Dear Split, Why Not Shop Local or Give a Little this Christmas?

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Antea Mrcela

The last week before Christmas and no doubt, a last-minute shopping panic. Something to consider – if you are going to spend money this Christmas, why not make sure it stays in local hands or goes to a good cause?

I’m not gonna lie, the older I get, the more I get disillusioned with what Christmas has turned into, one word – consumerism. Last year my husband and I decided not to buy Christmas presents for each other and told our closest family (his mother, sister and father) – let’s just not bother this year.


Maybe, but the whole charade is a little too much sometimes. Inevitably, we all buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have because the calendar, Santa (and Jesus?) tell us we should…

So, rather than buying each other presents, last year we bought presents for a children’s home and then spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day, eating and drinking far too much; sitting around the fire, passing around the bukara and singing Dalmatian or Christmas songs (terribly I may add). It was brilliant. Without the build-up (or let-down) that often comes surrounding presents, it was just about being with each other.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love shopping and receiving gifts; I’m just less inclined to spend a fortune for the sake of it… But, I didn’t start writing this piece to be a ‘fun-sponge’ around Christmas joy or to take some sort of twisted moral high-ground. It simply makes me think, if we are going to purchase anything, what if we use it as an opportunity to either:

a) Support local talent and artists

b) Support the community

c) Recycle rather than entering the consumer hamster wheel (i.e. by purchasing second-hand goods)

Now, I won’t pretend to be an expert on the local fashion or creative scene but from my limited time here, I have come across some brilliant local designers. Earlier in the year, we wrote about the launch of Anamarija Asanović boutique store, then the opening of Karin new designer store. Last night, in Galerija bar, there was a fashion show put on by Chicks on Chic and Little Wonder jewellery – it was actually more than a typical ‘fashion show’ but I’ll say a few more words another time.


Anamarija Asanovic at her opening, photo credit: Tash Pericic

And, tomorrow, at Biberon Restaurant, Split designers Zeus and Us along with Knot Jewelry will have an exhibition. Like I said, I am no fashionista but I do know people and will always choose to support local AND good people; so, I will take a moment to talk about the ladies from Knot Jewelry… I met them this time last year when we went to Biberon for the same exhibition and instantly fell in love with their jewellery; little did I know that months later I would collaborate with them for a networking event and they would completely win me over.


Their jewellery is gorgeous; their collection is minimalistic in style, with a signature of delicacy where they experiment with different materials and add a sprinkle of boho-chic. But it was the two ladies themselves who won me over even more – genuine, lovely people. They met eachother through their daughters who attended the same class and instantly connected over their love of fashion, design and everything artistic, hence Knot Jewelry was born. I am always a sucker for a backstory and believe the best expressions always come out of genuine passion and skill (a touch of humility helps).


Photo Credit: Knot Jewelry Facebook Page

So, come to Biberon tomorrow to show your support. Just because my husband and I aren’t buying Christmas presents this year again, doesn’t mean I can’t buy a little treat for myself…

And, before Biberon, why not head down to Trg Gaje Balata between 10 am – 2 pm for the 17th annual ‘A di si ti?!’ fair organised by Udruga MOST. This year, the fair will have 40 stands with more than 50 organisations to raise money for the homeless and at risk of homelessness in Split. Our very own Expat group has their own stand for the first time, so will be selling all sorts of goodies which have been generously donated over the last week. No doubt, you will walk away with a bargain or treasure and know that your money is being spent on something worthwhile.

di si ti.jpg

Another great action, Zinfandel Restaurant has put up their Christmas tree (as they do every), with notes for Christmas requests from those at Udruga Lastavice za Inkluziju. You can head in, take a slip, buy the gift and bring it back under the tree, again, knowing you have done a good deed. OR purchase Christmas decorations made by those at Lastavice – where they receive all the proceeds (I got myself a wine cork wreath last year and I have to say – it is my favourites Christmas decoration!)

Zinfandel christmas.jpg

Credit: Zinfandel Official

An initiative was also started to help local neighbour Zvonko Barber which was fined 30,000 by local inspection because the two barbers are retired and yet, have the audacity to continue to cut people’s hair for 25 kuna!… Due to the fine, the Barber was closed down. So, as a way to help their neighbours, all of these establishments have a box where you can donate to Zvonko Barber: Corto Maltese, Caffe Bar No Stress, Luxor, Antique Bar, DeBelly, Kucica Cicibela… pop into any of these places, have a drink or a meal and leave a little extra for a much-loved Split Institution. UPDATE: Zvonko don’t need the money anymore, it seems all the press may have put some pressure on the inspectors… SO, all the money raised is being donated to ‘Di si ti’ tomorrow!


There are so many amazing initiatives happening all around Split this season, see Daniela Rogulj’s great summary here. Plenty of ways to spread Christmas cheer in the best way possible and another great example of why I love living in the community.


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