The Christmas spirit has officially taken over Manchester; the Christmas markets have filled the streets, Christmas songs are playing on every corner, and we’d bet you’re most likely struggling to find a Secret Santa gift. Trust us, we’ve all been there. It’s tempting to ask around for gift ideas but that brings about one problem – it defeats the point of a ‘secret’ Santa! So, we’ve made things a little easier for you with our fool-proof inspiration list.
Shopping for a Secret Santa gift can be tricky. After all you’re on a tight budget and you might not know the person you’re shopping for all that well, so it’s understandable that you probably have no idea where to start. Luckily, we’ve been doing the Secret Santa game in Manchester long enough so that we can point you in the right direction. These shops and markets have been officially tried and tested by us, so we’re sure you’ll find a great gift in one of them.
Now that the Christmas markets are back on in Manchester, we can’t think of a better place to grab a hot chocolate and go on a stroll to find the ideal Secret Santa gift. With over 220 stalls around the City Centre offering everything you can think of from hand-made soaps to bespoke accessories, you’re destined to find a gift perfectly suited to your recipient.
If you want to buy a gift that’s guaranteed not to be forgotten, then a trip to Oklahoma is a must. Located in the heart of the Northern Quarter, Oklahoma is Manchester’s biggest and brightest independent gift and homeware store, selling a wide range of quirky and one-of-a-kind items that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s also a personal favourite of ours that we visit all year round, so we can’t recommend it enough!
Known as the independent shopping emporium, Afflecks houses over 60 small shops offering everything from art and design, hand-made jewellery, vintage clothing, and everything in between. Since 1982 Afflecks have been thoughtfully selecting the best independent talent to set up shop with them and have since become one of Manchester’s most iconic destinations for eclectic shoppers. No matter what your budget or vibe is, you’re sure to find whatever it is you’re looking for.
Whether you know your person like the back of your hand or you couldn’t tell us one thing about them, sometimes just the pressure of having to get a gift can make your mind go blank. If you’ve already looked around the shops and markets and still haven’t settled on a gift then these gift ideas could be your saving grace.
If you’re shopping for someone with a creative flair then you can safely assume that they will always appreciate art supplies. Fred Aldous Ltd is a great independent art shop on Lever Street selling all the art supplies that you can possibly think of, and for an affordable price too. Why not make up a hamper filled with essentials that every artist needs? Think sketch pads, paints, pencils, and even rubbers and sharpeners - they seem to always go missing!
Have you drawn out the friend with a major sweet tooth? Well, we know just the thing to get. Alex’s bakery in Deansgate bakes the most mouth-watering cupcakes, brownies, blondies, and cakes in a bunch of flavours, from classic salted caramel to their own take on Terry’s chocolate orange (this one has a big seal of approval from us!) While all of their bakes are delicious, we particularly love their perfectly gooey and chocolatey brownies and with a 6-piece brownie box for under £15, we can’t think of a tastier Secret Santa gift.
You can’t convince us that there is a more perfect time to cosy up at home with your family or friends and play a good old boardgame than during Christmas, so why not take advantage of this tradition when you shop for your Secret Santa gift? Fanboy Three in the Northern Quarter stocks hundreds of games, most of which you’ve probably never even heard of – making it all the more fun picking the best one. Their collection covers boardgames, card games, roleplay games, and so much more. If you know that the person you’re shopping for loves to play games, we definitely recommend checking out what you can find in Fanboy Three.
Has your person recently moved house, do they wear a lot of jewellery, or do they just love Manchester? Katherine Lees Ceramics is a shop in Manchester’s Craft and Design Centre with a range of beautifully hand-made ceramics and jewellery. While some of her designs are covered in hand-drawn patterns, others proudly show off the Manchester bee, making for the most special keepsake. You can pop into the store and pick up one of her pieces yourself or opt for a gift card to ensure your Secret Santa picks something they truly want.