Why do we give gifts?

Christmas, Birthdays & Anniversaries are all times of celebration and cheer. We are at our most generous during the festive period than any other time of year. But, why do we part with our cash so easily for others during this period.

One of the main reasons we have the tradition of giving and receiving presents is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the Three Wise Men: Frankincense, Gold & Myrrh.

Giving presents is a little different today to say the least!  It’s a fine balancing act of spending the right amount of money versus the perfect gift for the recipient? Research is critical to finding the correct gift at the price you can afford, a problem the Wise Men did not encounter!

Today, we give gifts for different reasons. For some, it is a way to celebrate the Christian holy day & for others, it is a special time to let family & friends know that you care & are thinking of them. Often a way to show your appreciation of their support you have received throughout the year.

St. Nicholas was probably the most famous gift giver in history, leaving wonderful presents in shoes that were left outside for children! This is the reason children today hang up stockings on Christmas Eve.

Christmas as we now know it originated from the Victorian era, with families gathering for a feast, to play games & give gifts. To give a gift was an expression of kindness & warmth especially during harder times.

Nowadays in more affluent times, Christmas is all about the gift. With Christmas adverts being shown on every channel & Santa Claus appearing in department stores the focus on buying the perfect gift has never been more important. Macy’s of New York revolutionised Christmas shopping when they stayed open until midnight on Christmas Eve in 1867 encouraging shoppers to pop in for their last minute gifts.

Luckily today we have the blessing of the internet to help with Christmas shopping so you don’t need to brace the cold, you can shop to your hearts content whilst drinking your cocoa in front of the blazing fire. In fact a little bird has told me that www.prettymaison.co.uk has some great little gifts for your friends and family, definitely worth a click 😉

Happy Shopping & Merry Christmas!

Who was St Valentine?

valentines dayEvery year we show our nearest and dearest how much they mean to us but why do we do this? Don’t get me wrong it’s great to receive a dozen red roses on the 14th of February (and a box of chocolates!) but have you ever wondered where it all started?

Apparently the saint himself is a bit of a mystery. Early stories suggest Valentine wasn’t the god of love or a gigolo but merely a Roman priest in the third century. The ruling emperor of that era decided that men without wives and children made the best soldiers, so he outlawed marriage for young men, this upset Valentine greatly and he continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. Unfortunately his actions were discovered and Emperor Claudius II ordered Valentine to be sentenced to death.

Whilst imprisoned he fell in love with a young girl, rumour has it that this was a jailers daughter who visited him whilst he was incarcerated and just before his death he wrote her a farewell letter signed ‘From your Valentine’ and so the first ‘valentine’ greeting was sent.

The UK now sends over 1 billion valentines cards every year, with women purchasing approximately 85% of all cards. With retail sales of around £978m the commercial side of Valentines day has rapidly increased over the last three centuries making it the second most commercially celebrated day after Christmas.

But how do you go the extra mile and show your other half the meaning of true love? With the personal touch of course!

Why not print off your favourite photo and place it in a simple frame, or simply say it in words with one of our romantic wall plaques.

All in all, if you’re not sure what to give your significant other this year, just make sure you reach out and give them a great big hug on the 14th February and show them you care, although if you want your day to run smoothly I seriously suggest you take a peek at our gifts for Valentines!

Happy Valentines x

Gifts for the guys!

christmas gifts for him

Most people have a man in their life who has everything, simply impossible to buy for! Hopefully I can help relieve a little stress with my gift ideas for guys.

Darts Drinking Game: This is the perfect present for the man who likes a tipple or two! Complete with shot glasses, darts board and magnetic darts (real ones would be dangerous when the game gets going!) This groovy game makes the perfect stocking filler and is priced at a reasonable £4.99 each.

Retro Sweet Hamper: Filled to the brim with old school sweets to add a smile to the face of any fickle soldier! Supplied in a willow hamper with leather fastenings which my Dad uses for his fishing! (Two gifts for the price of one!).

Nickel Wine Stopper & Coaster: Are you fed up with buying the usual bottle of wine? Well this year you can raise the bar and complete the ensemble with this gorgeous twosome.

Golfer Wall Plaque: If your man has tried his hand at a round of golf, then this will be perfect (and cheeky). Decorated with the words “An old golfer lives here… with the best score of his life” makes a fabulous fun gift idea for any golfer who’s advancing in years!!

Well it’s not long until Santa makes an appearance so I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and look forward catching up with you in 2015, in the meantime…. Happy Shopping x

 

Presents for the Pet Lover!

I’m back again with some ideas for the animal lover in your life!

Who can resist the soulful eyes of a mans best friend? Not many of us, which is why an animal themed gift is a great idea for most.

Frames: We have the perfect duo, two photo frames featuring the words ‘My Dog’ & ‘My Cat’. Each is decorated with either a wooden fish or bone and is perfect for adding a photo of their cuddly companion. These fabulous frames makes the perfect stocking filler and are priced at just £5.99 each.

Door Mat: Well this really is a novel idea! if your friend has a pet they probably need one of these to help with the muddy paws! Gorgeously designed with cats and dogs, practical & stylish! Why not treat them to our ‘Wipe your paws’ sign too? It would certainly pop a smile on my face, (I’m hoping for the Scottie dog design!).

Storage Tins: If you’re secret Santa this year doesn’t have a furry friend don’t despair you can still get in on the act and treat them to a bird seed tin! What better way than starting the New Year with a new hobby? Team it with one of our bird nesting boxes and open the door to a whole new world!

Next week I will be back to help with the gifts for the man who has everything (we all have one of those in our life!) Happy Shopping x

Gorgeous Gifts for your Gardeners!

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This week I’m going to help you with your green fingered friends!

Gardening is a fantastic past time and if embraced with enthusiasm (and the right tools) your chums (and hopefully you) will soon be able to reap the benefits.

Bulb & Seed Tins: These are available in various colours and various sizes and make perfect stocking filler from only £6.00 each. Why not fill them with unusual seeds or a range of bulbs to give the gift with a difference!

Thyme Watering Can: Ideal for the Alan Titchmarsh in your life! This traditionally designed metal watering can is absolutely stunning and beautifully finished in the new Thyme green colour and complete with a detachable brass rose. This will certainly make someone feel very special.

watering canwater misterbulb tin

Water Mister: Pop a smile on somebody’s face this Christmas with our traditional water mister. Great present for the indoor gardener and lovingly decorated with the words, ‘Grow Damn It!’.

Traditional Buckets: Better than they sound (honest!). Absolutely brilliant for the organic vegetarian! My favourite is our gooseberry green bucket with ‘Grown in the UK’ printed on the front, great for Grandpa’s allotment!

Next week I will be blogging about Gifts for the Animal Lover! Happy Shopping x