A Christmas Gift Guide with a Difference.

Giving a gift can be a wonderful experience, that buzz when you know you’ve found just the thing for that particular person, the time taken to wrap it up beautifully, the anticipation of handing it over. However, finding the right gift can also be rather stressful and headache inducing, especially for that person (usually a male member of the family in my case) who has no need of anything, their hobby isn’t one you can buy affordable extras for and they really don’t need any more socks!

I’m going to say something controversial here, but perhaps don’t buy them any “thing” at all? The worst thing anyone can do, financially for themselves, for the environment and also for the person on the receiving end, is waste money on something that is not needed, not particularly wanted and just bought in order to have something to hand over. Christmas can put an awful lot of strain on people, financially and I think it’s such a shame that the whole point of it (family coming together) is tainted with pressure and stress and debt.

So, woven into this gift guide is a train of thought I hope will strike a chord and inspire you to perhaps make some different choices this year: buy less, with more thought for what it is you’re purchasing, think about who you’re buying from (this time of year is a wonderful chance to support small businesses) as well as places like Charity Shops and lastly, a gift doesn’t always have to be an object, it can be an idea, a promise of time or an experience.

So, I will begin with some beautiful objects which I think would be both useful and much appreciated, I won’t be dividing my ideas and suggestions into gender as I feel the majority, if not all, are completely lovely for everyone.

I’ve coveted this Gold Leaf Garland for quite some time now, sold by the very wonderful No.56 it’s £34 and in my eyes absolutely not just for Christmas. It can be unwound and hung like a garland. I would be incredibly happy if I found this wrapped beneath the tree this year.

Image – No.56

I’m a sucker for a mug, I guess you could say I collect them, but not in a hoarding kind of way, I don’t think, yet! I love choosing which mug suits my mood, the drink I’m preparing, (the photo I want to take for Instagram!!)

These multicolour Stoneware mugs from Fox&Feather are beautifully muted and just very lovely.

*edit – Fox&Feather are now out of stock, but I’ve found the mugs here.

I’m a huge fan of natural tones and textures and I believe the use of wood in a home is good for the soul. It keeps us connected to the outside world and there is so much beauty in this natural material. These Rich Stafford handcarved wooden coffee scoops, which I sell in the Alice in Scandiland Shop, combine my love for this material and the fact every day items should still bring us happiness. Imagine coming into contact with such a wonderfully made object, each time you make a coffee, how many times a day/ week/ year would you/ the person you are gifting to use it?! They are £25 each, now divide that per use for the rest of a lifetime, definitely worth it’s cost per scoop!

Any items stocked at my shop are avail to be posted out, simply send me a message via Instagram or Facebook.

I’ve had a bit of a crush on this particular Melin Tregwynt Welsh Blanket since Stu and I stayed in Hay-on-wye earlier in the year.

The cushion here is from Mon Pote and is currently on sale.

Home by Kirsty sell the blanket.

One of my most loved items in the house, as well as the most asked about, is this Ferm Living Dorm Shelf. It brings me happiness every day with it’s Plywood simplicity.

Scandinavian Design Centre currently have it on offer at £100, though it is on a back order.

Magazines –

For only a few pounds, with a magazine, you can gift someone recipes, poetry, wellbeing, art, interior design inspiration, self care… need I go on?

I currently stock Lionheart, 91 Magazine and In Clover at the shop, all of which would make a wonderful, affordable gift. In Clover is much more like a book really and £12 is a very reasonably priced book, full up with total loveliness.

Once your recipient has finished reading it (personally I like to carry mine around in my bag and I dip in and out for weeks), then they can either keep it, or pass the gift along. We shouldn’t be too concerned about always keeping things, it has served it’s purpose, it’s not rude to then let someone else appreciate it also.

Give the gift of time, good food and memories with family and friends. Instead of an object, what about the promise of a shared meal, give the choice of a few dates, to make it easier to arrange meeting up, something to look forward to in the gloomy months of January and February. Buy them breakfast at a favourite hang out, if you’re in Cornwall then take a look at Botelet Breakfast Club, a firm favourite with me.

Image – Richard Tamblyn

Or create a voucher for a home cooked meal, have fun decorating the table and enjoy making the time for each other. It’s good to think beyond the 25th of December, I would love to have something like this booked into my diary to think about as the year comes to an end.

At least 5 items in this photo are from a charity shop…

Self care –

Creating a little gathering of thoughtful things for a friend or loved one can be fun. Throughout the year, if you see something that makes you think of them, then buy it and save it (something for next year). Mix practical things with little treats and luxuries.

Image – A Pair & A Spare

Candles –

Hand dipped Beeswax candles, made in Cumbria, prices start from £2.50
String bags, £4.95, Julia Crimmen Hanging Pot £28
Handmade Candle Co 180ml £12, avail in – Pine, Bramble, Bay & Rosemary, Rosewood & Moss, Amber & Musk, Tobacco & Hay

Scented, Beeswax, handmade, natural wax, candles help to fill a home with warmth and atmosphere, beautiful scent and are proven to improve your mood. I stock a selection of natural wax, nasty free candles which are amongst the top favourites with customers at the shop.

