Gifts for women
The woman in your life could include your mother or sister but really we are talking about your love interest - be that a girlfriend, partner, fiancée or wife.
Few if any women want to receive a gift that is really a household item. There will always be exceptions to the rule, sometimes due to lack of money, but on the whole we girls love a gift that is just for us.
If the gift is selected with love and thought how can you go wrong?
Well quite easily really. Reading the signs and hearing any hints dropped by your woman is important; likewise just because she comments that something is great it does not necessarily mean she wants you to buy it for her.
You could of course ask for a Christmas list of what your lady would like in her Christmas stocking and choose from that. However if you like to give surprises make sure it is a pleasant rather than nasty one!
Lingerie is only really a good idea if you know your woman well. Remember that you are buying the lingerie for her not your excitement and pleasure and shop accordingly. Check her current underwear for size as long as you know it fits her well.
Look, listen and observe to get this gift right.
We ladies all like jewellery, well almost all of us do.
Knowing your woman's personal style and taste takes time and if you are new into a relationship opt for a safe classic set of earrings. Make sure you know whether your girl has pierced ears or not.
Technological gifts may fit the bill as long as it is for personal use. An android or tablet or accessory such as cover could be one option.
Books are fine if you are confident about her reading likes but does she tend to use a kindle these days instead?
ITunes and Amazon gift certificates give her the option of finding just what she wants online. You could back this gift up with flowers or wine or chocolates or all three; if you know her perfect flowers, wine and chocolates all the better.
A favourite film on DVD, gloves, a hat and or scarf, handbag or cosmetics may work as stocking fillers; if you want to try to buy her something quirky search online. There are many websites that offer unusual gifts such as Find Me A Gift.
Fun stuff is great but not for everyone!
Clothing is a tricky gift but many long term wives and partners years for a new outfit-making this one a surprise could be disastrous though.
When searching for a gift you can do the research online and shop locally if you prefer.
So what does your woman want for Christmas? Will you manage to complete the gift buying mission successfully and in time?
Christmas a time for giving
Kick of your Advent Calendar giving rather than taking
Tis the season to be jolly but what if you are struggling to make ends meet?
If you are doing OK but perhaps not well enough to support any charities this Christmas how about supporting your local charity shops?
You could volunteer time by helping sorting incoming goods, working in a shop, collecting goods or even having a clear out at home.
As you start your Christmas clean sweep around your home eventually prettying the main rooms up with festive trees, glitz and glamour you are bound to come across unwanted goods..
Books, DVDs, clothes that no longer fit but are in good condition, toys that kids have also outgrown and even old Christmas trees and decorations if you are splashing out on new.
All of these items may be a win win for a charity shop.
The money raised when sold will help the charity The person who buys your old goods should get a very good deal.
Ideal for sale at this time of year in charity shops is kids games and clean, safe soft toys.
Be imaginative and see what you can come up with.
People will also be on the look out for drinking glasses, baking tins, cake tins and goods still in wrappers.
How many times do you buy an item of clothing and never wear it?
Why leave it to get dusty in a wardrobe? Be ruthless and help others along the way.
Follow this link to find your local charity shops
Day 1 - World Aids Day
Day 2 -Food-banks
Day 3 - Shelter
Day 4 - Sponsor a guide dog puppy
Charity at Christmas - Home or Away?
Christmas comes but once and year and when it comes it brings good cheer, or so the saying goes. There is usually a saying for most things and that goes for charity too; remember some say " charity begins at home" and "there is no fool like an old fool."
Charity at Christmas
If you are homeless, jobless or living through a tough financial, mental and or physical time Christmas may not bring any cheer but instead be a nightmare.
At Christmas time many people give generously to help others, and many of those giving are far from rich.
Be it a shoe box full of gifts doe deserving children locally or abroad or a donation to an established charity there is never a shortage of needy people.
Take care and always ensure that any donations of money, second-hand goods or gifts do not end up in the hands of scammers.
However do not be deterred from giving just because there are unscrupulous people trying to get at your money and possessions this Christmas time. What you must do is research before you gift.
Avoid falling for telephone callers asking for your money; while some may be the genuine article others may not be. Then there is the risk of being placed on a 'sucker’s list' if you fall for an online or telephone scam.
This report was prompted by an online Christmas appeal from VSO, voluntary services overseas.
It is a genuine appeal and as most real appeals are very good causes.
Giving at Christmas can help such a diversity of charities and leave you with a warm Christmas glow, although that may sound a little selfish; but it shows it is a win win situation if you give.
