I don’t enjoy shopping (stay with me). Specifically shopping in Manchester or the Trafford Centre.
Don’t get me wrong, both are fantastic shopping destinations when nobody else is there. Unfortunately, as much as I think the world revolves around me, nobody’s afforded me the luxury of closing off entire city centres to allow me to swan round.
Again, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy ‘accomplishing’ goods, be they for me (me me) or others, I just don’t enjoy the push and shove of the busy crowds.
Two or three years back, I became an online Christmas shopper. A slave to ‘tracking my order’. Smugly avoiding all human contact. Mission accomplished. Except it all became a bit…clinical and sad. Yes presents came to me. But in the guise of aggressive, brown cardboard packaging, soulless cellophane, and more often than not, in the form of a ‘sorry we missed you’ calling card.
You’re not sorry. I can tell.
Last year, I found my happy medium and did all my Christmas shopping in Altrincham and Hale (cheating on the area very briefly with Knutsford – close enough for it not to be a total betrayal, I feel).
It felt good to support local businesses and traders, and comforting to know that there was little risk of me buying family members, the same as somebody else.
I still shudder when remembering that fateful Christmas when my brother and I both bought my mum the same Simply Red CD (what, she liked them. Not that much though). And not only that, the same Christmas card.
Whilst the Hucknall horror is never far from my mind during Christmas shopping season, time heals and lessons are learned such as not buying everything from HMV (we’re talking pre-download times).
And so I intend to do the same again this year; that is, shop local. And yes I am still speaking of this in the future tense. Raspberry to those who’ve already shopped and wrapped. It’s not envy – I genuinely enjoy the panic and terror of the mid-December dash. I do.
And so, actually getting to the point. Amongst the already lovely independent shops and market stalls, I was thrilled to hear about the new shopping experience on the Alty block this Christmas – the Pop-Up shop at Open Studios.
Even more opportunity to support local traders and designers whilst finding unique gifts that will make everyone love me
…I thought (yes I do think in blogpost soundbites, actually).
Located on Stamford New Road, the Studios are hosting the Pop-Up until Christmas Eve (yep – no doubt, I’ll be last to leave), with work from a range from a number of rotating makers and artists – original paintings, prints, jewellery, cushions, bags,
Mick Hucknall albums, crafts – I can’t wait to do my panicking there.
Working in that heaving metropolis that is Manchester City Centre, I’m winning if I roll into Altrincham interchange before 5.30pm, so the Open Studio’s late night opening until 8pm during the week, is of great appeal – especially given the odd time the trams are delayed (bless them).
If you want to get involved on the other side of the fence and wish to sell your wares to lovely, calm, non-panicky consumers such as me, artists and makers are encouraged to call in for a chat.
So with 19 (at the time of writing) more shopping days until Christmas (it pops up at weekends until 6pm too), know that I’ll be popping in before it pops off.
47-49 Stamford New Road
All the deets on Open Studios.