The Coca-Cola advert has been on, the aroma of mince pies and panic buying fills the air whilst every blogger and business under the sun is spewing out yet another “ultimate gift guide”. It can only mean one thing – Christmas is around the corner. The most wonderful time of year where we spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like. As a proud millennial I feel it’s time someone tapped these “ultimate gift guide” givers on the shoulder and let them in on a little secret. WE DON’T NEED ANYMORE STUFF.
Before you add yet another bath bomb set to your basket and the boy did good hashtags flood your Instagram alongside Michael Kors bags please have a wee peek of the alternative gift guide. A gift guide that shuns materialistic in favour of memories, in the hope of adding back a little sparkle to Christmas stockings.
So fear not, there is still time to “make 2018 your year” like Facebook said you had to, as you officially become Cindy Lou Who and rescue Christmas by giving your nearest and dearest a gift that’s filled with love, not headed for landfill.
1. A Gift That Lasts All Year Long
Because like puppies, gifts shouldn’t just be for Christmas.
- Amazon Prime – ideal for the impatient ones in your life, you don’t realise how much you need it until you have it.
- Cineworld Unlimited Card – No need to fight over the TV remote, buy one of these and they’ll never have to watch TV again.
- Subscriptions – We’re not just talking good old magazines, although having Vogue delivered to the doorstep of your fave fashionista for the next 12 months is slightly more exciting than yet another hat & scarf set (or Heat Magazine if it’s a secret Santa.)
Subscription boxes have become hugely popular in recent years with offerings including grooming boxes for gentlemen, gin boxes, recipe boxes and beauty boxes. However, due to the surprise element (you don’t know what you’ll receive in the box each month) although this can be a fun, there is the risk of wastage and you ending up with unnecessary items you wouldn’t have chosen to purchase yourself. We touch on this later, so take a peek at number 10.
2. Just The Ticket
Tickets are the perfect tinsel treat as there are so many different kinds it’s very easy to tailor to their interests. Not to mention it’s something to look forward to in months ahead, and something they’ll remember months after. From festivals to flights, sporting events to theatre shows – there’s a ticket to suit any price and personality.
One of our favourite Christmas gifts was our Belladrum Tickets – it is an artsy music festival in the Scottish Highlands, almost like a baby Glastonbury. After attending the past 10 years we put together the ultimate list of top tips & Belladrum info here
If dancing in the mud isn’t your cup of tea, we recommend Benicassim music festival in Spain. Guaranteed sunshine, guaranteed insane line up and it is only 110 euros for an early bird ticket (if purchased before Christmas). This is our full Benicassim guide & ultimate tips!
For flights on a budget use Sky Scanner and for the destination enter “everywhere” – this will show you the cheapest destination from your nearest airport = BEST GIFT EVER.
3. For The Animal Lovers (so everyone you know)
The gift ideas for animal lovers could rival the length of Santa’s naughty list but here are just a few:
- A lil cliché’ but one of the greatest gifts I ever received was someone adopting me a penguin named Sparkle. To be fair I am disgustingly obsessed with penguins so knowing I now have my own wee fella knocking about the Antarctic fills me with that fuzzy festive feeling.
- Be a zoo keeper for a day. This doesn’t have to be a literal zoo either, as places such as puppy rescue shelters or donkey sanctuaries allow these open days in return for donations. Its educational, you get to hug animals and wear welly boots, did someone say BEST DAY EVER.
4. A Gift You Can Eat Or Drink
This is also known as the fool proof gift as everyone likes (and needs) to eat and drink.
- Gin Tasting – As the popularity of mother’s ruin continues on the up, price for gin tasting sessions keep going down. Far more thoughtful than a boring bottle of plonk and a lot cheaper too!
- Brewery/Distillery Tour – For the craft beer hipsters or anyone with taste buds, a jaunt to their fave brew house such as BrewDog will avoid any mainstream gift dramas. The “Dog Walk” brewery tour of BrewDog HQ is £15 for a 90 minute tour including 4 tastings, so cheaper than a crate and there’s no need to wrap it.
- Cooking Lessons – Ideal for the couple that never shut up about booking yet another holiday. Spend 20 quid for them to learn how to cook food from their favourite holiday destination and they may even invite you along next time. From Thai to Tapas there are so many options and some even include free goody bags and cocktails.
- Afternoon Tea – This is one of those cheeky treats you are unlikely to buy for yourself but everyone and their nan loves afternoon tea so it is guaranteed a winner. Particularly perfect for those you know with Champagne tastes when you’re on a Cava budget as there are so many “bottomless” options and 2-4-1 deals.
5. Buy Them Their Dream Job
Not exactly, but you can buy them a pretty good shove in the right direction. Do you know someone who has always wanted to be a photographer but is still using their iPhone to take photos? Or an Xbox fanatic who has an idea for the next GTA? Or possibly that friend whose eyebrows are so on fleek she needs to share them with the world?
Booking a course (either online or offline) gives them the stepping stone from daydream to dream job. A quick search online produces thousands of options from floristry to photography, make-up artists to martial arts, cake decorating to computer programming.
From one day crash courses, to online tutorials where you can take as long as you need, the hardest part is deciding who the lucky recipient will be.
