It’s the most busiest time of the year!! Yeh I know that’s not grammatically correct but it fit the lines of the song and, well, it’s true.
While my husband is hands on with the house and children, a thoroughly modern man! there’s one area he only fleetingly dips his toe into each year….. Christmas shopping! While his is wrapped up and er, wrapped up, in one day, I find myself chief elf during the festive period….. sourcing gifts for the entire family, his included, and all four children. Plus, it falls to me to compile food lists, Xmas cards and elf antics.
I guess, you’d say, all things festive organisation are my domain… and if we are being totally honest, that’s ok, cos I really do enjoy it! even if it does require a lot of hard work and a slice of imagination at times.
We don’t have a big family, but those we do have live some distance away. Choosing gifts for people who you don’t see all the time can be tricky. I’m not keen on buying for the sake of it; those novelty items or gift sets that essentially sit in a cupboard for a year until (possibly) re-gifted. So what can you buy your friends and relations this time of year??
Welcome to my 2019 gift guide!
If you followed last years, you’ll know that as a family we have a gift giving mantra, not an original one I’ll grant you, but one that works for us.
We follow this for the children also, so I thought, to kick off the season, I would start with 4forextendedfamily, because if we are honest, Grandad doesn’t want more gardening gloves, Grandma is fed up with patterned biscuit tins and that quirky caption mug? It’s really not what your brother-in-law had in mind.
Something They Want
Portrait Pals: Bespoke Charitable Illustrations*
With Portrait Pals, not only are you giving a truly unique gift to your loved one, in the shape of personalised animal illustrations and paintings, you’re also supporting a social enterprise. 20% of all PP proceeds go to charity and they’re committed to supporting budding artists around the UK. This guarantees you the warm fuzzies at Xmas, knowing that your gift, is the one that keeps giving.
As a social enterprise, our mission is to help people grow. We help artists develop the skills and confidence to sell their work whilst making a community contribution. We execute our social strategy via two channels: Online, 20% of our proceeds are set aside for community leadership and skills-building workshops. At live drawing fundraising events, 100% of our proceeds are donated to the charities we work with.Portrait Pals
How does it work? Well, it’s a truly bespoke service, not only can you send in your own pet photo to be illustrated, you can also browse and choose the right artist for you. Ensuring your poochy (not just dogs btw) portrait is as individual as the subject itself.
Price wise, there are options to suit all budgets. From exquisite A4 coloured quick painted portraits at only £25, to beautifully carved keyrings and larger illustrations. Your loved one will be blown away by their gift this festive season.
Now, I can’t say getting a photo will be easy; if there’s not one available on social media you may have to go into stealth mode. Luckily for us, we spend the vast majority of time with extended family in ninja parent mode anyway, keeping the children away from ornaments or staircases. Snapping a pet photo would be fairly easy when you’re on all fours, dragging a child out of some mischief or other!
Just be careful not to end up with a photo featuring a rather bemused cat!
Portrait Pals are currently offering complimentary cards and a gift wrap service with all purchases made before December 18th
Get 10% off with discount code SLUMMYMUMMY10
Something They Need
Neveo: Share your best photo-moments with your grandparents through a monthly family journal*
I’ve mentioned previously that our family is scattered about the country. It’s rare we can all get together more than once a year and, while social media is a fantastic way to close the miles and share your family escapades with those far away, it’s not necessarily accessible to all.
Less than half of over 65’s use Facebook and even fewer are on Instagram, so while I may upload and share images of our growing family on a daily basis, the older generation miss out.
Neveo rectifies this. With the same ease of uploading to social media, you can instead create a monthly newsletter album of your family adventures. You access the app, upload, write a caption and a beautiful album is created and sent out to your chosen recipients (WORLDWIDE) every month. No need to format it, print or post, Neveo takes care of it all! You can upload a maximum of 50 or 100 images (depending on tariff) in a single issue and each newspaper will be automatically created, printed on high quality paper and shipped directly to your loved one.
Even more amazing is that multiple family members with the app details, can upload and contribute, making it an exceptionally appealing gift for grandparents whose children are located across the globe. Siblings can band together to share individual family stories and snapshots at no additional cost.
Talking of price! Albums tariffs start at only £9 per month for 50 photos and you’re at no point tied into a set contract, meaning you can cancel at any time.
