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6 reasons to buy handmade this Christmas

By Helene Charara

An MCDC Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, we’re all anticipating the mad rush to buy presents. But what if buying presents this year was purposeful and enjoyable? Here at MCDC you can shop slower and with intention. There are 19 studios in all, so there’s a lot of choice of jewellery, ceramics, prints, homewares and more. You can chat to makers, get to know the studios and even stop for a bite to eat at our cafe. So why not have an MCDC Christmas and surprise your family and friends with something really special?

Perfect presents come directly from the makers who have expertly handcrafted beautiful gifts. This is worth so much more than the high street, where items are produced in factories far away from the people who designed them.

We all love handmade, obviously. But we often get asked why handmade is so special, why each piece costs more than a similar item on the high street.

Here are 6 reasons to buy handmade this Christmas:

1. Shop slow

When you buy a handcrafted gift, you’re buying so much more than a physical item. You are investing in the maker who created it and you’re getting a little piece of all the time they’ve spent, not just making it, but learning their craft and developing their skills; their inspiration, imagination and passion. You can also commission a maker to create a bespoke item – to create a unique piece of work. Giving a handmade gift says so much more than giving a gift from a high street store. We like to think of it as sending someone a handwritten letter instead of firing off an email. It means you’ve really thought about the person you’re buying for and taken the time to choose something really special for them.

Reasons to buy handmade


2. Shop ethical

Buying handmade supports local craft industries and people, and the impact on our economy is huge. In the UK, the creative industries account for about 7% of the GDP and each artwork (including all the handmade pieces sold here at MCDC) contributes to this. Buying from our makers enables their work to continue and flourish and the traditional crafts and techniques used in making their products are kept alive too, creating a demand for education in these skills for the makers of the future. Buying handmade means investing in quality and  not contributing to a harmful erosion of resources from mass produced goods – its ethical.

3. Shop personal

When you buy a handmade gift here at MCDC, the chances are you’ll be buying it directly from the person who made it. This means you can ask them to tweak the colour or size of something you’re interested in to make it even more perfect for your loved one. You can also commission a maker to create a bespoke item – to create a unique piece of work.

4. Shop leisurely

Here at MCDC you can shelter from the inevitable Manchester rain and shop in beautiful surroundings. Chat to our makers in their independent studios, beat the crowds by shopping early, and get inspired to buy something unique from our expert craftspeople.

5. Shop unique

Our family members are all one-of-a-kind and we think the gifts we buy them should be too. No two handmade pieces are identical. Each item is unique and special in its own way – just like our loved ones. You can buy a wide range of fascinating products, such as a gorgeous watercolour landscape from northern scapes, a hand-painted framed print from fir+wren or a bookmark from Jane Blease. Check out our Christmas shopping guide here…

Mass produced items are often perceived as – or actually are – ‘throw away’. Things need to be upgraded and many people want to have the latest version. The difference with handmade is that you don’t need an upgrade, because it’s perfect just as it is. No need to lust after the latest version when every handmade item is a unique piece of artwork in its own right. And handmade products stand the test of time because they are the result of an enormous amount of time and skill. High quality raw materials and superior workmanship come together for a finished product that is truly something to be treasured and enjoyed for many years to come.

6. Shop the whole house

As well as giving handmade cards and gifts, why not decorate your house with handmade too? Our makers have a wealth of beautiful options for making a festive home this year. Or bring the kids along to get involved in a Christmas craft activity and make something for them to hang on your tree. There’s something for everyone here at MCDC this year. Find out what’s on here…

7. Win a prize!

Make a purchase of £10 and over in any of our studios or online shop between Saturday 11th November and Thursday 21st December to be in with a chance of winning one of four mini hampers filled with handmade goodies from a selection of our studios or one of two £20 vouchers to spend here at the Centre! Find out more here…