

The festive season is approaching and our inbox, social feeds and TV breaks are awash with adverts promoting sales and discounts. We know that the pressure to consume can feel relentless, so each year we share our thoughts on how to adopt a slow Christmas. It’s a more considered festive period which celebrates thoughtful consumption over excessive waste, and champions meaningful memories over festive burnout. We’re supporting giving gifts that will be truly cherished over those given for the sake of the gesture that soon end up as waste.

This year, to celebrate this slower, more conscious approach to gift-giving, we’ve curated a selection of beautiful gifts from some of our favourite small and independent businesses. Each product and business has been carefully chosen because they align with our own values of slow, seasonal living and considered design.

Shopping slow means to practice conscious consumerism. That means voting with your money to support businesses doing good, to support your local community and to shine a light on creativity and craftsmanship. According to a Forbes Advisor Survey, of those who prefer to shop with small businesses, 57% do so because they want their money to be spent within the community, 43% find the quality and service better, 37% find small businesses more trustworthy and 29% agreed that it’s easier to know when things are ethically sourced. Shopping slow also means buying less, and embracing pre-loved and handmade items where possible.

Our Shop Slow gift guide is organised into three sections that reflect the core areas of Slow Living LDN. – gifts for celebrating the seasons (Gather & Feast), gifts for a slow home (Hearth & Home) and gifts for slowing down (Pause & Dwell). At the end we also share a handful of our favourite independent shops. These are well worth visiting in person for their sense of retail theatre, but also have their collections available to browse online.

Gifts for celebrating the seasons

These are gifts which celebrate the natural world and living with the seasons.

A Forager’s Companion by Isla Middleton and Liz Knight

We first discovered Isla’s work on the walls of seasonal brunch spot The Edinburgh Larder during a long weekend in the city. Her beautiful nature-inspired linocut prints caught our eye and we’ve loved her work ever since. Isla has recently launched a 2024 foraging diary in partnership with Liz Knight, author of Forage: Plants to Gather, Cook and Eat. The A5-sized foraging guide inspires its users to immerse themselves in the practice of foraging to reap the nutritional benefits of wild food and to seek a deeper connection with the natural world. Each month of the diary features plants to look out for, seasonal recipes and space for notes. It’s the perfect gift for new foragers and nature lovers alike.

Natural dyeing workshop by The Natural Dyeworks

Founded by Ros, The Natural Dyeworks create small batches of hand dyed ribbons, accessories and homewares from petals, leaves, bark, roots and seeds. The dyes created use ingredients foraged from Ros’ surroundings in the Kent countryside, sourced from food waste from local cafes or picked from her own dye allotment. The beautiful palette of colours of The Natural Dyeworks’ products change with the seasons, depending on the natural ingredients available at any time. In addition to the products available in her shop, Ros runs introductory courses to the art of natural dyeing, discussing how to achieve different colours and tips for foraging throughout the seasons. Workshop guests dye a silk or bamboo silk square which can then be used to wrap gifts, as a scarf or as a hair ribbon. 2024 dates are to be announced soon.

Slow Seasons: A Creative Guide to Reconnecting with Nature the Celtic Way by Rosie Steer

Slow Seasons is packed with inspiration for celebrating and embracing the seasons and the smaller shifts within them. In the eight chapters which follow the festivals of the Celtic Wheel of the Year (the solstices, equinoxes and their midpoints), readers will find recipes, activities, crafts and inspiration to savour each micro season. Author Rosie shares how the projects featured in the book are inspired by her own childhood in Scotland and that reconnecting with traditions and the patterns of natural world has helped her navigate today’s fast-paced world.

Visit our list of slow living books for more ideas for books to gift.

Gifts for a slow home

These are gifts of considered design for a thoughtfully curated home.

Remnant cushions by Katy Takla

We’re big fans of Katy’s beautiful cushion designs and have bought multiple for our own home. Katy creates small batches using end of roll, remnant and discontinued fabrics. These beautiful fabrics are often destined to be wasted until Katy swoops in to give them another chance to adorn someone’s home. From Soane fabrics to designs by Rapture and Wright, Katy has a fantastic eye for pairing prints with her signature frills. Rather than opting for the most popular cushion sizes, Katy cuts her fabric in a way that uses every centimetre possible, ensuring there is minimal wastage. And even if she encounters just a small strip or odd piece leftover from someone else’s upholstery or curtain project, Katy finds a use for it.

Katy will have another cushion collection available before Christmas and is also taking commissions. Sign up for her newsletter to hear when the next batch are coming – be warned, these always sell out very fast!

