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It’s that time of year when we’re all thinking about gift ideas for our friends and family. However, with tight budgets and an increasing awareness of the environmental impact of one-time-use gifts, we wanted to show you there are lots of gift ideas that last all year round – not just for December!
Reading has experienced a boom in popularity this year as we’ve all had more time on our hands to get through the to-be-read list. Magazines are a great way to get regular fresh content without needing the attention span for a full novel. Gifting a magazine subscription is a great way to bring joy to the recipient for an entire year. However, picking the right one is tricky. More than that, a monthly physical magazine eventually gets thrown into the recycle bin, contributing to environmental waste (through the energy required to recycle).
Readly solves these problems. It’s a reading app that lets you give the gift of magazines – that’s right, plural! With thousands of titles available, you can give the gift of reading where your recipient chooses which magazines they want to read. The best bit is that it costs the same as the price of just ONE magazine a month – £7.99 – and for that, your recipient gets access to thousands of titles. It’s not just current issues, either – you can browse the back catalogue of titles, too.
Users don’t need to be online to read their favourite magazines, either – you can download issues to read offline. It works on smartphones as well as tablets and a desktop version, so your gift recipient can choose the way they prefer to read.
These are a gift that provides joy for several months (or all year round, if you choose!). Some subscription boxes are monthly, while others are bi-monthly or quarterly. The recipient gets the box in the post and thinks of you every time it arrives!
There are lots of types of subscription boxes available, which makes them ideal for a range of recipients. The other advantage is you can send a subscription box to your loved ones even if they live on the opposite side of the country to you! There’s no expensive delivery charges to send them a gift, as it’s included in the price.
For the foodie in your life, food boxes are a great way to encourage them to learn new skills and try new dishes.
You could opt for a grocery box gift – ideal for those you know have been struggling a bit financially lately – such as Hello Fresh. We also love the Forage Box – for £15 a month your recipient gets a box of hand-foraged items AND £1 from each one is donated to FareShare. If you want something smaller or more boutique, try something like The Spicery or a baking subscription box.
These are brilliant for sending a regular surprise gift to the nerd in your life. Covering franchises like Marvel, Disney, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and DC Comics, your recipient will get a box of 4-7 cool geek items each month!
If there’s one thing movie and comic fans love, it’s merchandise. From t-shirts to POP! bobble heads, these boxes could have anything! Discover more at My Geek Box (subscriptions can be found under the Categories tab).
Other services like this include SuperLoot and Zavvi’s Zbox – definitely shop around to find the type of geek box that suits your recipient’s fandom!
Beauty subscription boxes are where the trend really started. Makeup and beauty fans love to try new colours, products, lotions and potions – but often get choice paralysis when shopping for themselves! A subscription box sends a surprise beauty package to help them discover new beauty items without the stress of shopping.
Birchbox is one of the originals, offering great value on high-end beauty brands. You (or your recipient) can set up a beauty profile on their website to make sure the items included every month are most suited to their skin tone, style, and hair colour. There’s also a refer-a-friend program that offers unique discounts for both you and a friend!
LookFantastic is another popular brand that offers a wide range of beauty boxes. You can pick subscriptions from 3, 6, or 12 months from as little as £13 – with a guaranteed RRP of items of £50 or above each month.
The Natural Beauty Box features vegan, plastic-free, all-natural beauty items each month – perfect for the eco-conscious recipient! Each box is £24.95 – choose monthly, a bi-monthly, or a plastic-free box once a quarter.
Sending your loved one on an experience or a series of lessons to learn something new helps them discover new hobbies and creates memories, too!
From local cooking classes to online language courses, there are all sorts of ways to encourage your friends and family to learn something new.
Babbel is an online language school that is a great way to help your loved one discover (or refresh) a new language. It could be part of a larger gift, too – such as planning ahead for a holiday somewhere when **all this pandemic stuff** is over!
Virgin Experience Days is a classic gift of memories – from all sorts of things such as afternoon tea to driving fast cars, there’s something for everyone. Encourage your friends and family to try something new and learn new skills!
Oxford University lets you gift online, weekly, or longer courses, too. Choose from everything ranging from writing classes to animal behaviour, history lessons to philosophy.
Check your (or your recipient’s) local area for in-person classes, too. From baking and chocolate making to acting classes or metal sculpture, you’ll be surprised what you can find!
The gift of time sounds cheesy but it’s really valued by recipients. Offer to regularly babysit a friend’s children one night each month, or give them the gift of ironing. Maybe you’ll promise to go on a day-long hike with them each month, or perhaps you will drive them to their favourite place at the beach. Or, maybe, you’re a tax whizz who can help a freelancer with their monthly accounts!
Giving your time saves you money but also cements your relationships. You’ll help out your friends and family AND spend time with them on a regular basis (which is so difficult to do these days!).
For more ideas on how to have a feel-good Christmas on a budget, try these articles next:
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Some great gift ideas.