‘made by hand’ holiday shopping in amsterdam…
Posted in amsterdam: made by hand, pia's photos December 22nd, 2010 by pia

Well, it’s the end of another year. I can hardly believe how the months of 2010 have flown by. I fully intended to curate a holiday gift guide for you this year but I realised by November that I was not going to get all the things done on my all the things to do before the end of the year list. However, there seemed to be a plethora of fabulous online guides out there so hopefully you found some lovely gift ideas via other bloggers.

I don’t usually buy christmas gifts – my family back in Oz are pretty laid-back when it comes to the holiday season, and my friends know I’m not big on gift giving at this time of year – I prefer to just give randomly throughout the year, or go out for special dinner dates.  But sometimes christmas is unavoidable, and this year is one such time – Romain and I are headed to France for the holiday season and his family celebrate Christmas. As much as I have my (many) reasons for not being big into Christmas, it’s just plain rude to turn up empty handed. So, yesterday Romain and I took to the streets of Amsterdam for a spot of gift shopping – my way. I chose a selection of boutiques from Amsterdam: Made by Hand for us to visit , and with list in hand, we spent the afternoon wandering around in the snow, hopping from one handmade treasure trove to the next. Within only a couple of hours we had completed our holiday shopping, and I have to tell you mes amis, it was so. much. fun. Never before has christmas shopping been so enjoyable! There were no line ups like there would be in department stores, there was no rushing, nothing was overpriced, everyone was super friendly and welcoming, and we found everything we needed, and then some (for me). And of course, everything was handmade and utterly gorgeous. I took pics along the way as it occurred to me during our journey that you might have liked to join us. Yes? perhaps for those who have Amsterdam: Made by Hand, you could follow along with the page numbers…

So,  we started at Leidseplein, headed for  Tesselschade (pg 147). They have a great range of hand-knitted baby ware, smocked dresses, and handmade soft toys. We found everything we needed for the little ones in the family (hand knitted baby booties with little white ducklings on the tops; tiny strawberry hats; a penguin; bib…) –  all handmade, and all very reasonably priced.

Then we headed to La Savonnerie (pg 85) for some handmade soaps and did a spot of sight-seeing while we were in the area…

We then strolled to Dutch Quilts (pg 103), for some special Dutch fabrics that I know Romain’s mother will love…

…and then back toward the Jordaan. On our way we popped into The Otherist – although I was not able to include this fab boutique in Amsterdam: Made by Hand, it’s one of the ones that I hoped people would spot while they wander from handmade boutique to boutique. It’s a gorgeous shop, and in here we found a beautiful bamboo carved necklace for Romain’s oldest niece.

We ended the afternoon with a glass of christmas ale (for him) and port (for me) at the super quaint Cafe Thijssen with some friends.

I hope this might inspire you to do a similar holiday wander in your local area – there are so many incredible small boutiques, handmade markets and ateliers popping up all over the world these days, I urge you to go out there and discover them! It’s seriously the best way to rediscover & get to know your home turf.

« « « Leave a comment » » »


  1. twiggs says

    oh marvellous… i really felt i was going along the two of you! i actually love christmas, and embrace all the interior decorations thing, but the curious thing is that my family is not that interested in celebrating in a traditional way… i believe my mom just thinks that it is too much work, and she rather go to the church instead. but i am with you on buying handmade and in lovely shops… you also “give” happiness to those sellers… so it is always a win-win-win situation! happy holidays!!!!! twiggs

    December 22nd, 2010 | #

  2. Amanda says

    Beautiful post, Pia.
    Finding the little one off boutiques are my my most favourite discoveries.
    Have an enjoyable time with family and friends, my dear xxx

    December 22nd, 2010 | #

  3. linda dacey says

    i’m with you pia; not big on the obligation of giving at christmas, prefer giving as and when funds allow. anyway christmas is cancelled this year due to lack of cash which is rather sad and has hit me harder than i thought it would being a bit of a christmas cynic. your tour looks cool in all senses of the word! bbrr°°° and much better to buy local and handmade. seasons lovelies to you and yours; linda…

    December 22nd, 2010 | #

  4. Denise | Chez Danisse says

    It was such a beautiful wander.

