10 thoughtful gift ideas for Christmas… and weddings!

There’s only two weeks left until Christmas which means (unless you’re super prepared) a lot of us are still thinking about what to buy our loved ones! I find buying presents can often be pretty tricky, especially for family members that you’ve been buying presents for over the years, or for those that have everything they need.

I hate feeling like I’m buying just because it’s Christmas and that’s what we do! I like to know that the gift is something I’ve put a lot of thought into and is something they’ll really enjoy. So, to help others that are stuck on what to buy, I’ve put together a few ideas for a range of budgets that are a little different to the usual gifts. These would not only work as Christmas presents, they’d work as wedding presents too! This is a wedding blog after all ;)

1. Experiences

I personally love experience gifts because they’re often for the kind of thing we’d absolutely love to do but can’t justify spending the money on. Nobody needs a fancy Michelin Star lunch, but would we like one? I would! There are a ton of other things most of us should be spending our money on (such as those boring bills) so whilst we wouldn’t buy this for ourselves it’d be amazing to indulge guilt-free if somebody else bought it for us! An experience gift is giving the gift of wonderful memories which I think is far more lovely than having even more stuff cluttering up your house!

There are lots of experience companies online but one I really like is Truly Experiences (it looks good as well as having good gifts!) Their gifts range from a £49 Sherry tasting and tapas for two in London to a £380,000 near space flight experience!

I’m now dreaming of driving the Swiss Alps in a Porsche ;)

10 Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Christmas and Weddings

2. Consumables

I hate clutter, and that’s what Christmas can often bring, which is why consumables are so good! Fancy food makes for a delicious gift. You could either fork out on a pre-made hamper like these gorgeous (but rather costly) Fortnum & Mason ones, or go down the DIY route. Buy a basket such as these sold by Woodluv and pop down to your local supermarket (Marks & Spencers is always a good choice for fancy food) and buy treats with lovely packaging.

If it’s a Christmas gift you could theme it around the festive season with items such as mince pies and brandy butter, or for cheese lovers fill it with biscuits and chutney. As a wedding gift you could fill it with all the ingredients needed for a simple-to-put-together, romantic meal for two.

3. Hamper of hobbies

Similar to the gift above but instead of a hamper full of food, fill the hamper with goodies related to the recipient’s hobby – for a wedding couple you’d either have to find a shared interest or you could split a hamper in half. If they love gardening, for example, you could pop in some packets of seeds, gardening gloves, gardening tools and some vegetable markers such as these gorgeous ones from La De Da Living.

For a baking enthusiast how about an apron, some measuring spoons, cupcake cases, or an awesome 3D printed custom cookie cutter?

10 Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Christmas and Weddings

4. Photo shoots & books

Photo shoots can be a little pricey when you book a truly good photographer and factor in prints. The results, however, are priceless. Buying somebody a portrait shoot means that time of their life will be captured forever. Around Christmas time many photographers offer a special deal too, so check out your favourite photographers’ Facebook feeds just in case they have a fantastic offer worth snapping up!

Whilst on the subject of photos, a photo book is another wonderfully thoughtful gift. This is an ideal gift for a partner as you have easy access to all your photos, but for other family members or friends a gift voucher would work just as well. There are tons of photo book sites out there ranging from sites such as the more affordable Photo Box (I’ve used these many times and love the results) to the more costly but stupidly stylish Artifact Uprising (since discovering this site I’ve been dreaming of making a whole bunch of albums!)

10 Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Christmas and Weddings

5. Crafty course

As somebody who would love to try all crafts at least once, I think a craft course or workshop is an awesome gift! There are tons of them about and you’d just need to search for one near enough to where the recipient lives. They can range in price to, such as a relatively inexpensive day of making cupcakes to a several week upholstery course.

6. A year long gift

For the gift that keeps on giving, a magazine subscription is a great choice! There are loads of magazines to choose from and you can find a selection over on isubscribe. As subscriptions often begin one or two months in the future, rather than just give them a print out of the order confirmation I think it’s lovely to buy the current edition of the magazine and attach a note regarding the subscription. Add that to a lovely mug, some tea or coffee depending on their preference and a pack of biscuits to complete the gift.

