Christmas is a time for family, fun and sharing the love through presents, food and a very large Dark Toblerone. It can also however prove a difficult time to come up with ideas for gifts for your loved ones – lord knows how many times I’ve struggled buying for the parents! After 20 years of trial and error, I’ve come to love giving gifts by stripping it back to the things you might not buy yourself, or encourage you to try something new.
I try my hardest to buy and ask for things I haven’t bought myself but really want, and this applied to the gifts for my family to, so to give you a nudge in the right buying direction, here’s 24 gifts you can give with success and guarantee a smile (or an extra triangle of Toblerone).
1. Luxury Make-Up – I don’t think there’s much more your beauty loving family members would love more than a statement make-up piece in their stocking this Christmas. Slick packaging, high quality products, and a price tag not too out of reach depending on the item. They’ll know you’ve bought them quality that will last for months to come.
2. Beauty Sets – Christmas is great for grabbing some bargains, and there are sets galore for any occassion. For skincare newbies to brand fanatics, you can pick up a variety of things for each member of the family with great ease. Want to make your hair look sleek and stylish? Boots have some fabulous haircare sets on offer, with the majority under £20. Fancy treating your other half to some grooming goodies? There’s lots available again at Boots including Clarins and Ted Baker to get him looking tip-top.
3. Vouchers – The easiest gift, but where do you buy them for?! If you have a make-up addict, try something luxurious such as Space NK, or maybe try Amazon for someone who loves Gadgets and Tech. Fashion lovers can be treated to Topshop, Urban Outfitters and more, whilst you could think of something different and maybe a food voucher for someone who loves a treat now and again.
4. Perfume – Scent is important in emulating your personality, and Christmas is the best time to pick up an old favourite or get your hands on something new. Jo Malone have just released their 2014 collection which would be a luxury treat for any member of the family, or you can hit up the Debenhams perfume section for some awesome sets – perfume + a body lotion? Winning!
5. Spa Days – The ultimate treat. For some quality time by yourself or another loved one, indulge in a full body massage or get a really great all-day deal at various spas across the country, and sometimes even better deals on pages such as Groupon or Amazon Local – save money and indulge more!
6. Skincare and Bodycare – If the gift sets above aren’t your thing and you know a certain person has been lusting over a cult product, now may be the time to give them a taster. Forsake the spa day and buy some Elemis body lotions and oils for a relaxing soak after the Christmas – perfect for mum; or maybe a younger sibling is starting to wear make-up and needs something to help keep their skin clear – check out some gentle budget-friendly options from Simple to get them started. If you know a skincare junkie, try something to expand their routine such as a nourishing face oil – Clarins oils are known to work wonders 😉
7. Classes and Courses – If someone in your family is a keen baker, chocolate maker, sewer, or one for wanting to know every single type of wine (for research purposes obviously..), then booking them into a class to expand their skills might be right up their street. Waitrose Cookery School covers a range of disciplines from making pastry to cooking the perfect steak – perfect for any foodie. You can google your local wine tasting courses or sewing classes, but check out the Telegraph.co.uk for inspiration.
8. Day Out Experiences – Alongside Classes and Courses, Experiences or Red Letter Days are a fabulous way to try something new. Have the LOLs of booking your Dad into a Paintballing day, or your Sister some Zorbing activities – never a better time to say YOLO (oh god).
9. Novelty Jumpers – What was once the worst present on the planet has now become the must have festive item to own in the run up and during Christmas. Novelty, fun jumpers have made a massive comeback, and the uglier/funnier the better. Pick up a new season one from the high street, or go for something a little more quirky like the Funky Christmas Jumpers – from Santa on the Toilet, Happy Birthday Jesus and Super Elf, there’s something for everyone!
10. Toys and Games – An obvious present choice. Great for the younger family or friends, but try thinking outside the box by buying from quirky stores or specialised gift stores – a unique treat for anyone! Plus, a fun interactive game like Cranium will get your mind going again after stuffing yourself with Turkey Roast.
11. CD/DVDs – Whilst physical copies of songs may be lost on some people, sometimes a collection of your favourite artist’s hits a nice addition to your iTunes (plus your less likely to lose the CD, unlike when you wipe your hard-drive and all your downloads go!). DVD box-sets are fabulous if you’re not one for paying for Netflix – some of you may have tailored TV taste and find them lacking on pay monthly services, where’s the Sherlock?! – so stock up on some classic TV series or films and have a movie fest on Boxing Day.
12. Crafts and Art – Perfect for the young budding artists or newly keen adult sewers, a book of design inspirations or crafty tips is great for keeping them inspired and creative this season. Get a pack of basic acrylics to kick start a budding Van Gogh, or try some vintage pattern designs for the next Orla Kiely.
