Christmas is, in my opinion, the best time of year: festive cheer galore, snow, and endless food and drink. Sadly though, it fills me with a simultaneous sense of dread. I always struggle choosing presents unless the person has forced me to buy them something. So, to make my presents more thoughtful I use the ‘one big, a few small trick’: one big present and a load of stocking fillers. Buy a beautiful stocking and fill it with a load of goodies for the ultimate surprise – and still keeping it thoughtful and cheap.
The indecision doesn’t cease there though, trinkets are particularly difficult. How do you find an assortment of things that are compatible with the recipient whilst also being meaningful, humorous, and cheap? This is my guide to getting it right this Christmas!
Stocking Fillers should be exactly that, fillers. They should never be grand gesture – leave that to the main present – a thoughtful gift, especially for poor students, shouldn’t cost the earth. Stocking fillers can be anything from your favourite photo of the pair of you in a frame, a favourite chocolate, or even just an item that reminds you of a shared memory. Take time in selecting, as the choices are endless. This time of year is notoriously difficult money wise so don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune. The Christmas period means sales and offers are the norm, so look for the one which suits your needs.
Photo sites like Photobox (http://www.photobox.co.uk/) and Snapfish (http://www.snapfish.co.uk/snapfishuk/welcome) are great for creating canvases of you and your friends on the cheap, and ordering lots at a time often makes them even cheaper. Think bulk buying, and keep checking for offers.
Making a book of memories is always nice – you can print off photos, write quotes, personal messages and memories, with the only expense being the fancy book.
This Ted Baker notepad is both classic and simple. The leather finish makes it look more expensive than it is (just £13), and when filled with beautiful memories, it could prove priceless.
For generic trinkets, think nice candles, lipstick, underwear, mini bottles of alcohol and cocktail sachets, nail polish, perfume testers and bath bombs. An ideal place to start looking is Amazon. http://www.amazon.co.uk/. And if all else fails, head for those clothes vouchers!
Christmas scented bath bombs such as the Christmas Spice Glitter bath bomb by bath bomb fizz is ideal at £2.19. (http://www.bathbombfizz.co.uk/bathbombs/23-christmas-spice-glitter-bath-bomb.html)
Or for something a bit special try their Glamour Goddess Cocoa Butter Bath Truffles at £2.49.
Kate Moss’s new Rimmel range of matte lipstick is perfect, with a beautiful range of colours priced at just £5.49. (http://www.boots.com/en/Rimmel-Kate-Matte-Lipstick_1281356/)
Boots’ new range of nail polish, ‘Essie’, is full of delectable goodies for those who have been craving the notoriously difficult-to-find salon brand. Marketed at £7.99 and with a vast shade range, there’s something to suit every taste. (http://www.boots.com/en/Essie/)
If you are buying for your other half then I personally think activity gifts are the best. For example, buying them a ticket for the ice skating at Hyde Park’s Winter-wonderland (only £12) won’t break the bank and could start off a lovely day out together. Groupon (http://www.groupon.co.uk/) and Wowcher (http://www.wowcher.co.uk/deals) are also an excellent source of ideas. They offer deals on anything from beauty treatments to meals out at massively reduced prices. Recently, my friends and I bought a voucher from Wowcher for a night at Seven Bar in Leeds: it was £10 for 6 cocktails, a saving of £24, and made for an amazing night out. Keep your eyes peeled for the one that matches your partner.
Thoughtful gifts are always the best, so think of your friend, or other half’s favourite chocolates, films, a CD mix of songs, tickets to see their favourite comedian, artist or film. I recently bought my partner tickets to see Jason Byrne at the Leeds City Variety Music Hall (https://www.cityvarieties.co.uk), which provided a lovely evening out. Even if the stocking turns into the main present, a collection of little thoughtful gifts is often a lot nicer than one.
Christmas shouldn’t be a hassle – everyone loves to shop under those twinkling Christmas lights, so take your time, be inventive, and surprise that special someone. Stay on the lookout for a bargain, and remember: try to be entertaining and personal, but most importantly don’t overthink it! Good luck this Christmas!