Christmas is without doubt, the most magical time of the year. It’s also traditionally a time of total gift-buying panic. Every year, despite vowing not to, I give in to the pressure of the commercial present-buying frenzy so this year I’ve put together a gift guide of simple, thoughtful ideas that are easy on the pocket as well as the environment. That way you can tick shopping off your to-do list and get on with enjoying all the lovely, non-commercial elements of Christmas time – roaring fires, mulled wine, brisk country walks, thick jumpers, candle-lit carols…
1 Give them a new skill – Knitting is a great skill to master and the Christmas break is the perfect time to try. So for a creative friend why not give them a kit to make their own cosy winter scarf. Need convincing? Lots of reports including this CNN one have credited knitting with actively lowering stress and depression. This Off the Hook Snood kit £25, Wool and the Gang has all they need to get started. (Top image is a knit your own beanie hat kit)
2 Give them space to think – We spend so long hunched over phones, tablets and laptops it’s nice to take a break every now and again to write or draw in an actual notebook with an actual pen. It’s good for the neck and eyes as well as the soul! Treat someone to this leather bound fair trade journal £19.95, Nkuku
3 Give them cookies! – More specifically a ‘bake your own cookies kit’ in a reusable Kilner jar. This kit is blissfully free of all the plastic packaging that most gifts seem to come with and would make a great gift for kids. Or actually, most adults. Belgian Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix Jar £13.95, Katie Bakes.
4 Give them the gift of sleep – Show me someone who doesn’t need to get more sleep – it’s the holy grail for nearly everyone. Encourage someone you love to slow down with this ‘three nights of peace’ gift set £14.95 from Neom containing a sleep ebook and three essential bath oils. 100% natural and 70% organic, they should gently soothe an overworked mind.
5 Give them a cosy cushion – If they’re a home-bird, this soft and cosy cushion should make them happy. But, as with the scarf above, it’s a ‘knit your own’ kit, so they also get something fun to occupy them on Boxing Day and beyond. Trust me – they’ll be hooked (pun intended). Cushion knitting kit £39, Stitch and Story
6 Give fair trade jewellery – ‘The best things in life come in small packages’ that’s what someone told me once and I’m sticking with it. You can’t go wrong with jewellery as a gift but you don’t need to spend a fortune in a high street jewellery chain. Support small independent jewellers or treat someone special to these fair trade star earrings £9.95, Decorators Notebook.
7 Give them the perfect coffee break – This handcrafted cup is beautifully tactile – thanks to the glossy mint-green glaze, compact size and fluted shape – and it’s fair trade, so you can polish your halo when you buy one. It also comes in a lovely blue and white striped glaze for nautical types. For the coffee fan in your life, wrap it up with a packet of freshly-ground coffee from your local market. They’ll thank you every time they use it. Short coffee cup, £8.95 Decorators Notebook.
8 Give the gift of flowers – Every month! This 3 month seed subscription will ensure a delivery of garden seeds drops through the letter box of the lucky recipient once a month for 3 months. The very definition of the gift that keeps on giving after the festive season is wrapped up. 3 month flower seed subscription £34,99, Notonthehighstreetcom
9 Give them time. – No, not a clock (although this one is very lovely) but actual time. Your time. Grandparents or those that live alone will especially appreciate this. Make them a gift voucher to take them out for a coffee and a cake some time in the new year, or a trip to an exhibition, or anything you think they will appreciate and just make sure you stick to it. Because your time is the most valuable gift you can give to someone who loves you.