Decide if you want to help those in your country or abroad, animals or people. While some will never give to animal charities most of those will struggle over the Christmas period. You could give a little time to help the staff get a brief Christmas break.
Many people have a favourite cause or charity sometimes due to a personal link such as a family member with a specific health condition.
But there are so many charities that need your help.
You may not be able to give a great deal of money but remember every little can help. You could donate unwanted items to a charity shop. Note buying Christmas cards with a charity logo will benefit the trader rather than the charity
So we will close this report with a link to the VSO and their appeal to "Help save babies' lives in Ethiopia this Christmas."
Additional charities and appeals to consider:
Give the gift of your time this Christmas
Shelters help the homeless campaign and petition
Christmas comes but once and year and when it comes it brings good cheer, or so the saying goes. There is usually a saying for most things and that goes for charity too; remember some say " charity begins at home" and "there is no fool like an old fool."Charity at Christmas
Gifts for travellers
Are you looking to buy a Christmas gift for a loved one who has a long standing love affair with travel? Buying gifts for an established traveller may not be easy but there are many items available for the novice wanderer; you may have to do your research though for a well-established traveller.
Those who love to travel tend to but various travel related bits and bobs over time so do your research to prevent you buying something unnecessary and unwanted.
Here are a few travel related gift ideas that will be welcomed by all as remember some items such as travel kettles do wear out over time. If you end up with more than one travel kettle you can always leave one behind at your favourite vacation destination ready for next time you visit.
Prepare to be amazed at what is on offer. So many items can easily become travel appropriate.
What about learning a foreign language? This could be by way of a book, C.D. or local lessons.
The Internet as always offers a much larger choice and saves you having to tramp around city centres and high streets looking for gift inspiration.
You do not necessarily have to buy online but researching gifts online can be really useful.
However the advantage with the Internet is choice. Here are a few websites that claim to offer unusual gifts for your traveller this Christmas:
Gifts for him
Christmas is always just around the corner. With so few gift shopping days left before Christmas we may all need to get a move on. Sure there will be gifts available for sale up until the very last minute but the choice will diminish with time
Maybe buying gifts for your man is a doddle but more likely it is just one big headache. A mixture of cash and inspiration will be needed and here are some ideas if both are in short supply.
Many men open their Christmas gifts with a feeling of dread. The usual ill-fitting socks, underwear and gloves must be so disappointing. Why not put the amount of thought into buying his gift, that you would hope he put into buying yours?
The money you have available for gift purchases obviously makes a difference but it is possible to buy your guy the perfect gift, on a budget.
We all know that most men are big kids at heart. Some are big kids full-stop. How about buying him a toy. It could be something designed as a toy for grown-ups or a kids toy you know he has always wanted. I am not talking about a sex toy but hey it is up to you. Whatever floats your boat as long as it is legal.
Fun gifts could be a light up dazzle yoyo, a radio controlled spider, a rubber duck radio or a robotic dog. You could even make up a men's gift basket of fun gifts throwing into the mix bags of favourite childhood sweets or confectionery such as sherbet dips, cherry lips, swizzlers and the like.
Does he own a Kindle? If he does you could purchase a great selection of kindle reading matter for next to nothing. If he does not own a kindle why not buy him one? The smaller kindle is cheaper and more lightweight. It could be perfect for taking to work and using when travelling.
A new cell or mobile phone may not be necessary or within your budget but perhaps some accessories will be. A personalized phone case or a new earpiece could be ideal.
The annual subscription for magazines works out cheaper if the whole year is paid for in one payment. If your man loves his expensive, in your opinion, monthly motorbike or photography magazines why not pay in advance for next year's editions?
Perhaps he has always had a yen to learn to play the keyboard or a guitar. Whilst your funds may not stretch to buying the musical instrument they may stretch to paying for lessons on how to play, or sheet music and accessories for the instrument.
Netbooks have come down in price considerably recently.
For a lot less than £200 in the UK you can buy a netbook by a top of the range manufacturer. Maybe he has a laptop that needs a little more memory adding to it? Perhaps his PC could do with a Windows upgrade to its operating system.
Androids, IPads, IPhones and more may all be within your price range. If not accessories for an existing piece of kit may be.
Who said men are hard to buy for? There is so much choice and there are still books, CDs and DVDs!
Gifts for your 60+ woman
As a woman aged sixty plus what is my perfect birthday or Christmas gift?
