Why hit the high street for your Christmas shopping?

Lit up golden stars light the entrance to Chantry Place shopping centre

Shoppers are now flocking to city stores to start Christmas shopping - Credit: Chantry Place

Glittering window displays, helpful staff, a buzzing atmosphere, coffee and cake somewhere other than your sofa and the chance to spot something different.

Heading to the shops rather than the keyboard makes Christmas shopping all the better, with the chance to gather ideas, enjoy the atmosphere, pick up instore bargains and take your shopping home rather than having to worry that deliveries may not arrive in time - or in one piece.

The high street is ideal for those who love a few trips to seek inspiration and pick up a couple of gifts each time and for those speedy shoppers who can squeeze all their shopping into one efficient afternoon trip. 

Inside Chantry Place shopping centre in Norwich, busy with shoppers

Shopping in person is far more fun than sitting at your keyboard hunting festive treats - Credit: Chantry Place

Shopping in person rather than online is all about enjoying the experience, and supporting your local retailer, said Paul McCarthy, General Manager at Chantry Place in Norwich.

“Over the last few months, we have welcomed Hamleys, H&M HOME and The Real Greek to the Centre, so have even more choice for people visiting Chantry Place to shop, dine and enjoy all the festivities this year. 

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“With people starting their Christmas shopping early this year, a lot of our retailers are already stocking Christmas gifts, toys and home accessories, and our fashion retailers, from Zara to House of Fraser and H&M, have got party fashion, jumpers and colder weather essentials covered.

"Supporting shopping centres and the high street, and the wonderful and varied retail offering we have here in Norwich, is essential for the local economy, especially at this time of year, with all the tastes, smells, lights and atmosphere the festive period brings.

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“Our Christmas lights will go up later this month, along with the return of our popular ‘tunnel of stars’ on Chantry Square. We are really proud to be sponsoring the EDP’s Christmas in the City campaign, supporting our retailers and showcasing all the wonderful things happening in Norwich this year.”

As part of our Christmas in the City campaign sponsored by Chantry Place, we’ve five reasons why heading out in real life is best...

1. It’s an exciting sensory experience. There’s the buzz of conversation, the clatter of footsteps, the warmth of the stores when you step in, the wonderful smells of soaps, perfumes and leathers, new toys and clothes, fresh flowers and freshly baked treats.  

There’s the opportunity to actually try before you buy. It’s hard to beat feeling the softness of that sweater, the lightness of those earrings, the silkiness of that scarf, the weight of that vase, the cool texture of that bowl and the squishiness of the teddy bear before you decide whether to buy or not. 

2. We can make a day of it. It’s not only shopping, it’s catching up with a friend or two for a few hours of enjoyable time together, stopping for lunch or coffee and cake, and maybe even heading for a beauty treatment or to catch a matinee film or theatre performance.  

We may be in the city Christmas shopping, but we can fit in a whole lot more sociable fun, too – and return home with our bags and parcels, ready to wrap, so there’s no anxious wait for a delivery. 

3. Gather ideas and inspiration for clothes, gadgets, styles, homeware and decorations. That shop window decorated with fir cones and red ribbon, that beautiful arrangement of coloured glass, that collection of cushions, 
that winter coat on the shop mannequin...  

Window shopping gives us masses of new ideas and exposure to what’s fresh – something an aimless internet browse would never reveal.  

4. Shop staff can make or break our shopping trip, and here in Norwich our local shops aim to ensure customers return again and again.  

Far more helpful than the chatbox of an online website, shoppers can meet helpful, friendly and knowledgeable staff who will talk to you face to face to find that elusive item, answer technical queries and offer suggestions.  

5. We can tie our shopping trip in with a special experience or event, such as wandering through the stunning Tunnel of Light in Norwich from November 16 throughout the festive season.  

The Christmas lights will be switched on next month and there are Christmas fairs and bazaars offering all manner of unusual and unique items – along with festive music, a wonderful atmosphere and plenty to eat, drink and enjoy too.  

It’s not just shopping, it’s shopping with a sense of occasion. 

If you're buying local, try goodies such as..

The Sophie Allport white mug picturing a solo crab

Inspired by crabbing in Norfolk, the Sophie Allport crab mug £12.50, stockists include Next and John Lewis - Credit: Sophie Allport

The Norwich edition of board game Monopoly showing scenes of Norwich

Monopoly game, set in Norwich, £39.99, Langleys, Chantry Place, Norwich - Credit: Langleys

Clear beer glass with the Norwich City Football Club logo

A Norwich City Football Club themed Pilsner glass, £10, from the NCFC shop in Norwich - Credit: Matt Brasnett

A bottle of Copper House dry gin by Adnams

Adnams Copper House Gin, £26.99, available from Adnams in Norwich - Credit: Adnams

A jigsaw puzzle showing a scene of a busy Norwich market

Market day in Norwich jigsaw, £14.99, Langleys, Chantry Place Norwich - Credit: Langleys

A hamper plus bottle of Old Tom Gin, glass and accessories for a gin cocktail

The Bullards Old Tom Collins Hamper, £55, available from Bullards, Chantry Place, Norwich - Credit: Bullards

A clear gin glass with Norwich City engraving and yellow Norwich City base

Norwich City Football Club gin glass, £12, available from the NCFC store in Norwich - Credit: Matt Brasnett

Made in Norfolk Mulled wine candle, £18, Lisa Angel, Norwich

Made in Norfolk Mulled wine candle, £18, Lisa Angel, Norwich - Credit: Lisa Angel

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