I don’t know what it was like around you this weekend, but it was all go here. There was a Christmas fair at my youngest’s school, the lights switch-on in town and not one, but THREE Christmas markets! (Picked up a very nice present for my brother-in-law – just have to resist the temptation to eat it between now and Christmas!)
Christmas markets and local shops can be great for picking up interesting Christmas presents, but if you’re looking for something a bit more specific, or you’d prefer to avoid the crowds, there are some great websites to try.
Personalised gifts and cards
You can get all sorts of things personalised with your own messages or photos these days, and there are lots of websites that will do it for you. The two I’ve used most are Not On The Highstreet and Getting Personal. It’s worth remembering that it takes time to personalise a gift, so most of them will need to be ordered this week or next if you want to be confident of having them by Christmas. (This week is probably safer, actually, given the Royal Mail strikes.)
Not On The Highstreet is great if you like to shop with small independent traders. It’s like a marketplace, that works with 1000s of independent manufacturers of gifts, novelties and personalised things. You order through their website, and the independent trader sends it directly to you. You can search the website if you know what you’re after, or browse gifts by various categories.
Getting Personal is more of a standard online shop that stocks all sorts of gifts from T-shirts to beer tankards. Again, you can search the shop if you know what you’re after, or browse by various categories.
Once you’ve chosen the gift you want, you’ll be asked for various bits of information – maybe a name and date, a photograph or a message. You might be able to choose a font, colour or text size as well – it all depends on what you’re ordering. With any personalised gift, though, you should always be able to see a preview of the finished thing before you actually buy it – then you can check out and pay just like with any other online shop.
You can usually only return personalised goods if they’re faulty, though (because they can’t be resold) – so make sure you’re happy with it before you go ahead and order.
Other interesting websites to try
If you don’t fancy something personalised, there are lots of other interesting gift websites to try. Why not have a look at:
Present Indicative – on here you’ll find all sorts of arty, science-themed and literary gifts to browse through. There are some great bits and pieces to make your loved one feel a bit clever on Christmas morning.
Athena – this is the same “Athena” that used to be a high-street poster shop, going back to the mid-sixties. They’re fully online now, but still make some beautiful prints – from fine art prints to reproductions of classic movie posters.