With the current government guidelines and all the uncertainty going around it’s hard to know how much we will be able to see family and friends this festive season or if family members will be able to travel home. Therefore this year more so than ever there is a real desire to give gifts with a little more meaning so we can let them know we are thinking of them.
Some would say that giving Christmas gifts is a competitive sport and scrolling through search engines and websites can be a marathon to find the most perfect gift. Eventually exhaustion will set in and end of we sticking with the auld reliable, your dad ends up with another wool jumper and the kids get vouchers. Now with this current lockdown, your retail habit has more of a productive purpose and checking things off the Christmas list is helping everyone survive so let us help with our guide to The Best Christmas Gift Ideas for Families 2020.
5 Unique Christmas Gifts from Irish Businesses
While ‘tis the season for online shopping, now more than ever we must support the incredible businesses, artists, authors and designers on this great Island and it’s also an opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint so a win win.
1. The Great Irish Farm Book by Darragh McCullough
Did you know that there are almost 2,000,000 pigs in Ireland? And that sheep have rectangular pupils, which means they have amazing vision? Would you believe only 10 percent of the milk produced in Ireland is consumed here? This book has every fascinating insight your child needs to know about Irish farms. This will really encourage fun reading for many.
€19.99 at O’Mahony’s Book Store
2. The Presidents Surprise Book
The President is back and this time it’s his birthday. Everyone is getting ready for the party but when he disappears they start getting anxious. But they are in for a big surprise!
€14.99 at Easons
3. Personalised Family Stockings – Green Dot Design Shop
These Christmas Stockings are made to order for your little star, for laughter & great Christmas memories. They are especially nice for a first Christmas gift! Your stocking will be carefully handcrafted in Clonakilty and will come beautifully wrapped and with its own eco-friendly tag.
4. Rory’s Story Cubes
Rory’s Story Cubes is a creative story generator, providing hours of imaginative play. With Rory’s Story Cubes, anyone can become a great storyteller. Simply roll the cubes and let the pictures spark your imagination. In 2009, Belfast-based husband and wife team Anita Murphy and Rory O’Connor launched Rory’s Story Cubes, a non-competitive storytelling game designed to spark the imagination of players of all ages. Since then sales of the original story cube have exceeded several million units worldwide.
5. HUKU Balance Board
Original balance boards since 2008, built by hand in Donegal, using renewable and sustainable materials by a team of talented designers, carpenters, and cabinet makers.
The ulu (which means to grow in Hawaiian) is their first board designed for children from 6 right up to 60+
The ulu has a fantastic puzzle maze integrated onto the platform of the deck. The goal is simple; improve your balance and coordination while playing the game. What is the game you ask? Well with their bag of 5 beech wood balls you simply have to move each ball from the outer circle all the way into the inner circle while balancing on a roller.
This looks like great fun for all the family!
Gift Ideas guaranteed to cheer up loved-ones in Isolation or abroad
For gift shoppers who want to go the extra mile by sending a loved one a thoughtful gift but would prefer everything be shipped directly to their doorsteps, here are some of the very best places to find unique gifts around the web. These isolation presents will put a smile on their face:
1. Wool and the Gang
This is the perfect gift for anyone who is isolating or just spending more time at home at the moment. DIY Gift kits is a complete package with everything you need to get stitching: yarn, tools and super easy patterns. Plus there are tonnes of online tutorials to help you master those basics! You purchase a pack for one item such as a blanket, jumper or scarf and everything you need is delivered to your day in a beautiful package. Now is a great time to try something new or rediscover some an old skill.
2. Wrist and Pocket Purse
The Wrist Pocket is a purse with 2 pockets. It has a strap that slips snuggly onto your wrist. It will hold your smartphone, cash, key and other essentials so you can be HANDSFREE!! Susan Furniss Radley from Dungarvan, designed the Wrist Pocket after backpacking around South America in 2010. I absolutely love this really affordable yet gorgeous gift and hope someone puts it on my list!!
3. Paddy Box
The Paddy Box connects those around the world to Ireland by allowing customers to create & ship a box of ‘Irishness’ around the globe.
Choose one of our pre-made Paddy Boxes or make your own 10 item box from our range of products, then have it delivered anywhere in the world for a lot cheaper than doing it all yourself.
4. Éalú Experiences
Éalú Experiences, a curated collection of limited edition gift experiences and treats featuring unique collaborations with Irish brands and local talent, the perfect safe solution for gifting year round. Éalú Experiences is the latest venture from Taste of Dublin and Thrive Festival founder Avril Bannerton. Another novel way for someone to enjoy a special experience from the comfort of their own home.
