Six sites to help you support smaller businesses while ticking off your Christmas shopping list.

Playing Father Christmas this year? Keen to steer clear of Amazon? Despite, or perhaps because of, all the 2020 gloom, festivities have not been cancelled. You just won’t be filling Christmas stockings in quite the same way, and for multiple reasons, you may plan to avoid Amazon. Here we look at six sites to help you shop your Christmas stockings online, while steering clear of the online titan.

Since coronavirus hit, shoppers are avoiding the high street and relying more on online shopping and home delivery. Tempting as it may be to fall under the spell of Amazon, what with its convenience and value, some shoppers are resisting it for ethical reasons. Amazon has been accused of exploiting its global workforce in many ways and reportedly using outrageous loopholes to pay the lowest amount of tax possible. What’s more, the growing movement to supporting smaller businesses has led shoppers to browse beyond Amazon.

Here are six alternative shopping platforms for sourcing all your Christmas stocking fillers in just a few clicks.

Rex London

Take the pain out of filling up Christmas stockings by putting in a bulk order from Rex London where all the little toys and stationery are cheap and cheerful. That is not to say that it is plastic tat. Quite the opposite, in fact. The vintage-inspired sturdy cardboard kaleidoscopes, circus spinning tops, wooden dominoes, yo-yos and puzzle in tubes are aesthetically pleasing and won’t break in a jiffy. Rex London started out selling from a market stall in London’s Portobello Road before hitting the shelves of Habitat and The Body Shop. In 2015, it started selling online direct to the public. By the end of 2020, its goal is to remove plastic entirely from the packing process in a bid to be kind to the environment. A conscientious choice.

Three Boys Rock

This is the site for anyone shopping stocking fillers (or bigger gifts) for children between the ages of eight and fifteen years. Whatever the kids like, from science, gadgets, garden, family games, it’s there. Current 2020 bestsellers include the light up bluetooth shower speaker, mindfulness wristbands, KLASK (the magnetic skill game) and the Waboba Wingma Foldable Frisbee. The handy wish list tool means that if something catches your eye when browsing, you can click the Add to Wish List. You can then forward this list to friends, family or save to buy later. Standard delivery is free when you spend £25. What are you waiting for? The virtual doors of Three Boys Rock are beckoning.

Think of Very as an online department store. While it might be best known for its extensive fashion, this e-tailer stocks all kinds of things from dresses and TVs to wardrobes and paddling pools. It sells 1,900 famous brands and recently returned to profit as revenue tops £2bn for the first time. ‘More of us than ever turned to online during lockdown and have remained online as restrictions continue to shift. We reached for our smartphones to buy games for the kids and furniture for the garden,’ says Henry Birch, CEO at The Very Group. Shopping for little ones? Use their toy finder to find the perfect treat by searching by age, gender and price.


No stocking is complete without at least one book. Instead of turning straight to Amazon, spare a thought to supporting indie bookshops. Small bookshops have always struggled with the rise of ecommerce. Coming to the UK this Autumn is Bookshop, an online platform that is on a mission to help independent bookshops make a profit. The ecommerce start-up has already been popular in America where all book sales directly benefit independent local bookshops and gives back to the book community. ‘It’s not really about disrupting an industry,’ says CEO Andy Hunter. ‘It’s about reinforcing an industry. Bookshop is about pulling back from the disruptive influence of Amazon.’


Dare to be different. Looking for handmade gifts and one-of-a-kind items while supporting small businesses? While there has been some controversy over new pricing policies (to compete with Amazon), Etsy is still a brilliant site for interesting items. This powerful platform, which has recently expanded beyond speciality items, allows small businesses and talented creatives to reach a wide base of customers. Just like Amazon, Etsy has benefited from the shift to online shopping during Covid. Etsy stock has doubled year on year, and it has improved its search algorithms making it easier to browse items. For unique or custom gifts, you’ll be hard pushed to find better online.

Hunting for bargain stocking fillers? You may be familiar with The Works on the high street which calls itself the UK’s leading discount retail store. Their online offering of discounted books, art, stationery and toys is (marginally less chaotic but) just as prolific in offering. The site also has the bonus advantage of offering next day delivery if you order before 8pm. Their buying team claims to be experts at spotting retail trends and crazes such as fidget spinners and adult colouring.

By Annabel Jack
November 2020


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Annabel Jack

Contributing Editor

Annabel is a regular contributor to The GWG, with a taste for finest in food, fashion and interiors.