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The Season of Giving- Making Presents Personal

Updated on November 8, 2015

Too Many People

I come from a pretty big family and we all like to celebrate Christmas. I like to give presents that show that I've thought of the person I'm giving it to. As a teenager I used to get gifts like bath sets or make up sets and, whilst I was grateful to get a gift, it was a little saddening to think that the gifver hadn't thought through the giving (I had a lot of allergies and so could very rarely use bath sets or smellies).

But, I understand, too sometimes we find family members the hardest to buy for whether it be the Uncle Who Has Everything or the Auntie Who Hates Clutter.

The shops rarely help, they tell me that my mother will want the latest perfume (she won't) or my uncle will want quirky cufflinks (he won't) or wine (well, one of them will, but it isn't very imaginative is it?)

Over the past few years I've found myself constantly looking for new ideas to make Christmas gifts special and personal to my relatives and friends and I thought, rather than share a list of individual gift ideas which may or may not search that awkward person in your life, I'd post instead about where to start looking.

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Pinterest

Pinterest is terrific particularly for home-made ideas. Run a search for gifts or gift ideas and you can find all sorts of ideas from a Santa's Sleigh made out of chocolates

or (something I used to good effect last Christmas) a make-your-own film night gift.

It's also a great place to store any ideas you find online. You can create private pinboards to stop any nosy family members getting wind of your next great idea.

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Shopping

We all know that a lot of the big retailers become increasingly manic at Christmas, with advertisements telling us we will make small children/old men/cut teddies cry if they don't get something like a morrocan pie dish or large cuddly toy (a la The Generation Game).

Looking in the physical world? Try smaller shops, craft shops and market stalls that might have something small that can bring a personal twist to an item.

Some years ago I volunteered in a Charity Shop and, quite frankly, my friends never did so well out of it- I had first look at anything that came in and bought some terrific gems that suited them perfectly. Obviously this doesn't work for everyone if you have a relative who is likely to turn their nose up at second hand...but then again, often items arrive 'as new' to the charity shops so you never know- you might snap up a bargain!


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Support Local Artists and Crafters

Craft fairs are full of ideas for gifts - and there's always plenty around at Christmas if you know where to look. Try sites like Craft Fairs UK

or keep an eye out at your local National Trust properties or stately homes. Equally local papers and facebook groups are a great source of information.


Alternatively, if you prefer to shop online try Folksy (a UK version of Etsy) for handmade, quirky or unique items.

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Still Struggling?

Still struggling to come up with something to suit that awkward person? Try creating a profile on paper of their personality - what are their hobbies or dislikes?

Are they a gardener? Do they prefer going to the theatre or watching TV? Are they a bookworm? Are they a foodie? Or have they gone a bit Bake Off mad?

Once you start thinking about their hobbies, you can tailor something to them. For example, I have a relative that hates clutter but loves food and dining so one year I got a picnic basket and filled it with food from our childhood together- the flavour of soup she liked best when we had our tea together after school, a packet of her favourite sweet-shop sweets, a bottle of her preferred soft drink. She loved it and, better still, she could use everything in it and re-use the picnic basket again.


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