From Sustainable to Quirky: A Christmas Gift Guide

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We all need some gifting ideas and inspiration for there are just too many gifts to buy at this time of the year. For the Secret Santa at work, the Christmas bash with friends, for helpful neighbours and those that you want to thank (from your GP to your child’s favourite teacher at school), as also to put under the tree for family and friends.

It helps that Ireland is brimming with loads of talented craftspeople as it is with pop-up stores and markets. There are also some lovely online stores and offers which are perfect for great gifting finds. We have taken all of the above in consideration and put together a nifty little Christmas gifting guide for you. Hope that helps!

Soaps and Scents

There’s something about a gorgeously fragrant soap, wrapped in a beautiful piece of rustling paper that makes it such a favourite Christmas gift – keep it under the tree or sneak it into the shower, or place it near the bathtub with a bottle of prosecco to surprise your loved one. If you are looking for natural soaps for him and for her, do look at The Donegal Natural Soap Company. From ‘Irish Goat’s Milk and Lavender Soap’ to ‘Wild Atlantic Sea Salt Bar,’ there’s something for everyone.

You may also want to browse the Three Hills Soaps website. They offer a wide variety of scented and non-scented soaps as well as gift boxes. Their soaps, as they describe them, are handmade with skin-loving oils, butter, herbs, clays, spices, and pure essential oils. I was recently surprised with a gift box that had four zesty flavours – ginger lime, lemon mandarin, sweet orange spearmint and lemongrass rosemary. I had to resist getting my teeth into the sweet orange spearmint soap, it smelt so divine and appealing that I wanted to eat it!

You can also find a variety of soaps, scents and lotion bars at pop-ups and craft fairs – these are usually made by small to medium entrepreneurs or home-based businesses and offer such unique scents. The Design and Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) website is a wonderful source to find Ireland based entrepreneurs and their versatile products.

Candles and Diffusers

If there’s something other than soaps that is a crowd pleaser, it has to be candles and diffusers. Who doesn’t want one? Whether you want to put a candle on your Christmas dinner table or a diffuser in your bathroom as you take a soak, one can never have enough of these. If this sounds like someone you know, how about looking up Glow Bottle. They have some interesting ones like Fecking Fabulous ( this scent has top notes of honey and peach, middle notes of pipe tobacco and amber, and the base notes are plum and citrus.) They also have one that is certain to make your friends laugh out loud as well rejoice. It’s called “Please Don’t Do Coke In The Bathroom” and makes for a fun and trendy gift for Christmas or otherwise. It’s top notes are bergamot, grapefruit and tangerine.

You may also want to look up Silk Prestige – they have some really gorgeous floral diffusers. What’s more, all their floral diffusers come with faux flower arrangements! These floral arrangements (anything from lilies to roses) are made from high-quality materials that feel real to touch and are set in water-like-resin. Some of the fragrances from their collection are selected and manufactured from high-quality Swiss perfumes and are intended to be sprayed directly onto the floral diffuser arrangements. Check out their Yellow Lily and Oriental Fragrance Gift Set – you would be tempted to buy more than one; for you would certainly want to keep one set for yourself even if you are gifting the other one away!

‘Book’ that Gift – Great Reads and Illustrated Stories

I love gifting and receiving books, and if there’s someone like me in your family, colleagues or friends, here’s some inspiration for you. Considering that this year’s Booker Prize was booked by Irish author Paul Lynch for Prophet Song, it may make for a perfect X-mas gift for the literature lovers in your family. Look, we understand that it’s set in a dystopian landscape and isn’t anything warm or gooey like A Christmas Carol but hey, some of us love books like that too! You may also want to take a look at his previous work if you want to make it a gift set.

Books like Tales for The Telling by Edna O’Brien, and illustrated by Michael Foreman also make for the perfect book under the tree, especially if you have a child who’s interested in stories and storytelling. This gorgeous collection features traditional Irish folk and fairy tales, including ‘The Magic Apples’ ‘The Swan Bride’, ‘Paddy the Piper’ and ‘Two Giants,’ and comes with over 70 full-colour illustrations. Cookbooks from Greystone based The Happy Pear (Plant Based Cooking & Lifestyle) are also greatly appreciated, particularly by those who are vegan or vegetarian and whilst you are in the cookery section, you may also want to check out Recipes and Stories from Ireland’s Wild Atlantic way by Jody Eddy and photographs by Sandeep Patwal. A combination of recipes and storytelling is such a winner, and this book feels like taking a trip along the Wild Atlantic way.

Another hot tip: If you find yourself at Stephen’s Green’s Shopping Centre looking for X-mas gifts, head over to House of Japan. It might be just the thing if you are looking for something exotic or international – they stock a wide range of Japanese and international products, and you will find Japanese Kokeshi and Russian nesting dolls, as well as fabulous ranges in jewellery and accessories plus illustrated Japanese fairy and folk tales! On a final note, if you think you are short on time, and can’t go searching for books, look up Bookworld and their offer of 12 Books of Christmas – you will receive 12 individually wrapped books from different genres, both for adults and children, and the books are all brand new.

