Five Non-Traditional Gift Ideas For Christmas

‘Tis the season to be dashing around the shops and panicking about the perfect present to pick out for various relatives and friends. But with so much on offer, deciding on a gift can be a tricky affair, especially if you’re looking for something a little different this year. Whether you’re on the hunt for a family Christmas gift for the clan that has everything or want a non-traditional prezzie for the special someone in your life, have a look at the guide below for Christmas gift ideas that will get your name on the Nice List for years to come!

Homemade Spa Treats

Making your own hand lotion, hair treatments, or bath salts, and then packaging up the treat beautifully, makes for a gift that is both inexpensive and delivers the wow factor - and creating these luxury presents is much easier than you might think.

To make your very own hand cream that will leave the recipient’s mitts soft and smelling gorgeous, simply grab some baby lotion, Vitamin E cream, and coconut oil, and gather together some Kilner jars, too. Put four tablespoons of baby lotion into a bowl, and then add two tablespoons of Vitamin E and two tablespoons of coconut oil, and mix it all together until smooth. You may want to consider making a big batch to save even more time and money.  Next, scoop out the mixture into the jars and tightly secure the lids. To take this gift to the next level, add a homemade label, some ribbon, and a pretty mini Christmas decoration to each.

Jars of homemade bath salts are great Christmas gifts for married couples and your single friends alike. Looking for Christmas gifts for boyfriend’s mom? They’re a perfect fit on this score, too.  All you need is a glass shaker jar, sea salt, and dried lavender or rose petals. Mix about two-thirds salt to one-third of the lavender or rose petals and then simply add to the jar. Put some cellophane around the top of the jar before sealing to keep the bath salts dry. As with the hand lotion, making batches of this gift is a great idea. Write a handmade label, and tie some string, hessian, or ribbon around the jar, for a special home-crafted treat for loved ones.

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Hair masks are another easy make that look spectacular when packaged up prettily. For one of the simplest, all you need to do is mix four tablespoons of plain yogurt with one teaspoon of coconut oil; once completely combined, add three tablespoons of honey and stir until it’s all incorporated into the mix. Now add the hair mask to a jar, and attach a label to the front. Write out some instructions for use (apply to dry hair, wrap hair in a towel, wait twenty minutes and then rinse out thoroughly with warm water) on a brightly colored square of card, and tie this around the jar for a personalized present of pampering.

Super Subscriptions

If you’re looking for Christmas gift inspiration and want to choose something that will be enjoyed all through the year, then a subscription or a Christmas gift card is the perfect solution! A year-long subscription to, for example, an astronomy magazine could be the ideal gift for the amateur stargazer in your life, or a crafting magazine delivered monthly may be exactly what your sustainable friend would most appreciate. Whether your daughter is married to a keen angler, a car fanatic, or a history lover, magazine subscriptions can go on the list of Christmas gifts for son-in-law ideas. There are plenty of options for kids, too, as well as the rest of the family - from the best grandpa Christmas gift to a spot-on surprise for your sister, there are almost endless choices when it comes to magazine subjects and specialties.

Subscriptions don’t just cover magazine gifts, however. You could consider opting for a gift subscription for a streaming service, or a gaming subscription. Alternatively, for a really unique present for someone in your life who you know would love to learn a new language or is planning on visiting or spending time in another country in the future, you could buy a gift card for a language-learning service. The Lingopie Gift Card makes for the perfect present for a globe-trotting friend or as a family Christmas gift to get the whole household in on the fun and will provide a whole year’s worth of binge-worthy entertainment. Lingopie offers specially tailored subtitled tv movies and series in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, German, and Italian, and is all about helping people to learn languages in a fun way. And if there’s a more entertaining way to learn a new language than relaxing in some of the finest TV that the world has to offer, I don’t know what it is. Simply choose your target language, ability level, and your learning goals, sit back, and enjoy.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Another great subscription idea is signing up your friends or relatives to a food box delivery service. These boxes typically take the form of meal kits, where ingredients arrive handily portioned out and easy-to-follow recipes are included. It’s another fantastic option for a family Christmas gift, to get the whole clan in the kitchen and putting simple meals together! Many providers of food box services cater to specific dietary requirements, and most have a full range of Vegetarian and Vegan options; some specialize in Keto meals, too. Choose from gourmet, organic, or locally sourced ranges to tailor this gift to the person or family you’re buying for.

