The Skinny Christmas Gift Guide 2019

Find your ideal Christmas gift with the slightly idiosyncratic personal selections of our editorial team (things they love, with a local focus, plus some alpacas)

Article by The Skinny | 25 Nov 2019


Obviously, I love magazines, so being sent a different independent magazine every month is like heaven to me. But a Stack subscription would also appeal to any friend who’s a fan of popular culture, art and design, as it covers such a wide range of topics and titles. The subscription costs just £7 a month and each month you’ll have a different magazine sent to your door, with titles including Beirut-based Journal Safar, Gal-dem – a beautiful magazine created by women and non-binary people of colour – and music magazine GoldFlakePaint.


As someone who constantly forgets things, I need as many forms of stationery as possible to note down deadlines/plans/appointments. I’m a big fan of RISOTTO’s stationery options because not only are they essential for keeping my work and personal life afloat, they’re also just really lovely to look at. Their Weekly Desktop Planners (£18) and Hit List Notepads (£7) are particularly useful for daily tasks, but it’s worth investing in a 2020 Calendar (£9-35) too for planning further ahead.

Pickles of Broughton Street

No cheeseboard is complete without delicious chutneys; it’s an indisputable fact. And if you’ve ever been to Pickles in Edinburgh you’ll know that their chutney selection is on point. As well as being given two to enjoy with your cheeseboard while dining in, you can also buy jars of their chutneys to take away, and they’re only £3.50 a pop. The Sweet Beetroot and Red Pepper and Garlic are personal favourites of mine but every one I’ve had has been delicious so you can’t go wrong! [Nadia Younes, Events editor]

Migs Textiles

We may have been close friends since the age of three, but don’t let this nepotism make you think for one second that a Migs Textiles top isn't a dream present of mine. Her hand-dyed, silk clothes are beautiful, original and perfect for any occasion. I’ve got one top in my wardrobe already, but I’d happily own the whole collection if I could! From £48

Lynsey Walter Jewellery

As someone whose earlobes feel like they will rip under the weight of any big earring, when a pair of Lynsey Walters earrings entered my life, I felt like I’d struck gold. Her colourful, felt jewellery is really lightweight, so you can dance until the sun comes up without fear that you’ve done permanent damage to your lobes! £14.50

Alpaca Walking

I don’t have a dog but I really wish I did. Luckily there’s an even fluffier animal that will let you take it on walks, likes cuddles and loves eating! There’s a herd of alpacas living on the Pentlands, and with BobCat Alpacas, you can take them by leash on a hillside adventure. £25 [Rachael Hood, Production manager]

Lucky Cloud 

This essential oil-rich scented candle collaboration with Natalie J Wood feels like super luxury, and is ethically produced in Scotland. Once the soy wax candle has burned down you're left with a beautiful ceramic vessel in either pale green (Sea Foam) or grey (Rainstorm) to put a plant in or drink wine out of or whatever. I bought myself one after giving birth when I couldn't use anything scented and luxury / #selfcare was thin on the ground. It's lasted for a very long time, and lighting it does genuinely feel like creating a moment of calm even when that calm is immediately interrupted by screaming. £36

Cloughley Jewellery

This is 100% included as an unsubtle hint to my loved ones to buy me these massive gold plated earrings so I can have some #bighoopenergy. Made in Copenhagen by a Scottish designer, they're #Scottishdesign meets #Scandicool and go really well with a raincoat. Kr875 (c. £70)

Island Nation

Woollen hats in bright, bright colours made in Scotland by a GSA graduate. I've got the yellow one. £27.50 [Rosamund West, Editor-in-chief]

Chariso Press

Limited edition artist prints, with the profits going to a selection of extremely good causes. A good deed *and* some good art for £10? Sold.

Lind & Lime Gin

Very, very good gin from The Port of Leith Distillery Co, in a fancy bottle that's ideal for reusing as a candlestick/flower vase/multi-purpose smashing device (delete as applicable). £35


Created by a two-person Edinburgh startup, the S'wheat is the first reusable water bottle made from plant-based material (hence the name). Also it unscrews at both ends, so no more getting your hands stuck inside while trying to clean it. £20 [Peter Simpson, Digital and Food & drink editor]

Category Is Books

This queer bookshop is, like The Skinny, Fiercely Independent. They have a rich and changing stock of fiction, theory, self-help, autobiography and – my favourite – comics! They have really idiosyncratic shelf labels, all starting with 'Category Is ...' as a geeky nod to ballroom culture. See for example '...books with maps at the start' and '...detectives (mostly lesbian)'. You can also spend loads of time there and if you're in for the longhaul buying for the special queers in your life, you can ask for recommendations from the cool and kind staff.

A Library of Olfactive Material

I went here for their open night. Together with my friend, we met an especially talented smeller and former civil servant, and we smelled the finest natural scent elements along with the most widely used commercial ingredients. The workshop leader responded to each of our favourite scents and we made a perfume together that we painted on our wrists proudly. Because it smelled wonderful, and we were all super high on smelling scents.

