With lockdown restrictions returning to Ireland taking place up until the two weeks before Christmas, it is important to remain calm about anything that isn’t life or death. This year has been so hard for so many, I remain grateful for my health above all else. I also keep that perspective in mind when I get frustrated. But I am also acutely aware that I cannot wrap ‘good health’ for my children to put under the Christmas tree. Sure, Santa will take care of a gift for each of them, but I want to make sure they have something from us too. At the same time, we are self-isolating so I need to be thoughtful about how I make purchases.
Disclosure & Shop Local
I made this list to keep track of ideas for this year and share a few that were big hits last year. I link to Amazon UK with affiliate links because it’s a central site (and I get a very tiny but useful affiliate earnings), BUT BUY YOUR GIFTS LOCALLY IF YOU CAN. Local stores are the cornerstone of a community and each neighbourhood or town is better for it. I always seek out books or puzzles at Vibes and Scribes or Joyce’s Toys in Cork city. I love that I can walk around town and get everything I need in an hour without worrying about missing a shipping delivery or if the item is really what is pictured online. Amazon won’t miss your money, but local shops definitely will. You can look at a recent post I did listing Irish small businesses and artisans. There’s also one listing yarn dyers in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
In October before the Level 5 lockdown went into place, I took an hour break from the constant parenting 2020 allows me to have fresh air and some shopping. I went to six shops in 70 minutes just walking around Cork city. I bought almost everything needed for Optimus’s birthday and for Christmas. I know shops will reopen, but I also know in normal circumstances shops are crowded in December so I thought a bit of shopping now lets me kick back and relax. I should note, I have almost always finished my Christmas shopping before Halloween. A habit developed because my asthma would get so bad as a child and teen then I’d end up with bronchitis or pneumonia every December, so I had to plan ahead or no one would receive a gift from me.
Last Year’s Gifts & Lessons
Keep in mind, we are not much for extravagant gift giving. It truly is the thought that matters. A well chosen gift under €30 can be just as treasured as one you spend hundreds on. Last year, Optimus (8) proclaimed his favourite gift was the electric pencil sharpener he received from his brother. He also loved the National Geographic microscope with The Great Irish Science Book by Luke O’Neill which we bought from Joyce’s here in Cork (this links to Joyce’s shop) as his big gift. A few candies and tangerines in his Christmas stocking and he would have been completely fulfilled. Of course, I totally went overboard last year and created a custom book Advent calendar for each of my sons (the books mostly came from charity shops and Dealz). It was really fun and I don’t regret it at all. Books are an investment and this year was a great time to be able to have extra reading materials sitting around home.
So, here is a list, but please use it as an idea list and bring those ideas to your local independent bookstore or toy store. I chose to make the list pictures because it’s easier to browse and scroll.
Break the Mould: How to Take Your Place in the World by Sinéad Burke
Personalised Books from In The Book
I was gifted these five beautiful books and they’re so perfect for a personalised book gift.
2020 is a confusing year for children. These books were recommended by a psychologist friend.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
<— You may remember Sid Madge from THIS post on my blog.