Christmas is just around the corner and South Yorkshire is home to hundreds of independent businesses and big-name brands offering something slightly different to your usual festive fare. Whether it’s gifts, food and drink or events you’re looking for this winter, unLTD’s Sasha Mossman has got you covered
Approaching their 148th year in business, Atkinsons are no strangers to pulling out all the stops at Christmas – and this year will be no different. The legendary family-owned department store will be showcasing several events this year in association with their chosen charity Weston Park Cancer Charity.
If you’ve walked past the store’s window display recently, you would’ve noticed the #InspiredBySheffield display – as a part of the campaign of the same name – designed by Atkinsons to push local independent businesses. Businesses featured include Kelham Print, Natural Stone Carved Creations, Goo Design and Frazer’s Coffee, and the display continues the campaign on from the inaugural #InspiredBySheffield day back in October.
For the past two years, Atkinsons have successfully been putting on a ‘Breakfast with Santa’ event, taking place on the 15th December this year. Children and their families are invited to have breakfast at the Atkinsons restaurant and meet Father Christmas and receive a selection box and a gift for £15 – £5 of which is donated to Weston Park, who also provide the Santa Claus.
David Cartwright, store manager at Atkinsons, said: “We try to keep the numbers small for the event, as it allows each child to have a personalised experience – such as last year, when a deaf child took part and Father Christmas learnt sign language so that he could wish him a Merry Christmas.”
As a part of the Sheffield Blitz Memorial Trail, Atkinsons will be participating as the gateway event in remembrance of the destruction of the store in World War Two. At the event on the 10th December, author Neil Anderson will be unveiling the trail, which will be accessible via interpretation boards, phone app, website and a book. Britain’s Got Talent stars D-Day Darlings will be performing and the book – ‘Countdown to the Sheffield Blitz’ – which has been compiled by Neil Anderson will go on sale at the event. The guest of honour, however, will be an 80-year old teddy bear that was the last item to be bought from Atkinsons before it was bombed.
David added: “It’ll be a nice, feel-good family event. As a family-owned business, we believe in a traditional, more family-focused Christmas, so we’re still trying to make the store as family-friendly as we can.”
Although a slightly newer addition to the scene, forest-themed artisan gift and coffee shop Wildwood pride themselves on being able to offer a more unique variety of gifts to Sheffield shoppers. Boasting a huge seasonal range including candles, décor, gifts and toiletries, Wildwood aim to put a distinctive ‘al-fresco’ twist on the usual Christmas offering. As a local company, the business also offers a special Sheffield-themed festive collection, including baubles and various decorations.
Returning favourites include last year’s bestselling ceramic dome tealights and Christmas trees – keeping in line with the outdoors theme! Co-owner Lindsay Lonchar said: “Wildwood is only just a year old, but we’ve already realised that the wintertime is our busiest time of year. Some of our products have already been so in demand that we’ve had to stock extra in preparation!”
As an independent retailer on The Moor, Wildwood have been a part of the Just A Card campaign, which aims to support smaller businesses and artists. The campaign follows the idea that if everyone who visited independent galleries bought ‘just a card’, then most would stay open for longer.
Lindsay said: “Even though we’re approaching our second year, we still get a lot of people discovering us for the first time. We’re passionate about supporting the local independent high street so it can stay busy all year long – not just at Christmas!”
The Angels are Coming
Kicking off the more family friendly festivities in the city centre, The Angels are Coming will take place at Sheffield Cathedral between 4-8 December. A dazzling sound and light show telling the story of Christmas will be displayed onto the Cathedral’s exterior between 6 and 10pm each night, whilst the inside of the building will be transformed into the Nativity scene – complete with carols, artwork and a spectacular centrepiece. The Angels are Coming was brought to Sheffield by an artistic collaboration called ‘Luxmuralis’ (which means ‘Light Murals’) – whose work has been seen all over the UK and across Europe.
Frenchgate will be continuing their wildly successful #FrenchgateShareYourHappy campaign through to the winter months, with plenty on offer for Doncaster families. Starting on 9 November, Santa’s Woodland Workshop Grotto will be open right up until Christmas Eve – with special Autism Friendly hour sessions available every Tuesday morning between 10am-11am.
The Grinch will also be making his Doncaster debut this Christmas. Space outside Debenhams will be transformed into the Frenchville Post Office on 9 November. At the Frenchville Post Office, children can write their 3 good deeds on a postcard and grow their hearts 3 times – just like The Grinch! The postcards will then be entered into an hourly draw to win a prize.
The Sheffield Candle Company
Although The Sheffield Candle Company is a seasonal business, work takes place all year round. In preparation for Christmas, the team begin manufacturing festive products in August. Each product is handmade, as the team hand wick, hand pour and hand label all the products – meaning months of groundwork. The products are then put into storage until they are required.
During the winter months, The Sheffield Candle Company release range of seasonal fragrances, which include Christmas Pine & Spices, Sweet Amaretto Nog, Christmas Kitchen and Frankincense & Myrrh.
James Mckennan, Managing Director of The Sheffield Candle Company, said: “The winter months are great fun for us at markets as we are out getting to meet the people who have used our candles.”
Business at the company peak during November and December, where the team is invited to attend an abundance of local events and markets.
One of the festive highlights for The Sheffield Candle Company is their Christmas Cabin at the Sheffield Christmas Market on Fargate, open from 14 November every day until Christmas Eve.
James said: “At our cabin we always like to offer a little discount to our customers and this year is no different. We offer a discount on all of our candles if you purchase two of any size of candle.”
The Sheffield Candle Company are also currently working on a project with two other local businesses: Bailey of Sheffield who design, manufacture and build stainless steel jewellery is in Sheffield and Locksley Distilling Co, famous for their green bottled Sir Robin of Locksley Gin. The three businesses are working together to open a collective pop up shop in Meadowhall in November, showcasing each business’ products.
James added: “This is my favourite time of year. The winter months are great fun for us at markets as we are out getting to meet the people who have used our candles. We’re very busy, the days are long but it is all worth it.
“We have a great team who I am very lucky to be working alongside and I can’t wait to be chatting to everyone at the Christmas markets with a hot chocolate in hand. Everyone is wrapped up and although it is usually cold being stood outside for hours on end, it is such a happy time of year.”
Fancy winning a selection of The Sheffield Candle Company candles? Simply email your name, address and contact number to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘CANDLE COMPETITION’ in the subject area.
Deadline for entries is 2 December.
Winners will be picked at random and will be contacted by email no later than 9 December.