Cymru Culture

Articles / Erthyglau

Christmas gift ideas, Claire Meredith

(December 01, 2015)

Christmas Gift Ideas

"I'm looking for something retro or vintage, but don't know where to start!"

The vintage and retro look (whether it's clothing or interior design) has had a huge increase in popularity in recent years. Vintage fairs and exhibitions regularly take place across Wales; take the small flea market based in St Mary Street, Cardiff, most Saturdays by way of example.

A number of establishments (such as The Pumping Station, Cardiff) sell a huge range of retro pieces, including vintage (or reproduction) posters; models; dolls houses; antique furniture; architectural salvage; and clothing.

The Cardiff Indoor Flea Market, Tremorfa, opened fairly recently. It houses a huge range of sellers and traders selling everything from vintage sewing machines to upcycled furniture (and everything else you can imagine).

Another vintage treasure-trove is Annie & Co, opposite Cardiff Castle, at 11 High Street. Full of beautifully sourced items, from chalk paint to taxidermy and vintage clothing, this store is definitely worth a visit, especially because it champions and showcases local designers and artisans.

An established venue full of vintage treasures is Jacobs Antiques, which is a short stroll from Cardiff Central train station. Over several floors you can choose from a huge selection of vintage lighting, books, movie posters ... even fossils – to name just a few of the items available for sale. Sellers are friendly and approachable, and there is an experimental art gallery on the top floor, if you fancy it, together with an in-house coffee shop.

"I would like some special Christmas cards… not something mass-produced."

Artist Dorian Spencer Davies offers a range of Christmas cards each year, some of which are new designs and some popular classics. They are available to purchase from him direct and also at outlets such as Elements of Pembrokeshire, Saundersfoot.

Signed and handcrafted, they make a special gift; a Christmas card they will want to keep. Featuring key Welsh landmarks and towns (often beautifully decorated, often with healthy heaps of snow), they are delightful and come personally recommended.

Dorian Spencer Davies' Christmas cards
Selection of Christmas cards by Dorian Spencer Davies

"I want to buy someone a special gift… but they don't know what they want."

For the person who seems to have everything, or is very hard to buy for, why not consider a gift experience?

I can personally recommend the Angela Gray's Cookery School (I have completed two courses at Llanerch Vineyard to date and one at Fonmon Castle), which is under the professional and friendly guidance of renowned chef Angela Gray.

Why not combine a day of cookery lessons with a stay at the beautiful 5* Llanerch Vineyard, situated just outside of Cardiff?

And, of course, it would be just rude not to sample some of the beautiful Cariad wine made at the vineyard.

"My loved one is really passionate about interior design. I would like a stylish accessory for their home."

Melin Tregwynt is an obvious choice. But if you are looking for a home accessory created on a smaller-scale, and with a more artisan feel, then two designers (both coincidentally based in Pembrokeshire) come to mind:

Firstly, Sian O'Doherty produces a range of beautifully handcrafted items from stylish home accessories such as cushions, lampshades and blankets, to scarves, hats and other accessories. She also offers placements in her workshop, during which you can design your own pieces. This could be an excellent gift idea for that special person who seems to have everything already! Our interview with Sian O'Doherty is in this edition of Cymru Culture.

Secondly, Valmai Davis creates beautifully handcrafted accessories available at a number of outlets in Wales, including: The Welsh Dresser / Y Seld Gymreig, Bridgend; Old Hat, Narberth; and Elements of Pembrokeshire, Saundersfoot, to name but a few. Also, she will consider creating bespoke items. I have had the pleasure of commissioning her to make some Welsh wool cushion covers for my living room. Valmai sourced samples from a wide range of Welsh woollen mills, sent them to my home foe me to choose from, and then made my bespoke cushion covers to my personal specifications. Reasonably priced, for a truly individual and bespoke item, can you image a more personal, unique gift?


"I'd like an individual and handcrafted Christmas decoration, rather than something from the High Street."

If you are looking for a quality piece, which has not been mass produced, then dropping into Elements of Pembrokeshire, Saundersfoot, is a good idea, as they have a selection of the handcrafted Christmas decorations collection which Valmai Davies has come up with this year. Personal favourites (and purchased for my own personal use and enjoyment) are the white reindeer and the black felt penguin (shown below), but other designs are available.