    December 22nd, 2010 | #

  5. Belinda Norrington says

    More and more, this is the way I like to shop. Each gift then has a story and provenance and as well an artist is being supported. Win-win!

    I loved your tour and hope to visit Amsterdam some time next year. I took your ‘Handmade’ book to Paris with me recently and had a wonderful time discovering some of your gorgeous recommendations. I hope your Christmas in France is merry! Belinda

    December 22nd, 2010 | #

  6. LatteLisa says

    These images are so lovely. Love that kind of no rush Christmas shopping. I simply have to buy your book, it has been on my wish list for too long!

    Happy holidays and thank you for all your inspiring posts this year.

    Greetings from Belgium,

    December 22nd, 2010 | #

  7. Yoli says

    How very lovely! Pia wishing you and yours a beautiful holiday seson. Much happiness and all the success in the world.

    December 22nd, 2010 | #

  8. cindy says

    i do have the book and it was nice to follow you along. hope you and french boy have a wonderful holiday, pia!

    December 23rd, 2010 | #

  9. Alan Jensen says

    Love the Otherist!

    December 23rd, 2010 | #

  10. MissHeliotrope says

    Not quite homemade, but we’re giving my sister-in-law your Amsterdam book for Christmas, as she travels (from Oz) to Amsterdam for work regularly & has complained she has trouble finding much beyond tourist stuff about the city in the short breaks she has between meetings. If I can’t get to all the places in it, I can at least do so vicariously. We made (printed out from a latin dictionary) our own wrapping paper, if that counts…

    December 23rd, 2010 | #

  11. Alicia says

    lovely post! I offered myself your book for birthday.

    December 23rd, 2010 | #

  12. Helen says

    Dear Pia and Romain, thank you so much for sharing your year, I became a follower of your blog this year and look forward to each posting. I love the photographs in and around Amsterdam, particularly the winter ones (I’m in Australia so the contrast is lovely) and it’s now top of my list of places I would like to visit in the future. I’m a big fan of handmade gifts and have been making most of my Christmas presents for some time now, so thank you for the inspiration to look for gifts that others have made by hand to add to my list of choices. All the best for Christmas and the New Year, regards Helen

    December 23rd, 2010 | #

  13. Ann @ Rose et Lis and Plumsiena says

    Funny, Pia. The fondest memory I have of Amsterdam was about 8 years ago when we came to visit the hubbie’s mother in Castricum. It snowed A LOT. Better for us- I think we were the only folks outdoors that day in the city of Amsterdam. We went everywhere with no traffic- it was great. Towards the end of the afternoon, we stopped for a cup of coffee (really!) in a coffee house. M-I-L just sat down, took a deep breath and smiled. God Bless Her!

    December 23rd, 2010 | #

  14. Lucinda Keller says

    Too beautiful for words and that first photograph looks like an old

    December 23rd, 2010 | #

  15. Becka says

    What a lovely wander! Thanks for the visual treat. Hope you have a lovely christmas in France!

    December 23rd, 2010 | #

  16. eva vercauteren says

    I just love the photos you took. Snow can give such nice scenery.

    I have to admit I love giving presents. Any “reason” to give one is a good one for me. It’s a lot of fun searching something I know they’ll be happy with. This year was difficult for me though, as I didn’t know what to get. I got my presents, but I do agree that the gifts in between are much more fun than the “forced” christmasgifts.

    Have a wonderful holiday and I’m sure France will look beautiful during this time of the year.

    December 23rd, 2010 | #

  17. Lauren says

    These photos are gorgeous & the snow floating around your blog is brilliant!

    December 23rd, 2010 | #

  18. Winter Wonderland | oceanview urban says

    […] be headed to sunny Costa Rica in a few days, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas like the one Pia is having in […]

    December 23rd, 2010 | #

  19. Tara Bradford says

    We passed by Dutch Quilts last week and I was enchanted, just looking in the window. I’ll definitely have to bring Jordana back there. So glad you had a lovely shopping experience! Those charming little places are so much nicer than big stores and their accompanying crowds. xo

    December 23rd, 2010 | #

RSS feed for these comments. | TrackBack URI