‘I’m doing all my Christmas shopping in Wanstead this year…’

On Monday, Wansteadium launched the Wanstead Gift List 2011, an attempt to find – by the end of this week – a top 10 of excellent Christmas gifts available from Wanstead. There’s been no shortage of nominations, which we will be publishing this week. But this report was submitted by a Wansteadium reader who, for obvious reasons (not spoiling suprises) wants to remain anonymous.

“In June, I set myself the challenge of doing all my Christmas shopping in Wanstead this year, mainly to cut down on travel and hassle but also because I realised that what was available locally was as good as anything I could get ‘in town’ and often there were things that were special to the local shops.
So far it is going well and I am determined that I will stick to my intention, especially after telling one of the local traders what I was trying to do and she nearly burst into tears and told me how hard things are for local traders.

“The first step was to tell the family what I was going to do & make sure that they understood that I would not be buying huge presents, but rather thoughtful & useful ones. My daughter says she is particularly looking forward to receiving a gift-wrapped bag of sprouts!

“I buy for my father (90), husband (62), daughters (30 & 34), son-in-law (40), grandson (18 months), granddaughter (5), stepson & stepdaughter (34 & 38), daughter-in-law (33), brother-in-law (54), parents of in-law children & a friend’s birthday on Xmas Eve (74).
So far I have:

  • A ‘Tin For Bits That Don’t Go Anywhere’ for daughter’s partner (but there are lots of other ones such as a man’s tin for electrical bits) – from several shops, but I got mine from Nicole’s;
  • Several gift boxes from Heart Foundation & Olive  Orange Tree to put in some keepsakes/heirlooms for my daughters from my grandmother (eg hand-embroidered, hand -laced handkerchief; tray cloths & tablecloths with drawn thread work etc) and tissue paper from the Art Shop;
  • Fashion scarf & earrings (both new) from Heart Foundation;
  • Mini suitcase to put dolls clothes in that I’ve knitted (for granddaughter – already had the left over wool and patterns) – from Nicole’s;
  • A Cath Kidston button box from Orange Tree for daughter to which I’ve added some heritage buttons from my own button box & a hot water bottle with knitted cover, also from Orange Tree;
  • Assorted goodies to eat to be shared around from the various food shops – including assorted bottled beers, a honey comb, relish & pickle, biscuits & a ginger beer kit, as well as chocolate and toffee treats from Thornton’s at the Art Shop;
  • From Oxfam – new, or good as new, book on breadmaking for son-in-law to which I will add a basket of organic ingredients bought locally (including the basket) & an unused book of restaurants round London with recipes for their signature dishes – again to which I will add a basket of ingredients – for stepson;
  • From Barnado’s – 4 good quality children’s books for grandchildren;
  • From Boots, Wanstead Pharmacy & Olive Tree, assorted bits to put in wash bag for granddaughter for when she goes to stay with grandparents;
  • A photo frame for my friend’s birthday (she has a new grandchild) from the Art Shop and some fancy hand cream from Wanstead Pharmacy;
  • A ‘Picasso clock’ from Images in Frames for stepson & daughter-in-law;
  • From the Olive Tree again, 2 mis-matched china cups & saucers for daughter & partner as they are putting together shabby chic tea set in assorted blue-based patterns. They come as candles but the china is sound.
  • From the Art Shop, assorted traditional toys, games etc such as jumping beans, old maid, jacks, train whistles etc etc for stocking fillers – yes the adults still have Xmas stockings to which everyone adds small gifts under £1.

I have yet to buy:

  • an amber necklace from Keating’s for step-daughter;
  • a snuggly blanket/rug & cushion from the Orange Tree for daughter;
  • a food mixer from the electric shop (this is a joint Xmas & birthday present for one daughter);
  • a pair of candlesticks for daughter-in-law from Images in Frames;
  • a shirt each for son-in-law & brother-in-law;
  • flowers for in-law parents from Lillie’s
  • flower vase for daughter-in-law from Blush Temples
  • the turkey, ham, sausage etc (on order from the butcher) & all fruit & veg from the greengrocer (our pudding & cake have already been made from ingredients bought in Londis or the Co-operative)
  • my husband’s present – HELP – so I will be reading suggestions from others with great interest.

Further suggestions can be made on Wednesday by emailing wansteadium@gmail.com. A full list of nominations will be published on Thursday, and the Top 10  (as judged by an impartial cabal of discerning well-wishers) will be published on Friday, just in time to go shopping at the weekend.

4 Comments on "‘I’m doing all my Christmas shopping in Wanstead this year…’"


  1. Lots of unique craft, vintage & antique items will be on sale this Saturday (10th December) at The Past & Present Fair, Christchurch Hall, Wanstead Place (off the high street). Items from .50p, come and find a great gift.


  2. Onedeko have now re-opened with a sumptuous range of Italian and European dining and lounge furniture, lighting and home accessories. We’re at 151 High Street, Wanstead, E11 2RL. (Opposite Majestic and Starbucks) We now also offer a full 3D space planning and design service to make your home truly shine.
    And if you need an extra chair (or 6) for those discerning Christmas guest/s, come and have a chat with Noel or Glen as we have many ex display and surplus stock items in our warehouse.


  3. It would be nice if the writer got the names of her local shops correct. I’m guessing she bought her Cath Kidston gifts in The Orange Tree, not the Olive Tree

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