Stressed at the mere thought of all things Christmas?
Take a comfy seat, grab a glass of something suitably alcoholic and scroll through our list of 25 helpful hints, tricks and tips that will make every Brighton local’s life easier this festive season.
1. Warm up in The Prince Albert
Step into The Prince Albert and warm up next to the flaming log fire. Make a pit stop here when the Christmas crowds have worn you out and you’re weighed down with shopping. The mulled cider – £3.50 for a glass – is fruity and extremely warming. If you’re out and about on a Sunday, you can also warm up with one of the delicious Jamaican roasts that they serve. (48 Trafalgar Street, BN1 4ED, 01273 730499)
2. Get your tree
If you’re on the lookout for a tree to take home yourself, check out brightonandhovechristmastrees.co.uk. Alternatively, if you don’t fancy clearing up the pine needles afterwards, enjoy the various evergreens that have popped up around town.
3. Have yourself a beery little Christmas
If you’re looking for somewhere a bit different for a Christmas meal, try Dead Wax Social on Bond Street. It’s a neat little restaurant and bar that has shelves and shelves of records that you can hunt through, find a fave, and ask the guy behind the decks to put on for you. They’re currently selling mulled wine at the bar, and they are also taking Christmas bookings, so you can, as the chalkboard puts it, ‘have yourself a beery little Christmas’. (18a Bond Street, BN1 1RD, 01273 683844)
4. Check out one of the Christmas markets
Brighton has a bunch of different Christmas markets to check out, so add the Open Market at Marshall’s Row to your itinerary. On Sunday, December 7, between 10.30am and 4pm, pop along to enjoy the Brighton Vintage and Antiques Market, which offers over 40 of the South’s best traders offering everything from vintage clothing to memorabilia, jewellery to antique furniture. There’s also the Brighton Craft Alliance’s Christmas Handmade, Craft & Vintage Fair on Sunday, December 14, between 10am and 5pm, where you will find handmade crafted pressies, food, music and more. Alternatively, visit the Brighton Vintage and Antiques Market: A Winter Wonderland of Collectibles and Treasure, which is running on Sunday December 21, between 10.30am and 4pm.
5. Grab a gift while you eat at Carluccio’s
This Italian restaurant also has a Christmas gift shop, so you can find something festive with a bit of continental flair. They’ve got a variety of hampers and gift boxes, containing everything from Panettone and torrone, to crackers and advent calendars. (Jubilee Street, BN1 1GE, 01273 69493)
6. Get festive at The Black Horse
Book your Christmas party at The Black Horse, opposite the Dome and Corn Exchange, which is offering a two course Christmas lunch for £11.95 or a three course Christmas lunch for £13.95. (112 Church Street, 01273 606864)
7. Pick up a sweet treat at Candy Brighton
Everyone knows someone who’s got a real insatiable sweet tooth. If you’re looking to find them a real treat for Christmas, head to Candy Brighton, with its rows and rows of pick and mix, old fashioned sweeties, American candy, chocolate, toffee, and lollipops.
8. Please a bookworm at PS Brighton
Friends and family of book lovers, head to PS Brighton down Kensington Gardens to find them a novel they’ll love. (34 Kensington Gardens, BN1 4AL, 01273 605422)
9. Go vintage at the Antiques & Flea Market
If you’re looking for something truly different for a present, head to the Antiques & Flea Market hidden away in Upper Gardner Street. It’s open every day for browsing. (5A Upper Gardner Street, BN1 4AN)
10. Shop ethically at Retail Therapy
Retail Therapy sells unique gifts, locally made truly fair trade items and gift vouchers. It’s an ethical, Fairtrade shop which encourages and promotes local recyclers, designers and artists working with natural materials. Find a great pressie in this Aladdin’s Cave. (101 Gloucester Road, BN1 4AP, 01273 691720)
11. Buy a book for Amnesty
A bookshop with a difference, for ethical, sustainable and humanitarian present buying. (16A Syndey Street, BN1 4EN)
12. Get a quirky gift at All About Aud
Have you got a vintage lovin’ guy or gal in your life you’re hunting for the perfect, quirky gift for? Try All About Aud. They’ve got a gorgeous range of clothes, jewellery, and other bits and bobs for sale at this shop, which is just down from the train station at Trafalgar Street. They also do Christmas gift vouchers for any amount you’d like, whether it’s a fiver or £105. (27 Trafalgar Street, BN1 4ED, 07888 739820)
13. Hot Chestnuts time!
Choose between either six cooked chestnuts for £2, or £8 per kilo of uncooked chestnuts at this Hot Chestnut stall down Trafalgar Street.
