It’s easy to fall into the trap of  spending a fortune at Christmas – the shops obviously encourage it, bewildering the harried shopper with numerous offers that make you start thinking “who do I know who’d like this random discounted object?”,  rather than shopping with a specific list of people in mind.

If you’re like me, you love to give people presents, but in fact the pressure around Christmas  shopping can really take the joy out of it.

Local Christmas Gift ideas

This year, I’ll be doing less shopping at the chain stores and more around our local arts and crafts shops and galleries, supporting local entrepreneurs and artists. Spending time in galleries and picking up pieces that have been created with love and detail are definitely part of my Christmas philosophy this year.

Here are a few that I’ll be visiting.

The Lyndendale Gallery

The Lyndendale Gallery is owned by artist Denise Gillies and is situated on 828 Crooked Brook Road in the beautiful Ferguson Valley near Bunbury.  It’s a picturesque spot for the tourist, and a well worn stop for local artists who supply the gallery with an ever changing selection of art work for sale.

The photo below gives some idea of the range of works by southwest artists and artisans.

Lyndendale Gallery Jo Castro

Lyndendale Gallery is open from 11 to 5 Friday to Sunday and at other times by arrangement.

See ‘Lyndendale Gallery’ and ‘Workshops at Lyndendale Gallery’ on Facebook

Folios and Fibre

Jane Flower is a talented creator and her eco dyed scarves and garments are delicate and beautiful. She also hand makes individual journals and notebook covers which make gorgeous gifts and stocking fillers. You’ll also find other unique textile pieces at the small gallery, which is really worth a visit. You’ll find Folios and Fibre on the Bussell Highway at Stratham on the way to Busselton.

Folios and fibre-Jane-Flower

 Folios and Fibre is open 10am to 4pm Fri, Sat, Sun & Mon.

Jenny’s Homemade Tomato Sauce

Do you like to cook? Maybe you’ve invented a special seasoning blend you can bottle? Or if you live in the Bunbury region then how about buying a bottle or two of Jenny’s tomato sauce. Jenny and her husband, Neil, own a tomato and avocado farm, and one of Jenny’s specialties is making a wonderful  Tomato Sauce, that is delicious and can be used by itself or in any number of recipes.

Phone Jenny on 043 833 0628


Rustic French Living

I love this shop set in an old church. The store is owned by Jo Macintosh (Click on the link to read about Jo’s interesting story that involves an ancestor and a chateau in France), and more about her and her shop Rustic French Living here too.

Rustic French Living

The tiny store, Rustic French Living is set in the middle of Boyanup, just 15 minutes from Bunbury. It’s choc a bloc with homeware and gifts representing a rustic, shabby chic style.

Peppermint Lane Lodge

If you’re looking for somewhere idyllic to stay in the Ferguson Valley area, then a place I’ve recently discovered might just be the ticket. It’s set in a picture perfect setting near the Wellington Forest. If it’s a sylvan setting you’re after, this small lodge has it in spades.

Peppermint Lane Lodge, 351 Wellington Mill Road

peppermint lane lodge-jo-castro

Now while I’ll be shopping at local stores for Christmas gifts, I do also love giving my own personalised gifts to my family. And something that I am able to create with all the photos we take as we travel around this beautiful State of Western Australia are … Photo Books.

Often our photo books promote local small businesses in a roundabout way too, because we love including pictures of wineries, gastronomic lunches, and also new frocks, clothes or jewellery that I buy locally.

Anyway, Dave and I love to design our own photo books.

Turn your hobby into unique Christmas gifts

If your year has been filled with weddings, births, memorable holidays or special reunions and you have a stock of photos from all the events, a brilliant way to showcase them is in Photo Books rather than photo albums.

Telling photo stories is such fun. Beautiful landscapes, city-scapes, wonderful food, or fauna and flora sprinkled between photos of people give a lovely sense of narrative – where, when, and how late into the night you partied. Put in some of the candid shots of friends or family, you know the ones you took when they were unaware of the camera, and collage them for effect.

The one below is taken from a book we created about the Cape to Cape walking trail in Western Australia.

Cape to Cape Jo Castro

I think photo books make a stylish alternative to emailing dozens of pictures, or creating Facebook galleries, don’t you?

(By the way I’m hooking up with Travel Photo Thursday today, where you’ll find some more fantastic stories relating to travel)

Do you have a local store or entrepreneur that you can recommend for Christmas gifts? Why not give them a shout out in the comments?