Kelham Candle Co, 60ml £7, 120ml £12. Avail in – Gingerbread, Pumpkin Spice, Mocha, Apple & Cinnamon.

Cake. Not much needs to be said here, cake is a winner in all situations. Bake someone a cake, wrap it in grease proof paper, tie it up with a ribbon and watch their eyes light up when they open it.

Find my recipes for Lemon Drizzle and Beetroot Brownies under Recipes/ Foodie tab in my blog menu.

This also ties into a gift idea for children, it’s very much along the same lines as above, making time and creating special moments. Instead of another toy (if they’re anything like my two then they really aren’t needed or particularly wanted) create a booklet of vouchers, it can contain different ideas: a special pancake breakfast, a day trip on the train, ice creams and rockpooling. Anything you think would interest the child in question.

Nancy and Eula love a candlelit breakfast, make it extra special with flowers, fun napkins and “special plates”.
Years ago Stu made this Table Tennis table topper, which used to be the centre of some funny, beer fuelled late night tournaments. Occasionally it comes out now and it’s “like the best thing ever” according to the girls.
An Easter Party could be part of a year’s worth of fun things to look forward to.
Homemade Hot Chocolates on the beach between Christmas and New Year.

Toys that are very much appreciated in our house are Schleich animals. You can’t have too many in my eyes, duplicates help create family groups, anatomically correct and just so lovely, I suggest them as gifts for the girls to all their friends and family.

One of these lovelies would make a little person very happy, so don’t worry about having to spend lots. They really are worth the money though, these are the toys I will definitely be keeping for the grandchildren I may someday have.

The Blue Whale is my personal favourite and I have been known to steal it for my own uses!

Traces of Magic sent each of the girls one of these utterly magical personalised Name Prints and they make my heart sing they’re so beautiful. This is the type of thoughtful gift which will be treasured forever.

I can’t wait to see Nancy and Eula’s faces when they open these, I think I will roll them up, pop them in a little tube and slip them into their stockings. Father Christmas would definitely bring something this enchanting.

Thank you so much Amanda.

If you would like to order one, you have until December 16th to order (depending on demand) so get in there quick.

These Rock & Pebble Toy Bags would be a gift for both the children and the parents, a beautiful, fun and practical addition to any house. Starting from approx £23, great for Lego, aforementioned Schleichs and just the general detritus that seems to come with little people.

There adorable ceramic cups are lovely for both adults and children, we have several at home and they’re used for hot and cold drinks. The girls love their funny little faces. These are on offer at the shop right now, £10 each.

Magazine Subscriptions –

The gift that keeps on giving, Anorak is absolutely magical, full of wonderful illustrations, positive, creative ideas for children. The Week Junior talks about current affairs in a way younger people can understand, Nancy, age 7, finds it fascinating.

You can rarely go wrong with books and don’t be put off by gifting a voucher, I love having the option to choose for myself, to plan a day around visiting somewhere like a bookshop, browsing for way too long, enjoying spending time thinking about what I would really treasure. Nancy and Eula are the same, they absolutely love vouchers!

So, I feel I could go on a lot longer, but by the time you’ve finished reading it may well be New Year!

I hope my gift guide has given you some food for thought and perhaps a slightly different perspective on the whole Christmas Shopping lark, but, if I leave you with one thought I would hope it is this…

Your happiness is worth more to your friends and family than an object, if you find yourself feeling stressed by the amount you are having to spend, take a moment to think about whether it is really needed. Is there an alternative idea that could bring even more happiness and also save you money? Your time and wellbeing is worth a lot, that in itself can be a wonderful gift.

And, if you are spending money this Christmas, please try and support small businesses, both locally and online. They are the ones who deserve your hard earned pennies x

If you would like to purchase something from the Alice in Scandiland Shop then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I like to think I stock items that are both beautiful and useful and am more than happy to make suggestions of products for your needs.

I also offer gift vouchers, so you can give the gift of choice…

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Victoria Johnson says:

    I’ve loved reading this gift list.
    My family don’t usually shop small and definitely not from charity shops, I’m hoping to start to change their minds this year…..
    Keep up the great work!! X

    1. Thank you Victoria, good luck and happy Christmas x

  2. Karen Chapman says:

    I work for a homeless charity that has a couple of Charity shops, this weekend we had our Christmas fair with entertainment and additional stalls for other charities and organisations. The event was a huge success and our visitors had an amazing time and bagged some real bargains. Also Cops and Robbers – we still have this book and my kids are in their 30’s!!

    1. I’m so pleased people are showing their support Karen, wonderful. And Cop and Robbers is the best!

  3. Jen Merritr says:

    I went to the Melin Tregwynt mill last year and bought myself the most ridiculously over the top but amazing Cape in the the same weave!
    Watching the blankets being made you can absolutely understand the cost!

    1. Oooh, fabulous. Yes, the cost is totally justified.

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