I thought I’d share with you a few of the bits and bobs I’ve gathered so far for Christmas. I try very hard to buy British or buy handmade where I can. WAHM-made (work-at-home mum) clothing and crafted gifts aren’t always the cheapest option (although most makers run some fabulous offers and giveaways at this time of year) but they are brilliant quality, with a personalised service you can’t find on the high street, and you can see the love and care that has gone into every detail.
I do always add some cheap bits from the usual high street shops too – Primark, Asda, pound shops, Wilkinson. They have some great little stocking fillers. We all know how tricky it is to stretch the pennies at this time of year, so always stick within your budget and with a few cunning wrapping tricks you can make a less expensive gift look extra special.
I buy these cellophane bags very cheaply from PolyMailBags on eBay. They’re available in a range of colours, always arrive fairly quickly and come with pre-cut lengths of curling ribbon to tie them with.
Get yourself down to the nearest pound shop and stock up on sweets. You’ll need something small like jelly beans, Smarties, or festive foiled-wrapped chocolates to fill the narrow end. Marshmallows are bulky and a good way of filling lots of space. I bought big tubs of Christmas tree-shaped ones from my local 99p Store. Candy canes come in packs of a dozen or more and look really pretty and festive stuck in the top of the cone like an umbrella handle. Bonbons are also cheap and look like snowballs.
I made 22 of these today. TWENTY TWO! They’re great for putting in my kids’ stockings but I make lots of spares to give to school friends or unexpected guests.
I love buying little novelty soaps from Soaps for Little Suds. She’s a work-at-home mum who makes gorgeous smelling soaps in a gazillion different themes and colours. The goldfish soaps have the added bonus of the little toy fish once the soap is used up. Great for encouraging little ones to wash their hands!
I picked up these fizzy sparkly bath tints from Asda for a couple of quid.
Last year I bought some sparkly snowflake soaps from Elijah Blue that smelled divine. I added these to the hampers I made for family.
Add a crocheted face cloth (use 100% cotton yarn) for adults, or a cheapy one featuring your child’s favourite character (the ones below were £1 from Primark), and you have a lovely stocking filler for your child’s best friend or a gift for their teacher.
Socks, knickers and handmade clothes
It’s pretty much a legal requirement to include socks in every child’s stocking, isn’t it?! I usually buy these from Asda or Primark. A multipack for around a fiver is pretty good. I had planned to crochet their socks this year but I’m already making so many gifts, I simply don’t have time to do these as well.
I’ve ordered some custom made knickers and vests from Katie at Busy Little Bee. Absolutely stunning jersey fabric, excellent quality, and unlike anything you’ll find on the high street. She makes adult sizes in the knickers too!
I’ve also bought matching rainbow-dyed leggings from Three Violet Buttons.
I hated being dressed the same as my sister when I was little but my girls seem to love it. Who am I to argue with such cuteness?!
These AMAZING granny square printed Monsterloones are from Sew Domesticated.
These aren’t cheap but they do give excellent value for money. Not only are they the fantastic quality you’d expect from a work-at-home mum (essential when you have a climbing, crawling small person intent on destroying everything in their path), but the clever design means they fit from three to five years, so you really get your money’s worth.
Having a five-and-a-half year age gap (as well as my eight-year-old being incredibly tall) can make it difficult to find matching clothes. I ordered two awesome pony hoodies from JJ Jiraffe. Admittedly they were quite pricey but the amount of fabric and work that goes into them, makes them extra special. They are quite possibly the most fandabulous hoodies you ever will see and they’re sure to stand out in a crowd!
My girls will go crazy when they see them and they’ll look great worn with the Three Voilet Buttons hand-dyed rainbow leggings.
Of course the newest releases are always about £10-15 but you can also get some brilliant kids’ films for under a fiver in the bargain bucket at the supermarket or online. Or wait for one of those ‘two for £15’ deals. Once wrapped they take up a good amount of space in the stocking. And it’ll keep the little cherubs entertained while you’re knee-deep in turkey juices or face down in the Baileys.
I got this gorgeous little elf for my youngest from Mummy & Millie’s Boutique. Really cute with a removable hat and trousers. I know she’ll love it.
A few months ago it just so happened that I renewed our home insurance through a certain price comparison website. So I now have a baby meerkat soft toy stashed away and it didn’t cost me a penny!
Alternatively, if you are already a big tea drinker, Tesco is selling boxes of teabags for £4 that include a little toy monkey in a bathrobe. If it’s a product you would usually buy anyway, why not take advantage and get your hands on some free stocking fillers!
It’s always nice to include a little something you’ve made yourself to show that you’ve put that little bit of extra thought into a gift (but not necessarily any extra money!). I already blogged about the batch of chutney I made with the green tomatoes leftover from this summer’s crop. You can find the recipe here.
The tomatoes and jars didn’t cost a penny and the other ingredients didn’t cost very much at all. Pretty them up with a circle of festive wrapping paper or scrap fabric over the lid. A bit of curling ribbon and a label and you’ve got a lovely little gift for your Grandma or neighbour.
If you run out of time, you can always make a last-minute batch of ginger biscuits or fudge. Alternatively, take a look at the “in a jar” cookie mix and hot chocolate mix that I’ve made in previous years.
It’s all about the presentation. Fudge or cookies can be popped in a cellophane bag or wrapped in greaseproof paper. Tie it with a ribbon or pretty twine. Present it beautifully and it’ll look really special.
I’ve been doing A LOT of crochet for Christmas. A handmade tree decoration takes no time at all and can be added as an embellishment on wrapped up presents.
For my girls, I’ve made these super cute tiaras for the dressing up box. They used very little yarn and didn’t take long to make at all but will give them hours of make-believe fun. The pattern is available on Ravelry.
Hair bobbles and bows
Hair things are a great way to get your hands on your child’s latest favourite character without breaking the bank. Perfect as stocking fillers or for those reusable advent calendars with tiny pockets.
But we’ve all bought those cheaply glued together novelty hairclips before haven’t we? You know the ones. Massively over-priced in the usual high street shops. Lots of glitter and googly eyes that fall off immediately the first time you use them!
I bought some clips from Geek Babies for my eight year-old’s last birthday. Six months on, they’re still a firm favourite. She spends a ridiculous amount of time faffing with her hair (usually five minutes before we need to leave for school!). She wears them almost every day and they are still as good as new. I ordered some more for my youngest one.
Una’s Bowtique makes fabulously flouncy hairbands, headbands and hairclips with awesome embellishments. Una sent me this stunning box of Christmas-themed bits and bobs. It’s just beautiful and so well made. I cannot wait to see them unwrapped on Christmas morning!
She makes such a good variety of colours and styles, you can go big and frilly or simple and chic; bright and bold or neutral and understated.
Una has kindly offered a discount code exclusively for readers of The Pie Patch! Use code ‘THEPIEPATCH’ for 10% off when placing your order through the Una’s Bowtique Facebook page.
I was not paid for this post. I was sent free or discounted products from some of the brands featured here, in exchange for my honest feedback.
Tagged: Black Friday, budget gifts, Busy Little Bee, christmas, cookie mix in a jar, crochet, Cyber Monday, discount code, handmade, hot chocolate in a jar, presents, Sew Domesticated, stocking fillers, Una's Bowtique