14. Stock up on paper
Get your Christmas wrapping paper and cards from Pen to Paper in Sydney Street for a unique, crafty touch to your gifts. (4 Sydney Street, BN1 4EN, 01273 676670)
15. Take in the Christmas lights
Brighton’s Christmas lights were switched on earlier in November, but be sure to wonder through the city’s streets and enjoy the sights.
16. Pretend you can ice skate
Try your hand (or feet) at this classic festive activity at the ice rink outside Brighton’s Royal Pavilion, open until January 17. If you’re feeling peckish, there’s also a Rinkside Bar and Kitchen where you can grab some grub. It offers warming snacks, lunches and dinners, a great bar selection including local ale and a range of craft beers, together with mulled wine and ginger wine.
17. Costume hire for Christmas
Got a Christmas party to dress up for? Buy your Santa, elf, reindeer, nativity, or angel costumes from Revamp, a fancy dress boutique at 11 Sydney Street. (11 Sydney Street, BN1 4EN, 01273 623288)
18. Get the obligatory mistletoe
Hoping for a festive smooch? Best invest in some mistletoe. You can order in a bunch, or even order 1, 10 or 40 kilos of mistletoe from www.intermistletoe.co.uk.
19. Have a romantic Christmas
If you’re hoping to be able to put that 40 kilos of mistletoe to use, take the object of your affections to do something romantic, which, if we have learnt anything from Love Actually, is most appropriate at this time of year. Take them to a photo booth – there’s one in Snooper’s Paradise and in The Tempest on the seafront – get cosy, and make some memories.
20. Light a candle
On the hunt for some Christmas candles? Check out The White Company, at 4 North Street. Their candles have gorgeous Christmas scents, from Fir and Berry to Mulled Wine and Sloe Gin. The White Company also has botanical candles, pillar candles, and candle collections, which make great gifts. (4 North Street, BN1 1EB, 01273 447061)
21. Try a Christmas craft workshop
Feeling crafty this Christmas? Stitch and Sew a fabulous Christmas wreath at Evolution Arts in Brighton, this Sunday, November 29. Find out more here.
22. Sort your Christmas tunes
Be sure to find some great Christmas tracks to belt out on the big day. We spotted this classic in Cult Hero Music & Film in North Street.
23. Get a mulled wine
It’s not Christmas without a festive tipple. Brighton is, of course, not exactly short of great places to grab a bevvy. The White Rabbit down Kensington Gardens has got some mulled wine on the bar. (13-14 Kensington Gardens, BN1 4AL, 01273 677655)
24. Wander around the Festive Forest
Festive Forest is an indoor/outdoor pop up experience held at Stanmer Park, near the University of Sussex. Every Friday until Christmas the large marquee at the park will be transformed into a cosy country cabin. A DJ will keep you dancing until the early hours, and you can toast your marshmallows over the fire, enjoy a warm mug of Baileys, and tuck into some schwenkgrill BBQ. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more deets.
25. Say hello to Santa
Take the little ones along to meet Father Christmas himself at a special Saturday Craft Fair at the Open Market. On December 20, between 10am and 5pm, not only will Santa Claus will be visiting the ‘Make it at the Market’ fair, but there will be loads of opportunities to make some gifts to give to your loved ones on the big day. The artists, craftspeople and traders in the market will be sharing their skills and experience to help you create perfect Christmas presents for the people you love. Just drop in for jewellery-making, chocolate-making, sewing workshops, personalised hampers and more.
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Main image: Rain Rabbit / Flickr / CC