This is why you should shop local in Hastings for Christmas

Christmas is less than a week away and despite concerns over the rapidly spreading Omicron variant it still looks as though many of us are still on course for a merrier Christmas than we had last year when presents were exchanged at a safe distance in car parks and there were empty chairs at the Christmas table.

Monday, 20th December 2021, 12:43 pm
JPET Sept Made in Hastings SUS-140408-171824003

There will be the usual frenzy of shopping as people stock up for the festive feast and do a last minute present sweep.

I remember growing up on the West Hill when Christmas for me took place at my grandparents large home in Emmanuel Road - a rambling former pub called The Red House.

Those Christmases are still in my mind as being incredibly lavish but my grandmother never walked more than a few hundred yards to get the supplies needed for it.

Within one block of streets there was a butchers, green grocer, bakers, post office and a couple of general stores which between them could get you just about anything. Supermarkets didn’t even come into the equation.

Shopping local wasn’t even a thing then - you did it by default and were on first name terms with all the traders.

Shopkeepers then didn’t just sell you things, they looked out for people too. If an elderly regular customer hadn’t been in for a few days they would pop round to see if they were alright or raise the alarm when necessary.

There was a time, not so long ago, when I hit Brighton or London for my Christmas shopping - more choice went the logic.

In recent years, especially last year with lockdown, I have been more likely to be found hunching over the Amazon website frantically clicking away.

This year I made a conscious decision to use independent shops and craftspeople in Hastings.

I was really surprised at the quality, diverse selection, and price of what is available on my own doorstep.

Shopping locally isn’t a comprise, in fact it is a great way of buying unique and thoughtful gifts that you wouldn’t be able to find on Amazon or in big national stores.

Made in Hastings, in the Old Town, is run by a collective of creatives who preside over a wealth of talented local people making some beautiful things. The same can be said for St Leonards, which has increasingly become a shop window for local artists with its galleries and shops in Norman Road and Kings Road.

While we are on the topic of Kings Road, who remembers the magical light shows and late night shopping on that street? Every shop back then was independent. That one street pioneered Christmas late night shopping in the town.

Aside from shopping, there are lots of pre-Christmas treats on offer in Hastings. Take a trip on the Hastings Miniature railway illuminated Christmas specials or pop into Priory Meadow shopping centre for festive for painting and other seasonal fun.

This is a good time of year to appreciate and celebrate independent Hastings shops and appreciate all the special things we have here in Hastings.