There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the eyes of that special person light up as they unwrap your festive gift. To help you find the perfect present, #MadeInSandwell Monday has brought together a whole host of gift ideas that celebrate and support our wonderful region.
A good starting point is the Black Country Society, which has an online shop selling a huge range of locally themed gifts, such as Black Country dialect tea towels, the Gospels in Black Country dialect and ‘White Shirt, Black Country’, a history of Black Country footballers who played for England.
If it’s books you’re after, you can also pop along to the brand new Blue Sheep Books on Wednesbury High Street for a plethora of new and second hand titles. They also have an online store, if the weather’s particularly off-putting.
If your neighbours like to wear their Black Country hearts on their sleeves, then Black Country T-Shirts sells more than just the obvious. There’s mugs, hats, flags, stickers, coasters – all with a Black Country theme, and available online or in the shop on Castle Street in Dudley. Or pick up a ‘bostin’ t-shirt from The Bobby Dazzlers, a Wolverhampton company that uses organic fabric and donates £5 from every sale to local charities.
It’s also worth visiting the Colour Palette Company, which started by creating a Birmingham colour palette, and has since branched out to other towns, cities and regions of the UK. The Black Country colour palette goes from ‘furnace red’ to ‘colliery black’ and can be ordered as a print or on mugs, bags, t-shirts and aprons.
For the foodie in your life, you could put together a hamper full of tastebud-tingling spices from East End Foods, based in West Bromwich. Perfect for perking up the Christmas Day leftovers.
For a sweet treat, Robinson’s Bakery in Oldbury and West Bromwich supplies a mouthwatering range of cakes, cookies, bars and doughnuts that can be ordered online and delivered to your door. Add a bottle or two of Juice Burst or Firefly botanical drinks and you’ll be supporting Purity Soft Drinks, a Wednesbury-based drinks manufacturer.
Music lovers might like something from Smethwick-based Chickenbone John, the self-proclaimed ‘godfather of cigar box guitars’. Constructed guitars are available, as well as kits so you can build your own. You can also buy tickets to workshops, where you can learn to make and play your own instrument.
Over lockdown, many of us turned our attention to home improvements, and several Black Country companies are ready and waiting to help us create the perfect haven. Any keen gardener would appreciate one of the world famous and Smethwick-based Haws Watering Cans, or some beautiful outdoor furniture from Oldbury’s A-Mir & Co.
There’s also fellow Oldbury furniture makers Grain and Frame for bespoke handcrafted tables and chairs. The deadline for Christmas deliveries has passed, but they’re taking orders for 2022. Perfect if the person you’re gifting it to would like to be involved in the decision making.
If your nearest and dearest are sick of staying in, then help get them out of the house with a ticket to a match at the Hawthorns, home of West Bromwich Albion football club. For intrepid cyclists, Brooks England offers saddles, saddle bags and accessories manufactured in Smethwick. Throw in a night away at the Domo Boutique Hotel in Oldbury, and a and you’ll be starting 2021 with a lot of brownie points.
You can also treat a friend or family member to a meal out at one of the region’s top curry houses or to a rather more quirky dining experience at Mad O’Rourke’s World Famous Pie Factory in Tipton, where there’s sawdust on the floor and the Christmas menu includes the ‘Posh ’n’ Becks’ steak and stilton pie, the ‘Andy Murray’ curry pie and the ‘Santa’ pie packed with turkey, chipolata, stuffing, potatoes and veggies – Christmas Day in pie form!
There are of course hundreds more hotels, restaurants, shops and artists in Sandwell, all offering all wonderful gifts and experiences. Shop local this Christmas, and you can’t fail to put a smile on your friends’ and family’s faces.
#MadeInSandwell Monday is a celebration of the talent and diversity within our borough. If you’re interested in being considered for a #MadeInSandwell Monday profile and having information about your organisation shared on Think Sandwell and through Twitter, read this.