Starter Culture

For foodies! Cheese and cured meats, in a very new shop in the Southside. Me and my boyfriend made an expensive but very special macaroni and cheese with some really smelly Comté and a fennel salami - both locally sourced. They also do a nice elderflower fizz for teetotalers like myself. [Adam Benmakhlouf, Art editor]

Cinema membership at your local indie

(note: Picturehouse and Everyman are not indies!!)
Netflix and VOD is great and all, but the cinema is where you want to see cinema (obvs), and if you can help support your local indies like GFT, Filmhouse and DCA by becoming a member while also saving a few quid on tickets, all the better.


I used to have a KeepCup because I like coffee but I wanted to reduce my waste a wee bit. While KeepCups are obviously a great idea, I found its design to be hopeless: the lid never secured well, there were constant coffee dribbles, and you couldn’t seal it to put in your bag. I’m in the market for a new one – made from coffee husks, the Huskee reusable coffee cup is sustainable, very pretty and looks just the ticket.

Kuhn Rikon 

Best present I’ve ever been given! If, like me, you love to smother your food in black pepper, there’s no more satisfying way to do it than this beautifully designed adjustable ratchet grinder that’s super quick and fun to use. As my colleague Tallah said of it, “three cranks and you're done.” [Jamie Dunn, Film & TV editor]

Dook Soap

Every year many Scots take to the seas on 1 January for the Loony Dook to jolt themselves into the New Year. If like me you’d prefer to wash away Hogmanay’s hedonism in a warmer way, then Edinburgh-produced Dook Soap in a refreshing Rosemary and Frankincense might be for you. Ethically-produced with organic ingredients and naturally occurring essential oils, this soap is vegan-friendly and only packaged in biodegradable recycled paper – keep it clean. £8 for 120g

The Craft Pottery Workshop

Give the gift of knowledge this year with a pottery class at Glasgow’s The Craft Pottery. Ceramicist Nadia Jones makes her own stunning pottery and she’ll be at the wheel instructing every twist and turn. Book in for some parent-child bonding, BYOB to make boozy bowls with a loved one, or hone your skills in an individual lesson. Starting price £40pp for one-off lesson/£180 for five-week course – all instruction and materials included in the price.

Tessa Mackenzie Stained Glass 

Tessa Mackenzie is a Glasgow-based illustrator and self-taught stained glass sensation. Combining her painterly drawing style with warm palettes and dynamic shapes she creates carefully crafted vignettes, from nudes to street scenes to abstract images. Catch the winter sun through one of these visual delights. From £35; commissions available. [Fiona Hunter, Designer]

Cairngorm Coffee

Whenever I'm in the West End I try to pop into Cairngorm for a slice of cake and a tasty cup of Batch Brew – one of my favourite cafes by far in Edinburgh. Last year my boyfriend and I accidentally bought each other matching 'BTCH BRW' T-shirts from them for Christmas, but this year I've got my eye on this lovely long-sleeved number. And the coral of the shirt goes so well with their beautiful bright yellow bags of coffee, you may as well get me a bag of beans while you're at it!

Bundu and Bison

‘Sustainable street wear inspired by Africa' is the MO of Barcelona-based Bundu and Bison, previously based in Edinburgh. The most popular item they make is their 5-panel cap, each one unique as they're all made from repurposed grade B vintage pieces. Their latest collection – African Athletics – is a technicolour dream made from 80s and 90s sportswear and I'd be honoured to call one my own.

Grow Urban

If you like plants then the recently opened Grow Urban in Fountainbridge is the place for you. Stepping into the shop is like walking into a miniature Botanics with plants quite literally coming at you from all angles. All leafy greens and succulents, it's a houseplant fan's dream come true, and they also have cool planter sets to help you grow things like avocados from scratch. The perfect gift. [Tallah Brash, Music editor]


'Tis the season to be jolly, and science has proven it's impossible to feel unhappy while bouncing on a trampoline. Plus, Bill Gates has that trampoline room in his house, which I suspect might be the key to his success. A two-hour session is just £16.50 – I did it for my birthday and it was the most content I've felt all year.

Louise McFarlane

The first time I saw one of Louise's prints I laughed so hard I cried. I especially love her Mr Blobby-inspired work but there's plenty of great stuff for anyone who thinks Mr B was sent from the depths of hell to kidnap children. A selection of her prints are available from her Etsy shop for around £10, but I would also thoroughly recommend a browse through her instagram (@louloureeed).


Last Christmas... I bought my mum a pair of these earrings. She is yet to wear them. This year I'm treating myself to the pair pictured here for £24.50. Shop online at [Laurie Presswood, General manager]

Photo credits: Chariso Press photo by Chris Whyte, Starter Culture by Luigi Di Pasquale, Cairngorm by 5.12 Studio, NMARRA by Jane Elm