Warm Woollies, Snug Cardigans and Glittering Jewellery

A piece of jewellery, chosen with care and consideration for someone you love never goes unappreciated. For that matter, neither does a cardigan that feels like a hug from the heart. So where would you go if you were looking for a nice, individual piece of jewellery? There are plenty of options in Ireland, and you can find your pick from many talented craftspeople. Take for example, Deeca Design (a collection of jewellery inspired by architecture and

nature, made from sustainably and ethically sourced hardwoods, precious metals, and freshwater pearls), colourful and vibrant jewellery from The Messy Brunette, or Brenda Hoey’s beautiful collection that includes a fuchsia drop earrings in sterling silver. If you like distinctive jewellery, do check out The Craft Shop in Bantry. You don’t need to go to Bantry, they are online as well and ship to your address. The Craft Shop was established in 1974 and sources and sells the most beautiful artisan crafts made in West Cork and further field in Ireland.

Coming to cardigans or something nice and warm, how about looking through The Donegal Shop’s online shop? A cardigan, a pair of warm socks or wool scarves might be a traditional gift, but one that’s so welcome, isn’t it? They even stock Aran dog coats!

Another great place for clothing gifts is FéRí – an Irish slow fashion brand. You can shop online or look out for the many pop-ups it will be coming up with throughout the festive season.

Gifts for the Conscientious Soul

Some of us say no to gifts and gifting, and instead want you guys to plant Christmas or other trees on our behalf. Sometimes we may relent though, if the gift is like a hedgehog basket for the garden (to keep them prickly things safe), or if it’s a pollinator and wellbeing gift box. Don’t frown at us, we are just made like that! So if you have a conscientious little soul in your life who would rather forgo a candle or a soap, or a leather wallet, and go for something that is good for the environment, fret not. You can look up Connecting To Nature, which is all about biodiversity and wellbeing and offers gifts like bird feeders, insect houses, native wildflower seed pocket, and that hedgehog basket too…

On similar lines, you can find Wildflower Seed Bombs (search for Seed Bombs online). These are native Irish wildflower seeds crafted in Co Meath since 2015. The company offers eco-friendly festive gift tag and planting instructions and for Christmas, they also have something else, rather unique at that. Hear us out, before you frown please… Called Wildflower Seed Reindeer Poop – it’s a fun and festive gift that grows to support bees, butterflies, birds and many more wildlife species. It’s available in eco-friendly organic cotton mini sacks and would really warm the cockles of your conscientious friend’s heart.

Gifts for the ‘Impossible to Buy a Gift for’ – A Donation to a Charity of your Choice

Look, some people are simply impossible to buy a gift for. Don’t get me wrong. They are really nice people, but they will say no even to seed bombs. “But we have everything we need and more,” they will say to you.

So for people like that, maybe making a donation to a charity, say like the Donkey Sanctuary Ireland, could be an idea to consider. I mean, can anyone say no to making a donation for donkeys that have worked very hard and are now happily rehomed? Of course, there are so many other charities as well that do such a wonderful job at making this world a better place for everyone (working in the area of cancer care or research, to bereavement, eliminating

homelessness and poverty and more). Browse through different charities and then make a choice. It would be perfect for the friend who doesn’t want a gift, but just wants the best for everyone around them. Afterall, isn’t Christmas all about giving, and what better gift to give or receive than the one that tries to do a little good in a world that can be so unequal and unfair?

Treats and Nibbles

We are going to end the guide with a note on treats and nibbles because a big part of Christmas is food, and whether you want to gift someone a gift card for their favourite restaurant, a cooking class or buy them some treats – food, can understandably never go out of fashion.

For gift hampers, there are lots of options – look up Craft Food Traders to begin with. They provide Irish Artisan food and drinks, and you will find their Christmas hampers to be quite a treat. (Check out their Late Late Toy Show Party Box). If you are looking to send a gift box to someone who is living away from home, and missing all things Irish at this time of the year, try Ireland’s Traditional Treat Box from Gifts Direct. This treat box packs a bit of Ireland into a box – think Barry’s Tea, Tayto’s Crisps as well as Jacobs Biscuit collection.

For gift vouchers, it’s worthwhile to browse through the Dublin Cookery School’s offers – from ‘Man in the Kitchen’ to ‘Knife Skills’ to ‘Sensational Seafood’ and more, there’s so much for everyone. To be honest, gifting the man/men in your life a ‘Man in the Kitchen’ gift voucher is as much a gift for them as it is about a gift for your own self!

Happy gifting – and we hope you receive some lovely gifts as well.

For your Diary – Shop for Christmas Gifts also at:

Greystones Christmas Market, Wicklow – every weekend till December 23

Hen’s Teeth Christmas Flea, Dublin 8 – December 16

‘Gather’ at Kildare Village – until December 31st

The Clarendon Collective, Dublin – until January

Louth Craftmark Designers Network in Powerscourt Townhouse Centre – Until December 31st

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