True Highlands Blog
With Christmas on the (not too distant) horizon, the ‘Christmas shopping dread’ is starting to creep in – memories of packed high streets, stressed shoppers and over-the-top Christmas music. Every year, you inevitably end up grabbing the closest toiletries set or woolly socks to hand in a desperate bid to get it over with. But fear not, it doesn’t have to be this way!
Shopping local means that you can avoid the high street crowds and find something truly unique and personal that will make your loved ones smile on Christmas day. We truly believe that by shopping local and supporting local producers and retailers, we can not only help the environment but we can discover some of the most amazing and unusual gifts that Scotland has to offer.
For some families, Christmas dinner is the biggest meal of the year. For me, it is one of the few occasions my siblings and I are together, so it seems right to make a bit of an effort. You’ll discover fresh meat and produce that you might not even see on the supermarket shelves. Not a fan of turkey? Why not substitute a cut of venison, or some fresh scallops and lobster. Many of the Highland estates rear their own livestock on their expansive lands – meaning that you can often buy some of the best-tasting meat on offer, straight from their door. If you’re in Argyll, get in touch with Drimnin Estate about their home-reared beef. If you book a break at Alladale Wilderness Reserve, you’ll love their mouth-watering menu of local produce – even cooked using local power, generated by their own hydrogenator!
Of course, you don’t need to do it all yourself – some people prefer to head out for Christmas dinner, and there are plenty of opportunities to go local for that too. Head to a traditional Highland hotel in Oban, Loch Fyne, the Isle of Mull or Deeside.
The True Highlands ethos extends beyond food and drink. We believe that it is possible to do much of your Christmas shopping locally, benefiting local crafts makers and communities. We love the unique, the handmade and the quirky so here are a few ideas to get you started.
Harris Tweed is one of these things that is distinctly Scottish. Handmade in the Islands, it has an unsurpassed reputation for quality. Apart from traditional suits, the fabric can be used to make a wide range of modern gifts like iPad covers, cushions and door stops. Check out Picture Bute for some inspiration.
For that really special someone, then it doesn’t get much better than bespoke Celtic jewellery made on the Isle of Skye. Garth Duncan has over 40 years’ experience and a huge range of designs to choose from.
Shetland may be a bit far to go to pick up that ultimate Christmas gift, so it is fortunate that Julie Williamson Designs will post out her amazing creations for free. Unique homewares, prints and more will make wonderful gifts for your family. Get in there early, and you can buy your Christmas cards from her too!
Many shops and suppliers will post out if asked. So if it isn’t immediately apparent – just ask, and may be more than happy to arrange postage.
Many Christmas shoppers head to Inverness as the Highlands’ main shopping centre. Make sure to time your visit with the Christmas market to pick up some locally-made gifts! In addition there are some smaller markets and fayres around the country, which feature local knitwear, candles, soaps, prints and so much more. All made locally at: Lochinver, Oban, Shetland, Orkney, and Stornoway. This list is certainly not exhaustive and most areas have a Christmas Fayre of some sort. Try looking up the local websites and check out what’s happening.
Excited yet? In addition to the above mentioned, we here at True Highlands have created a 2020 Wall Calendar – created in Scotland, designed in Scotland and printed in Scotland. Order here.
So whether you love the hustle and bustle of a city market, browsing local shops in a village or shopping from the comfort of our own home, we are sure you can do it all locally. Please support the small businesses who work hard to bring you a true taste of the Highlands (or wherever you live!).Tags: black pudding stuffing, Black-Isle turkey, Bute, fantasy Christmas dinner, Harris Tweed, Isle of Arran, Made in Scotland, Micro brewed ale, mountaineering, peat smoked salmon, seaweed oatcakes, shetland, shopping local, Strathdon Blue, supporting local, turkey substitute, unusual gifts