The chance to learn a new skill or enjoy an unusual craft is a fantastic opportunity to spread some festive cheer and support small businesses at the same time.

Of course, it also prevents you from adding to the mountain of well-meant but ultimately useless gifts piling up at the back of wardrobes and in drawers…

From silversmithing to surfing and dry-stone-walling to cake-decorating, our gift guide-with-a-twist will hopefully help you to think outside the box this Christmas.

HeraldScotland:

Pottery-making

The Craft Pottery Studio in Glasgow offers a wide range of classes, workshops, courses, events and studio rental. The tutors are skilled in everything from traditional throwing techniques to modernist hand-building approaches. There are lots of voucher options – you can either choose a monetary value towards a session, or a class-specific option, so if you fancy giving your loved one a shot on the pottery wheel or the chance to hand-build a mug or jug, this is the perfect present. (And they do get to take home their creations, too.) The studios are on the first floor of an old warehouse building which is home to other artist studios and small businesses – a lovely, vibrant learning and teaching environment.

thecraftpotterystudio.com

 

HeraldScotland:

Surfing

No need to head for exotic climes to learn how to ride the waves, as Coast to Coast Surf School has been teaching the art of surfing at Belhaven in Dunbar for almost 20 years. Experienced instructors provide tuition in surfing, paddleboarding, skateboarding and coasteering (coastline exploring) from beginners to advanced. Gift vouchers can be used towards a lesson, or you can purchase a specific voucher if you know which adventure sport your loved one is keen to try. There are also summer day tours, surf tours and camps on the Scottish islands and the north coast – lots of opportunities to give a gift fuelled by fun and adrenalin.

c2csurfschool.com

Cake decorating

For the avid baker, or the enthusiastic newbie, David Duncan’s awardwinning company 3D Cakes offers Cake Masterclass Gift Packs, which include a voucher for a class at either the Edinburgh or Glasgow Sugarcraft School. Each sweet gift pack contains a unique voucher code and full instructions on how the recipient can book in to their chosen class, plus a £5 gift voucher for cake decorating supplies. If your loved one has ever wanted to unleash his or her creativity on cake, this will give them the ideal opportunity. There are lots of classes to choose from over the year, from decorating Christmas cupcakes to making delicious drip cakes, and there are options for 2.5 hour classes, and full day sessions.

davidduncansugarcraftschool.co.uk

HeraldScotland:

Dry stone walling

For an experience never to be forgotten, a place on a dry stone walling course is the perfect Christmas gift. The West of Scotland Dry Stone Walling Association has been running courses since 1998, when the organisation was set up by master craftsman Irwin Campbell. Its aim is to promote and facilitate the traditional craft of dry stone walling through charitable projects within the community and countryside, and running courses for anyone interested in learning or getting a taste of how it’s done. The Association has been responsible for a number of high profile community projects over the year, including work at Ocean Terminal in Greenock, several lovely projects at Erskine hospital for veterans and the repair of a historic barn at Auchindrain in Argyll. Gift vouchers can be purchased and used on the taster courses, which promise a fantastic, fun, physical and hugely rewarding experience.

wsdswa.org.uk

HeraldScotland:

Wine tasting

An invitation to a wine tasting sounds like a delightful gift for the aficionado in your life – or even simply for the wine-lover who cannot tell a Malbec from a Merlot but would love to learn more. The Glasgow Wine School has been running tastings, functions and educational qualifications for 10 years, and its evening and Saturday tasting sessions are the heart of the business. Gift vouchers cover any tastings, from food-themed sessions to Round the World Discovery events, and all take place at the Doubletree by Hilton on Glasgow’s Cambridge Street. They are fun, sociable and informative sessions with six or 12 varieties to taste, and helpful and informative tutors explain the background to each wine, its history and its perfect food pairings.

localwineschool.com

Cyanotype printing

Cyanotype printing is an exotic-sounding photographic method which produces beautiful works of art. It is one of many crafts available at Craft Central, a multi-disciplinary centre in the picturesque town of Dunblane which is home to the Central Scotland Schools of Craft and Jewellery, offering creative education in a wide range of disciplines and techniques. Gift vouchers are available for complete beginners to seasoned crafters and if cyanotype does not appeal, the centre also offers courses in everything from spoon carving to shoemaking – so there is bound to be something your loved one loves the sound of…

scottishcraftschool.com

HeraldScotland:

Ballroom dancing

For the complete beginner, the seasoned waltzer, or even just an enthusiastic Strictly fan, a voucher for Alan and Norma Millar’s Strictly Dance Studios is the ideal Christmas gift. The award-winning couple (former British Senior Ballroom Champions and undefeated Scottish Senior Open and National Ballroom Champions) run classes at a number of venues across the east central belt, from complete beginner to advanced grades, in both ballroom and Latin. Gift vouchers can be put towards classes or private tuition and the emphasis is on fun…

millarsdancestudios.co.uk

HeraldScotland:

Silversmithing

Why settle for giving your loved one a piece of generic high street jewellery when you could hand them the experience of making their own? East Nook Jewellery Studio is a hidden gem all of its own, located inside an old maltbarn in the centre of the beautiful seaside town of St Andrews. Founded by multi-disciplinary designer Alana Peden in 2014, the charming studio offers regular silver jewellery making workshops and private parties. Suitable for complete beginners, the workshops vary from simple silver rings and bangles to earrings, pendants and classes where you can create a set of jewellery. 

eastnook.com