This is the time of the year when most of us are scratching our heads, thinking about what on earth to buy for family, friends and work colleagues. You should already have some idea of what family members like and need, but it is harder to come up with gift ideas for friends and colleagues that won’t break the bank. Not every gift has to original but should always, always be thoughtful and convey your love and appreciation of the person you are gifting. This doesn’t mean that it must be expensive, in fact there are many gift ideas that are kind to your friends, the environment AND your pocket.
A homemade gift really expresses how much you care. If you are crafty, you still have plenty of time to put your skills to work, whether it is knitting, cooking or soap-making.
Knitters, quilters and crocheters to your needles! Everyone loves curling under a blanket on the sofa, babies and small dogs are for ever in need of warm booties, mittens and tiny hats.
If you feel at home in the kitchen, there is no end to the lovely gifts you can whip up. Christmas short-bread, gingerbread, flapjacks, presented in a mason jar with seasonal ribbon and a pretty label are just perfect. Jams and pickles are always appreciated, and confectionary is fun to make, a great activity to involve the kids in on frosty, grey weekends. My friend Ruth is for ever delighting us with peppermint ice, coconut snowballs and other pretty sweets that look mouth-watering, are easy to make and can be packaged truly beautifully in jars, boxes or baskets. Another wonderful idea I have discovered recently, is gifting a cooking kit and recipe, for example all the ingredients for a cake, presented in a pretty cake-tin, or a spices for a curry in miniature mason jars with a homemade label in the shape of an elephant, chapati flour with a rolling pin and a marble board…So many interesting gifts for a foodie friend and so many beautifully imaginative ways to present them!
Christmas is a good time to spoil our loved ones with the little luxuries of life such as perfume, designer clothing and shoes, but more simple, money or energy saving gifts that make our home cosy should also delight.
I truly believe the good old-fashioned hot-water bottle is a super gift. A friend who came to stay with us recently was so impressed with his hot-water bottle he suggested this “great invention” should be presented to the Dragon’s Den! Hot-water bottles are available in all kind of lovely patterns and colours and, honestly, you don’t have to worry if the recipient already has one as you can never have too many!
Traditional clothes drying racks are an efficient, economical and ecological way of drying clothes, a great alternative to the electrical dryer. Your friends will save money and energy as well as time wasted in running in and out of the house to stop washing getting wet in our changeable British weather.
There is no end of gift ideas for experienced and beginner gardeners, from the very basic tools, watering cans and inexpensive twine or gardening gloves to the more fancy or specialised equipment such as perennial spades or beautiful glass cloches. Bulbs, seeds or ready-grown trees and shrubs are all gifts you will be remembered for giving for many seasons to come. Our green-fingered friends really appreciate the wildlife, you can help them turn their little patch of land into a haven for birds, insects and a myriad of other creatures with bat houses, insect hotels, bird baths and feeding tables.
Buy local, support small businesses and choose well-made, lasting gifts
Whenever you can, buy "local" and from small businesses who really appreciate your support. There is usually plenty of interesting and unique gift ideas to choose from at local craft markets, from golden local honey, jams and chutneys to homewares, or personalised jewellery. You will have the satisfaction of helping a young mum, a craftsman or a local artist. Choose items crafted using traditional techniques; they will be well made and last a lifetime. This is certainly our aim here at Goodwood Originals. The beauty of our wooden shelves is that they are so versatile, with 17 colours and many sizes; we promise that they will look good for years to come. When you change your décor or move, just give them a new lease of life by painting them a new colour. Hooks and peg rails make a useful gift for the whole family. Our single hooks are just the perfect stocking filler. Another very popular wooden gift is our giant ruler imperial or metric height charts, a wonderful gift for a new or growing family, or even for grand-parents who will enjoy measuring their grand-children when they visit.
All wrapped up
A beautifully wrapped gift has always been a delight to receive and Instagram-worthy gift wrapping is not as difficult as it seems. It’s the little touches that make the difference. Your gifts will probably spend some time resting under your own tree, so it is a good idea to stick to the overall theme and colours of your Christmas décor. It is quite easy to keep the these coherent with little touches.
Brown paper looks good with twine and natural elements such as pine-cones, twigs or foliage.
Match metallic paper with shiny ornaments, little jingle bells, or miniature glass baubles.
For children gifts, channel the superhero, unicorn, pirate or mermaid trend by using wall paper; it’s really robust, so it’s much better for wrapping larger pressies such as bikes and dolls houses. Sugar canes, pompoms or figurines that complement a theme make fun ornament to finish the parcel in style.