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Festive Shopping Guide to Wellington 2017

Its almost Christmas time, and if you didn't know already it's absolutely my most favourite time of the year. I come from a long line of Christmas lovers, but the winter I spent in the States a couple of years ago kind of ruined me for life. They truly know how to do the festive season in the Northern Hemisphere, but for what we lack in snow and cocoa I'm pretty sure I make up for with enthusiasm.
I love the traditions, the scents and the flavours associated with Christmas, the crafting and the decorating, carefully choosing gifts for nearest and dearest.
Thus, I go pretty hard for the Christmas. I bake and make and shop and watch movies and make the most of it as a 'season' and not just a day of the year where we eat too much.
Which brings me to this list!
My friend Melissa recently came to visit me and as she is a Christmasophile like myself it seemed only right that we spent day getting around all the best Christmassy stores in the city, checking out who had the best decorations and seasonal wares. I put together this list of where we went for you, so that should you be visiting Wellington this festive season for a shopping trip, you'll know where the local favourites are. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all stores in the city where you might buy gifts, but all these stores had 'Christmas Spirit' which is what we were after.

The guide is organised by shopping zones/streets, with a brief sentence or two about each to keep this post from getting as long as the naughty or nice list.
Happy Christmas Shopping!
College Street
A gorgeous little street with a handful of great stores that seem to be on board with the holiday season. If I had to choose only one single street where I would go for shopping for gifts, it would be this one.

Magnolia Trading Company
Cute little independently owned shop on the corner of Tory and College street, they have some lovely festive decor and some super fancy home wares. Decor wise they have felted figures, ceramic houses, candles and more. The service is really great, the offer gift wrapping and had some lovely alternative wreaths that Mel and I fell in love with.

Ekor Bookshop & Cafe
Arguably the cosiest little bookstore in Wellington, this store has a unique Scandinavian vibe and an excellent selection of books and wares. They stock a lot of scandi Christmas books, advent calendars and more unusual titles, plus you can sip on a coffee supreme beverage or indulge in something amazing from their cabinet while you peruse. They put a little train set in the window each year and last year there was greenery handing from the ceilings, making it worth a visit just for the cosiness of it all.

Shut the front door
Another New Zealand owned and operated business with five stores nation wide, Shut the front door had the most eclectic and unexpected range of Christmas decorations that were relatively inexpensive. They have a well curated selection of homewares and gifts and there's really a little something for everyone.

Citta Design
Did you know it's pronounced Chitta? go figure. Or figurine for that matter, because they have a lot of really cute ones. Mel loved their little felted woodland creatures, but they have lots of lovely baubles and decorations. The colour pallet is pretty neutral and earthy with a little bit of red, so if you're after traditional or sparkly you're not going to find it here, but its a lovely store and worth a little look around.

Moore Wilson's
Hands down my favourite place to shop at Christmas time, which might be somewhat telling that my favourite kind of shopping is food shopping, but its just such a bloody good spot. In the fresh department you have every kind of delicious thing to be found in Wellington, and for Xmas they have a bunch of cookies, edible gifts like chocolates and cakes, fancy Christmas teas, I could go on and on. The homewares department is great for gifts and I think they have the biggest range of Christmas wrapping paper, crackers and napkins in the city. If you have a colour theme this is where you want to go. They also have Christmas candles, cookie cutters, tins, cards, tea towels... honestly it's my favourite place. ALSO when in serious doubt my go to gift is alcohol, which they have a lot of, and the cookbook department is second to none. Will be buying a lot of my gifts (and probably the paper to wrap them in) from here this year.

And those are my top picks for College street!  Worth knowing that the stores on College street are having a Late night Christmas Party on Thursday the 30th of November  from   


Madam Fancy Pants
This store is such a little gem, owned and staffed by some of the coolest ladies around. They don't have a tonne of Christmas product (maybe it was a little early) but I fell in love with a couple of great things there, like the 'Merry Everything' mug and a gorgeous card that read 'Deck yourself before you wreck yourself'. A great spot to pick up a gift for the lovely ladies in your life, and a cheeky something for yourself too. 

Despite the unusual name, this store had one of the most festive windows in town and the tiny space is packed with gorgeous little gifts. The shop has a hand made/New Zealand spin so could be a little close to crafty for some, but I like it. Good cards, lovely service and lots to choose from, would be great if you had to buy a gift to send to friends overseas.

Iko Iko
Hands down the best store to buy your secret Santa gift, with a bunch of lovely things at various price points.  They carry Meri Meri and Citta Christmas decorations, and as Melissa cunningly figured out, the best priced little ceramic houses. I love their range of wrapping paper, and while I wouldn't want to be in the store the week of Christmas (because the little store gets so busy!) I also wouldn't miss this store when looking for a gift for that hard to buy for person. They also offer gift wrapping all year round. 

Matchbox Studios
If you're looking for a gift that has 'cute' in the criteria then this is where you want to go. They didn't have much in the way of Christmas decor but they have lots of little things like jewellery and art prints and crazy socks that make great stocking stuffers. Find them in their new store just off Cuba street in the Left bank arcade.

There's lots of great little independently owned shops on Cuba street, so if you want to support local this season its worth putting on your mental list of places to visit, plus the coffee in this neighbourhood is unbeatable. 

Willis Street and Lambton Quay

Willis Street and Lambton Quay are (in my mind) where the big boys are, and by big boys I mean big companies and bigger brands. No bad thing; if you're visiting Wellington from a smaller town or city then these kinds of stores are sometimes what you come to the city for. There are stores/brands that I frequent that have Christmas ranges where you can buy stationary and homewares (Typo, Whitcoulls, Country Road etc) but this post is long enough without them all, agreed?
We did make an effort to call into the following places

The Christmas Heirloom Company
These stores are all throughout New Zealand (and Australia I think?) and I remember them being the dreamiest shops when I was a kid,  although it was a hands-firmly-in-pockets kind of store back then. They have a great selection of baubles and wreaths in lots of different sizes and shapes, and in a variety of colour schemes, plus lights and other bits and pieces.

David Jones 
Confession: Christmas is probably the only time of year that I visit David Jones, and when I do I kind of love it. Their Christmas department is very good! They have the biggest range of beautiful glass baubles all organised by colour, which makes me very happy indeed. They are expensive, but even if you don't buy anything its kind of worth a wander through. Lights, crackers, nutcracker figurines they have a lot of stuff. I'm also eyeing a box of Glasshouse Christmas candles that smell insanely good, so there's that.

Tea Pea
Not technically on Willis/Lambton but one block over in Grey Street, opposite the Intercontinental Hotel is this little gem of a store. They have a really well curated range of Christmas decorations and gift ideas, including stockings, advent calendars, candles, wreaths and more. Lovely, well made things festive things to be found.

Other notable mentions go to suburb superhero stores - The Axe in Newtown is one of my very favourite stores and they have some beautiful things in for Christmas. The White Room Gallery in Island bay is an eclectic mix but always have cute things in stock.

And that's it! We have reached the end of our roundup of most Christmassy stores in Wellington.
Did I forget to include your favourite? Please let me know and I will be sure to check it out or add it to the list, but for now I'm off to bake gingerbread! Thanks for reading.

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