So like most people, December has thrown me into a Christmas whirlwind, and gift buying is at the top of my list of things still to do.
With this being our first Christmas with Eve, a 3 month old that really doesn't 'need' presents I started to think about non-traditional gift ideas.
Its so easy to get overtaken with consumerism at this time of year and we all know that spending loads of money on 'stuff' that no one really needs shouldn't be what Christmas is all about, but we end up doing it anyway.
So after scouting the internet for ideas of gifts that are not your usual clothes and toys I've come up with the following list of gift ideas that are thoughtful, original and don't cost the earth......
Alternative gifts for babies and kids
- Write your own storybook - This is an idea we had for Eves first Christmas, and although it's not finished yet, it's starting to look great. It will by no means be professional looking, in my opinion, the more handmade the better, but it will be something that she can keep forever and will be so special for us. I'm creating this using collage in a scrapbook with a super simple story about the day she was born and everyone that came to visit her. I'm already looking forward to being able to read this to her at bedtimes when she gets a bit older.
- A flower press. My niece received this for a recent birthday and as soon as I heard about it I felt so nostalgic. I had a flower press when I was younger, it was kept at my grandma's house and I used to look forward to going to her house and opening it up to see how the flowers looked. Its so fun to go out and pick flowers or different foliage with the kids, press them and wait in anticipation to see how they will look days later. Once pressed you can frame them or create birthday / thank you cards etc. Writing this is really making me want to get myself a flower press again!
- A birdwatching kit with binoculars. We recently bought this as a gift for our 6 year old niece and she loved it. Again getting the kids outside with nature and getting them excited to learn about wildlife is so much fun.
- A kids cookery book with a promise to allow them to choose a recipe a week that they can make all by themselves. Alongside this you could buy them their own baking equipment and some ingredients for a specific recipe to get them started. Let them go through the whole making process themselves - what kid doesn't want to feel like they are doing their own thing rather than just watching their parents doing it. ( idea inspired by http://lulastic.co.uk/ blog)
- A goldfish - Give your kid the ultimate gift, a lovely idea that will teach them about responsibility and how to look after a real-life living thing, because in the words of Mamalina.co kids can keep beings alive too!
- Lessons - Piano, guitar, singing, dancing, sewing, knitting, life drawing. Give the gift of learning something new.
Going handmade is also a good option and one that I try to do myself each year. The following list includes some really nice ideas that are quick and simple to make at home.
Handmade gifts you can make at home.
Scented candle - Seriously one of the easiest things that you can make and they are such lovely gifts. All you need is wax and wicks and some high-quality essential oil. Choose an oil that's personal to the person you're making for, for example relaxing lavender for a new mum. Then choose a container of your choice like a jam jar, teacup or plant pot and get creative making your own label. I love using brown paper and string for an extra rustic and Christmassy feel.
- Scented Epsom salts - Again super simple but really effective. Purchase a bag of Epsom salts and then add essential oils. Use the same container and labels as you did for the candles and give as a gift set.
- Gingerbread men - I did this a few years ago. I made each family members a personalised gingerbread man and iced their name onto it. wrap it up in lovely brown paper with string and you have a tasty and thoughtful gift.
- Woollen scarf or headband - Get your needles out and get knitting and if you've never knitted before watch a quick YouTube video on how to do a simple stitch. All I can knit is straight lines but I've made many a scarf and headbands for people as gifts and they always look great.
- Playdough - When my four-year-old niece came to visit a few months ago, all she wanted to do was make and create with her play dough. Rather than buying it from shops you can easily make your own. its simple, cheap and you know exactly what is in it (ie no nasties). See a super easy recipe here on the BBC good food site
Still need some more ideas? Why not make an effort to buy gifts from small businesses. There are so many people doing their own thing these days that you really don't need to buy from big corporate companies. Here is a list of some of my absolute favorites:
- Imono Prints - Commission a monoprint of your pet or check out some of Imogen's original designs. I'm obsessed with our Lola print that she did for us.
- Samantha Parker London - The most beautiful products, created using Sam's hand-drawn and painted creatures in their surroundings - I love everything on her site and can't wait for my feather variation wall art to arrive for Eves woodland inspired nursery.
- Hola BB - Ethical and high-quality gifts for kids and babies and a great range of 'Mama Merch' - I can't get enough of the Wild Cotton wildlife range
- Umbrella Amarela - Gisele's sparkly magic wands are my absolute fave - i always imagine her house to be covered in glitter :)
- Harriet Peachy- Hatty creates the most beautiful paintings as she follows the coast around the UK
- The Wilderness Club (couldn't write up a list without adding my own products :) Check out my scented vegan candles and Lavender eye bags
I'm always looking for things to add to these lists so please do comment with your own ideas and I can add them in.