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How to shop well this Christmas

Taking part in a Secret Santa? Not sure what to buy for the person who has everything? Harriet Rouse has you covered

Christmas shopping… you either love it, or you hate it, there is no middle ground. No ‘quite good fun,’ or ‘yes it’s OK’, you’ve either been planning your gift giving since the 26th December last year, or you go for the last minute ‘everybody needs more socks, right?’ approach. Dear reader, we are here to help. If you fall into the latter camp, we have ideas aplenty and, if you fall into the ‘love it’, we feel certain that we have come up with some fresh new suggestions for you anyway.

2020 is going to be something of a different Christmas; we may not be sitting round the table with loved ones, rather awkwardly propping up our various devices against our bottles of wine and Zooming whilst we eat enough calories to see us through an average week. But perhaps this is the year where we let our gifting do the talking. It might sound silly, but if we can’t be with someone we had hoped to be, what if the gifts we send them can make sure they know how much we love them?

We’ve come up with a range of ideas for varying budgets. Whether you are cash poor and time rich, or cash rich and just want us to do all the thinking and legwork for you, all of our gift ideas are available here, in Jersey, enabling you to also support your local artisans, creators and small independent businesses while you save yourself the hassle of queuing at the Post Office at Rue des Pres.

The Secret Santa

When you pull a name out of the hat and feel a sinking feeling… what on earth are you going to get for Uncle Chris? Hmmmm, you know he likes chocolate.

Whether it’s for the office or for friends and family, a Secret Santa is meant to be a bit of fun. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you don’t know the person well enough. Make sure that the gift can be shared/used then perhaps some pampering goodies from Jersey Skin, or something edible. Candles get a bad rap, but you can never have too many and there are so many made locally that fall under the dreaded ‘under £10’ stipulation. Why not give some delicious gin miniatures from La Mare? Or a pack of delicious fudge from Sue’s Fudge, all made using local produce?

If you DO know the recipient well, then you’ve got much more of a chance to have some fun. Within reason. Christmas usually has some small children present, and whether they are yours or not, it’s always advisable to keep the gifts PG.

An alternative suggestion to put to your Secret Santa group is to add an element of competition. Perhaps set a challenge to buy the heaviest thing for £3. Or the most calorific chocolate bar under a certain weight. It’s all about getting together, talking and having fun after all. The gifts should really be secondary.

The DIY (or pay someone to do-it-for-you and possibly take the credit)

It’s the thought that counts right? Well sometimes it really is. There are some people who just don’t want more ‘stuff’. But they also don’t want to be left out when it comes to giving out gifts. For them, we’re going to moot you create something to give. Or you cheat and pretend you did.

A personalised cross stitch may sound old fashioned, but Nine By Five have brought an old art back to life. From personalised family portraits to sweary mantras, there’s something for everyone… and if you don’t see what you like, Cat can make it for you - to order!

Another idea is baking; a term that fills almost every kitchen owner with dread. Especially when it involves a small child. Consumables are a lovely thoughtful present, whether it’s a bag of cookies for a teacher at the end of term, or chutneys made from windfall apples from the garden, you can give a gift that shows you have given time and thought to the recipient, with the bonus that it can be eaten.

There are so many tutorials online suggesting DIY ideas. From photographs, to painting pottery; to planting up a pot with bulbs to sewing Christmas decorations, if you need to go thoughtful, it really needn’t cost you anything at all.

"It’s all about getting together, talking and having fun after all. The gifts should really be secondary."

Shop Local

We know we know, shopping small and shopping local is so 2020. But actually and - for one moment - in all seriousness please do shop small and shop local. 2020 has not been an easy year for any business and if you can, head to your local shops and retailers rather than the big anonymous online ones and support Jersey’s local businesses.

The Small Business Pop up at Liberty Wharf is hosting nearly 40 artisan and local businesses and will be spread across three units from the 29th October. Pop down to find perfect, local gifts for literally anyone you need a present for. From candles to bags; from prints to ceramics; from jewellery to plants they will help you get things wrapped up (every Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10-5pm from 29th October and daily through December including Sundays).

Lisa Le Brocq jewellery hand crafts beautiful sterling silver jewellery here in Jersey. Many of her bracelets and necklaces can be added to, so you’ll never be short on ideas for a gift on birthdays or future Christmas’s.

How about night away at a hotel? A treatment in a spa? Any other year it might feel like a bit of a cop out, but this year (of all years), the hospitality and tourism industry need you more than ever. And frankly, there’s very few people who’d turn down a night away from home.

For the person who has everything, and wants nothing

It’s time to look at what we’ve got on the island. And what you can give the person who has it all. You can give them something that they didn’t know they wanted but will treasure forever.

How about a family photo shoot voucher with Sophie Darwin? A voucher for a Seafaris RIB trip? A guided tour out to the Seymour Tower at low tide (keep it guided mind you)? You can buy a pottery lesson with Claire Haithwaite, or a DRIFT yoga retreat? Qualify to SCUBA dive at Bouley Bay Diving Centre (for diving in sunnier climes when we can travel again). If in doubt, buy something that no one would buy for themselves, but will treasure forever.

Most of all though, if your hand hovers over that pair of socks, or that scarf that you’d never normally buy, just think for a moment: does the person that I’m buying for really want or need it? So long as you keep the person you’re buying for in mind, the right gift will always follow. And if in doubt? Something that someone wouldn’t buy themselves. Be it some skin goodies, a bag or a pair of earrings, make them feel like they’ve been thought of when you buy their gift. It really is the thought that counts.

All gifts mentioned can be purchased directly or via


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