Please follow and like us:


  1. Oh my gosh I wish there were so many more posts just like this, Johanna. I’m a huge proponent of two things at Christmas. LESS material things and more time spent together and gifts of the heart. And if gifts are to be purchased please support the local businesses. The Reno economy has had a tougher go of it than alot of the U.S. economic woes (I know, poor spoiled Americans) but I live in a nice area urban area of the city. And we are never able to keep businesses going in this part of town despite the huge population growth. And it’s because folks won’t go to the local stores. It’s so frustrating. Sorry for the rant on your post but I’m going to post (or repost) on Twitter because it’s such an important reminder. Thank you! 🙂

  2. Thank you Mike! I appreciate your support and heads up on this one. I also agree and it’s too sad to see small businesses going by the wayside, because we lose so much that is unique and different. Plus often the big stores offer cheap merchandise because it’s not produced by fair means. So thank you for reposting on Twitter too – I really appreciate that too 🙂

  3. Catherine

    Another fabulous post, thanks Jo! A friend of ours has Scrumpy Soap Co Eco Store (find her on Facebook). She and her partner sell hand made soaps (among other things) at markets in the South West of Western Australia. Anita is committed to making high quality soaps with olive oil, as opposed to the cheaper (forest destroying) palm oil found in most commercial soap products. Another local business worth a visit!

  4. Thanks Noel! Yes, we do need to promote local where we can, don’t we 🙂

  5. Jenny’s tomato sauce is all natural and absolutely delicious Dana! I can’t wait until she starts selling it online! Yes Peppermint Lane Lodge would be a perfect gift 🙂

  6. Glad you liked it Catherine, and Thank You for the heads-up about Scrumpy Soap Eco Store. Definitely worth a visit and will look out for her products too 🙂

  7. We do, Annabel … and one day I hope to be able to take you on a tour of all the local delights both scenic and artistic! Oh, and we’ll include some birds too 🙂

  8. I am currently making material caps for the lids of home-made tomato relish. They look so festive with red reindeer material held on with gold elastic. The relish is easy to make and people appreciate receiving a home made present (I hope). I also check out second hand shops like Lifeline where I have occasionally picked up some beautiful one off items. There is a Christmas Market on in Strand Park tonight which also has some beautiful hand made local products, a great place to pick up something different and local. Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Wonderful Jan! Thanks for giving us extra ideas and a little promo to your local artisans too. Your home-made tomato relish … mmm, yum, how lovely 🙂

  10. Thank you so much for a great promotion Jo – I always try and support our local small business owners and artists – as you say much nicer to receive a unique hand made gift that has been thoughtfully chosen. If you are looking for a great handmade shopping experience the Margaret River Maker’s Market is a fabulous place to go – held at the MR Community Resource Centre 8am till 12 noon on Saturdays – once a month during the summer months – you have a couple more opportunities before Christmas – Sat 7th December and Sat 21st December. 🙂

  11. Great gift ideas, Johanna. I love the photo book idea — will give it a try.

  12. Mary Martin

    Another lovely post, Johanna. I love giving and recieving homemade gifts. Time is a precious commodity, and someone taking their time to create something for me is a gift in itself.

  13. It’s such a great idea to support the local artisans and vendors. These are all great ideas, Jo. I love photo books. They take up so much less space and so fun to create. Have fun shopping!

  14. Hi Mary, glad you liked the ideas, and yes the photo books are such fun to create – we can while away hours doing them.

  15. Oh thanks Jane! Yes, I needed to be reminded of that, and thank you for the heads up on dates before Christmas 🙂

  16. Neva Fels

    Such great choices for your Christmas list. I created Nativity Advent Calendars for the grandchildren. They are having fun doing a count down with this keepsake.

  17. Oh I love Nativity Advent Calendars Neva, and in that respect can’t wait for grandchildren as ours are too old now! I bet you created some gorgeous calendars 🙂

  18. Denise Gillies

    Thanks, Jo for this plug. As I look at the photo I sent you from Lyndendale Gallery, I realise how much things change with sales and how many artists and artisans are not represented there.
    I hope people will look at the gallery’s facebook page and see the amazing quality and variety of the unique piece of art or craft.
    Another studio/gallery well worth a visit is The Fifth Element. It too is close to Bunbury and is suffering somewhat as a result of road changes and closures. Visitors should persevere, however, as it’s a real treasure when you get there.

  19. Thanks for the heads-up Denise. Going to look out for The Fifth Element.

  20. Ha Ha Tracey! How could I indeed! In my defence … out of over 250 which would I favour 😉

  21. This makes me want to hop on a plane and do some local shopping in your area. I really like some of the stuff you’re showing. I’ve been meaning to do a Photobook, but time seems to be getting away from me.

  22. We do have some lovely galleries and arts and crafts shop in this area Michele, and I do think you’d like them too 🙂 We tend to create photobooks on long dark winter days, but I always mean to get one or two out for Christmas.

  23. What a yummy post! I’m a great fan of the Lyndendale Gallery, and it definitely makes a trip to the valley worthwhile. Jane’s work is beautiful, and I never go without one of her handmade books in my handbag. There’s a pop up Christmas shop at The Red Mill Studio Gallery that Bunbury dwellers will love. It’s at 59 Stirling Street and run by the absolutely lovely Rocheen Navarro. Thanks Jo for pics of Peppermint Lane Lodge. It’s great to see the delights that are not visible from the road. It’s very enticing indeed.

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It