Cool and Conscious Christmas Shopping

If the High Street Christmas shopping frenzy leaves you frazzled, fear not. There is an alternative - and we don't mean shopping online in your pyjamas.

It's possible to dodge the annual retail rush, get a cultural fix and find cool Christmas gifts and quirky decorations at the same time, by heading to one of London's Gallery and Museum gift shops.

As well as the fun and fabulous products on offer, the galleries and museums benefit from us spending in their shops too.

Alternatively, if you're tired of buying people more 'stuff' that they may not want or need, treat them to an afternoon out at one of the current or forthcoming exhibitions.

Even better, indulge them with a the gift of a National Art Pass. At £70 for the year (or £45 for under 30s), it's a gift culture vultures will enjoy all year long.

The pass includes free entry to more than 240 museums, galleries and historic places across the UK and half-price entry into major exhibitions including those at Tate, the V&A and Natural History Museum.


Book to see photographerTim Walker's Wonderful Things exhibition, then head to the gift shop to find jewellery, toys, books, prints, homeware and fashion accessories that you won't find on the High Street.

For baubles to cherish, the V&A has also worked with three designers, who have created exclusive hand-painted ceramic tree decorations.

Once you've marvelled at the Old Masters and perused the current Gauguin exhibition at the National Gallery, stop off at the gift shop.

Here you'll find art prints, Christmas cards, baubles, books and much more that you might not expect in an art gallery, including these gorgeous glasses.


There's still time to see the Olafur Eliasson and William Blake exhibitions, or book now for the Andy Warhol exhibition, coming in March 2020.

If that's not enough, head to Tate Modern's emporium of art-focused goods, where you'll find uber-cool books, homewares, prints, bags, toys and fun finds, such as these Dali and Picasso Salt & Pepper mills.

As well as more educational offerings.


Here you can discover innovative designs across fashion, architecture, digital, transport, product and graphic design from the past year, as nominated by the public and design experts from around the world at the Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition, which is on until 9 February 2020.

The shop is another place to marvel at some of the world's best design, from classics by mid-century masters to novel new homewares, toys, games, jewellery, books and gifts for any budding – or otherwise – architects, designers, food lovers or adventurers in your life.


With the current Anthony Gormley exhibition in full swing (and the most significant in the UK for over a decade), it's the perfect opportunity to see new works from the acclaimed British sculptor and pick up some Gormley developed gifts afterwards.

The exhibition is a summation of Gormley’s enduring concern with the inner dark space of the body itself and the body’s relation to its surroundings.

To mark the exhibition the Royal Academy has worked with the artist on a collection of exclusively developed products including bags, ceramics and even a fragrance – ideal if you're looking for something for that hard to please person in your life.

See the gift trends for Christmas 2019.

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.