The lights are dazzling on Kentish Town Road, the tree seller is parked outside the station, and newly-arrived Miss KT – giddy at the prospect of her first Christmas in NW5 – is already on her seventh consecutive night out (yes, it was her you saw stumbling, ‘bab in hand, out of E.Mono last night).
But fear not, with just 15 days to go there’s no need to endure the horror of Oxford Street – for Santa has slipped by stealthily and dropped off everything you could ever want, right here in the manor.
First things first. Treat your gran and support a multi-recession survivor at the same time by popping to Blustons. Well, it is good enough for Vogue, and we’re sure even shiny-nosed Mrs Christmas herself would be thrilled with the legendary red polka dot dress that takes pride of place in the window.
You can find something for every generation at Owl, but special mention must go to the magical children’s section for its choice of beautifully illustrated books (and who says they’re just for kids anyway?) And for tomes of an artier nature, trot over to the Zabludowicz’s swanky bookshop, via the Beardsmore Gallery (where, budget-permitting, you could pick up an original work by David Wild).
Looking for something a little more green-fingered? Then head to the hidden oasis of Boma , packed with all manner of exotic plantings – as well as a forest of Christmas trees, and more decorations than you can you can chuck a pudding at. And check out Earth Natural Foods or the cute display (below) at the Wine Cellar for treats for foodie friends.
But if, like a rather frazzled-at-this-time-of-year Mrs Kentishtowner, the thought of Christmas shopping results in the need for a stiff Negroni, we’ve got the answer. Pop-up markets in pubs are 2011′s enduring trend and there are two local ones that you really shouldn’t miss.
Organised by NW5-based artist and avid KT reader Leslie Wilson-Rutterford , the Boogaloo on Archway Road hosts The Dandy Lion Market this Saturday. With stallholders selling everything from homewares (a recycled vinyl cake-stand anyone?) to jewellery, art and food, this will easily net you Brownie points for creativity.
And on Sunday the beloved Pineapple holds its second Christmas pop-up with handmade gifts, vintage finds and mulled wine on offer. Judging by the reaction on Twitter to last week’s market, a ruddy-faced time was had by all, and the day yawned into a nocturnal blur of ale and live music. Ho ho ho, indeed.
And lastly, if you like your markets more permanent than pop-up, West Kentish Town stalwart Queen’s Crescent (above) is also getting into the festive spirit with a family fun day tomorrow, an arts and crafts bash next Sat (Dec 17) and a seasonal spesh on Christmas Eve.
With a bit of luck, you might even run into Mrs Kentishtowner fighting over the last frozen turkey breast in Frank’s.
Anyone have any other gems they’d like to share?
Xmas Shopping Address Book:
Blustons, 213 Kentish Town Road
Owl Bookshop, 207-209 Kentish Town Road
The Boma Garden Centre, 51-53 Islip Street
The Wine Cellar, 193 Kentish Town Road
The Boogaloo, 312 Archway Road
The Pineapple, 51 Leverton Street