Let’s talk non stocking gifts. When you’ve got people coming for Christmas, and want to give them something to open without them being a big thing. A table gift, or Christmas favour. Christmas party bags or the like. Much of Christmas is about giving, and it’s not only the children but the adults too.

With Christmas approaching, I’m thinking this is likely to be the final year of N believing in Father Chrstmas. I’m surprised he lasted until this year, with the last 2 years of asking questions. Instead of me having to answer them, he just gave himself the answers to his own questions about how the magic could work. But final year of primary school, I’m guessing this’ll be it.

Then we need to decide about stockings, and whether they’ll continue in future. The stocking gifts are often the best part of Christmas presents. Because they’re the ones that are a true surprise, especially when you get older.

My mum kept doing stockings for us for years, probably until we were grown up and had gone off to uni. They’re fun, and it’s enjoyable deciding what to include or not. And for the receiver (apart from the traditional satsuma, chocolate coins and 20p), they have no idea what they’re getting. Compared with normal gifts where they’ve often provided a list.

When we moved out of home and then came back for christmas day with family, my mum still wanted to get us a fun small set of gifts, the equivalent of a stocking. Instead it became ‘tree gifts’, a gift bag with a few traditional items like socks, gloves, as well as fun items.

Christmas party bag fillers or favours.

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I think I’d like to do that going forward once N’s over. Having small gifts (almost Christmas favours) means it’s not awkward when you have guests you wouldn’t usually buy a gift for, but feel obliged that they have something to open. It also means it’s not awkward for them sitting and watching close family members opening huge gifts in front of them.

Think of them like a Christmas party bag. We prefer using just one decent party favour or party bag filler for birthday parties. and that’s the way to go for small gifts that will be useful and kept or used, rather than thrown away straight away.

Here’s some of my tips for offering Christmas party bags or favours for adults or teens over the Christmas season.

Ideas for Christmas gift bags or favours

Tips

Give gifts as a Christmas favour, a table gift instead of crackers. Stick to small items for table gifts, if giving a bag or small box then one main gift and fill with smaller ones like sweet treats.

Keep them simple, stick with a theme – food, quirky, books, fun or accessories. It might make it easier for buying them, having similar gifts for each person.

Try different packaging – make paper gift bags, wrap in home decorated paper, or wrap in fabric similar to Japanese style Furoshiki – try a scarf as part of the gift. Alternatively use a nice reusable storage tin to give the gift in.

Gift ideas

  • Try homemade – either crafts or food usually go down well – try fudge, biscotti, mince pies, or candied chocolate covered oranges.
  • Tea light holders or small candles
  • Wax melts
  • Stationery items or nice notebook
  • Pretty magnets for fridge or noticeboard
  • Seeds or bulbs, grow your own kit
  • Cake or cookies in a jar ingredients
  • Friendship bracelet kit (you can even make your own basic friendship bracelet kit)
  • Mini LED lights
  • Puzzles 
  • Favourite chocolate
  • Book with coffee shop gift card
  • Plant – succulent or cactus (especially for those like me who have a tendency to kill things)
  • Cosmetics or toiletries
  • Trivia questions set
  • Travel mug
  • Chilly water bottle
  • T-shirt or mug with a quote or saying they use
  • Make a frame with a quote print in
  • If you can hack the noise, something musical like a penny whistle or harmonica

Shops that are good for small gifts that are decent quality if you choose right include: Paperchase, Flying Tiger, Not on the High Street, Prezzybox* or Firebox.

Obviously you shouldn’t feel obliged to give gifts, but sometimes it’s nice. Especially if you have something that’s just right for the recipient.

Do you have alternative gifts to stockings for the adults? What would you include?

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