Xmas Secret Santa

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Before Xmas the fabulous Lakota organised a secret Santa for a bunch of us. I was paired up with darling Franca of ‘Oranges & Apples‘ which I was a bit relieved about as I have been blog buddies with her for a while so figured I could find something she would like. The swap theme was ‘Christmas Carol’s’, I picked out a vintage pearl necklace and a snowflake brooch which I attached together – something I love doing to make more of a statement. I also choose a vintage Picasso print scarf which I got in Italy and threw in a bag of chocolate coins – retro I know! It didn’t really occur to me to take a photo of the gifts I was sending but Franca put some up on her blog. From the pearls which looked like little snowballs and the snowflake brooch I decided my gift fit with the carol ‘Let it Snow’.

For my gift I received a really cool book listing 99 – yes 99, different ways to wear a scarf! Who knew! Since I have a lot of scarves this was a great gift for me so I can play around with all the tips in the book. Franca is a lot more crafty than me and cleverly made two of my gifts the pom-pom necklace and beautiful heart brooch. She also made me the most delicious bag of star and moon shaped Vanillekipferl German biscuits but we ate those before I remembered I need to take a photo! We cheated a bit with Franca’s carol and decided on ‘Silent Night’, because erm the sky contains stars and the moon!

Big thank you to Franca for the gifts and Lakota for putting in all the effort to make the swap possible. You can check out all the other swaps on her blog ‘Faith, Hope and Charity Swapping‘, if you are nosy like me and want to know what everyone else got!

Christmas Gifts Made Easy

I have to say I am pretty much a last minute shopper. Unless I see something which would make the absolute perfect gift, I find myself sat a week before Christmas without any gifts, no cards wrote out and I haven’t even began to think about food. So here I am with presents still needed and a whole lack of desire to head out into town whilst it’s so busy. I bring to you the cheats guide to Christmas:

1. GiftGen – This is a cool little website which lets you enter gift requirements such as age, sex, price range and interests. Then it generates a list of suitable gifts. I think it is brilliant, especially when you have people you don’t know all that well such as distant relatives or partners family to buy for.

2. Christmas Shopping List app – There are tons of fun and useful Xmas apps to entertain yourself with such as the Santa Photo Booth. But one really useful app is the simple shopping list, which lets you keep score of who you have to buy for and your budget. Yes you could use a pen and paper or your memo but I’ve borrowed my mums iPad and I’m enjoying the novelty!

3. Gift Wrapping Services – Personally I really quite like wrapping gifts, but after the 5th pair of slippers it can become monotonous. So many stores these days from M&S to Amazon offer free gift wrapping which you may as well take advantage of to save you time and money.

4. Delivery – One thing I always fail on are the Xmas postage dates. Every year I totally forget and the people I won’t be seeing in person end up with their gift sometime in the new year. We don’t even have a post office in our town any more which is beyond inconvenient! Fear not Parcelforce is here to help. You can book online delivery where they even come and pick the parcels up from your house. Absolute lifesaver!!!

There you have it, easy peasy, leaving you more time for merry making.

Do you have any tips to share?