5. Bonsai Tree Starter Kit
If you are looking for a gift for a grandparent or someone isolating that may have an interest in gardening why not buy a bonsai tree starter kit to keep them busy over the coming months as now they may have the time to create this work of art. Plus they will have years of pleasure from this gift. The Irish Gardener like many garden centres do a starter kit.
The very best Christmas gift ideas for the whole family
1. Scratchable Irish Map
With 62 of the best places to visit in Ireland, Scratchable Map Ireland is a unique souvenir and an eye-catching talking point when mounted. Irish owned, the map contains the must see places to visit spread throughout the 32 counties of the island. From castles to cliffs and museums to monuments, Ireland has it all. Scratch off the attractions that you have visited to reveal beautiful hand drawn pictures. Use the map to plan your next adventure. This gift was made for our family!
Mullingar woman Ursula Kane Cafferty has devised, designed and produced an exciting family board game to be played for three to four players or teams. The aim of the game is to get to the airport for a flight home before lockdown, after an activity-based vacation to every continent in the world. (€50). This could be fun now that we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel but still have a sometime to go before the Summer and more freedom.
3. Fota Wildlife Park Annual Pass
A Fota Wildlife Park gift card, annual pass, day tickets, Wild Experience voucher or animal adoption can be a thoughtful and caring gift for any animal lover, especially a child or young family who may love the outdoors and family day trips.
The annual pass is a firm favourite of mine and while I had a card for many years, I did not renew one year and my sister gifted me a card again last year. It was the best gift I got all year so needless to say I will renew it myself this year. I also know of families who may get a pass between two siblings from grandparents and they use it on different days so it is a way to give a fabulous gift to more for less. Prices start from €130.00 and you can use your pass for Dublin Zoo.
Dublin Zoo Annual Pass
Similar to the Fota Wildlife Park Pass, the Dublin Zoo Family Pass starts at €190.00
4. Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea is always a special treat but this year more than any other year, getting together once restrictions release and enjoying sumptuous delights is an extra special treat. We love Afternoon Tea in this house and it can be the perfect way to brighten up those January days when all is quite again or even to catch up with loved ones over Christmas. Some places really go all out for kids with afternoon tea so it’s a relaxing experience for all such as:
Hayfield Manor Hotel – hayfieldmanor.ie
The Metropole Hotel, Cork – themetropolehotel.ie
The Cork International Hotel – corkinternationalairporthotel.com
With hot chocolate served in elegant teapots and your own private booth The Vienna Woods Hotel has a family afternoon tea all sewn up. Check out our editors review here!
5. Kids National Geographic
Inspire the next generation to protect our beautiful planet with a National Geographic Kids subscription. This is a great gift that will be enjoyed all year round by all the family with 13 issues a year and a giant double-sided poster for a one-off payment of €45.
6. Shannon Heritage Annual Pass – Gold Membership & Rewards Card
For just €200 per family you receive day visit admission to ALL Shannon Heritage attractions all year round which include Bunratty Castle, Malahide Castle and Gardens, King John’s Castle, GPO Witness Museum, Craggaunowen and much more. Can you imagine all the adventures this would inspire!
7. Adopt a Donkey from The Donkey Sanctuary in Mallow
Since opening their gates in 1987, The Donkey Sanctuary have loved and cared for over 5,600 neglected and abandoned donkeys from across Ireland. Your family can now adopt a donkey and gain a friend for life. Once you have chosen your donkey, for €25 a year, you will receive an adoption pack which includes a personalised certificate, a pencil sketch print, the story of your chosen donkey and a twice yearly update about your donkey.
Thomas was lucky enough to receive this gift one year and thoroughly enjoyed hearing about his Donkey and making visits every so often. It was a bit of a trek for us but worth it when you see the deserving cause you are supporting and the children’s pride in being a part of it.
8. Toucan Box – Creative boxes for curious kids
A flexible subscription encouraging crafting, creativity and learning in children aged 3-8. Toucan Boxes is the work of a team of teachers, parents and artists bring age appropriate crafts to your door from just €11.90 a month.
9. Open Farm Annual Pass
An annual pass to one of the many open farms Ireland has to offer is also a much appreciated gift for any family in particular larger families who may find entry too many family activities quite costly on a weekly basis. Kids love familiarity and if you find a place they like you make life a whole lot easier for yourself.
Some of our favourites are:
Leahys Open Farm, Cork – leahysopenfarm.ie
Ardfield Estate, Dublin – airfield.ie
Glendeer Pet Farm, Athlone – glendeerpetfarm.ie
10. Family Date Night at The Cork International Hotel
The Cork International Hotel are taking bookings for their family date night overnight packages in December which include the night stay, dinner and movie in their cinema room from €159 per night – it’s the perfect way to treat the kids in the run up to Christmas.