‘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.