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Back in November, I pledged to but independent for Christmas, at least for the presents for Mr Makes and some of our festive food. Now that Christmas is over, I wanted to give a little update on how it went, and what I learned.
Buying Christmas presents for your loved ones can be hard, first coming up with ideas, then having to find them, and then the fear of whether they will actually like their present. It’s easy to slip into the same routine, and before you know it, you’re again gifting the same type of present as years before. In October this year, I picked up the Christmas brochures for some of the big high-street stores, as I glanced through them, it hit me that the majority of stuff was not really any different to previous years. There are only so many times that you can give smellies to your loved ones, before they start thinking you are trying to tell them something!
Making a pledge to buy independent forced me to expand my search, and in doing so, I discovered some real gems. At the Independent Oxford market, I discovered Burrows and Hare, an independent store for men. Here I found a lovely scarf and unusual pencil case for Mr Makes (he’s starting to love stationery as much as me).
Online also proved to be successful, through Not on the High Street, I found a wonderful personalised yellow leather notebook. The chocolate bars, which I usually buy from the supermarket, instead came from Creighton’s chocolate, and both my sister and Mr Makes received treats from Bakes Box. The fabric used to make pyjamas for my nieces and nephews came from Emma's Fabric Studio.Handmade pyjamas!
The high street can often appeal around Christmas time with the number of offers available, however the sellers I bought from had lots of great deals in the run up to Christmas. This was a great help when buying on a budget. Hello Dodo’s Black Friday deal meant that I could get something extra for Mr Makes’ stocking (a lovely little pin badge). I also made the most of a number of places offering free shipping.
The greatest success this Christmas was definitely our Christmas dinner. Hosting for the first time, I ordered a veg box from our regular supplier, and our Christmas turkey from the local butcher. This made the days before Christmas much less stressful. The veg was delivered to our front door, and we (Mr Makes) got up early on Christmas Eve to pick up the turkey. Minimal time was spent in the supermarket getting the other bits.
The best part about the Christmas food was the reaction from my family. Everyone loved the vegetables (the potatoes actually tasted of something!) and the turkey was declared the best we ever had. So much so, that my parents have already pledged to use the butcher more.
I asked Mr Makes what his thoughts were, he admitted that it was challenging, but that the end result was worth it, we both ended up with some really unusual gifts. He also said that he would be happy to do it again this year, which is definitely a win! It’s safe to say that I’m sold, although the high street will still form part of our Christmas shopping, I’ll definitely be making sure I look at the independent options first.