For a wedding gift this would be particularly nice if you could buy a subscription each for the married couple; I like to think they could enjoy their magazines at the same time on a Sunday morning with coffee and croissants :)

Alternatively, a Netflix (or similar service) subscription complete with some bags of popcorn and popcorn boxes would be a good gift for a couple.

7. The gift of giving

For a heartwarming gift, give someone the gift of giving by donating money to a charity on their behalf. Sites such as Oxfam let you pick from a range of gifts to give to those that need it most. They’ll send you a voucher to pass on to your loved one with details of the gift and you can add little extras for them too if you wish.

Other ideas could be to sponsor an animal or a child. So many of us receive plenty at Christmas, even when we don’t really need the gifts. A charitable gift helps change somebody’s life and surely that’s one of the greatest gifts of all.

8. Sign them up

Another fantastic gift is a membership to something that they would really enjoy. For a newly married couple and families that love their sightseeing excursions I’d recommend a membership to the National Trust. This gift would get them free entry and parking at over 300 historic house, gardens and countryside and coastline spaces and it comes in a gift box with a handbook so you have something to wrap.

If you’re looking to gift them something a little closer to home (and really only if they’ve discussed with you that they want to get fitter in the new year!) there’s always the option of getting them a fitness membership to a local gym or swimming pool. Or, for a much more relaxed gift, give them unlimited films at Cineworld! It’s definitely necessary to check if there’s a Cineworld nearby before you choose this option though!.

9. Flowers delivered to their door

One that the mums would love! Fresh flowers, from Bloom & Wild, delivered in a handy letterbox-friendly package every month for either three months, six months or a year. It’s not the cheapest gift, but it may just be one of the most beautiful and unique presents!

10 Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Christmas and Weddings

10. Affordable and adorable

And last, but definitely not least, is one of the most thoughtful gifts there is… a voucher book! This is one where you can really personalise the gift to make it full of experiences and treats you know the recipient would love.

For a partner you could fill it with date ideas that you could take them on over the course of the next year such as a weekend away, a trip to the cinema, or a meal out. Or you could do more inexpensive home-based gifts such as a movie night, a voucher for a home-baked cake, or a wine and cheese-filled evening.

If you’d like a little help in making it look more of a finished gift, just check out Etsy for loads of printables listings, such as this one from A Sweet Gesture. The name says it all :)

10 Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Christmas and Weddings

So what do you think? Has it given you any ideas? Or have you any to add? I’d love to hear them, it’s always awesome getting more gift ideas!

I wish you all an easy, pain-free and hopefully mall-avoiding Christmas shopping experience :D

♥ Debs

Vintage bridal crowns and sparkling shoe clips

Apparently, all the stunning antique wedding crowns and corsages in the Polly McGeary Etsy shop are sourced by Aline from flea markets, friends and neighbours of my grandmother. Aline lives in Berlin and I want to move there if this is the kind of thing you can find in the local flea market! I’ve been to a few flea markets in my time and never have I seen anything that I would absolutely love to wear on my wedding day. I love them!

Polly McGeary VIntage Bridal Crowns
Polly McGeary Vintage Corsages
Polly McGeary VIntage Bridal Crowns

Amongst the pretty bridal crowns and corsages, Aline also stocks her shop with handmade bows and sparkling shoe clips like these…

Polly McGeary Shoe Clips

Head on over there, it’s lovely :)

♥ Debs

My new business: of Alp & Ash

So you may have noticed it’s been a little quiet on these pages lately. I’ve been a little busy with planning our own wedding, and working on our new (really old) home, but mainly I’ve been spending time on a new creative venture… and today is launch day. Welcome to my new business: of Alp & Ash!

There’s a detailed blog post over on my personal blog Live Small Dream Big that you can see here. But, in brief, I’m excited to now have an Etsy shop selling lovely laser cut stuff! Here’s what you’ll find there…

Important Little Letters

I came up with this idea as I love cute things and sending/receiving mail. If it encourages anybody to send a handwritten note over posting a message on social media then I’ll be happy! I think it’s important to invest more time in connecting with loved ones, and this is just one (super cute) way to do it.

Important Little Letters by of Alp and Ash

Christmas Gifts

Personalised baubles, sets of baubles & snowflakes and adorable angels (my personal favourite) with a choice of hairstyles and dress designs are all on offer in the shop. There are also three Festive Little Letters to send as an alternative to the Christmas card too.

of Alp and Ash Christmas tree decorations

You can see loads more images in my Etsy shop and on my website.