Or why not order a beauty box subscription for your loved one, who will receive a monthly package of cosmetics and pampering treats, including fragrance, hair masks, and make-up? Other options are gadget boxes for your resident tech lover, whisky sampling subscriptions, or gaming merchandise monthly packages. The best thing about a subscription present is that it’s the gift that keeps giving, throughout the whole year - and every time that the latest box or magazine pops through their letterbox, the recipient will think of you with a smile (while making a note to get you a spectacular gift next year).

Handcrafted Gifts For Foodies

If you’ve been through the Christmas Gift Guide 2021 a hundred times and still haven’t found the ideal treat for the foodie in your life who already has every single kitchen gadget known to mankind, then all is not lost. There is a range of homemade treats, such as mince pies, cupcakes, and cookies, that can be made to look stunning presented in a beautifully beribboned box, and there are plenty of other options to gift your favorite foodie, too.

For example, fill three small glass bottles with olive or virgin olive oil, and add sprigs of rosemary, spices or berries, to infuse. Stopper or seal the bottles, label them and arrange them in a pretty gift box for a gift that is sure to be appreciated.

Photo by Marc Markstein on Unsplash

Alternatively, consider making some sustainable and reusable beeswax wraps, as an eco-friendly alternative to cling film and foil. To create these wraps, first, choose some clean pieces of patterned cloth - these can be easily found at a craft or fabric store. Next, grate beeswax into a bowl using a cheese grater, and sprinkle onto the squares of cloth. Finally, place some parchment paper over the top of the squares and iron them over, to melt and seal the beeswax. Tie a batch of five together with twine for a thoughtful, one-of-a-kind gift.

If you’d like to make an edible gift then you have a near-infinite number of options. A selection of Christmas truffles can be easily whipped up, and the kids can be involved, too: get the little ones coating these tasty festive treats in sprinkles, chopped nuts, and cocoa powder ready to store in the fridge until you’re ready to wrap and gift them at a later date. Savory cheese biscuits, cinnamon-infused fudge, and hot chocolate bombs are some tasty alternatives to mince-pies. The key to edible presents is in the wrapping, so get stocked up on brightly colored tissue paper, ribbons, twine, and any other sparkly little bits and pieces that you want to incorporate.

If your foodie friend is also an appreciator of a ‘proper’ cup of tea, then you could also try your hand at making home-crafted tea bags! Experiment by blending various types of loose tea, such as Assam and English Breakfast, until you find a flavorful mix that you think your friend would enjoy. Once you’re happy with the flavor, get together some coffee filters and twine, or strong thread, plus a pair of scissors, some small tabs of pretty paper or card, and a stapler.

Photo by montatip lilitsanong on Unsplash

Next, simply trim the filter so that it is more of a rectangular shape, and then add about a teaspoon of the loose tea to the center of the paper; now fold the filter a few times, to encase the loose tea firmly within. Once this is done, you may want to cut a little bit from the top of the bag to make it a more standard square shape. Now make a final small fold at the top, and staple the string through this fold, to make one last seal. Write the name of your special brew onto one of the tabs of paper and then staple this to the other end of the seal. Make up about ten of these homemade tea bags and arrange them in a beautifully decorated small gift box. This is another present idea that can be easily made in batches, to easily create multiple gifts at the same time.

