Wrapping

I think I love wrapping up presents more anything else at Christmas.  Christmas Shopping doesn’t hang around in boxes and bags for very long around me because I just can’t wait to get wrapping!  You either love it or hate it, I think, but personally I’m firmly in the love camp.  I know it’s all going to get ripped and binned by lunchtime on Christmas Day, but oh well!

This year I used a mix of wrapping paper from IKEA (IKEA is seriously brilliant for wrapping paper – if you haven’t checked it out, I can’t recommend it enough) and Tesco.  The spots and stripes came from IKEA over the summer in a pack of three, and I just couldn’t resist the cute trees and red car print on the Tesco roll for £2.  I made them look a little fancier with red and bronze ribbons, and for bottles I used a little bit of the garland I bought from Tiger.  I added a little mushroom tree decoration (you can get a whole box of them from Tiger for £1).  The labels are just bits of cardboard snipped to size.  Easy peasy and cheap as chips.


The Non-Gift Gift Guide

Everyone keeps telling me this year that I’m difficult to buy for, which – to be honest – came as a bit of shock because I’d always thought of myself as someone who’s easily pleased. At first I was insulted (You don’t know me at all!!!) and then when I thought about it a little bit more I realised that they’re probably right. I think it’s because the older I get the less interested I become in “stuff”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to sound ungrateful here; of course I love presents, I’d happily rip open a new handbag or a bottle of this stuff on Christmas Day just like anyone else.  And (hint hint) if I find this sitting under my tree I will be a very happy bunny.  But I don’t need any of those things, and I’d hate for my friends and family to feel like they have to buy me anything at all let alone stress over what that should be. Sometimes the best things in life really are free, and a thoughtful gesture is far better than expensive clutter or “stuff” bought down the gift aisle under pressure.

So if you’ve got someone who’s difficult to buy for, or you’ve scrolled through enough expensive wish lists to make your eyes water (or you’ve left your Christmas Shopping a bit too late!  Oops!) then have I got the gift guide for you. 🙂

Favourite Place

If you’ve got someone who’s awkward to buy for, why not skip all those “that’ll do” gifts and surprise them with a trip to their favourite place.  It could be something as extravagant as a trip to their favourite city, a mini break, or even just an afternoon at their favourite local haunt.  Take them somewhere that you know makes them happy and that they’ll appreciate.

Kick the Habit

If you’ve got a bad habit that’s been annoying one of your nearest and dearest for a long time, then what more could they want for Christmas than a promise to kick it for good.  It could be something huge like vowing to give up smoking, or something a lot smaller like promising not to dump your clothes in a pile at the end of the bed every night!  Just don’t make it an empty promise, you’ve got to make good on it no matter what!

Together

Some people would rather make memories with their favourite people than receive gifts.  So why not give the gift of a promise to do more things together in the year ahead?  Maybe it’s a promise to join the gym together, or take a class together, or to go away somewhere together.  Surprise your favourite people with plans for spending time together in the new year – so much better than cheap perfume, right?

Go with your Gut

I never turn my nose up at gifts that involve food, and what better gift than to treat someone to a lazy brunch at their favourite spot?  Of course, it doesn’t have to be brunch; it could be a fancy dinner, or lunch, or even just dessert!  Is there somewhere they’ve always wanted to go for dinner?  Why not cook a special meal for them?  It also doesn’t have to be a one off – you could start a new tradition for the year ahead and spoil them once a week. 🙂

Chores & DIY

Are there a few things around the house you’ve been putting off?  Why not get off your bum and get them done as a gift to the person who’s been nagging you about them!  Or, why not take over someone’s chores while they put their feet up?

What non-gift would you love to get this Christmas? 🙂

*What’s in my Christmas Stocking?

Everyone does Christmas differently, and one of the toughest things about being married is choosing which family traditions to keep, and which ones to toss.  When I found out that Sunny and his family never had Christmas Stockings I was stunned and a little gutted as it’s probably my favourite part of Christmas!  As kids, my brother and I shared a bedroom wall so whoever woke up first on Christmas morning would knock (/hammer down) the wall to wake the other and then we’d head straight to my Mum and Dad’s bedroom with our stockings.  We’d take it in turns dunking for gifts until there was a pile of wrapping paper in the middle of the bed and four empty stockings.

So if you’ve never done the whole Christmas Stocking thing (or have a nagging wife like me who’s insisting on keeping the tradition…!), here are a few tips on what to put inside 🙂

My brother always used to pick the biggest stocking from our family pile because, naturally, he thought big stocking = more gifts.  Well, I’ve taken a tip from my brother this year; this 100% wool fairisle stocking from Woolovers is huge!  And I called it – see, it’s got my initials just so there’s no confusion.


Something to Drink

Tea, Coffee and miniatures make ideal stocking fillers – especially if you can find a festive blend for that first Christmas cup.  I’m already a big fan of Teapigs’ Darjeeling Earl Grey blend, so I’m looking forward to trying this Spiced Winter Red Tea on Christmas morning.

Lavender & Geranium Shower Gel & Bath Foam (£5.60 Faith in Nature), Pure English Lavender Bubble Bath (C/O Little Soap Company) and Daisy Chain Bath Ball (£3.90 Miss Patisserie)

Something to Relax

For me there’s no gift better than the promise of peace and quiet for a good ole pamper-sesh, so I always tend to get a couple of toiletries and beauty products in my stocking; ones you can smell before you’ve even unwrapped them.  They fuel me through those dark and gloomy January nights.

7th Heaven Face Masks are only usually around £1 each are great to keep handy in the bathroom cupboard.

Something Warm

Socks, scarves, hats, hand warmers are just the right size to wrap and stuff in a stocking.  I’m always losing my gloves (if you see one waving at you from a park railing then it’s probably one of mine) so I’ll never say no to a new pair!  These Grey Cashmere ones are from Woolovers; they’re soft and also nice and long on the wrist so there’ll be no up-the-sleeve draughts!

Something to Scoff

Chocolate coins, chocolate snowmen, tubes of smarties… The first thing I eat on Christmas day has usually come from my stocking and that usually means that it’s chocolate.  This Green & Blacks Miniature Collection could be shared around several stockings – but, then you could keep them all for yourself…

Something to Read

You wouldn’t think it, but magazines make great stocking fillers; they’re cheap and easily rolled (usually!) and wrapped.  Perfect for flicking through while you enjoy your Christmas breakfast or wait for the turkey to cook.

The Simple Things Magazine

Something Silly!

My Mum is the Queen of silly gifts.  We’ve had lottery tickets and scratch cards wrapped up in our stockings in the past, and a stocking wouldn’t be a stocking in our family if it didn’t have a satsuma rolling around in the toe!

What little gifts do you always love finding in your stocking? 🙂

*A great big thank you to Woolovers for sending me such a lovely early Christmas surprise!