Neveo have also kindly offered you guys a MONTH FREE with promocode ASLUMMYMUMMY
As a family we have been using Neveo for three months now and it’s been wonderful to share our memories with those far away and to hear their thanks and excitement on receiving (we even got an additional album for ourselves). So why not download the app for free and start uploading your memories?
Something To Wear
When it comes to ‘something to wear’ I’m no fashion icon. Leggings and a long vest top is the extent of my mumdrobe at the moment. I can’t even blame pregnancy cos this is standard attire for me and has been for at least the last six years.
Somehow I can never justify clothes or accessories for myself, yet I do very much enjoy shopping for others. We all know the age old ‘if in doubt’ gift for any family member is SOCKS so, rather than shun this tradition I’ve gone all out for you this year to find the best* toe warmers on the market!!!
*by best I mean in my opinion these are cool
So here we go! 2019 Sock Stars
Something To Read
Alternatives to the best sellers list
When it comes to choosing books for extended family it’s easy to fall into the ‘best sellers’ trap. After all, who doesn’t like a highly recommended book, the reviews speak for themselves surely? But a quick scan of the Waterstones 2019 best sellers tells me…. well, that everyone seems to have very different taste. From the latest Lee Child, to Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, a bit of Jamie Oliver (he’s always knocking about this time of year) and….. oooo the Ladybird book of Donald Trump, how on earth are we expected to know the reading taste of family members we don’t live with? I mean sure, my husband knows to get me Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Testaments’ (hint: cos you proof read my posts) but those far away, may mistake me for a chick lit fan and have no way of knowing my genre of choice.
So, rather than simply recommending books for this section of my gift guide, I thought I’d instead suggest a few ‘something to read’ alternatives.
Alternative 1: Magazine Subscription:
For many, the appeal of magazines comes in their ability to be ‘put down’; ideal for escapism, aspiration or education. While you may not gauge much from viewing a bookshelf, a coffee table could hold an invaluable key.
From journals to lifestyle, careers and self development, why not treat your family member to a yearly subscription? I’ve had a scout around the internet for some deals and was pleased to find that at this time of year many magazine subscription sites are offering incentives to order through them:
Magazines direct – £5 M&S voucher
Magazine UK – Free bottle of Prosecco
Great Magazines – Free luxury chocolate box with gift card purchases and 10% with orders over £30 10EXITVC
iSubscribe – Bonus £5 voucher with any subscription and personalised iCard with any gift.
It’s always worth looking into the individual publication offers too, as many will include an introductory gift or reward.
Alternative 2: Personalised Books
Personalised books aren’t just for children. You’ve read previously about Neveo but there is also a whole host of different style personified books available for adults.
The Book For Everyone range includes romantic and milestone books tailored to the life of the recipient. This has a modern, sleek and simplistic feel with bold colourful font and illustrations.
Or you might consider In The Book’s novelty range for a more humorous alternative. They also have classic stories where you can simply replace characters with your own loved one.
For Grandparents, Not On The High Street has a variety of beautifully illustrated options, personalised newspapers and family memory sets. Be careful you don’t get lost on that site though, so many wonderful and unique gifts. It’s also well worth signing up to their newsletter for latest deals and discounts.
Alternative 3: Bespoke Book Prescription
Yep you read that right, it wasn’t a typo. Books can be great healers for the soul. Able to articulate our feelings or offer escapism and self care. Last year I worked with book therapist Bijal Shah to promote her innovative book prescription service, Book Therapy. While I’m not officially working with her again this year, I’m keen to include it in this part of my guide as more than one of our family members has benefited from this in 2019.
A bespoke prescription is just that. You provide information on reading habits, genre interests or life events, and Bijal will provide you with 7-10 book recommendations, along with a description on how these meet your current needs. You could even choose to gift the entire process, meaning you don’t need to know your loved ones relationship with books to still offer them this present.
If you’re looking to dig even deeper, bibliotherapy sessions are also available on the site, where, for two weeks, your loved one can receive one-to-one support on how and which books can help process a life event or enable them to reach a goal in life. This is also available to couples.
“Discover the life-changing magic of books. Books, stories and literature connect us to others. They help us connect the dots in our own stories and ultimately hold mirrors up so that we can truly see ourselves and be understood.”BookTherapy
Next weeks Gift Guide? 4forlitlies
*some items were gifted or sponsored for the purpose of this gift guide however I’m mindful that the work I take on is authentic to myself and my audience, all thoughts and opinions are my own