I’ve been making some lists of gifts that I think would work for lots of different folks this Christmas, most of which are made or created by people local to me in the North East or written by authors and bloggers I know.
I’m a big fan of shopping local and supporting local businesses; I find I always have a nicer experience, chatting to staff, finding out information on the product or the brand or just passing the time of day.
That’s not to say I don’t buy online too, I do. But I get a much better buzz when I find something that I can take into my hands and bring home with me straightaway. No waiting on the courier, hoping he doesn’t wake the baby and finding out the item you bought looks twenty per cent of the quality in that Instagram image that sucked you in.
Here’s some ideas if you’re wondering what to stick on the Christmas Gift list this year, in the knowledge that you’re helping and supporting home grown talent.
I met Jolene Cox a few years ago at a blogger event and was immediately taken by her warmth and lovely accent! She has gone from strength to strength with her blog over the years and the clever folks at Orpen Press decided to print a whole cookbook of her family recipes. I’m going to buy this for myself and for some other family members because I love the mix of healthy recipes with comfort foods, all family favourites and easy to follow. I’m looking forward to trying out some of the dishes for the picky four year old in this house – I’d love to get her eating better – as I grew up the pickiest child in Ireland and didn’t touch a vegetable till I was about 25. From watching videos of the book too, it looks massive – something you will hold onto for years no doubt.
I’ve been following this local business online for a while now and am always taken by the simplicity and beauty of these creations. All of the stones are taken from our local beaches here on the North East Coast and I think they make a lovely gift for any number of occasions. There’s a huge range to choose from, some suitable for teachers, mothers, family, musicians – take a look yourself and see. I’ve seen a lot of online pictures crafts in recent years, so I’d imagine there’s quite a lot of competition out there, but these are beautiful and unique.
If you’ve ever heard the Drogheda accent, you’ll know it’s beautifully and uniquely formed from our North East mouths! There’s nothing like it. When I saw these tshirts online, I couldn’t stop laughing for the spot on take of random and various sayings that are completely unique to our community. Check out the Facebook page for the full range of designs. Tommy Leddy. (Droghead for Bye Bye now).
Industrial WorX Drogheda
I popped into this shop today to see could if I pick up a new coat rack for our hall. I had been on my way upto TK Maxx and the hubby suggested I drop in here first. Wowsers – it’s an emporium! They have TONS of different things from antiques to upcycled materials, to memorabilia, to vintage items. Everything is individual and unique and it’s the type of shop you’ll look around and find something for someone in your family that just says BUY ME. I did find a coat rack – built on a piece of driftwood taken from the sea at Termonfeckin, with silver plated forks. I just love it! You’ll find the shop at 10 Duke Street.
I asked himself what local gifts he would recommend and he suggested this beautiful book of photography by Mark Duffy. It’s a stunning collection of heritage sites in Louth – which our wee county is absolutely stuffed with. You can pick up the book in bookstores or order from the website direct, where prints of some of the breathtaking images are also available.
Books glorious books
As a writer, I’ve become friends with a ton of other writers over the past few years and I try to read as many of their books as possible, both to support my fellow writers and to get a feel for what’s being published right now. It’s hard to keep up, but here are just a selection of Irish books or books by Irish writers published in the past year, that would make wonderful gifts for your friends or family.
I love subscriptions because it’s the gift that keeps giving and if you buy it for someone they’ll think of you every time that magazine or gift box drops through the letterbox! If you know an aspiring writer, I’d highly recommend a subscription to Writing Magazine. I’ve been using the online subscription but there is a version to receive the magazine each month.
I’m a stationery nut and have been a subscriber to HoneyTree Post. They design and make stationery and send you a beautiful curated box each month. I’ve found it so useful to have a constant supply of beautiful cards or papers in the house.
My good friend Karen Devine told me recently of an online magazine subscription called Readly.com. It gives you access to hundreds of magazines monthly and is hugely affordable, a great gift for someone who’s happy to read on their tablet or phone.
For the childers
Fellow blogger, gaelgoir and talented children’s writer Sadhbh Devlin brought out her second Irish language book this year called Beag Bideach. I love the thought of getting kids to read and listen to Irish early. You can pick it up from bookshops. Another friend Shane Cowley aka Beautfort Smedley (love that name) has brought out his first children’s book – A Most Slanticulis Christmas and it’s hilarious and very dark. My kids have been loving it. You’ll need to go online to order this, or it’s available in Roe Books Dundalk and Opening Minds, Laurence Shopping Centre, Drogheda.
So there you have it. My collated list of crafts, books and more that I reckon could make some fab gifts this Christmas.
What local gifts from your area would you recommend? I’d love to hear from you.