It's December which means for me that I'm officially "allowed" to start thinking about Christmas. Anything earlier just seems wrong to me especially since we're already being bombarded by seasonal (or would that actually be 'unseasonal'?) tunes and advertising since September. Mind, when I say "start thinking", that's exactly what I mean. Yes, there's the Advent calendar and the Advent candles, but any more decorations won't appear until mid December and the tree never, ever goes up until Christmas eve.
One thing I need to (seriously) start thinking about though is gifts. I don't want to end up rushing around during the last week before Christmas and buy stuff just for the sake of it. Besides, with our imminent house move looming, being organised is even more important this year than in previous ones. Either way though, I really do want to give thoughtful gifts that will be appreciated and treasured rather than cast off to the nearest charity shop come January. I also want to give things I know I would love myself but that at the same time are suitable for the person being gifted. That way I know I have truly done my best. These things don't have to be big or hugely expensive, but they should be chosen with care and thought. Part of that for me means looking to spend my money with small, independent retailers and makers because not only will the person receiving the gift be (hopefully) happy, but the cash I'm spending goes directly to a person and/or family to support them and their small business.
So, since I'm sharing my thoughts on Christmas shopping, I guess it's only fair that I also share some of my favourite small retailers and some of their fab items with you. There is of course a lot more to be found on each website and I have therefore put each shop link at the bottom of this post in addition to the link within the paragraph for each product featured. This then is my little, totally subjective and hopefully helpful gift guide. I have teamed up with these lovely people to share some of their gorgeous pieces and hope you like them too.
Please note that any items not mentioned are purely for decorative purposes and not part of the guide.
All the items chosen are pretty much suitable for both, your male or female friends, so there's no need to agonise about that part too much. You might only run into trouble if the person has a complete dislike for, er, mugs for example or claims they have enough already (who says something like that?). I'm certain though that anybody faced with a gorgeous specimen like this Mountain Ceramic Mug will be more than happy. Hand thrown in Scotland and made from British clay, each mug is completely unique therefore making it truly special.
If you're looking for a gift for the stationery lover, then these giant bulldog clips are perfect. I love their practicality combined with a hint of glam due to their gold colour, but they're also available in black which might (maybe, possibly) be more suitable for the true minimalist. Either way, I think they're pretty cool, wouldn't you agree?
Pretty household items are always on top of my personal list and I know I'm not the only one, especially when they're made from natural materials and ingredients. This Nota Bene soap is handmade from completely natural ingredients and contains shea butter. Not only is it good for for your skin, it also smells amazing and the packaging (each soap is wrapped by hand) is just as beautiful and understated. When it comes to soap, you can't really ask for more, right?
If you're looking for something even more personal that will make anybody happy who likes to cook or at least look at their pretty kitchen, then how about this amazing linen tea towel? Embroidered with any initials you choose and available in two colour ways, this will only get better with age and develop that lovely feel of soft linen that has been washed many times over. Having inherited some linens with my grandparents' initials, I'm thinking that this is something with true longevity.
Plants are good for your home and to look their best they need stylish planters. This handmade concrete planter is then the perfect gift for the plant lover and will fit into any home no matter what style. Ok, I might draw the line at Alpine style complete with cuckoo clock...
I'm pretty certain that your most stylish friend will be over the moon when receiving a handmade cowhide phone cover. Not only does it feel and look great, it also really protects your phone and the thick felt backing provides a great contrast to the cowhide front.
If you're after something a little boho inspired, then this hanging planter / glass candle holder (it could be used either way) is perfect. Now, the Fresh Flower shop gift part of their site isn't quite up and running yet (it will be soon and you can still order flowers for deliver nationwide), but if you're anywhere near South East London, then you really should pay them a visit, especially at their fabulous workshop. You know, the one you might have spotted a few times on my Instagram feed already.
One of the things I can never have enough of is beautiful stone ware like this coco bowl and fluted quiche form. Each item is handmade and therefore completely unique and there are many more variations and pieces like these available. Perfect for the friend who likes to cook and have people around the table. Oh, that'd be me then...
Last, but not least, the one my son eyed up immediately (can I have that, pleeeease mum!): this fabulous Uashmama lunch bag / handbag. This bag is made from paper, but looks like leather and can even be washed, clever, huh? It looks and feels absolutely gorgeous and of course grey suits my overall taste, but if your friend is more into metallics, then this also comes in rose gold an platinum. Personally, I'd be over the moon if I found this one under the tree.
So, I hope this little guide might help you sort out your gifting conundrums and get you on the way to a calm pre-Christmas season.
Note: Some products might feature on more than one site as crossovers between retailers are sometimes inevitable. It is in no way my intention to favour one shop over another.
Shops (click for links):