I know we’re in the depths of a cost-of-living crisis, and I’m not massively into buying tat for the sake of it. I have hoarding tendencies so get a bit nervous about accumulating even more stuff. I’m a fan of shopping local and buying experiences with tickets but sometimes I head for internet shopping for the convenience and choice.
My sister made the excellent suggestion to do a Secret Santa for my siblings and our partners, which will make a big difference budget and time wise. Strong recommend this approach for big families. I also love the something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read approach, so here’s a mishmash of suggestions!
SOMETHING YOU WANT
It’s giving me flashbacks to that flirty girl in Love Actually who turned Alan Rickman’s head saying “get me something I want, not something I need”, but we all know what she means. It’s about a treat, about something that shows the giver knows the receiver inside out.
For a football loving kid or a kid who just loves colouring in, these Scriballs are perfect. At £10.50, they won’t break the bank and they definitely don’t need batteries. There are a few different designs out there, I bought a Star Wars one last year for a nephew because I got bored looking at sporty things and got excited about a ball that comes with its own colouring pens.
Head Jog 25mm Hair Tongs
A real-life professional hairdresser recommended these to me as they’re the tongs used in her salon. I’d never heard of the brand but she knows her stuff. If you’ve got a tween, teen or adult who’s desperate for curling tongs, these are incredibly good value for a main present at just over £30 full price but closer to £24 at the moment. You can also get a 32mm version. I needed a little practice as I’m used to using a bit of a different style, but these create a lovely loose wave.
The ultimate gift with no obligation on the receiver to find a space in their house for it, no adding to all the stuff. This can require a bit more research but I love getting tickets that I can use for a show, concert or gig later in the year. It’s a Christmas treat that brings joy later in the year.
There are so many options, and it obviously depends on the tastes of the person you’re buying for but aside from the sold out tickets (sad face for missing out on PULP in Cardiff but happy face that I got my Self Esteem at the Tramsheds ticket in time), there are some great shows to be seen in 2023.
I came up with such a long list that I’ve bunged some ideas in a whole separate blog post so click on the button below if you want some suggestions.
Not the spirits of Christmas past, present and future but the delicious boozy kind of spirit. I’m talking about Gin 64’s range of Penarth Gins, Barry Island Spirit’s Rum, Gin and Vodka, Bont Gin in Cowbridge and Hensol Castle Distillery’s wide selection and distillery tours. With prices for a 75cl bottle around £30-£40 these are a real treat and support local makers.
SOMETHING YOU NEED
This is a bit trickier and potentially boring, but I tend to think about their hobbies and sports, and all those extra bits that they need through the year. Or something that you need for the home but getting a jazzier version for Christmas saved trawling the shops for it.
My youngest’s working on his trumpet exam at the moment and he looks like Buddy (little 90s school book reference there for you) with his carrier bag of music. The bag for life does the job but without breaking the bank, this fun little personalised music bag is even better.
It’s that time of year where many of us are stood in the rain every weekend while our kids run around in the mud chasing a ball. Whether they play rugby, football or if you just want to clean up your wellies after a winter woodland walk, the boot buddy has been brilliant for us. Less than £20 and really handy for scrubbing muck off their studs.
A Fancy Flask
Sure, there are prettier flasks out there but for the person in my life who loves camping and having a hot drink after driving his fork lift truck, I go function over form. That said, this is a classic design and does the job it’s meant to do. It’s cheaper and better for the environment to take a massive flask on a journey if you’re travelling with work or maybe it’s just an upgrade for the picnic lover in your life.
SOMETHING TO WEAR
These rechargeable trainers were a huge hit with my youngest and his penchant for jazzy footwear. The perfect party daps for the festive season, you can change the colour of the lights or set them to flash. There are a few different versions out there for around £25-£30 but they’re worth it as he wore them until he outgrew them.
Fizz Goes Pop
A local fave of mine, Fizz Goes Pop makes incredible statement jewellery, handcrafted in Cardiff. Whenever I see one of those dainty adverts saying something like “the perfect gift for your mum/wife/generic woman in your life” I think NO! It’s only perfect if it’s your thing and it’s not my thing. Fizz Goes Pop however, is very much my thing and I’ve been lucky enough to get a few pairs of earrings over the years from her. So support local and make someone look fabulous in the process. (photos by Cara Heath photography)
I love Isolated Heroes, their clothes and accessories are extra AF. Sequins, froth and fabulousness. They’ve recently launched an incredible range of personalisable denim jackets for kids and grown ups. They’re not cheap but they’re made sustainably and by an indie company in Scotland. For just a touch of bling, how’s about this glorious sparkly headband? The dream!
SOMETHING TO READ
Press Here by Hervé Tullet
Press Here and Mix It Up by Hervé Tullet are a couple of my favourite board books for arty little kids. There are some weird negative reviews from adults who assumed something different from an interactive book but ignore them, these are both delightful and engaging. My boys enjoyed the books when they were little, and my younger nephews were glued to the experience of going through the pages. It feels magic when they’re invited to press a yellow splodge of paint and turn the page to see what’s happened to the splodge.
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover? The very thing that reflects the themes, genre and general vibe of the writing within? Maggie O’Farrell’s new release The Marriage Portrait is gorgeous. I’ve not read it but I enjoyed her previous novel, the much awarded Hamnet. This would make a beautiful gift for the fiction lover in your life. Griffin Books in Penarth recently hosted an evening with the author which sold out. More from them in the next idea.
A book signed by the author elevates the gift to super special status. The fabulous Griffin Books in Penarth has an amazing online selection of all sorts of books with the autograph of the writer. There’s something for everyone, including YA, science, autobiographies, history, fiction, children’s books. Gift ideas that jumped out at me that you’ll find on Griffin Books’ online shop:
- Meanwhile Back on Earth by Oliver Jeffers £16.99
- Colours, Colours Everywhere by Julia Donaldson and Sharon King Chair £14.99
- Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory £17
- Dear Dolly: On Love Life and Friendship by Dolly Alderton £16.99
- Agatha Christie: A Very Elusive Woman by Lucy Worsley £25
- Black Holes by Brian Cox and Jeffrey Forshaw £25
- Undoctored by Adam Kay £20
- The World by Simon Sebag Montefiore £35
- The Final Whistle by Nigel Owens £20
- Nadiya’s Fast Flavours by Nadiya Hussain £22
- Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson £17
Amazon Affiliate: a girl’s gotta eat and in a bid to help pay for my own Christmas, I’ve taken the plunge and joined Amazon Associates. This just means that if you buy through a link on this blog, I get a little (very little) monetary thank you from Amazon. It won’t cost you any more than just googling in the first place. Do support local where you can though!