Take home a tree
Ah yes, the seasonal Kentish Town Road display trussed up and strewn alongside every available bit of wall and canopy by Bean About Town. Alternatively, try haggling for a bargain on Queen’s Crescent (corner of Bassett Street) or local garden centre Boma (53 Islip Street NW5), where they’re laid out prettily and will set you back a little more.
Flowers and wreathsJayne’s is a welcome splash of colour daily, and at Xmas, a veritable feast for the old mince pies. It must also get the highest footfall of almost anywhere in NW5, right next to the fruit and veg lady Sally Keable alongside the station. So deck that hall out in style (and the front door, if you do that kind of thing). 260 Kentish Town Road NW5
Cool lights for kids and kidults
Soho stalwart SKK Lighting has brought everything from neon dinosaurs to garbage chandeliers to Brecknock Road since moving to the area late last year. It really makes a fascinating wander round. And anything you buy screams “thoughtful!” 39 Brecknock Road N7
A big old turkey…
What Christmas is complete without a gut-busting roast? Thankfully both smart newcomer MeatNW5 (147 Fortess Road) and old fave Harry’s Fine Foods (258 Kentish Town Road NW5)has it covered, both offering an excellent selection of free range and organic meat to go with your taters and stuffing. Bring it on.
Or maybe something from the ocean?
Who better than superior fishmonger Jonathan Norris (140 Fortess Road), with his enviable selection of seasonal catches, as well as upmarket condiments and piscine accessories. But don’t forget Damian, the chirpy new fishmonger with his attractive counter in the window over at Harry’s, either (see above).
Gorgeous rugs, fittings and vintage carpets
Behold the Ottoman splendour of Highgate Road’s long-established carpet shops! And not as expensive as you might think, either (prices start at around £40, although it’s all very hagglable). Worth a snoop are both Kasra (99 Highgate Road) and Seneh Carpets (90 Highgate Road), but our favourite is renamed superstore Bazaar & Beyond, a three-room mini-empire which the owner claims is the largest handmade supplier in Europe, piled up with rugs and carpets of all sizes and ages. Most of the decorative kilims are Persian and Afghan, rather than Turkish. 74-80 Highgate Road NW5
Printmaker and textile guru Sarah Kahn sold her wares at Camden Passage in Islington for years before expanding her SK Vintage brand this autumn to the ex Hellenic bookshop on Fortess Road. She now sources accessories, bags, hats, scarves, flowing dresses and original pieces to create that “1970s Indian traveller” look. 51 Fortess Road NW5
Handmade toysSurely a contender for one of the most treasured shops in the capital, Kristin Baybars’ dolls’ house and miniature accessories emporium opposite Gospel Oak station is a perfect choice for a special gift. One of the few retail outlets where visitors still genuinely step into another world, Kristin holds court after over 40 years in an almost unchanged shop. She specializes in making tiny jigsaws, but you’ll also find all kinds of work from the world’s most famous miniature experts, as well as traditional toys and stocking fillers un-buyable anywhere else. Magical. 7 Mansfield Road NW3
If you miss Queen’s Crescent’s weekly outdoor Saturday market don’t forget there’s always Matt Townsend’s two antiques shops, surprisingly satisfying for a rummage – and a bargain. 179 Queen’s Crescent NW5
Two wheeled wondersCycling is booming in London, with our slice of the postcode pie identified as second only to fixie bike-obsessed Hackney in the two-wheeled popularity stakes. Yet traditional bike shops have been hit hard by online retailers so support this longstanding store this year revamped as Giant Camden. 75 Kentish Town Road NW1
We love Future & Found’s impressive new warehouse space opposite Tufnell Park tube. Inevitably they are going Xmas gift crazy, with a selection of stocking fillers and bigger gifts at all prices. Very practical, and such a nice environment to swoosh about in. 225a Brecknock Road N19
Unusual gifts and stocking fillersNow the proud owners of a smart new shopfront, Soho Hip relocated to Tufnell Park two years ago from Norwich, and its owner Debra has quickly become a firm fixture in the community. She sells children’s toys, games and silver jewellery made with real flowers. Plus homewares, luxury candles, cards and gift wrap. Even better, she’s great for a natter. 148 Fortess Road NW5
Books and more books
Walden (38 Harmood Street NW1) is the area’s most beautiful second hand bookshop, tucked away two mins’ walk from Kentish Town West. And at Owl, you can find something for every generation, the first editions, hardbacks and tables of paperbacks and reissues. There are stacks of tomes on local history. And it goes without saying that there are quality greetings cards and a cosy children’s section, too.207-209 Kentish Town Road NW5
Live in Archway? Check out our shopping and gift guide here. Got a favourite shop you’d like to tell other readers about? Why, add it below.