'Oxford Street and its surrounds, December 2014. Picture it quickly, would you? 

*Shudder*

For some, the Oxford Street Christmas mission is considered a necessary evil, the trek to and around Selfridges a self-flagellating ritual that is a must-do in the run up to the big day. The crowds are big, jostling, you can't find space to sit down and rest, even getting there – be it by taxi, tube or foot – is a demanding process. 

Christmas shopping should be fun. It should be a pleasure. It shouldn't be so stressful.

It could be ever so slightly different. 

Enter The Clerkenwell Collection, a boutique store in one of London's trendiest districts. The delightful space on Farringdon Road, a mere fifteen minutes from Oxford Street, is home to a bar & kitchen, fascinating luxury and bespoke brands and a superb wine cellar. And they know how to make Christmas shopping a pleasurable experience! 

The first thing you'll notice as you walk in is 155, a small bistro-style bar/kitchen. Producing delicious small plates designed for sharing, brunches on Saturday and with fine wines and cocktails available, enjoying yourself before you browse the boutique fashion and art offerings is an essential part of the experience. 

The layout of The Clerkenwell Collection is such that you feel like you are discovering things with every step you take through the store. Beautiful leather goods from Troubadour are nestled next to exquisite hats and shoes, top quality Cuban cigars pop up next to the bar, bespoke and one off jewellery pieces keep company with suave Aston Martin suits, wearable art and delectable chocolates from The Chocolatier. Downstairs, the wine cellar houses some of the best fine and affordable wines in London.

You could conceivably do all your Christmas shopping at the Clerkenwell Collection in their calm, discreetly attentive atmosphere. From stocking fillers to grand gestures, whilst having a drink and a bite to eat with friends, relaxing is a key part of the whole thing. As is fit for a boutique, customers come in and out of the store regularly, but it never feels crowded. 

Situated in EC1 rather than WC2, the Clerkenwell Collection is the geographically antipode of Oxford Street. In attitude, experience and atmosphere it is also the antithesis. 

If you're looking for something new in this seasonal period and want to bring a little pleasure back to your Christmas shopping, a trip to Farringdon Road is just the thing for you.