6. Oxfam Unwrapped
Instead of spending money on the person that has everything, give that money to the people who have nothing. Oxfam Unwrapped is a Christmas gift giving scheme where the pennies you’d usually spend on a dust collecting present goes towards an essential item for those in need.
For £26 you can provide clothes, food and shelter to a refugee, £46 provides a pair of pigs for an African family or simply a tenner provides safe drinking water for 10 people. There are so many options to suit every budget. They’ll post you out a gift card to represent your kind gesture, simply pop on a bow and *Tada* your tenner could change lives instead of buying silly socks.
7. Buy Them A Sleepover In Someone Else’s House
If there’s one thing my mum absolutely loves, it’s snooping at other people’s houses. I swear, she even looks up houses for sale just to peek inside. Therefor a stay in an Airbnb is ideal as it’s a home away from home. Not only that, you can stay in some seriously unique homes too, we suggest reading our quirky accommodation post for some inspiration. Thanks to Airbnb we have enjoyed sleepovers in a tree house, a bell tent and a hut in the jungle.
The best thing is if you use our sign up code you receive £25 off your first booking (they’ll never know you scrimped on their gift) or if you’re unsure on a date purchase an Airbnb gift card. An Airbnb giftcard means they can choose a house suited to their taste and dates.
8. Let Them Stay Around The World FOR FREE
If Airbnb doesn’t sound epic enough, how about paying the small fee of $38 (USD) for your favourite person to join Workaway. Ideal for the adventurous sorts, this online platform offers hosts in over 170 countries who allow you to stay in their home FOR FREE in exchange for volunteering your time. Our hosts also provided 3 meals a day, took us on day trips, provided a car as well as sharing knowledge and skills we will never forget.
Perhaps you know someone who’d love to volunteer at a surf school in Portugal? Help save turtles in Sri Lanka? Harvest Grapes in New Zealand? We have completed 3 experiences – working on a glamping site in Switzerland, an olive farm in Crete and assisting photographers in Hawaii. You can read our full Workaway Review here with all our top tips and advice. Not only did these experiences give a unique boost to our CVs, we have made friends for life and stayed in some of the most stunning locations around the world. We can’t think of a better gift.
9. Give The Gift Of Time
Although free, this is probably one of the most valuable gifts you can give. Save the wrapping paper and pennies by giving up your time for someone else. Whether you cook your best friend’s dinner, do your Aunt’s ironing for a month, take your grandma to the cinema or use your time to help strangers by volunteering at a homeless shelter, animal sanctuary or local charity shop. There is nothing more fulfilling than someone willingly wanting to share their time with you as well as providing a feel good factor in return. Get creative, there are so many ideas that many people you know (or don’t know yet) will be so grateful for.
10. Give A Gift That Can Help Save The World
Before the turkey has even digested, our inboxes are inundated with diet plans, stop smoking lectures and dry January sponsorship requests as New Year’s Resolutions are all we talk about. Although we don’t normally advocate this sort of #newyearnewme behaviour we do have one wee request, that everyone tries to make the conscience effort to be a little more sustainable next year and here are a few gift ideas to give loved ones a kick up the butt to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
Lush Shampoo Bars – Not only do they take up less space in your bag when travelling, they smell amazing, are completely natural and last around 80 washes. Think how many washes you’d receive from yet another shampoo set and how quickly those plastic bottles go to waste? A unique gift that’s actually bloody useful and 2 months later ours our still going strong!
Authentic House Home Box – We touched on subscription boxes earlier and the Authentic House Home Boxes are perfect for those wanting to help save the world in 2019. Ideal for those becoming mindful about what you use and want to buy less, shop local and with Vegan options available there is no excuse. The aim is to help discover a sustainable lifestyle and support ethical UK independents through items such as reusable, eco-friendly alternatives that also help replace plastic. They also include natural and vegan friendly beauty products accompanied by a mini magazine with sustainable living tips and success stories!
For Make Up Fanatics – I bet you know a make up lover or two, so instead of buying them yet more make up buy them one of these magical things that will also help save the planet. Make up & baby wipes take over 100 years to decompose – avoid that landfill by purchasing these reusable make up removers instead. The microfibre fabric is specifically designed to clear pores and leave skin even cleaner than wipes can anyway, the best part is you can simply chuck them in the washing machine. Ideal for travel or make up maniacs alike. Purchase them here.
- MAGIC MAKEUP REMOVE CLOTH! Just add water to this magic makeup remover towel, wipe away makeup, dirt and oil in just seconds. Leaves your skin clear, soft and smooth
- MULTI-FUNCTIONAL! This towel works well as a Facial Makeup Remover, Eye Makeup Remover, Foundation Simple Makeup Remover, also works for Eye shadow, Mascara, Lipstick, Liners and More! Everything...
- GREAT for SELF-USE or GIFT IDEA! New eco-friendly remove makeup way, easy and convenient, also machine washable. A must have for makeup skin cleansing system
Living out of a backpack has taught us just how little belongings we actually need and how – like many others – we’d rather have a life of adventures than a house full of stuff. This alternative gift guide is just a handful of ways to share the festive spirit without caving in to the commercialised craziness Christmas has become. Although everyone knows the true meaning of Christmas is spending time, not money, nothing says “nailed it” like adopting a penguin.
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