The Nice List: a creative Christmas gift guide curated by It’s Nice That
Prints, jewellery, ceramics, books, illustrated scarves, activist apparel, and even an egg cup shaped like Lisa Simpson – we present you with a list of our favourite creative Christmas gifts from independent creators, shops and brands.
We know how stressful Christmas can be. Not only do you have the pressure of finding a present your nearest and dearest will love, but being the conscious creative bunch we know you are, you’ll likely be wanting to put your money where it matters. As we do every festive period, we’ve compiled a list of independent makers, shops and designers who are creating lovely gifts that feel good to give. Not only will you be giving a present you can’t find on the high street, but you’ll be supporting a fellow creative. So without further ado grab yourself a mince pie, mulled wine or the Christmassy treat of your choosing, put your feet up and get browsing.
© Aysha Tengiz
Caico is a line of beautiful bags, uniquely handmade by crocheting ribbon. Coming in a whole array of colours, from hot pink or lime green to chocolate brown they’re the perfect addition to any fashionista’s wardrobe.
The Stack Magazine subscription is truly the gift that keeps on giving. For just £8 a month you can have an independent magazine sent to any printed matter fanatics, handpicked to “surprise and inspire”. The perfect present if you’re not quite sure what to get someone, or if you’re trying not to buy too much stuff!
Illustrator Aysha Tengiz has an online shop brimming with wonderfully colourful gifts, all finished in her eye-catching style. Spanning scarfs, prints, clothing and books – there’s something that could brighten up anyone’s wall or wardrobe.
A Store Like 94 is a shop specialising in one-off football items or, in their words “knock off bootleg fashion and football memorabilia”. Alongside graphic tees and Maradona-shaped candles, their tapestries are particularly impressive, paying homage to icons like of Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho.
Intoart is a creative organisation that challenges the underrepresentation of people with learning disabilities. Part of that includes the work of Trifle Design Studio, which collaborates directly with designers with learning disabilities to create beautiful homeware items, including cushions, tea towels, sleep masks and candles.
© Allday Goods
© Tom Guilmard
As all great cooks know, nothing beats a good knife, especially when they look as good as the ones from Allday Goods. Coming in a variety of shapes and sizes, and forged by local makers in the UK, Allday Goods knives all have pretty amazing handles, made out of recycled plastic. One extra-special green-and-white number is even made out of Maldon Sea salt’s waste matter!
Any wall can be made more fun with an Angela Kirkwood print – we promise! A firm favourite of ours here at It’s Nice That, her prints featuring her funny characters – a sax-playing labrador and smoking cat, for example – and are all finished in her trademark technicolour palette.
The publishing house Unity Press is doing all sorts of wonderful things with print, but right now we can’t get enough of their queer skateboarding ephemera. Never knew you needed a board adorned with an ice cream of hugging folk on the bottom? Well now you do.
Bianco Perry’s Brunch Club tea towel is one of those that you won’t want to use but put on your wall. Featuring line drawings of all the best snacks like Pom-Bears, Creme Eggs, Nik Naks, Twix, Müller Corner and more, the design comes in two delicious colourways: white and blue, and a striking black and neon yellow.
The weird and wonderful work of Tom Guilmard would undoubtedly be a treat to find under any tree, whether it’s one of his wacky prints, his cute butterfly T-shirt or one of his lovely shiny flower sculptures. We simply couldn’t pick just one!
© Yuk Fun
© Laina Deene
From busy musical concerts to mountainous scenery, the work of London-based artist Guarab Thakali is always stunning and would look great on any wall. Though, if you’ve simply got no wall space, Guarab has some seriously cool apparel on the go too, with his dragon T-shirts and tiger scarves.
If you’re needing to buy a present for a nature lover, look no further than the lovely work of Laina Deene. With abstract depictions of pastoral settings, or simply some luscious trees by the side of a roadside, Laina’s richly coloured work would please any serious walker or city wanderer.
Yuk Fun are an independent label who certainly live up to their name. With a special talent for printing and Risograph, their super cute selection of Risograph Christmas cards have a design for everyone in the family. You can mix and match too – so you get more of the ones you love!
