10. Go for the Limited Edition
It doesn’t matter what your friends and family are into, there’s usually a limited edition version that you can get hold of that will make their eyes light up. Think about their favorite perfumes, books or films. Getting a signed poster of their favorite film or a bottle of the champagne they love that only comes out once a year will show them that you pay attention to the things that they enjoy. They might be a little harder to get hold of, but the effort will be rewarded when you see how happy they are to receive it.
Auction sites like eBay are brilliant for scouting out first editions of books, phones, exclusive handbags or make up. A quick search under “limited edition” should offer you a wealth of options to choose from, just pick the one you think they’ll like best. Maybe a cinnamon scented moisturizer is their favorite but the store only releases it at Christmas time you can present it to them as a Christmas gift that they can use all year.
9. Buy an Experience they’ll Never Forget
Sometimes it’s difficult to think of a tangible gift that the receiver doesn’t already own. Maybe they’re the type to buy themselves gifts all the time, or they just seem to own everything. Maybe your other friends and family have already bought them the gift you intended to get and now you’re stuck wondering what to buy. Purchasing an experience day is a great way of giving them something fun and exciting that they’ll remember for a life time.
There are so many experiences you can buy now – from racing days at your local track to hot air balloon rides and scuba diving sessions. If they’re not an adrenalin junkie then get them tickets to the theatre with dinner and a signed copy of the program, or a relaxing treating at a spa day. Maybe a tour of a vineyard or a distillery if they like to sample a tipple every now and again.
Maybe they’ve always wanted to direct a film or feed a giraffe. Whatever they’re into, there’s likely to be an experience to match so take a look around and see what you can come up with. Don’t forget to take your camera to document the experience to share with all your other friends and family too. If it’s something that costs a little more then ask others if they want to share the gift, that way you can get something amazing that you h never forget. If you can’t find the experience that you want to buy then have a go at creating your own. Talk to local businesses and see if they’d be willing to help you to create something special. The limit is your imagination!
8. Make an Effort to Support Local Businesses and Friends
More and more local businesses are struggling to make ends meet, especially in today’s financial climate. Do the local economy a favor by buying from small vendors this year instead of large, corporate chains. If you have friends that have written a book or who make clothes or jewelry then buying your Christmas gifts from them is a great way of supporting them and getting something handmade and one off in the process.
There are usually markets and fairs in the run up to Christmas selling handmade items, so look out for events happening in your area. Alternatively you can shop online at places like ETSY where all the sellers offer handmade, unique items, from jewelry to cosmetics, paper goods and clothing. Whatever you’re looking for it’s probably there and you’ll get the warm glow of knowing that you helped an independent seller at the same time.
7. A Photo Book
Making a photo book for someone is a great way of creating a unique, inexpensive gift that can be treasured for a lifetime. If you’ve known them for a while you could create a look back over your friendship – include photos from all the activities you’ve done together or trips you’ve enjoyed. Make a book for your friends and family to share all the special memories you’ve created together over the years. You could even make a book of all the things you hope to do with them in the future, like plans for traveling – photos of your favorite destinations or sightseeing opportunities would make a great gift. Include a tick sheet for all the places you put in, and then you could even make a book of your own photos once you’ve visited them all.
Photo books are versatile – you don’t have to stick to a pre conceived format or style. Put your own stamp on it by writing a story and using photos of your friends and family to illustrate it. There are hundreds of ideas that you could choose so take a look around for some inspiration and then get snapping.
6. Treat Them to a Little Luxury
If they’re the type of person to feel guilty for spending money on themselves then consider buying them something extra special. Pick up some exclusive chocolates, a bottle of champagne or a voucher for a foot massage – anything that you think they would enjoy but wouldn’t buy for themselves. Everybody loves to be indulged and pampered a little, so go all out and make them feel special.
Put together a hamper of little luxury items that they can enjoy throughout the festive season and beyond. Luxury doesn’t have to mean expensive, a bag of their favorite sweets is just as likely to be welcome as a fancy jar of caviar so do some research into the things they like the most and pile it high with them.
If your father really enjoys culture or your little sister is always bang on trend then a subscription to something they love is a great idea for a gift. Subscriptions are brilliant because they last an entire year, giving you extra brownie points, so take a look at the magazines they read religiously or the museums they always like to visit. Most places will offer a year or mores subscription to their events and buildings and most of the time offer added extras as a thank you – making the gift extra special.
If they’ve always wanted to learn a new skill like cooking, photography or ice skating you could always buy them lessons or a course. There are thousands of courses available, perfect for someone who has everything or if your parents are now retired and have time to finally learn the things they’ve always wanted.
A trip away is always a wonderful gift to receive, and doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. Book a weekend in a city you’ve never been too and include a choice of restaurants and sight seeing opportunities. If your mother has always wanted to visit Rome or your best friend has family in New York then surprising them with a trip away to fulfill their dreams is a fantastic gift. If you want to go all out then have a friend pack their bags for them and don’t reveal the destination until you get to the train station or airport.
Everybody loves a bit of nostalgia so think about buying something retro rather than shiny and new. If your friends were children of the 1980’s then get them a Super Nintendo to game on or the Back To The Future DVD box set. Anything that allows people to relive their childhood will be a hit – go all out by making some food from the past to go with the gifts or by dressing in your favorite seventies ensemble. Stocking fillers like dominos, microcars, Tamigotchis and an Etch A Sketch are guaranteed to make people smile. Pez dispensers, trivial pursuit, Sonic the hedgehog – there’s a huge wealth of opportunities to explore so be creative and create a festive trip down memory lane.
2. Food Hampers
If you’re a dab hand in the kitchen (or even if you’re not), making a friend or family member a food hamper for Christmas is a great way to celebrate the festive season. Biscuits, chocolates and fudge are easy and cheap to make, and look great all packaged together in a basket or box. Items like jam, preserves, chutneys or even your own alcohol like blackberry wine can be made ahead of time, meaning you get to enjoy a relaxing run up to Christmas. Take a look at some food magazines and websites for inspiration, whip up some goodies and dress them up with some ribbons and cellophane to make them look extra fancy.
People often appreciate the homemade touch, especially if what you make is delicious so don’t be surprised if people ask for it again next year! Homemade food gifts are also great if you want to buy for someone but you haven’t known them for long or you want to get something for a local group you’re involved in like a book group or your Church. Experiment with some ideas and see what you can come up with, whatever your skill level in the kitchen they’ll be something that you can manage!
1. Make Something Original
It doesn’t matter what it is – if you have a craft skill like knitting or crochet, or you’re handy with a camera – whatever it is that you’re good at (and everybody is good at something) use it to your advantage and create something unique. There’s an age old saying “it’s the thought that counts” and whilst that’s not an excuse to be lazy, it is an opportunity to really put some thought and consideration into your gifts this year.
People love to receive something that shows the person giving has spent time thinking about what they’d want. Even if you’re not very good at crafts you can still make store bought presents more special by creating an experience for people when they open them. Buy them a DVD they missed at the cinema and then give them some popcorn and a cozy blanket, or pick up some candles, a nice shower gel and a fluffy bath robe.
Whatever you decide to buy or create for your friends and family this year, take a look outside all the usual holiday adverts and try and think of something that they would really enjoy receiving. Next time you’re stuck for an idea of what to buy something for Christmas just remember: try and be unique, put some thought into it and don’t be afraid to look further than the shopping mall. Christmas doesn’t have to be an expensive, stressful time. Start planning earlier in the year, make a list of what you’d like to achieve and ask your friends and family for some help and you’ll soon be done in time to put your feet up with a mince pie and a festive movie on TV.