Personalized Jewelry

Opting for a piece of personalized jewelry is sure to be a winner, and there are so many options available that it’s easy to find something to suit all tastes and styles. You could choose a simple name necklace in gold or silver for a friend, or go for a pendant-style design that features the word ‘Mum’ or ‘Sister.’ Dates of birth and special messages can also often be incorporated into the piece of jewelry you choose, too. Lockets make a gorgeous gift and can be customized by both having engraving completed on the outside while adding a photograph or a message inside. A pair of sterling silver engraved dog tags on a simple chain make a great contemporary choice, as does a personalized wide copper band style necklace or a choker with your special person’s name etched onto the metal.

Personalized necklaces aren’t the only choice: you could consider a bracelet, too, into which can be incorporated a charm engraved with your loved one or friend’s name or date of birth. It’s also possible to have an existing bracelet altered - if you’re able to get hold of it without raising alarm or suspicion! - to add a special element to its original design.

Earrings can be personalized, too, and this is a great choice for a truly unique Christmas gift. Obviously, the relatively small surface area of earrings makes engraving more difficult, and you will probably be limited to a single name or a date of birth. A popular option is to buy a pair of gold or silver hoop earrings, and then have a personalized pendant added to them. Rings, too, can often be personalized by having a name engraved on the inside of the band. As with bracelets, rings can be customized by, for example, having a stone added or reset.

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You could also go down the route of having a necklace personalized with the special details of other family members: for example, consider gifting your mom a necklace that features the birthstones of yourself and your siblings, or have a bracelet made for your partner with the name and date of birth of your newly born child engraved on the band.

For the ultimate personalized jewelry for a really special person in your life, you could even have a ring, bracelet or necklace made for them, to your specific design, and incorporating metals and gemstones that you know that they love. Although this is very, very far from the cheapest option.

Grant The Gift Of Time

Sometimes, what we’d like most in the world is some simple time away to recharge, a rest from the kids, or a peaceful evening with our other half. Make this dream come true for your close friends or relatives by spoiling them with, for example, a voucher for a spa day or a pre-booked pedi at their favorite salon.  

If your budget’s tight, there are some cost-effective ways to gift some precious R and R. How about making a homemade babysitting voucher for your pals with young kids, and putting some money behind the bar for them at the local pub? There are endless ideas when it comes to homemade gift vouchers: gift school drop-offs for a week, a sleepover for the kids at your place, or an afternoon looking after your friends’ baby so that they can go get a coffee and enjoy a walk together.  Or you could design a beautiful menu, put this in an envelope, tie it with a ribbon, and, when they open it, let them know that you’ll be cooking for them at a time of their choosing, and will be providing the accompanying drinks, too.

If there’s someone in your life with a new baby, a time-saving gift will likely be an absolute boon; consider booking a one-off blitz from a house-cleaning service to help ease the burden, or batch cook a week’s worth of meals for them for their freezer. These may not be the standard idea when it comes to festive offerings, but they could be the gifts that are the most gratefully received and appreciated.

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

Alternatively, why not buy cinema tickets and an accompanying voucher for snacks, or reserve a table at your married friends’ favorite cafe for breakfast for them, and ask the bill to be sent to you. If you can stretch to it, book an overnight stay at a cute little B&B or a boutique hotel for the really special ones in your life: in terms of Christmas gifts for married couples, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Why Go For a Non-Traditional Gift

Whereas socks, aftershave, or chocolates may once have made up the holy trinity of Christmas gifting, now, there is more scope than ever before to give a truly personal present to those nearest and dearest to you.

Non-traditional, and homemade offerings, are wonderful ways to show someone just how much they mean to you, as well as, often, being a much more sustainable way of gifting. Kilner jars can be reused, for example, and home-crafted spa treats don’t need to be wrapped in plastic that will be instantly discarded.

Going down the non-traditional route can also be a cost-effective gifting option  - and the personal value inherent in such presents most authentically reflects the true meaning of the festive season. Plus, you’re going to be in credit with the mom-in-law for years.

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