Felt reindeer, by Valmai Davies Felt penguin, by Valmai Davies Felt Xmas tree animals, by Valmai Davies

Also, from mid-November onwards, the Cardiff Christmas Market is open, offering a wide range of handcrafted items from a range of designers/companies in Wales (and beyond).


"I'd like to buy a piece of art for a loved one… but I know nothing about art."

Two artists spring to mind who produce contemporary pieces.

Firstly, Dorian Spencer Davies...  a renowned artist with a distinctive painting style, who uses bright, vibrant colours in his work. His work is available from himself personally, and from a wide range of art galleries in Wales.

Dorian Spencer Davies

Dorian Spencer Davies Dorian Spencer Davies

Dorian Spencer Davies 

You can purchase original sketches (he also accepts commissions), original paintings and (if your budget does not stretch to these) he offers a wide selection of prints in a range of sizes.

Of special mention are his winter-inspired pieces, a small selection of which are shown below:


Dorian Spencer Davies Dorian Spencer Davies

Dorian Spencer Davies

Another artist (again someone whose work I have personally purchased) is Steve John. He has a playful, cartoon style, and creates a wide variety of images (he also accepts commissions), and his work is very reasonably priced.

I personally love his 'Welsh Miners' artwork (and anything featuring cats), but his catalogue is vast and you are sure to find something you like.

Steve can normally be found at the Cardiff Christmas Market, but please contact him direct if you have any enquiries.


"My loved one is a fan of photography. I would love to get them something with a Welsh influence."

Two people spring to mind, firstly renowned photographer David Wilson. He has produced a number of beautifully printed 'coffee table' books of his stunning black and white photography (taken in the most remote and dramatic parts of Wales). He also has a range of other items of his most iconic images, including calendars and cards.


David Wilson Photography


David Wilson Photography

David Wilson David Wilson Photography

Another photographer whom I really rate is Mark D Lewis, who produces stunning colour (and black and white) images that are both stylish and arresting. I have personally bought his image The old General Stores, Mathry, Pembrokeshire.


xmas article dec 8

Mark D Lewis Mark D Lewis

Mark D Lewis 

Mark usually has a stall in the Cardiff Indoor Christmas market, but can be contacted on the below links or on his Facebook page.

Whatever you end up buying for them, have a lovely Christmas.

Claire Meredith, December 2015

Quick links to places mentioned above:

  The Pumping Station
Penarth Road
Cardiff CF11 8TT
  Cardiff Indoor Flea Market
Clydesmuir Road
Cardiff CF24 2QS

  Annie & Co
11 High Street
Cardiff CF10 1AW
  Jacob's Antiques
West Canal Wharf
Cardiff CF10 5DB
  Dorian Spencer Davies
Art online gallery shop
  Elements of Pembrokeshire
2 The Strand
Pembrokeshire SA69 9ET
  Angela Gray's Cookery School
Llanerch Vineyard
Vale of Glamorgan CF72 8GG
  Llanerch Vineyard
Vale of Glamorgan CF72 8GG
  Melin Tregwynt
Pembrokeshire SA62 5UX
  Sian O'Doherty
Handmade in Wales
  The Welsh Dresser / Y Seld Gymreig
42 Pwll Evan Ddu
Bridgend CF35 6AY
  Old Hat, Quirky and Vintage
11 Market Square
Pembrokeshire SA67 7AU

  Cardiff Christmas Market
Cardiff City Centre -
in and around
St. John Street
and The Hayes
  Steve John
  David Wilson
  Mark D Lewis
029 2061 9554


































If you liked this, you'll also like:
     Updating home accessories: chalk paint, June 2015
     Steampunk #1, photo frame; March 2015

     Steampunk #2, glass bottle pendant; March 2015
     Crafting: home accessories; March 2015

     Vintage-inspired gifts; December 2014

     Handmade cards; December 2014
     Handmade gift tags; December 2014
     Stylishly wrapped presents; December 2014
     Personalised Christmas decorations; December 2013

     Accessorize your home this Christmas; December 2011
     Shades of Grey; Caregos Couture new collection; September 2011
     History of costume Jewellery; September 2010
     Statement pieces from Caregos Couture, September 2010
     Easter/Spring party gift and decoration ideas; March 2010
     Modern accessories vs retro-chic; March 2010
     New Art Gallery in Cardiff 'Off the Wall'; Septermber 2009
     Statement necklaces; September 2009
     Stylish party canapés, September 2009
     George Thomas Hospice 'Style In the City' event; May 2009
     Whitefriars Glass, March 2009

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