Few brands are nurturing colour like Yevu. Based in Ghana, the female-led, owned and majority-employed brand is creating homeware unlike any you’ve ever seen. From tie-dye plant pot covers and blue bead tissue box covers to a variety of wax-print cushions and a range of kettles, they are a sure shot place to shop for the bold people in your life.
Collé is a studio in Tokyo run by the designer Agata Yamaguchi, which features an offshoot shop, Omise, which is full of individual products including calendars, Christmas cards, and tops. Particularly special are Collé’s handmade wooden flowers. Coming in blue, yellow and pink they’re perfect for any flora and fauna fans in your life – and they won’t ever die!
© Bao London
What Meg Knits can do wonderful things with wool, putting characters, play on words and lots of pasta on her unique designs. We think Meg’s frilly hot water bottles would be a perfect present to ward off those chilly nights.
One for the environmentally conscious loved ones in your life, Mind the Cork is a homeware brand that makes products out of cork, a sustainable material because of its rich biodiversity and the fact its trees aren’t cut down, but harvested from. Not only are the products like vases and pen pots good for the environment, but they’re lovely to look at too!
For the foodies in your life, the restaurant Bao London has a whole host of tasty gifts and stocking fillers, from hot sauce sets, beer bundles and merch with the eatery’s chomping logo on it. A personal favourite of ours however is its box of emergency noodles, three packs of Dan Dan Tofu noodles for when you just can’t be bothered to cook.
Everyone’s favourite film company A24 has a shop full of cinematic gifts. Why not get the cinephiles in your life a screenplay of their favourite flick? A greeting card set featuring beautiful stills from Minari? A fancy aspect ratio blanket? Or an exceptionally cute Marcel the Shell figurine?
Seasonal incense holders in the shape of early aughts mobile phones, ghostly ashtrays, and an endearing mushroom cup – Yoizy Record do it all. The Korea-based store creates perfectly imperfect ceramics with bumpy edges that double up as small sculptures of everyday objects that are here to serve your self care and recreational needs.
© Good Daze
© Daisy Tortuga
Daisy Tortuga is a multidisciplinary artist specialising in tufted rugs and ceramics. Adorning them with illustrations of food, women characters, and in her words “blends of humour with the absurdity of everyday life,” set your sights on these to add a little bit extra to your meals or cosy days inside.
Isn’t it just lovely when jewellery aids your self expression? Good Daze is a brand creating “intricate pieces to be worn and treasured”. Based in London, and created solely by jewellery designer Rosie, among them are smiley hoop earrings, a Sunny Days Ahead ring and multiple pieces exploring the mystical. Also a plus: they’re ethically made in workshops and from recycled materials.
Ruth Wilde’s ceramics are brilliantly relatable. Filled with endearingly naive artworks and speech bubbles that mimic daily conversation – ‘how was work?’ and ‘why should I keep quiet’ – they can be gifted to family or friends that wish to show off some playful ceramics at the next dinner party. Or do you know what’s even more fun? Her stackable sandwich coaster set, so you can slide a piece of ham and a slice of bread underneath their unique mugs and plates.
Wear your politics on your sleeve and say it with your chest! Blacklodge Press is an ongoing print project by Cj, comprised of diaries, posters, T-shirts and other apparel, inspired by DIY culture, working class history and anarchist politics. Purposely loud, bright and bold, you can pick up everything from a radical monthly planner for 2024 to a T-shirt that says ‘save the planet, destroy the ruling class’.
© Micro Candide
© Florence Mytum
Based in Leipzig, Germany, Jooyoung Kim’s pieces are uniquely charming. Selling everything from a ‘doggy scarf’ to a ‘puppy love scarf’ and ‘long doggy candles’ – yes they love dogs – they also offer a range of illustrations and a neat postcard collection.
Ornaments, mini mushrooms, a snowman, and Santa. What do they all have in common? When Ana Seixas creates her character ceramics, each of them are adorned tenfold. All smiling and decorated with a colour palette that spark happiness too, these gifts will put grins on faces.
Another ceramics artist, Florence Mytum’s mugs and bowls blend the traditional with squiggly handles and soft grooves. All handcrafted, each piece is bespoke, making for a deeply personal gift. And, after seeing them laid out on her Instagram, they double up as a piece of sculpture to decorate your space with too.
