When my kids were much younger, I knew every Christmas what I would be buying them.
But as the years have passed by, finding unique yet affordable presents has become a hard task. And I tire of buying iTunes cards or giving cash disguised inside a cardboard box. They know the trick now.
But while I can still delight and surprise my children at Christmas, it’s my family that’s the problem. You see, unlike me and VIP, who are pretty skint most months, my parents and sibling, along with a handful of friends, actually manage to remain in the black by the end of the month; if they want or need something they can usually afford to go ahead and buy it.
And now you can see my dilemma. What do you get for the person who has everything they need? For starters, you can either prepare yourself for buying them the usual bottle of bubbly or slipper socks, or get creative by doing your research. Lucky for you, I’m saving you time on that having scoured the web for ten unique finds. Prepare to be wowed! (or at least think ‘that looks like a contender’)
For the car fan
While I was searching for travel mugs for VIP’s Christmas pressie, I came across this unique travel mug on eBay. You wouldn’t know it was a travel mug looking at it, so it’s a great conversation starter that will have asking what it is and where can they get one.
Be mindful that if you buy from sellers other than in the UK, it might not arrive in time for Christmas.
I had to spend a little more when I ordered mine to make sure it was from a UK seller.
For the foodie
My friend Kris is a self-confessed ‘food porn’ fan. So when she told me about this little beauty, I had to include it in my round-up of ten unique pressies.
Created from a passion for developing new flavours and free from artificial additives, the range of hot sauces covers the full range of the KICK-O-METER, ideal for the daring food lover.
You won’t find it at Waitrose (just yet) so snap it up before your friends get their mitts on it – as an extra special treat it even comes in a sleek presentation gift box. It costs £19.50 and makes an ideal present for daring foodie lovers looking for a spicy accomplice to zing up mealtimes.
For the hobbyist
A magazine subscription! I’m a little bit obsessed with magazines. I publish a travel one on a weekly basis and I love hoarding interior home magazines (ask VIP about my not-so-secret stash in the bedroom), so a magazine subscription is something that I always appreciate.
Okay, you might argue that there’s nothing unique about a subscription, but there’s a magazine out there for everyone so you’ll need to do some detective work to find out (1) what your family member/friend loves doing/reading about and (2) Hunt the subscription that is perfect for them.
The best thing about this present? The recipient gets reminded every month of your gift when it pops through their letterbox.
For the tea lover
Us Brits love a good cuppa – it’s what we’re known for. But fess up – what do you put your drinks down on? A magazine, the gas bill? or an old curled up leather souvenir coaster from someone's holiday 20 years ago?
If any of these sound like your furniture protection of choice then it is time to update. Check out Pushka Home which has added a new line of ceramic coasters to complement its door and drawer knobs and coat hooks.
They are available in a wide range of personalised themes, including family, bride & groom, wedding cloud, memorable day, dad, mum, a choice of 30 inspirational sayings, and favourites such as the London Underground.
For the kitchen gadget fan
This little beauty won ‘Best Kitchen Gadget' 2015 by UKMums.TV.
The Garlic Twist is an innovative kitchen garlic tool that is designed to replace the common but problem prone garlic press! The twist makes light work of mincing not only garlic, but also chilli, ginger and nuts.
For the upcycler
The pocket-sized LED bottle light can be popped into any empty bottle for an instant atmospheric lighting effect – anywhere you like. So for the upcycler who wants to recycle glass bottles at home – this is ideal.
For the traveller
How about swapping traditional presents at Christmas in favour of something to look forward to. How does a seven-night stay in Lanzarote for £181.10 per person sound?
Best of all, if you buy it for your partner, you get to go too – a present for both of you! The family-friendly three-star Costa Teguise is offered by Sunshine.co.uk and features a large outdoor pool and on-site entertainment.
Apartments are equipped for basic self-catering along with the option of staying all-inclusive. Travel is on January 5, 2016 on a bed-and-breakfast basis, with flights (take into account for the price) available from Luton from £82.60 per person.
For the dog lover
I’ve raved about these in an earlier post, but it’s so cute, I’m raving about them again.
If you’ve got a family member with a dog (or want to treat a special friend), then take a look Dog Artists.
You can commission oil paintings of dogs in different backgrounds or (and here’s the unique part) dogs in uniform to match their personalities. Simply a lovely idea.
For the gardener
Bring a bit of shabby chic decoration to the garden with Notonthehighstreet.com’s hanging cup and saucer bird feeder.
Featuring mis-matched, pretty vintage floral prints on the cup and saucer and finished with gold gilt rims, the feeder is available in four colours, comes complete with a hanging chain and costs £12.
If you’re not flush enough to do that, take inspiration and make your own. Nothing says you care more when you’ve spent time making something for someone.
For the family friends (or kids)
It’s always nice (and special) to receive a gift that has been handmade. But before you baulk at the idea, let me reassure you that it’s easier than you think.
Keep it simple and you’re bound to get it right. These cookie jar recipes are bang on trend at the moment, but rather than source one online, have a go at making it yourself.
All you need is a clean mason jar, the recipe (an example of which is below), a gift tag and ribbon (to decorate the jar) and some instructions (also provided).
I’ve gone for a chocolate chip recipe, but there are so many of them to find online so you can tailor it to suit your friends’ tastes.
Ingredients for Cookie Jar Recipe
What to do
Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in bowl. Place flour mixture in your jar then layer the remaining ingredients in order listed above, pressing firmly after each layer. Seal with your lid and decorate with stickers, fabric, ribbon and instruction tag.
Makes 24 cookies. Preheat oven to 375° F. Beat 3/4 cup softened butter or margarine, 1 large egg and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until blended. Add cookie mix and mix well, breaking up any clumps. Place tablespoons on the mixture onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes.
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