Now that we are into November, I feel alright about thinking about the Christmas shopping. Any earlier that this I have the feeling I am being sucked in by the commercialism or I am being overly organised.
Before I go into my list of gift recommendations, let me say that I am an old-fashioned kind of person. I am not one for giving extravagant Christmas gifts, buying big brand names or the latest in technology, fashion or fads. I like the gifts I give to be sincere and thoughful.
A book is an ideal gift for any age and a suitable book can be found for pretty much any kind of area of interest. There are years when I am very tempted to buy only books as gifts.
From picture books and story books for children to novels, coffee table books, joke books, cook books, biographies and hobby guides, you really can find something for everyone, even if they are not a big reader.
A gift I have given and have received myself, a magazine subscription for a year is an excellent gift. The recipient of the subscription gets months and months of enjoyment out of having a magazine arrived in their postbox.
As with books, there is such a huge range of magazines to choose from that you can find something to suit any taste. A subscription is particularly suitable for older poeple who may not get out of the house as often as they would like, for people with a niche hobby who may have trouble finding their favourite magazine, for new parents, keen gardeners or those new to a particular hobby.
When buying a subscription, remember to check whether it ends after the year you are paying for or whether it will continue. You might want to set a reminder for yourself to cancel it after one year so that it does not automatically renew.
Another idea is to buy a special issue of a favourite magazine. I love the ones from The Simple Things Magazine, Living At Home, and Flow.
The world has become such an affluent place that it can seem as if we all have everything we need. There are times when I am horrified at the mass of toys, clothes and games my children possess, even though we try to go easy on Christmas and birthday presents. What we all apprear to be short of is time.
Time spent together can be an ideal present. Not everyone will appreciate it, so choose carefully who you give this to. But given to the right person, it can be a very memorable gift. You could buy tickets to the theatre for yourself and your parents or to a pantomine for your niceces and nephews or treat your siblings to a lunch out.
You can just as easily spend time together without spending much money, like taking your mother to a good garden centre and enjoying a browse and cuppa there together. Take your godchild out for a day to look in book shops, go on the bus or train, walk in a forest, tour a museum or art gallery – you might be surprised how open children are to new experiences. You can always fit in a visit to a sweet shop, burger joint or the museum gift shop and spend a few quid there.
We don’t think of Christmas as a time for plants, other than holly and mistletoe. It is the bleak mid-winter, after all. But soon afterwards it will be spring and thoughts turn to growth and greenery. Giving a gift of a plant for the home or garden is a much more environmentally friendly gift than something disposable wrapped in miles of wrapping paper.
For children, a few packets of seeds or bulbs along with a little trowel and pair of gardening gloves makes a gorgeous little hamper. A baby’s first Christmas can be made memorable by planting a tree for them, either in the garden or through a tree planting/forestry scheme.
For adults a parcel of bulbs and seeds along with a gardening magazine, window box or planter makes a lovely present too, as does a shrub you have put some thought into, for example a rose with a significant name. Some people might prefer a garden centre voucher, giving them the chance to have a little outing and choose their own plants.
Homemade gifts are not always what the recipient wants, so, again, choose carefully. A lot of people love to receive something handmade specifically for them. You don’t have to be terribly skilled. Look around and find something to cook, bake, sew, crochet, knit or make that suits your skill level, your budget, the amount of time you have and, of course, the recipient’s taste.
Alternatively you can buy craft supplies as a gift (hint, hint, to my freinds and family).
I hope my list of suggestions and recommendations has got your thinking. If you are looking specifically for baby gifts, you can find more ideas here.
What are your favourite gifts to give? I’d love to hear your ideas.