I wouldn't normally admit to any group of vaguely harassed mothers that I don't really find Christmas shopping stressful.....it makes me sound like one of those really annoying, super organised people (which I am definitely not!). However, as with most things in life, there is no doubt it is much easier if you know just where to look. As the owner of a gift shop, I invariably see gift ideas that suit many of my friends and family while I am on my mission to find new stock, so usually by the time December rolls around my list has been ticked off without too much effort. So, in an attempt to remove some of the stress of your shopping this year - here are a few insights into some brand-new gift ranges that have caught my attention in 2017.
Illustrator Louise Tate draws fine art quality prints that are brilliant for kids. She draws beautiful animal images made up of lots of smaller images making them a piece of art and a puzzle at the same time. Kids can spend ages looking for all the smaller items hidden in the picture. Be sure to check out her Alphabet Art – prints of each letter of the alphabet made up of images of hundreds of items beginning with that letter. These are my current favourite christening/Godchildren present! If your budget doesn’t stretch to a print (£30ish) she has also produced lovely table mats (my two are having one of these in their stocking) and jigsaws this year both at around £12. (www.louise-tate.com)
The hanging fairies, mermaids, angels and pirates from Believe You Can are gorgeous stocking fillers – they are beautifully made by fair trade producers in India and have become my go-to gift for birthday parties (for kids who have everything!) and also for far-flung friends and relatives as they are very easy to post. At £7 each they are affordable too and each come with a touching message for any and every occasion/sentiment you can think of. (www.believe-you-can.com)
The Scottish themed prints and tea towels by Edinburgh-based company Heather and Haggis have been a huge success this year – in particular for those of us who need gifts that will mail around the world to people who love Scotland! My favourite is the Munro’s print (£8-£25) – a typographic design listing hundreds of Munros that will be winging its way to the Munro-baggers on my list this year. (www.heatherandhaggis.co.uk)
Candles, fragrance diffusers, stationery and cards – basically anything by artist and designer Eloise Hall are on my wishlist this year. Her products are exquisite in both design and quality – she started life as a Milliner and now makes beautiful collage designs that feature on all her gift items. I cannot recommend her scented candles (£30) highly enough – and that from someone who has tried a LOT of scented candles! (www.eloisehall.co.uk)
For school-age children who have everything my fail-safe gift option is one of the silver lunch bags (£15 approx.) from one of my favourite kiddie brands – 3 Sprouts. They are funky and practical and guaranteed to be the coolest lunchbag in the class. Also for teens who are tricky to buy for check out the range of wooden signs by Welsh company ‘Angelic Hen’. Designed by a Mum of two, there will be something in their extensive range that will ring very true for most families out there! (www.3sprouts.com) (www.angelichen.com)
Last but not least the silver hanging letters by The Original Winters’ Tale are an inspired idea so you can bring the trend for personalisation to your tree this Christmas. For a simple, low cost gift for a whole family, send each of their initials to hang on their tree – classy, thoughtful – job done! If you are a super creative type who likes to adorn your beautifully wrapped gifts you can use these instead of a gift tags too! (available at Clementine, Edinburgh or www.heals.com).
Nicola Legget, mum of two, and owner of Clementine Gift Store in Edinburgh.