In partnership with the Strand Arcade
We all have our Christmas rituals. I like to buy a tin of Bonilla a la Vista potato chips, and snack on them while wrapping my family's gifts in front of a festive movie. Vermouth may or may not be involved. But this ritual begins days beforehand, when I take my shopping list into the city and round-up presents in real life. Something about picking up presents in person feels like stepping into all the best Christmas movies, with sparkling window displays, enthusiastic shoppers on a similar mission, and the splendour of a towering communal tree. And every single one of these trips begins and ends at the heritage-listed Strand Arcade at Pitt Street in Sydney's CBD.
With its Victorian build and old-world charm, the Strand Arcade has a way of injecting pleasure into an activity that some may consider a chore. Whether you're looking for those final touches or big-ticket items, the shopping destination has an abundance of quality shops and boutiques to turn to.
Left: STRAND HATTERS hats; OSCAR HUNT jacket and pants; FRED PERRY socks; DINOSAUR DESIGNS ring, vases, bowls, and trinket dishes. Right: SCANLAN THEODORE gloves; OSCAR HUNT jacket; DION LEE tank; AJE earrings; DINOSAUR DESIGNS bangle and ring.
When I go Christmas shopping for family and friends, I am guided by the sort of pieces I would appreciate receiving myself. These are gifts that are thoughtful, handcrafted, and designed to be enjoyed for years to come. Considering the Strand Arcade houses jewellery and homewares label Dinosaur Designs, the well-curated collection of Strand Hatters, and B Corp-certified brand bassike, this brief is an easy one to meet.
Elsewhere, you'll find skincare and beauty havens like Aesop, Santa Maria Novella, and Mecca Cosmetica, which are ideal for those who seek to pamper their loved ones with hand creams, room sprays, luxury fragrances, and more. Be sure to stop by Gewürzhaus to pick up premium single origin spices for the cook in your world, and while you're at it, wander into Le Creuset for holy grail kitchen accoutrement.
RACHEL GILBERT dress; DINOSAUR DESIGNS vases; CREED perfume (left); SANTA MARIA NOVELLA perfume (middle and right); PERFECT VISION glasses; TRESORS rings.
At this point, you'll need a rest. Break up your shopping at Strand Arcade with a coffee from Gumption – which is hands down one of the best in Sydney. When you're ready, Sarah & Sebastian lay waiting, eager to help you adorn your loved ones in delicate jewellery, be it through the boutique's piercing studio or its popular soldered experience.
No trip to the Strand Arcade is complete without a pit stop at Koko Black or Haigh's Chocolates, where every year you'll catch me purchasing stacks of chocolate frogs, bon bons, bells and murray cods. Somehow, this always transpires to be the most-appreciated gift of all.
Left: STRAND HATTERS hat; SCANLAN THEODORE dress; AJE shoes. RENKHOE JORDAN jacket, shirts and shoes; JAC + JACK shorts; ANDREW MCDONALD shoe gifts. Right: ACLER dress; DECLIC jacket; RENKHOE JORDAN shirt and shoes; JAC + JACK trousers; HAIGH'S chocolate Murray Cods; LE CREUSET pot; STRAND HATTERS umbrella; GEWURZHAUS spice grinder.
Plan your Christmas visit to the Strand Arcade at the shopping destination's website.