Independent shops often stock items which are made locally and aren’t available elsewhere: buy a dress by a fledgling designer and there is little chance of turning up to the office Christmas party wearing the same as someone else.

When it comes to gifts, quirky one-off items are a major plus of independent shops. Give your niece or nephew a handmade toy and at least it won’t be identical to everything they already have.

There’s also the hyper-local gift choice: independent bookshops often stock titles by local authors that aren’t yet on the shelves of the major chains. Local shops also support local artists and designers, food producers and growers, so you’re buying products absolutely unique to your area.

They sell unique, one-off gifts