13. Photobook / Picture Frame – Immortalize your memories in physical form through a special book or framed photo. Photobox have great pre-designed books where you can upload images of your choice – plus there’s sometimes discounts if you create a certain amount of pages! – or you can get crafty by making your own homemade version for an extra touch. Go one step further and let others create their own book of memories by buying them a photo printer such as the Canon Selphy – a fun activity to do on Boxing Day!
14. Homemade Food – A lot of time and effort goes into buying, baking and presenting food, so treat someone in your family to a homemade goody this Christmas. Does your Dad love coffee? Bake him some Biscotti to dip – always a winner; Does Mum love her morning toast? Try making some fruit jams – always a fun experience; Got a chocolate lover who also wants to be healthy? Skip the Heroes and buy a Raw Chocolate Making Kit, and present them with some Raw Chocolate Truffles – the delight and deliciousness.
15. Magazine Subscriptions – There’s nothing more annoying than missing an issue of your favourite magazine, or having to fork out £4 each month for a luxury read. Keep on track and save money with a magazine subscription through yours or your mum’s door each month – that year of Country Living might just see you start decorating…
16. Books – What Dad doesn’t love a crime or history based novel? Or a Mum who loves a good life-affirming book such as Eat, Pray, Love? Books are a fabulous way to escape into a new world, or to get lost in a must-read series to talk about wit your friends, or maybe they’re a fabulous way to get other family members into reading rather than being hyper when you’re serving dinner – just a suggestion 😉
17. Tickets – Now is definitely the time to buy and surprise loved ones with concert or event tickets. Take them to see their favourite band, or a comedian on tour, and they’ll love having the initial surprise at Christmas and the renewed excitement on the day.
18. Candles – For the home lovers, a candle to make their house a true haven is a lovely gift. Spiced scents emulate warmth and comfort, whilst refreshing citrus notes can help clean and refresh the rooms for the new year. Jo Malone are a fabulous high-end treat, whilst Homesense have a great range of high quality candles at discounted prices.
19. Adopt an Animal/Sponsor a Child – Christmas doesn’t have to be about the materialistic things, and you can spread more love with £20 for an animal or humanitarian cause than with a bottle of moisturiser. For someone who’s dedicated to a cause, maybe adopt a donkey, or donate to the Greyhound Trust. You can also Sponsor a Child to help them get the education and food they need to grow in the developing world. Yes, you may not give someone the lipstick they wanted, but you’ve give your support to someone less fortunate.
20. Educational – Budding scientist? Eager nature enthusiast? Future space searcher? Introduce them to the learning benefits of certain gifts with educational books, kits and magazine subscriptions to expand their knowledge outside of school in a fun way.
21. Equipment – The best way to excel your skills is to invest in them, so help your siblings out by putting something towards their interests. Got a photography loving family member? Adobe Elements is a budget friendly start point for Photoshop – contains nearly all the same components at a fraction of the price – or maybe a new lens for HQ photos. Whether someone’s into movie making, baking, photography or space, something that will enhance their interests and skills is a perfect heartwarming gift.
22. Gadgets – Whether it’s Apple or Nintendo, XBox or Playstation, there will be someone who’ll love a new game console, phone, laptop and more. However, other gadgets outside the box from IWOOT can be as equally fun – a Smartphone Projector for your videos or a Polaroid Printer for your phone snaps. Upgrade your kitchen with a new mixer – a KitchenAid is the dream – or try the all new popular Selfie Stick for your memories over the holiday.
23. Loungewear – Oooh loungewear. You know the drill, someone will buy slippers or socks, just don’t do it for a main present. If you have a festive fan in the family, pick them up some Christmas print pjs from any high street or supermarket store to sit around in on Christmas Day – trust me, they’ll love it.
24. Flowers – Simple, yet very effective. Say thank you to Mum and Dad for cooking the roast dinner with a lovely bunch to brighten the home, or show your other loved ones some appreciation with a tailored selection of colours and blooms that suit them best.
Trying to come up with gift ideas – let alone 24 – is hard, but hopefully reading through this list can jog your imagination for what you can buy each member of the family this season. Asking doesn’t spoil the surprise, but it does help you get an idea as to what they love right now and will appreciate opening on the day.
I find that most people find Christmas hard because they cram and worry about presents, food, making sure all the family are pleased, and living up to an expectation. As long as you show thought, plan ahead, take time for yourself and work out how to approach the visiting schedule – sometimes it can be a real schedule! – Christmas can be a lovely calm time to drink spiced cider, eating lovely Toblerones and roast dinners, and showing love and joy to your family as the year ends. That’s the best gift you could give and receive this season – yep, we’re ending on a cheesy note. Happy shopping all!!
Are you prepared for Christmas? Do you have a budget for presents? Do you find Christmas stressful?