Exchanging gifts is a commonality that we are all too familiar at this time of year, which in the right circumstances is a wonderful tradition to have. However, it can come at a cost; literally and metaphorically speaking.
Christmas is not and should not be solely about the presents we give and receive.
It ought to be a time when we look at the ones we hold close in our heart and remind them of how much they mean to us, how much we appreciate them for all they the do and give to us all throughout the year.
For me, Christmas is my chance to be thankful for the unconditional love, joy and happiness that is always there for me in the form of my family and friends. I try to make the effort to give them something personal, something with great thought behind it that I know they will love to hold on to. Whether this is in the form of lending a hand more often or going out of my way to put a smile on their face, I have learnt that it is those things that my family appreciate the most.
When it comes to the giving of presents, I am making a change in the way I go out and purchase things. My main source of inspiration and market is the local independent shops in my region. The high streets are falling apart and so much passion and hard work is being undervalued by the simplicity of online shopping. For as long as I can remember, growing up I loved going around to the little shops and discovering new things that you can find elsewhere or being in a place that holds a warm and welcoming atmosphere everytime you visit.
So this year, I wanted to put together a few places that I adore that offer wonderful handmade, personalised gifts that can have great sentiment in years to come.
Based in Stoke-on-Trent, Timber Things was founded by three incredibly talented women aka ‘The Laser Ladies‘ who create bespoke handmade personalised gifts and homeware for all ages. This is their first Christmas and they have blown me away with the vast array of beautifully crafted products they are able to tailor to your own specifications!
My cousin’s little girl Caitlin is being given a stunning Christmas box so that she can keep Santa’s cookies and milk in there…oh and not forgetting a carrot for the reindeer!
Charms & Chains
I have loved this beautiful store since it’s doors opened years ago! There is nothing like it around here and that is what makes this place so special. Roxanne makes adorable bespoke jewellery such as bracelets and necklaces and at Christmas, she creates these gift boxes that can be customised for the person you wish to give one to!
Here are two examples of the types of gift boxes you can have made up! – though my sister isn’t much for the girly things, I think it’s nice for her to remember how much she means to me!
I met Ali Reed the creator and founder of A.R. Designs at my favourite cafe in town The Cakery where she works part-time. Ali is a fantastic artist who creates bespoke artwork specialising in beautiful pet portraits. She is also an extremely talented calligrapher and handprints onto multiple surfaces to make amazing homeware products and wonderful personalised gifts.
Even though we might not be living together just yet, I wanted to get something memorable for Chris and me to be reminded of the future that we are going to have together (cheesy I know but that is just me!). When Ali talked about her Christmas baubles I instantly fell in love and ordered two straight away!
I hope that this has given you encouragement to step away from your laptops and get to your closest high street to give back to the local community that you live in and help support amazing individuals who are putting their heart and soul into doing what they love.
Hope you have a very Happy Christmas