The Independent Store Christmas Gift Guide: 30 For £30
This week, I had a sudden realisation that I had done absolutely nothing when it came to Christmas gift purchasing. Despite the fact that we are bombarded with signs that festivity is on its way from the moment we return from our summer holidays, it still always feels like a last minute rush. How can it be here ALREADY? As someone who has their hall decorations up from the last week of November (Instagram is a hard task master), it really shouldn’t come as such a shock. I have to admit, however, that December is my absolute favourite month of the year. The Christmas jumpers (yes, plural) come out, accompanied by the mince pies and a chocolate tub rotating weekly between Roses, Heroes and Quality Street. And who needs the Herald Angels when you’ve got Michael Buble on repeat, a man who is all Three Kings rolled into one warbling package.
The list of who to buy for and what to gift them is endless. Just coordinating the purchase of immediate family presents is like planning a military coup. Ella has been saving screen shots of very small clothes and very expensive make up for the last six months. To be fair, her birthday is three days after Christmas (she’s spent the last sixteen years being furious with us for failing in our family planning scheduling) so the list has to be fairly lengthy. The boys lists are very short - Playstation vouchers, football training trousers and anything designer logo’d from JD Sports. Sports items are strictly brand limited - if it doesn’t bear three stripes or a tick then it’s not coming in. Any extended family member who unknowingly presents the boys with a Slazenger item may as well cast their money towards the sea and wave it adieu. This love of the logo means that their present budget is quickly swallowed up and as such, their parcel haul is extremely small. Joe doesn’t do a list, but if he did, it would include two things only - running tops (no brand preference) and a Rolex watch, the second of which has the same likelihood of appearing as Max and Leo in Primark tracksuits.
So what about me? I’ve written before about Joes present buying prowess. Over the years, there have been many presents placed under the tree for me and they’ve ranged from the sublime to the, quite frankly, ridiculous. Not one to think ahead when it comes to gifting, Joe has often done a last minute dash to the Mecca of fine presents, Tesco Metro. A few years ago, I was rendered speechless when I received a bottle of Beyonce Heat and a portable charger in my stocking. But his finest hour was the ultimate gift to the one that you love - a Duncan Bannatyne Cleanser and Toner duo. True story and lesson learned. Never again will I leave it to chance and have become adept at sending him internet links plus full ordering instructions well in advance of the big day.
From a personal point of view, I’m a big fan of the online experience. No car parking, no panic buying as what you are looking for is sold out, no walking around laden with bags and rolls of wrapping and best of all, no queuing. I am the worlds worst queuer and have been known to drop and go whenever there are more than five people in the line. Previous visits to IKEA in Brent Park have resulted in blue and yellow bags full of market place goodies which never seem quite so essential when you realise that you have to wait half an hour to purchase 100 tea lights. Of all the technical advances that have been made over the course of my lifetime, shopping from your armchair with a glass of wine and Netflix on in the background has got to be the most satisfying. There’s a reason why I’m on first name terms with the Hermes man and why every delivery driver within thirty miles knows where my Safe Place is. Believe me, it’s worth every single penny of the shipping charges incurred.
One of the main bonuses of buying online is that it’s really easy to shop small. There’s a plethora of fabulous stores on Instagram, shops that create and curate a product collection with love and thought and offer it to you at the click of a button. You’ll find items that you won’t find on the traditional High Street and not only that, it’s brilliant to be able to support a small business. So for the third year running, here’s my Top 30 pick of my favourite items from independent businesses for £30 and under. You’re welcome.
So there’s my favourites. Every one of these gifts has been thoughtfully curated, chosen or created by an independent store and is guaranteed (by me) to be well received. And best of all, not a Duncan Bannatyne beauty product in sight. Happy shopping!