Friendmas: The perfect guide for Christmas presents for friends

It can be the most wonderful yet stressful time of the year — but it doesn’t have to be. Even for the most avid giver of neatly wrapped presents, finding the right item for your …


It can be the most wonderful yet stressful time of the year — but it doesn’t have to be. Even for the most avid giver of neatly wrapped presents, finding the right item for your close friends is tricky and time consuming. Thankfully, as Christmas comes around the bend, it’s a timely occasion to narrow down the essential advice for picking the cream of the crop without breaking the bank.

By sticking to a few key questions during the decision making process, finding the right place to buy and sorting out the slickest packaging, you can keep your yuletide worries in check. Without further ado, here’s some candy-cane quality counsel to make your mates’ Christmas fantasies come true.

1. Deciding your budget

The principle is no different for friends than it is for family. Ideally, you’ll want to have decided on a whole budget specifically for the holiday period. Start by writing down your monthly income, accounting first for your regular expenses, and then measure up how much money you have left over. This is otherwise known as zero-based budgeting, where you find a role for every penny in your account.

With the funds that you have set aside after the four pillars of rent, food, transport and utilities, now separate the space left over for wants and needs, and from that decide how much you will spend on Christmas presents. Dedicate a set amount to each of your lucky friends — if you’re trying to be quite frugal, you will likely be keeping a watchful eye over your budget, so perhaps this year your list of presents will be shorter. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to spend more money on those remaining, as this defeats the point of budgeting. However, you will definitely have more time to decide on a thoughtful gift.

2. The ideas stage

There is an art to giving a great gift, but also a science. No doubt your long years of generosity have likely given you a sense of what people react best to, but also what you would want. Then again, everybody’s different. Start by brainstorming your friends’ interests, tastes, and things you have in common, and make it as long as possible. Once you lay out all these different points, you might be on to something that wouldn’t ordinarily cross your mind.

At the same time, be hot on emerging trends for ideas. You could make your someone’s day by getting them a few months’ subscription that suits their interests. From wine club membership for your wannabe sommelier friend to weekly gourmet pasta deliveries for your favourite food connoisseur, the world is your oyster. These kinds of presents are the ones that keep on giving, so not only are you sustaining that great feeling for your mate, they’ll be continually reminded of your excellent gifting skills — plus it provides something extra to talk about.

3. Sourcing your gift

Now that you’ve settled on an idea or at least theme for your gifts, it’s good to get on top of your purchases in advance. That is to say, don’t leave it to the week before. This might not be original, but it remains good advice.

Buying from a lesser-known outlet can be a fantastic way to save money, as not only are you likely to be paying for the quality of an item over the branding, but there’s something extra personal about giving something artisan-made. Not to mention, supporting small businesses — the more local, the better.

If you do have to scour online to match your unique gift ideas, there are several excellent places to find bespoke items. The List has compiled — you guessed it — a list of varied ecommerce shops from gourmet food tins to gadgets, merchandise and more. If you want to go even further, handcraft websites like Etsy or Artfire could find you a gift that is truly distinctive and full of character.

4. Package and delivery

There are two kinds of people: those who love to wrap, and those who don’t. Getting crafty with your wrapping may be a solution that pleases all gift-givers, since it turns it into a cool side project instead of just the hasty finishing touches. That is, so long as you give yourself a decent amount of time. Houzz have an illustrious collection of wholesome packaging ideas that don’t cost much at all, like a scrap paper flower, but will no doubt leave your giftee with a grin.

This is all cut and dry for handing someone a present in person, but if this isn’t an option for you (or it’s been something of a last-minute find), you might have to rely on delivery. Thankfully, many couriers nowadays offer next-day and even same-day delivery. With CitySprint, for example, “deliveries can be booked online in minutes, as well as full tracking and proof of delivery reporting”. If you’ve left it to the eleventh hour, you’ll get your gift to your mates’ door just in time for Christmas.

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