Guest blog: Isadora Watts is a London -based writer and consultant, expecting her first baby early next year. See her blog about her transatlantic adventures here. Isadora is guest blogging for our Feelgood Motherhood blog as she works out the best ways to stay sane and stylish throughout her pregnancy.Let us know what you think about Isadora’s posts on our Twitter feed or follow her on Twitter here. How do you handle Christmas shopping for the children in your life?
In the year that my first niece, and my oldest god-daughter were born I was appropriately generous at Christmas time. It’s easy to be extravagant when there were only two of them.
Seven years later and there are now more than twenty nieces, nephews, godchildren and beloved mates’ beloved bairns on my Christmas list. I love them all equally, but not quite enough to give them each a doll’s house or a trainset.
And, it turns out, they have no idea how much gifts cost, anyway. So my Christmas shopping strategy is about being creative and thoughtful, on a budget. There are three ways I do this:
1. Keep it personal
Personalised gifts can mean lovely things with names on, a la Babes with Babies’ adorable canvasses. But a good alternative is just to buy a gift that is very specific to you and your relationship with the child you’re buying for.
My nieces and nephews live out in the hinterland, far far north of the Watford Gap. London is like a magical land of dreams to them, only imagined, never actually seen. Coming from their London-based Aunt, any clothes, toys or books with a London theme are twice as nice as those without. Live in the country? Buy the urban kids in your life farm animals. Live by the beach? Then buckets and spades for when they next visit, will go down a treat. Have a cat they have played with? Find a soft toy doppelganger.
This way an inexpensive gift has more meaning, and will remind them of you (which is always gratifying).
2. Bulk buy
Plenty of high street shops do good multibuy deals on kids clothing. So if you know lots of 3-4 year olds, buy the same top several times and get it at a discount. The Gap is great for this. And their clothes are cute enough to feel special, even if you did get them on a ‘Buy 3 tops for £15’ deal. Many bookshops do ‘4 books for the price of 3’ on kids books too. The key to this is about planning. Don’t go shopping looking for something special for little Susie, go in with a list of the kids you’re buying for, by age.
3. Novelty trumps usefulness every time
Remember, they aren’t your children and you don’t have to live with the consequences. So switch that boring book out for the one with the wheels on. Yes, the wheels will probably fall off before New Year’s Day and their parents will have to fix them, but in the meantime, you just gave the coolest book they’ve read all year. Stickers are similarly inexpensive and ridiculously appealing. And you’re not the one who’ll have to peel them off the French polished coffee table, so I’d say, abandon practical concerns and play the novelty card.
Oh, by the way, Santa, if you’re reading this, forget clever bargains. I want luxury. Namely, this rather lovely nightwear set. After all, I’ve been terribly good this year.