Handmade frilly candlesticks by Quinn Says Store

Quinn Says is an online lifestyle shop curated by founder Charlie. Her fantastic eye brings together unique homewares, gifts and responsibly-sourced slow fashion which are made to last. Being partial to a wavy edge, we love the frilly candlesticks from Quinn Says. Each candlestick is hand built in small batches for the shop by London-based potter Catherine Rowlands. These fun table centrepieces come in two sizes and either green, mustard/honey or black.

The Foraged Home book by Joanna and Oliver Maclennan

One of our favourite coffee table interior design books of 2023, The Foraged Home features homes that celebrate upcycled, foraged and salvaged items. It’s beautifully shot and full of inspiration for creating a sustainable, considered home that doesn’t sacrifice on style. A great reference point for those wishing to create a unique home while reducing their environmental impact at the same time.

Handcrafted ceramics by Every Story

The unique ceramic tableware and home accessories handcrafted by sister duo Abby and Hannah often feature in our Instagram saved posts. The neutral wabi sabi aesthetic of Every Story’s ceramics is complimented by a love of organic form inspired by the sisters’ local studio surroundings in rural Nottinghamshire. When browsing Every Story’s collection for Christmas presents, it’s quite easy to forget you’re not shopping for yourself – everything is covetable! While there’s so much to choose from, we think the wavy Ebba Giardino planters would make a thoughtful gift for a gardener or house plant fan. The speckled planters come with a matching saucer and a packet of wild flower seeds. For smaller ideas, Every Story also have beautiful Christmas decorations available from £12 and jewellery dishes which start from £16.

Ebba Giardino planter from Every Story (from £68)

Gifts for slowing down

These are gifts which help the recipient press pause and reconnect.

‘Birdsong’ – An Offline Kit for Connection in a Digital Age

‘Birdsong’ is a beautifully presented eight step guide which encourages its users to reconnect with the offline world. For stationery lovers, the activities in the guide are accompanied with writing paper, postcards, greetings cards and stickers which feature nature-inspired illustrations in Wildflower Illustration Co’s signature style. Inspired by the paradox of our hyper-connected lives, Wildflower Illustration Co’s Rebecca acknowledges the benefits of being able to stay in touch and interact with the world from the palm of our hand, but also that ‘the flip side of this is the pressure that is activated when we could be doing something useful at any given moment’. ‘Birdsong’ is an analogue response to the pressure to be productive and constantly improve ourselves, without any real breathing space for creativity and reflection. Wildflower Illustration Co’s ‘Birdsong’ would be a perfect companion for the start of a new year.

Wildflower Illustration Co also has a wonderful selection of nature-inspired art prints that would be perfectly at home in ‘gifts for celebrating the seasons’ section below.

‘Recharge’ rose geranium scented candle

We love SevenSeventeen’s product description for their hand-poured soy wax ‘Recharge’ candle. It begins, ‘If only we recharged ourselves as often as our phones’. We couldn’t agree more, and this product is another nod to our need to switch off from screens to pause, find calm and unwind. SevenSeventeen uses clean-burning and vegan-friendly soy wax and also donates 10% of their profits to mental health charities, raising almost £60,000 to date. This is truly a gift that keeps on giving. The ‘Recharge’ candle contains fragrant rose geranium essential oil to fill your recipient’s home with a beautiful floral scent.

The ‘Recharge’ candle is also featured in Holly & Co’s ‘Slow Down’ gift collection, which is in good company with other products from small businesses which promote pressing the pause button.

Seed magazine

Seed magazine

Printed using vegetable ink on 100% recycled paper, Seed is a beautiful biannual independent magazine which celebrates conscious, sustainable living. Seed is edited by Carole Bamford (of Daylesford Farm) and features seasonal recipes, gardening guides and craft inspiration to help readers to enjoy more mindful moments, in addition to thought-provoking conversations with ‘pioneers’ in design, travel, wellness, sustainability and farming.

Beautiful shops to discover this festive season

A selection of our favourite independent shops that are very much worth visiting in person, but also have an online presence.

Still looking for inspiration?

Frame something memorable for your loved ones this festive season with our unique wavy mounts.

Our unique mounts help you frame special memories and reflect your or a loved one’s personal style, identity and personality at home. We also believe that anything can be art! If it’s important to you or to someone you care about, it deserves a place on the wall. Frame anything from a prized art print, a child’s first drawing, a special photograph, a pressed flower, a vintage bookplate to a wallpaper sample.