I don’t think I need to say this, but for a lot of us this year is not like any other year and Christmas will be no different. Instead of seeing all of our extended family, in the UK at least, we get to socialise between only three households. And while I like the idea of being able to socialise, I prefer the idea of socialising less now in order to end the pandemic faster and with fewer casualties. So this year, my partner and I are limiting the number of people we will see but we are also sending some gifts out. You will need to google this stuff because I’m not that hot on affiliate links right now.
Unfortunately I don’t get to see my parents in person this Christmas. Instead, I am sending them one large gift each – a night vision goggles for my dad and a bottle of Chanel No5 Eau de Parfum for my mum. If these seem random…they’re not. My parents live in a village surrounded by beautiful forests and it’s so rural there that wild boar roam the streets at night. My dad actually needs the night vision goggles so that he can tell if what he’s shooting is in fact wild boar or a thieving neighbour (usually it’s the boar). My mum does not get involved with managing the wildlife and while she likes practical gifts, she also loves this particular scent. Both gifts are not inexpensive and therefore I am limiting the number of gifts they will receive. I am also sending them two books, which they can share – Sapiens by Yuval Harari and The Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall. Both my parents enjoy the history of mankind in general and current politics, and these two books will hopefully be fun for both of them.
His birthday is in December…so I’ll include what I’m getting him both for his and Jesus’ birthday here, at least you’ll have more items to get inspired by. He will be getting a yoga mat from Yoga Studio and a pair of running shorts from Odlo. For him I’m focusing on products which have a lasting power. To be honest I was hoping to get him the shorts from Ten Thousand but their partner that ships worldwide is permanently out of his size, so Odlo or On-Running were my next choices. In non-sporty gifts, he’s getting a pair of custom socks with our cats’ faces printed on them. Hopefully these arrive before Christmas! He’ll also get a pair of lounge trousers by Ralph Lauren and a new Le Creuset stoneware mug, the 350ml one – I gave him two a couple of years ago but our boy cat broke one, so now he’s getting a replacement. They’re excellent by the way, just get them on sale because the price is a little boujie.
Yes, I get gifts for myself sometimes. And this year I got a handful of specific items, starting with a couple of fleece turtlenecks from Uniqlo. They’re inexpensive but last a good while. And to be honest, I actually spent close to £90 during their online sales recently replenishing my winter wardrobe – I really had very few outfits left suitable for the colder weather. Another item I got for myself is a hammered ear cuff from Sarah Hickey – inexpensive yet very pretty. What I would like to give to myself too is an upright vacuum cleaner – either Bosh or Dyson would do but they are pricey even on sale. And yes, I have reached the age where a vacuum cleaner is a desirable treat.
I am not one to purchase many gifts for the in-laws -it’s my partner’s task – and he did pick a fun gift and I thought it might be useful to you too. He sent both his sisters and his parents a hamper of beers from around the world. They were not hugely expensive bearing in mind that they cover two people each, but they seem really entertaining and something worth talking about at a family get-together. They are too big to put under the tree though, so given that we are hoping to see these people at Christmas (if France lets us in/UK lets us out), we are also bringing a set of pint glasses to accompany each of the 3 hampers. We have otherwise been struggling with gifts that are a little different or maybe not as common in France.
Cool gifts I’d give or have given in the past
This category will be a free-for-all and I’ll just loosely list out the sort of gifts which I have given or received, that were appreciated, excluding the list above. Are you ready? For once I will not recommend experiences and focus on physical offering only, because COVID.
- a ‘hipsack’ or what it really is, a cosmetics case for men, because most men won’t buy one for themselves. I like the Hershel ones in particular
- a custom sign to sit over the bar area or a kitchen of his, or over whatever it is that he is proud of in his abode. We ordered one from etsy last year to be hung over a bar cart of someone and as far as I know, it’s still in use and a great conversation starter
- a smart or sports watch, but not necessarily the overpriced Apple one. Fitbit offers a good alternative as does Garmin
- a good sun hat that’s suitable for a beach, a hike or a city break – my personal preference is for more traditional over ballcaps and if the man you are gifting has a face that goes well with such hats, Stetson traveller organic cotton and Stetson Ava Cotton models are attractive options
- a really good pair of slide slippers – my favourites for him are the Adidas comfort ones and I might be getting a pair for myself to be honest despite them being more of a masculine-looking style
- handmade decorative items such as resin trays or coasters. My favourite tray is from Styrylska design and the main selling point to me is that each tray is poured by hand and quite unique
- custom candles – I appreciate that these could be given to men too, but the ones I have in mind, from Pastel Palette strike me as more feminine. WoodWick is another beautiful alternative. If you are considering something more boujie, Neom and Diptique are also nice but too expensive for my taste
- a beauty box subscription, of she’s into cosmetics. I used to get Birchbox and loved it, but there is now a serious competition out there to this brand, so look around.
- journal with her initials engraved or foiled on the cover. Chances are that she might not want to spend the money on such a luxury herself, but it will sit well with most women and girls I know. And I mean it is a luxury, my favourites from Papier will set you back close to £40 – if you find them somewhere cheaper, lemme know in the comments please
- Ugg scuffle slippers because while the shoes are not cute, the indoor slippers are surprisingly attractive and perfect for humans with cold feet. If they’re out of your budget range, alternative good house shoe is the Uniqlo memory foam slipper at 1/5 the price. not as stylish, but very comfy
- I live in a country of tea, but other hot beverages are common here too. If you happen to be in a similar geography, a temperature-maintaining cups are fantastic. You’ll find a choice of these online
- Continuing with the technology gifts, an UV light disinfectant device, preferably one offering wireless charging too is a great gift for any germaphobe (and we are all germaphobes right now). Some are better than the others so read up on the features, warranty and reviews before purchasing
- Phillips sonicare electric toothbrush. Speaking from experience, they’re just so good…and expensive enough to be considered a special and not everyday gift
- Coffee table books, in particular ones which go with the receiver’s home decor. Yes, this will be a style over substance purchase, but pick something in a topic that’s at least remotely interesting to them. If you are struggling, architecture, plants, art and alcohol are usually good. If I were chosing for someone I barely know Architectural Digest at 100: A Century of Style would be my pick or if I know that they like alcohol, Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks by André Darlington is a nice choice too. Get them hardcover, of course
- A french press from Le Creuset, if your friend is a coffee or loose leaf tea lover. They’re beautiful and aside from the cup mentioned earlier in this article, about the only other useful item within a ‘not investment for life’ price bracket. If that’s too expensive, Bodum also has a nice selection
- Instax cameras – there is something cute about them and since they’ve been on the market for a while now, the price has become more affordable
- Edible gifts in form of traditional orange peel dipped in chocolate (Fortnum & Mason or La Maison du Chocolat) or truffles (Harrods or M&S if you’re more on a budget) always go down well, unless the friend is on a keto diet (then they get a lump of coal) or vegan (then they get Booja Booja chocolates instead)
I have no children and therefore I am reserving my thoughts on child gifts for now. However, if there is something you feel worth recommending, feel free to leave it in the comments.