[ORIGINALLY PRINTED AND PUBLISHED IN THE PAPERCHASE COLLEAGUE MAGAZINE ‘PAPERCUT‘]
Hello, it’s me again! Niamh Darby – I transferred over to a new team last year to change things up a bit and to step up to supervisor! I celebrated 3 years with Paperchase this August, so here’s to the next 3 and beyond! You might remember my article from August last year about making simple swaps to make life a tad more eco-friendly and biodegradable. I have still been writing bits and bobs, most notably a Harry Styles album review which seemed to catch people’s attention! Who doesn’t love a bit of Harry Styles though?
I’m back with a gift guide but let’s make it festive AND affordable, eh? Especially with the cost of living crisis, most people will still be trying to make Christmas bigger and better than the last but with a few cost restrictions in place. My top tip is to shop all year round and to set a specific budget per family member or cluster. Don’t forget you don’t have to go all out at Christmas, it’s the thought that matters.
I taught myself how to cross stitch during our months of furlough so I now stitch my friends and family little motifs, hoops or wall art to go alongside some christmas choccies which is a cost effective way of saving money and it’s something handmade and personalised to last for years on end! You can have a look at some of my creations on Instagram: @stitchesbyniamh.
Quick and Cheap Gifts for Friends & Secret Santa
It might be the obvious one but why not make your own little hot chocolate set for your friends or Secret Santa? Grab a reusable travel mug, some hot choc sachets and a bag of marshmallows…voilà! I tend to do this for people who get you unexpected gifts as there’s always that one person isn’t there? Ha! It’s a winner for Secret Santa though – budget friendly and it’s a nice cosy little gift too.
Why not stitch them something personal? I’ve been cross stitching custom QR codes to pop onto cards for friends. They actually work – it’s amazing! Each one links to a YouTube video of a Christmas song, my personal favourite is Last Christmas by Wham!. I just want to apologise to my team in advance for singing it a bit too loudly for their liking all over the shop but it is CHRISTMAAAAS! It only costs me around £5 and takes me a couple of hours per project. I’m hoping they’ll go down well with family and friends – I plan to Rick Roll with them too.
Gifts for Parents
I always find Christmas is the best time to go all out for parents. A little hamper of all of their favourite treats would be a thoughtful and affordable gift. Last year I did this for my parents alongside a wine and cheese tasting night – so that’s always an option too! A gift experience. Find one that they can use during the new year so then it’s the gift worth waiting for!
One jokey gift you could do is a stocking full of little things. My Dad does this for my grandparents every year. If he goes to a work conference with tons of branded items from other retailers including pens, notebooks and even stress balls, it goes in the stocking, ha! Amongst the stockings and presents, we also do a ‘guess the item’ game, where it could be an oddly shaped kitchen appliance or a helpful hack for sewing and we all have to guess what it is.
Little Knick Knacks for Stocking Fillers
Stockings are always a quick and easy thing to fill with little tokens. Nail polish is always a great start, especially a sparkly one for the festive season. Chocolate coins are a MUST. I wish Cadbury would bring back their coins, I can’t find them anywhere and they are the best. My Grandma used to do all the family a stocking each filled with face wipes, nail varnish remover, satsumas, nuts…the list goes on. I think this is a good way to give a little which means a lot.