Competition time

of Alp and Ash Competition to win a personalised bauble or angel Christmas tree decoration

I’m so excited I’m finally at the point where I can start selling my creations and so, to celebrate, I’ve decided to run a little competition!

To be in with a chance of winning either a personalised bauble or an angel of your choice enter using the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, have a £5 voucher!

If you like the look of something and fancy making a purchase over £10 here’s a link to get £5 off for anybody that hasn’t purchased anything from Etsy before!

I do hope you like the new venture, and if you do I’d love for you to share it with anybody else you think will like it. Thank you! :)

♥ Debs

Review & Competition : The Inspired Wedding

When it comes to planning your wedding I do believe that you’ll find pretty much all the inspiration you need online BUT I don’t believe that’s always the nicest way to plan…

Wedding blogs and Pinterest offer millions of wedding-related images and ideas to help you achieve a beautiful big day but there’s actually so much inspiration it can become overwhelming!

On top of that is the fact that being online all the time can just become too much and it’s sometimes nice to step away from the computer, grab a book or magazine and enjoy it with a cuppa. It’s a much more relaxing way to plan what can be a rather stressful event when faced with too much choice.

The Inspired Wedding

And that’s where books like The Inspired Wedding come in. I was sent a copy to review and it allowed me the chance to take a break and flick through actual paper pages and see wedding photographs in print – wonderful!

The Inspired Wedding by Emma Arendoski

Seven handcrafted themes

It’s a lovely book, written by Emmaline Bride founder Emma Arendoski, that focuses on achieving your big day the handcrafted way. It’s separated into 7 different themes: romantically vintage, farmhouse rustic, beach bliss, urban chic, free spirit, traditional and boho style.

The Inspired Wedding is perfect for those planning their wedding that have a vision in their head of their perfect wedding day, but no real idea on where to start. This book not only breaks it down into themes but also into the different elements of the day such as ‘The Attire’, ‘The Flowers’ and ‘The Reception’.

Even if you don’t completely fall into one category you’ll probably find elements you love across several themes, and I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy adoring the gorgeous photographs this book is filled with!

Here are a few spreads to give you a taster…

The Inspired Wedding by Emma Arendoski

Win! Win! Win!

And here’s how to win your very own copy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So to all you brides, friends of brides-to-be and even wedding planners – get your entries in now!

Debs

Where to buy The Inspired Wedding:
For UK customers click here
For US customers click here

My wedding stationery : Playmobil save the date postcards

If you’ve explored this blog before you may have seen that the About Me and Get in touch pages feature toy Playmobil characters. For a reason unknown to me, I really love Playmobil characters! Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing as we had a lot growing up… or maybe it’s just that they’re damn cute and there’s so many different themes and characters!

When it came to making a save the date, I knew I wanted to include them. I didn’t want to create anything that indicated what the look of our wedding will be like, largely as we hadn’t fully decided and didn’t want to rush the process just because I needed to get save the dates out! So the Playmobil people were perfect. But how to incorporate them?

Setting the scene

As we’re getting married on a campsite surrounded by hills and mountains I thought it would be nice to have them stand in front of mountains, and to make it more ‘real-life’ looking I figured they should be stood on grass.

So, I bought a sample of astro turf off eBay and rifled through my summer holiday photos of the Dolomites and found a photo that would be perfect: there was grass at the bottom of the shot which would create a more seamless join!

Wedding stationery - Playmobil save the date postcards

I blurred the photo slightly on Photoshop, to give the impression of the depth of field you’d get if it had actually been shot with a camera, and then printed it out. All that was left to do was laser-cut a piece of acrylic to show our wedding date and arrange all the parts like so…

Wedding stationery - Playmobil save the date postcards

I then took a load of photographs and picked my favourite, cropping out the background. This was what I got…

Wedding stationery - Playmobil save the date postcards

All that was left to do was design a postcard back featuring info for our guests and a space to write their addresses… and upload the files to Moo for printing.

And here they are!

Wedding stationery - Playmobil save the date postcards
Wedding stationery - Playmobil save the date postcards

What do you think?! :D

Debs
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