I love this time of year. The festive lights going up, town squares being transformed into ice rinks and sipping mulled wine in cosy locals.
I’m often guilty of leaving my gift buying to the last minute. It’s so easy, we all know it, to jump on Amazon have a quick search and press buy.
But this year, I’m making a conscious effort to try and support local, small or independent businesses for my gift buying. I’ve also had to be super organised as I will be in Argentina from the end of November until February, so present giving is in November this year!
On my travels, I love arriving at a new place and having a browse around the little independent shops, particularly in an arty or creative place.
I also understand how hard it is to run a small business. I spent 2 years running a tiny pop up vegan cake business in Nottingham. Before each market, I would spend the entire day creating my cakes from scratch and would be up again at 5 or 6 the next morning to finish them off.
It’s incredibly tiring (but rewarding) work running your own business, and whilst it often may be more expensive than an Amazon gift, there is likely to be a story, or a heart behind the gift, rather than a mass produced item.
So here are my suggestions to get you thinking for this festive season – if you’d like to add any of your faves, let me know in the comments below 🙂
For an early Christmas gift & inspiring Advent Calander Blotter and Brush
As much as I love Christmas, the consumerism can get a bit full on. I love this idea from Blotter and Brush for a Joyful Advent calendar. Instead of chocolate, each day you select a card for a mini challenge for the day – from making hot chocolate the slow way to helping wildlife in winter and decluttering unwanted goods for charity.
I’ve bought one for my sister and friend as I’ll be travelling in December and can’t wait to see what the rest of the challenges are!
For handmade and personalised Christmas cards and prints Wildflower Illustrations
I came across Rebecca’s dreamy cards on Instagram and immediately snapped up a small pack for my loved ones. The shop also has a wide range of prints from dogs to woodland animals and a monthly subscription stationary club with gorgeous cards, stickers and tags based on the seasons. seasonal cards, stickers and tags.
This Black Friday, as well as giving customers 10%, a further 10% of sales (not just profits) went to Against Malaria Foundation.
For the coffee/tea lover Kara Leigh Ford Ceramics
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They say that looking out to sea heals the mind. I designed my ‘At the Beach’ mugs for when you can't get to the coast. Hand thrown on the wheel using sandy stoneware clay. Glazed with three layers of merging textured glazes; evocative of the beach, sea and sky • I’d like to think my work offers you a more mindful eating and drinking experience. Drinking from a handmade mug is a very different experience to drinking from a mass manufactured mug. I hope you might think of me (the maker) whilst you choose the cup from the cupboard, you’ll enjoy the feel of the form beneath your fingertips and study the colours and textures of the glaze whilst waiting for your tea/coffee to brew. Feeling the love and care that went into the piece, taking time to ground yourself in this object which was born of earth, water and fire. ‘At the Beach Mugs’ in my shop right now😊 Happy Sunday folks 😘
These mugs are firmly on my Christmas wish list. Kara draws her inspiration from growing up in Devon with a range of bowls, mugs and a stunning (much sought after – they sell out quick!) travel mug.
I love watching Kara’s Insta stories from her shed in Somerset and if you are looking for an unusual gift experience, Kara now also offers private and group beginner pottery lessons.
For the photo lover prints from Inkifi
I used to love scrapbooking as a child, taking my film to the chemist to get the photos developed and sticking them in a book with endless leaflets, tickets and maps I’d picked up en route. Since digital photos took over, I’ve found myself printing and scrapbooking less, but this year I came across Inkifi, where you can link your Instagram account (or select files) to print your images on quality mini or polaroid size. I spent the afternoon reminiscing, writing captions by hand and putting together a photo album of all my 2018 adventures.
For handmade jewellery inspired by the sea KC Jewellery
I came across KC Jewellery when I was down in Bude this summer, at a dreamy independent shop The Jaunty Seagull, which stocks Cornish homewares and gifts from local artists and designers. As well as sterling silver necklaces and rings, my favourite necklace is this one inspired by the ocean, using sea glass and tiny pebbles and handmade in Plymouth.
For the adventurous foodie
Handmade jams/chutneys from local farm shops or honesty boxes
This year I’ve been on the lookout for local handmade foodie gifts to make into a hamper for friends and family.
I picked up chutneys from my day trip to Lundy Island – handmade by the lady who served me in the tiny shop. In the Isles of Scilly, honest boxes were dotted around the islands and I snapped up fudge made from milk and butter from the islands, dried bay and rosemary and summer jams. On my way back from the islands, I found a farmers market in Cornwall and scoped up pickled carrots and handmade peanut butter from a from a local lady who had just started her own business.
To decorate a backpack Hello Sunshine Pin Badges
I first came across Jo’s super fun pins from gin and tonic to cheese and biscuits at a craft market in Derby. I could see these looking pretty fetching on a backpack. Jo’s also has a VW campervan and I love seeing their wild travels around the UK on her Insta page.
For 2019 adventure inspiration Indie travel magazine gift subscription
There’s nothing I love more at this time of year than cosying up and getting lost in a book or magazine to inspire my next adventure. I came across the bi-annual Rucksack magazine in an independent shop in Exeter. Each issue has a specific theme from Islands to Journeys and I fell in love with the wild and dreamy stories from the Faroe Islands, which is on my bucket list of 2019 travel. My other favourite indie magazines include Sidetracked and Suitcase.
For the globetrotter El Camino bracelet
My best friend bought me an El Camino bracelet last year for Christmas, the perfect light present I took with me to open whilst working in the French Alps. This was followed by 3 beads for my birthday which represented my favourite countries in the world – Scotland, Italy and New Zealand. You have the option to collect ‘country steps’ and ‘small steps’ – for regions and landmarks such as Machu Picchu and coloured glass beads representing oceans and regions.
The bracelet was dreamt up by Tom and Candance whilst hiking the coastal route between Barcelona and Monaco, a unique idea for travellers to record past adventures and experiences. You can also get a custom-made bead to commemorate an occasion – such as a road trip, festival or travel quote.
For a splash of travel on the Christmas tree The Crafty Traveller
One of my friends has the sweetest collection of Christmas ornaments and baubles they have collected from their travels around the world. I could see this little world map fitting right in. Jen, who handmakes the baubles also creates amazing personalised maps – adorning hand embroidery and wooden pins to colourful world maps
For more Christmas inspiration…
One of my favourite bloggers Sophie Cliff has put together the loveliest guide of Gifts That Do Good
For inspiration on how to keep your gift-giving low waste check out this guide from The Foraged Life
For crafty and outdoorsy friends The Girl Outdoors has a gorgeous little guide for presents to make
Wishing you a wonderful, thoughtful Christmas 🙂