Who really enjoys Christmas shopping in London? Seriously - who? Though it is always the thought that counts, it is sadly true that you are obliged to put the thought into physical form in order for it to count, which means putting on your coat and hitting the shops to pick up that unique and original Christmas gift - which usually turns out to be the same unique and original gift that 50 million other people are attempting to purchase at the same time as you. What can a Londoner do to guarantee a winning set of gifts to give away to their dearly beloved this Yuletide that won't be from the usual run of high street stores and of the usual high street standard?
For those who still think Shoreditch is the centre of the trendy universe, head straight to The Old Truman Brewery for something cool and hip from their Designer Sales UK and Fashion Grotto events, 3rd to 5th December. For the night owls, there are also two night markets open from 5.00pm to 9.00pm on 16th and 23rd December. Go here for more details.
If you're after something definitely unique and original, try the Hidden Art Open Studios . Designer-makers across London will be opening their studios on 26th and 27th November, 3rd and 4th December to the public on selected dates in the run-up to Christmas, giving you the chance to learn more about the designer-maker communities tucked away in London, what they do and what you can get that particularly difficult friend of yours who seems to have everything and wants nothing. Go here for more information
Stuck for gifts for a food lover? The Festive BBC Good Food Show at Earl's Court, 2nd to 4th December should have something suitable for a gastro-pal. Even the fussiest of eaters and the most precious of cooks are promised to be catered for in amongst the 280 exhibitors - but book tickets NOW to avoid disappointment. Go here for more information and tickets.
Okay - our recent preoccupation with drinking proves that we do, as a nation, as a city and indeed, as a website, enjoy a drink or too. Just to get in the mood of the festive season, of course. Kew Gardens is offering a special wine tasting evening on 1st December, ostensibly to take you through the different wines you can have for Christmas ranging from champagne to dessert wines and port to go with cheeses. But we know it's really an excuse to mildly tiddly in the beautiful surroundings of the gardens. Ideal for ideas for presents to give to booze-loving friends and family. Places are limited so go here quickly to get in on the action.
For Renaissance and Shakespeare lovers, the Globe Theatre is holding a Frost Fair on the first three weekends of December, based on the frost fairs originally held on the frozen Thames in the 16th Century. Tours, a winter market and special a 50 metre ice slide should offer something for friends and family still stuck in the 1500s. Go here for more information.
If you are a more conscientious consumer, there is the Red Cross Christmas Fair at Kensington Town Hall on 29th and 30th November where gifts, food, jewellery and home accessories will be on offer, all for a good cause. This year's Christmas fair will be supporting the London Emergency Response Appeal. Go here for more information.
And finally... why bother with the high street when the many museums and galleries around town have fantastic shops with excellent ideas for gifts. You can take in a picture or two and some interesting artefacts while you're at it as well. Who says shopping is uncultured and vulgar? Christmas shopping the Londonist way is far superior - and might even be fun.