I love Christmas and I enjoy gift buying. My gift guide features a number of different items from small to medium businesses both online and off, locally and further afield. I’ve chosen these because I have experience of them, I’d be proud to give gifts from any of these businesses to others and would be thrilled if anyone chose to buy something for me from any of these customer (and budget) friendly retailers.
I have been an Orchard Toy fan for years, first with Kieran enjoying their fabulous fun, educational and family orientated games and now Taylor has the same big. We have a wide range of OT games and puzzles (and I have it on good authority that Santa might be bringing more). Our current favourite is What a Performance although to be fair it could be renamed what a hoot! Let’s just say that this particular game is a mix of charades, a traditional turn based family board game and you get to make silly noises. There are also forfeits . It’s hilarious.
This is just one of the Orchard Toys games we love and there are many others. These make particularly good gifts as they are solidly made, easy to tidy up, feature a range of education benefits and above all are fun. These games and puzzles make great family gifts as well as gifts for individuals.
A Local Shop for Local People – KRISTINA’S
Anyone who frequents my social media will know that I am a big fan of a local shop here in Thirsk, North Yorkshire (Kristina’s) which is part shop and part crafting room area (for want of a better description). I’ll have to be careful what I write for this recommendation because quite a few of my family and friends will be getting gifts from here.
The shop is amazing, with fabulous Fair Trade items, other ethically sourced gifts, toys and home items and a great number of Yorkshire-produced pieces / items (the rest being from around the UK). My particular favourites at the moment are her repurposed bicycle chains (made into clocks and more), the Fair Trade rainbow stripe design mugs, cups, teapots and the like (my kitchen could be getting a makeover), her Oakwood Aromatics soaps and bath/shower products (made in Masham) and more.
Kristina also has a dedicated crafting area for children aged four plus who can pop in for a spot of decoupage, glass painting, mug decorating and more, all at very affordable prices. Long live this fab local shop. Please support it if you are local (although she will post items out if customers cover postage).
I’ve known Natalie from Precious Parcels for years and adore her handmade gifts and treats, many of which are personalised. To date we have enjoyed named plaques (from Nicki’s Office to Taylor’s Room), a clock, Christmas decorations and more. I’ve also given her items as new baby gifts, christening gifts and for birthday and as Christmas gifts.
Natalie built up Precious Parcels from home when her youngest child was a newborn, she now runs a busy home business which brings a lot of joy to many. Don’t leave ordering too late though as many of her items are handmade and her last order date so that people will be guaranteed their items for Christmas is the 5th December.
Known up until recently as Write at Home, The Stationery Emporium is the umbrella website which hosts two stationery collections, Quillers for the more unique, artisan items and Write at Home for your everyday fun, useful and more affordable pieces. Basically, visiting TSE opens a door to a wealth of fabulous stationery items from diaries (I have my eye on the Personal Malden Filofax in ochre), notebooks, a specialist children’s range designed by the owner Margaret’s own daughter, pens, journals and much more. I’m sure I spied a Minion USB drive while browsing……
This is another delightful small business whose owner works incredibly hard at ensuring that stationery tarts such as myself have everything that they need to write, stay organised and everything else. I’m pretty sure some of us buy and then just play / stroke some of the items to be fair.
One of her most popular items is her signature quill pen and ink set. I’ve never used a quill but would love to try at some point.
So there you have it, my small but significant collection of recommended gift suppliers for Christmas 2015 and beyond.
*This is not a Christmas guide made up of companies who have sent me dirty five pound notes, flattered me somehow or blackmailed me into including them. They are included because I highly rate them. In the interests of disclosure the Orchard Toy’s game featured was send as a review item however if you search the blog, my social media accounts or ask anyone with children who have had a gift bought by me in the last five years they will tell you that I am a keen fan outside of the review opportunity.