All of us are very different individuals and, what someone feels is the ideal gift, may fill someone else with loathing. I suppose some of this will depend on:-
In general it is best to steer well clear of any gifts that are really household items, such as cleaners and washing machines, as these are neither personal nor appropriate for any birthday, let alone a special one. However, I suppose if the birthday girl is really struggling, and in financial meltdown, a large household gift may be appreciated.
Overall though, if you can make the gift very personal and something that you know they have always wanted, you will be on to a winner. Something luxurious such as an extra special perfume may go down a treat.
Finally how about arranging for a spray of her favourite flowers to be sent every week of the coming year? Now that will surely bring some sunshine into her life and help make her year a truly special one.
Some more ideas
Baby's first Christmas
Do you have a baby in your family? If so will this Christmas be its first? If the answer is yes you may want to buy an extra special gift but what is on offer?
Depending when during the year the baby was born it could be that there will seemingly be nothing suitable. A tiny baby will not be able to play yet or take much notice. It could be that the baby shower provided more than enough items to last a lifetime. Get imaginative or creative in order to make the first Christmas gifts something to remember.
Something to keep and treasure
Consider the gift carefully. It may be that you want to give an item which can be treasured in the future. A potential antique or maybe one that already is. It could be a Victorian silver photo frame, a piece of jewelry or an antique rocking horse. You will have plenty of time for large gifts though. This first year something small but special, like baby, could be perfect.
Something for the future?
If baby is up to its nose in gifts how about one that is practical? No not a set of pans! How about making an investment on baby's behalf? In the UK you can buy premium bonds. They do not make a great deal of interest, in fact they don't make any, but the money is safe. Each month a random draw picks a winner and so in theory even the smallest number of premium bonds could win a £1,000,000. The bonds can be cashed in for face value which might be useful when the child is older.
Opening a bank account for baby, with even only a small sum of money could proof to be prudent. Each year at birthdays and Christmas money gifts could be added building a nice little nest egg for the future. These days you will have to be careful which bank you choose. With nose-diving economies and banking scandals not all are safe.
A family heirloom could be an item that already has a long family history or a future treasure. It could be:
• Granddad’s old teddy bear
• Grandma's first doll
• A trinket box
• An item which has been handed down through the generations
• A piece of jewellery
• Great Granddad’s medals
Soft, cuddly toys are usually a safe bet. The problem is the rest of the family may think so too. You can still be creative though; how about a handmade soft toy for baby's first Christmas. There is still to make one. You can sew in some love. The good thing is that you can ensure that the toy or toys are extremely safe. No matter how careful you are when you shop you can never be 100% sure of health and safety standards, can you?
Whether you are going to make or buy a soft toy try to be imaginative. A child will soon have a cupboard full of soft toys but there will only be one special one; one that grabs the child's heart and is taken here, there and everywhere. Traditionally it will be pink for a girl and blue for a boy but why not break with tradition
Researching, documenting and collating your family tree can be interesting. It can be fun and it may be hard work. You can buy parchment type scrolls which you then complete with your family tree details. This could be fully or partially completed, framed or not. It could hang in baby's bedroom to be completed in time. Personalised gifts
Gifts that are personalised with the words "Baby's first Christmas"" come in many shapes and sizes. Bibs, Christmas Tree baubles, little outfits, soft toys, teddy bears and more.Some will be tacky, others fun, and others classy. As they say "you earns your money you makes your choice" One essential ingredient in Baby's Fist Christmas gifts will be love. Put the right amount of love and thought into your gift and it cannot fail.
Note: Gift suggestions would also work for Baby's first birthday
The day before Christmas 21st century
'Tis the day before Christmas
'Tis the day before Christmas
and all through the house
everyone is stirring
even a mouse.
The kids are at it,
screaming and more
carol singers sing out
then knock on the door.
The phone joins in
springing to life
Husband’s still shopping
it’s a message for wife.
There are no turkeys
anywhere to be found
he is trawling the shops
going round and around.
Mum goes back,
to yet more chores,
as the kids race round
slamming the doors.
The day continues
going from bad to worse,
Christmas or not
out slips a curse.
But in due course
the kids go to bed,
sleep is evasive,
Santa fills a child's head
The adults now have
to creep up and down,
helping Santa leave gifts,
without one small frown.
Finally they too
go to their bed
straight to sleep,
the sleep of the dead.
Two hours later,
or so it seems,
the kids are awake,
they can hear from their screams.
“Look what he’s brought me”,
shout Kerry and Pete,
whilst poor Mum and Dad,
simply wish for more sleep.
Christmas day needs
'Tis Christmas Day now
Both far and near
Yet in so many places
there will be little cheer.
