Our guest blogger Claire Ogden gives us an an early treat as she lists details, hints and tips to make for a merrier Christmas…
Christmas, bit early for that isn’t it? I hear you cry, well as soon as shops started selling Christmas trees in August, it’s probably a sign to at least get organised as it will be upon us before you can say ‘half priced stuffing’. I love buying presents for people but, the process of shopping is a different story- the busy, crammed shops and variations of equally stressed and twice as sweaty customers eagerly trying to score a last minute bargain; by the time that’s all done you never want to hear a Christmas song in your life, and that’s just the first shop of the day!
Don’t get me wrong ladies, I adore Christmas and get just as excited as the children in the lead up to the festive period, I love the trimmings, the songs, wrapping gifts and wrapping the real tree- I just think that like many of you out there, get really carried away with trying to create the perfect Christmas complete with equally perfect themes each year.
This year I have decided to relax, think of my budget and started to plan from now so today I wanted to share some top tips with you for planning the perfect Christmas presents.
1. Decide how many people and set a budget and STICK to it. Depending on who you are buying for, try sourcing vintage and general craft fairs to pick up some beautiful pieces as Christmas gift, a handmade individual gift , no matter what the cost can come across as just a little bit more thoughtful than a piece that is mass produced.
2. Instead of buying individual presents for couples of larger families, make a hamper instead. Last year my family and I pulled together to make my mother-in law a gardening hamper. We filled it with gorgeous Gisela Graham garden accessories, gloves, seeds and Cottage Delight food gift sets, everything with a garden theme in mind. To finish it all off we found some amazing rustic garden pots that finished of the hamper beautifully and gave the entire package more substance- and to top it off the gift was very well received!
Remember the list is endless on the types of hampers you can do, just bear in mind the type of couple or family you are doing it for, are they sporty, academic or just love a good wine and if you try hard enough it can all be done on a set budget.
3. When buying for someone special, think about what they really enjoy doing or are really in to. The example here is that I adore elephants, fairies, reading and scarves (a girl can never have too many scarves!) I obviously love all things vintage as well as adore all the crockery from little antiquated treasure shops. Book tokens for an avid book reader are a fabulous buy why not pop them in a little vintage purse! Cinema tickets or DVD vouchers, if someone likes to cook buy them little vintage kitchen items for an old style cookery book, think vintage measuring scales or an 50s apron, cooking is supposed to be fun after all- you could even show them their first recipe here.
4.We all know a chocolate lover or fifteen so I seriously recommend chocolates from The Chocolate Tasting Club / Hotel Chocolat, accompanied by the novel Chocolat by Joanne Harris and the Chocolat DVD with the delicious Johnny Depp- make it a real chocolate feast!
5. I am an avid fan of vintage jewellery. I recently purchased this beautiful sliver, gemstone ring for under £10! It is in perfect condition, just because it is vintage, it doesn’t need to cost you a year’s wages- you just need to look, and remember Darling Clothes do some beautiful pieces that I am sure anyone will appreciate.
6. Try your hand at making your own Christmas gifts, photo albums are a very personal gift and you can create beautiful books at photobox.com and actually use all those digital prints that just sit on your hard drive and actually share those special memories!
Every year I buy something Christmas related to give to a handful of special people instead of Christmas cards, this year I have decided to make that my own Christmas decorations instead.
7. Avoid spending a fortune on themed Christmas wrapping paper, try wrapping everything in brown paper and accessorising with ribbons and bows. Curling ribbons are the most effective as they are quite cheap and twine works well. Consider using old Christmas cards as gift tags or have a go at using a selection of beautiful Christmas ribbons!
I hope you find my little tips useful! Remember ladies the internet is your best ally because it is honestly easier and you can spend the time looking for something special and at the best price, if you sort it all earlier you save so much money as most things have the prices increased in the run up to Christmas and delivery is not as reliable.
Please share your top tips with me, remember Christmas can be done on a budget and done beautifully, you just have to think about it that’s all!
What do you think of Claire’s tips, do you have of your own to add? Let us know below!