Christmas in London brings with it time-honoured traditions like festive sandwiches, mulled wine, and racing around town to try and tick all the items off your shopping list before the calendar strikes 25 December.
There are partners to ‘surprise’ with items they have hinted at for weeks, extended family to delight with thoughtful stocking stuffers that don’t all look the same, and friends to one-up with crafty DIY you definitely did not yourself.
And somewhere down the bottom of the list is Susan from accounts payable with whom you have shared less than 10 words this year but are expected to find something amusing and thoughtful for under £15 as part of another time-honoured festive tradition; the office Secret Santa.
The good news this year is that Boxpark-based lifestyle and gift boutique Maiden has opened a seasonal pop-up shop selling homewares, toys, games, cards and decorations to surprise and delight Susan, your boss, and anybody else you draw out of the Santa hat this Christmas.
The Secret Santa Shop was conceived by Maiden founder Noah Clutchfield, who saw shoppers at his permanent retailers The Gift Box and The Play Box spending more time agonising over low-priced presents for colleagues than on buying the big ticket items for family and friends.
“Although Secret Santa is supposed to be fun it is something that can often cause stress, panic and sleepless nights, particularly if you get your boss to buy for,” Noah says.
“We wanted to help people solve their annual Secret Santa gifting dilemmas by curating a fantastic selection of fun, affordable gifts for all ages, interests and backgrounds.”
Plenty of products are hard to find anywhere else, and price points range from affordable (a My Little Pony Pez is a bargain at £3.50) to extravagant (the 80cm high bedside lamp in the shape Miffy by the Dutch artist Dick Bruna will set you back £174).
Noah says the Miffy lamps have sold well so far this year, along with iconic cartoon cat Pusheen’s crossover with a unicorn (Pusheenicorn, £27), a scratching post for cats in the shape of DJ decks (DJ Decks Cat Scratch Pad, £20), and the ever-popular party game for horrible people Cards Against Humanity (£24).
There are colouring books, animal-shaped salt and pepper shakers, celebrity-themed socks and a whole host of witty cards that say what you couldn’t.
Best of all, Maiden staff will be on hand to receive your brief, budget and help you cross Susan, and hopefully a few others, off the list.