Spare a thought then
for others this day
Those with no smile, no joy
coming their way.
The sad and the lonely,
the sick and the poor
those fighting in countries
war torn and more.
If you are enjoying
a Christmas more blessed
is it because you are lucky
and you live in the West?
For all of our troubles,
and all of our strife,
most of us live
a reasonable life.
Some may fare better,
such is the way,
but none should have nothing
this Christmas Day.
Look in your heart
and share what you can.
I bet you are stuffed
having eaten all but the pan.
But Christmas is more
than gifts and pure greed
it is about helping others
especially those in need.
Even giving a little
can do so much good
and happiness is catching
unless your heart is wood.
When I was young
it seemed strange to me
that at Christmas time
I would sit on the knee,
of a rather fat man
all dressed in red
who on Christmas Eve
left presents on my bed.
Just how this man
travelled here and then there
I was not sure
and so I would stare,
when Santa appeared
at our school or a store,
and then in a flash
be gone through the door.
How could this man
ride on a sleigh
that flew through the sky
on our special day?
How could he give
to so many so fast
such beautiful toys
that were made to last?.
The strangest thing though
was that on Christmas night
he would climb down our chimney,
which must have been tight.
So that when we awoke,
early Christmas day,
our presents were there
but not Santa's sleigh.
Still, as we all know,
now we are grown,
mostly its magic
bringing Santa to our home.
Its best not to wonder
just how things appear
but enjoy what you are given
for Christmas this year.
Christmas tree lights
Fancy new Christmas Tree lights for the coming season? There are many bargains to be had but oh the variety; shapes, colours, styles, energy consumption and more are all up for grabs it seems.
Traditionally a set of Christmas tree lights could last a lifetime and some did! Most parts of the lights were either repairable or replaceable; add to this the fact that in the past a set of tree lights were far from cheap and it is easy to see why they were seldom thrown away.
Each year the same set of lights would be dragged out, tested, tweaked as necessary and hung, often on the same old tired artificial tree. Times were tight and resources meager and so this was common practice unless you came from a more affluent household.
Somewhere along the line Christmas tree lights became much cheaper. They started to be made in a variety of colours, styles and lengths; the wire colour varied and so did the actual bulbs. Indoor, outdoor lights were revamped and brought to life. In the 21st Century more and more Western households hang many sets of lights at Christmas both indoors and out but perhaps the most important set of Christmas lights will be those that adorn your tree.
They and the tree will be the focal point of Christmas in your home.
You may opt to add more than one set of lights but, as some now have 100 plus twinkling lights, one should be enough; it will depend on the size of your tree and what impression you want to make.
Too many tree lights and your ornaments will disappear into nothing; the right amount and appropriate colour, including clear, and your tree will come alive like sparkling diamonds.
One problem with cheaper tree lights is that they may be suspect; always check that they comply with your country's health and safety standards. Many of these lights come from China these days and whilst not all will be faulty by any means there are some unscrupulous dealers in that country.
Another thing to consider is that if you aim to almost have throwaway cheap lights they could damage the environment. Unnecessary waste is never good. The resources used to make a set of lights will be wasted if you simply throw them away each year.
A better option is to go for a mid-price set. One that offers replacement bulbs and the like; one that can be repaired, by changing a fuse for example, and become a family tradition.
LED lights are more eco-friendly as they use less energy but they may not be bright enough for you.
We all have less time these days but our throw away world is bad news. If you can afford to why not buy a good set of classic tree lights, which will not date quickly, and treasure them. Handing family Christmas tree decorations or lights down through the family is a lovely idea.
Whatever option you go for never compromise health and safety. At Christmas Time there is usually news of at least one house fire or death by electrocution, due to faulty Christmas tree lights.
The key phrase should be, If in doubt-throw them out.
You may or may not have already assembled your tree, lights and ornaments. There is usually ample time to bag a bargain especially as far as Christmas Tree lights go; the nearer it is too Christmas the better the bargain will be. In order to get exceptional value for money purchase after Christmas in the January sales.
Always store your Tree lights carefully after Christmas; remember the wiring could become damaged. If you have been able to buy replacement bulbs, just in case, label them. In a year's time you may not be able to find them, nor have a clue which set of lights they are for.
If you buy in the post Christmas sales check the lights over fully working and test before use. If there any faults you will need to get your money back or a replacement. Discovering they do not work the following Christmas could be costly.
For added peace of mind purchase an RCD safety plug to run your lights from. These have come down in price and could be a lifesaver.