What’s that sound; do you hear it? Oh, it’s only December’s knocking at the door! If you’ve been putting it off there are no more excuses folks: It’s time to go Christmas shopping. But fear not for I’m here to help you enjoy the season without burning out.
I may be a little biased being from Liverpool and all, but I’ve moved around a lot in my lifetime and can hand-on-heart say that Liverpool has one of the greatest city centres around. Right by the Mersey river front and cram packed with art, history, food, buskers and friendly faces, it’s easy to get in the Christmas spirit here.
During the Christmas run-up the city feels magical. Each area celebrates it’s unique vibe and decorates accordingly: The Albert Dock has it’s cozy, nautical thing going on and the Liverpool One shopping centre goes modern with a giant neon LED tree. Independent cafés and restaurants of Bold Street the Rope Walks serve up seasonal tasties and there are pop-up’s galore: This year Chavasse Park gets a fair ground and the Pier Head gets a full on ice festival with a massive ice slide!
Smart Christmas Shopping tips for all:
Let’s start with the basics:
- Get organised: Write out a “Must Buy” list before you leave the house. This is for essential items that you must not forget. Break it down in to stores or areas of the city to avoid running back and fore between shops. For list-making I love the smartphone app, ToDoist!
- Recharge: There are so many amazing restaurants in Liverpool we’re spoiled for choice. Liverpool One has all of the big names like Café Rouge, TGI Friday’s, Cosy Club (coming soon) and Yo Sushi.
- Take your own bags: Listen; once the shopping is done the last thing you want is to be lugging around massive plastic bags. I always take a rucksack to town with me leaving me hands free.
- Don’t be a humbug: Be nice to retail staff. These hard-working elves have likely just started their jobs as Christmas temps, and for the most part they just want to help. Getting annoyed at them because you’re stressed doesn’t help anyone (plus it makes you look like a massive douche bag).
The Tourist Shopper:
Your time in Liverpool is short but those queues ain’t. Here’s how to make the most of your trip:
- Focus on the unique: The big brands are lovely n’all, but you’ve got limited time here and Liverpool has so many one-off’s to explore so enjoy them while you’re here. For the weird and wonderful check out Grand Central and head around the corner to Bold street or the Cavern Walks for quirky independent stores.
- Go sightseeing: The best part about visiting Liverpool at Christmas is that the beautiful tourist spots look even more impressive when lit up and decorated. You could view the lights from above via the Radio City Tower’s Viewing Deck, or if you’re in Liverpool this weekend be sure to check out the massive craft fair over at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.
- Get them something Scouse: Thanks to it’s varied history Liverpool has so many interesting souvenirs. Check out gift store, Utility for Lambanana’s galore. Or head to Waterstones for postcards and Beatles memorabilia.
The Sensitive Shopper:
I know your type best because I am one. All of that pushing and shoving combined with millions of shiny things to see is overwhelming! Avoiding stressed out crowds is a skill of ours so it’s likely you’ve ordered most of your shopping online anyway, but even though we’re easily overstimulated by the craziness, we still don’t want to miss out on the winter atmosphere:
- Shop early; Relax early: Us sensitive peeps like to take our time and absorb our surroundings slowly and in full. Be sure to get to town early to browse the stores. That way, by the time it gets dark you can kick back with a spiced latte and watch the madness from a comfy chair.
- Take regular breaks: Without breaks I am frazzled within the first hour. Stop off at relaxed coffee shops (Waterstones Coffee Shop is a good option for when you’re slap bang in the city centre and need a quiet break), and visit quiet spaces. Liverpool Central Library and Blue Coat Chambers court yard being just a couple of them. Or, provided you’ve brought a scarf, have a two minutes stroll down to the Albert Dock.
The Hedonistic Shopper:
If I wasn’t so broke right now I’d be Christmas shopping in luxury too!:
- Have someone else do it for you: Most stores now have a personal shopping service, including Debenhams, John Lewis and River Island. Take advantage of these magic-makers and save your energy for luxuriating.
- Spoil yourself: There are so many places in the Liverpool city centre to be pampered. I have my eye on the new Lush Spa in Whitechapel but there are loads of salons and spas to choose from around the city and dock area. After the pampering is done head for afternoon tea at the Panoramic 34 restaurant which boasts 360 views of the city and beyond.
- High end shopping: Just down the street from the Lush Spa is the Metquarter. Here’s where you’ll find names such as Armani, Kurt Geiger and Hugo Boss. I was in there just yesterday and there’s a stall filled with beautiful Christmas flower arrangements. I also clocked some festive goodness going on in the Illamasqua store but didn’t go in. Regrets!
Whatever your shopping style Liverpool is great place for some retail therapy. Have fun!