Plant mums and dads everywhere admit to having full blown conversations with their babies, but what about your plant pots or vases? Created by Kayesha Clarke, Other Beings is named after her character ceramics. With buck-teeth and pupilless eyes, they’re like an alien invasion right in your front room, and can be a beautiful sculptural and practical addition to the lives of your loved ones, in the form of mirror frames, candle holders, vases and more. Check out her shop for drops every Friday.
Calling all wine lovers! Founded by Alfredo Lopez and the team behind Apartamento, The Natural Wine Company works to discover numerous wines and producers from around the world, before delivering them to your door. Catering to a variety of people, with a number of different subscription packages based on desired frequency and preference, this is for everyone from the connoisseur to those who fancy drinking some while reading a good book.
Books of old, and those that are new, sit together in Micro Candide’s shop. With a host of artist books, magazines and prints – in English and French – they pride themselves on the vastness of their collection. Perfect for this time of year, when work starts to slow down, and we look for inspiration for the year ahead, become lost in all this Brussels-based platform has to offer.
© Le Puzz
© We are Out of Office
Starting out in 2019 while on a trip to Tokyo, sandralexandra is a passion project turned elegant jewellery brand. Nestled between her hometown in Spain and her London-based studio, the founder – Sandra – works with local artisans, creating “hand-in-hand with nature by using materials like cultured pearls or lampwork glass,” so why not check it out if you want to gift someone a timeless piece this Christmas?
Who doesn’t love a good crack at some jigsaw? We’re guessing you all do, and that’s why we’re introducing you to Le Puzz. Describing themselves as “two silly friends trying to make something fun,” Alistair and Michael have created a wonderful collection of 500- and 1000-piece hand-drawn, random cut and beautifully illustrated puzzles, waiting to be pieced together.
Based in the Netherlands, We are Out of Office, have a plethora of items available to take your loved ones into the new year, and beyond. On their Etsy shop you’ll see there’s something for everyone, from those who wish to adorn their walls with new inspiring Warhol-esque prints to those wanting a funky bottle opener for all the upcoming celebrations.
In recent years, we know that more and more people have wanted to explore the wonders of international cinema. Platforming films from the SWANA region, Shasha endeavours to open that door for many. Offering a two-option subscription service – £99 for a year or £9.99 per month – this is the perfect time to buy it for a cinema lover in your life, as this year sees an increase in the amount of films on their platform.
Lamps, lamps, lamps. You can’t have too many, in our opinion. With four simple yet distinctive options available, Quazi Design’s Lulombo Pulp series gives us that earthy feeling. Available in pink, clay, white – for those who love the minimalist aesthetic – and charcoal, they are sure to brighten up (ahem) someone’s day.
© Marina Esmeraldo
© Secret Riso Club
From their ‘fake (Flake) scarf’ that looks almost good enough to eat to their ‘Bangin Tee’ that manipulates the old classic British Telecom logo, if you gift someone some of Turbo Island’s apparel, they’ll come back to you with a laundry list of compliments they’ve received. Undeniably fun, quirky and soaked in cultural references, these statement pieces can help to create some life-long memories.
We’re sure there are a fair few Succession fans who still aren’t over the season finale, so how about treating them to a print of their favourite character? The illustrator Marina Esmeraldo has turned her brilliant Tarot card series featuring all of the TV series’ most questionable characters into a series of wall art pieces.
Secret Riso Club is a New York-based studio primarily creating with social justice causes in mind. Ran by Gonzalo Guerrero and Tara Ridgedell, they also have an in-house screen printing studio, delivering workshops and zine making classes for the local community. So, why not pick up a T-shirt, hoodie, tote or one of their striking prints, as your gift can aid in their community-focused work.
The most popular gifts around Christmas? Probably calendars and mugs. But this year you can skip the boring and generic offering that lacks a personal touch, and tap into SanQuian’s designs. Incorporating her much-loved space dog illustrations (that have become a symbol synonymous with her practice) and her vibrant palette, these can be gifted to anyone looking to plan ahead or spark ideas while having a cuppa!
Products shown: Emergency Noodle Kit by Bao London; Caico’s Handmade Bag; Good Daze’s Happy Sunshine ring; We are Out of Office’s Cheersie bottle opener; Grumpy Ant by Aysha Tengiz; Howdy Pawtner puzzle by Le Puzz.