The gift bag experience

Friday 24th February, 2023

As our purse strings are being pulled tighter, the change in our pockets squeezed, and our bank accounts looking emptier than ever I thought we could all do with some gift inspiration on a budget. I have been doing this for years and don't worry, I don't gatekeep. I will share all my tips and tricks. These gifts are all about saying 'I care' without breaking the bank, because it's true what they say, it really is the thought that counts.

First of all, I LOVE doing a gift that means that people get to share or gives them an experience and so to do this I make themed giftbags! These are great for when you need a Christmas present for a family or just need something to feel extra special on a budget. You can make them personal, and you can often get a lot of what goes in from your local pound shop, charity shop or supermarket! You can also upgrade these gifts if your budget is a little higher.

I have shared some of my tried and tested gifts and what I would put into the giftbag to make your life easier!

Family Movie Night

Popcorn buckets/snack bowl or box - these are often in novelty shops, or you could even make your own!

Microwave popcorn packs - you can get these cheap from your local supermarket.

A second-hand movie - check your local charity shops, CEX or Poundland! We love a second-hand bargain!

A bottle of their preferred drink - keep them hydrated for their movie marathon.

Add some more chocolate/sweet bags - pick ones you know your friend or family member loves, and this shows them the thought and time you've put into the gift!

Optional extras: some fairy lights to set the mood and upgrade their drink to nice bottle of wine!

Beauty queen (or king!)

Facemask - This will give your recipient a chance to refresh their mind and skin! You can find these in your local beauty shop.

Bath bomb/bubble bath - if you're feeling generous go luxe with a lush bath bomb or show a small business and get a hand made one from etsy!

A magazine or book - you know the drill; check for second hand from a charity shop or local supermarket

Shower puff - to scrub away all their worries.

Always add chocolate!

Optional extra; wax melts or candles! Something scented to keep them calm and relaxed. You could also add a beauty themed gift card.

The next Bake Off champion

A mixing bowl, spatula, and baking tin - check Poundland/local supermarket.

An apron - check Poundland/local supermarket/second hand from a charity shop or if you're creative, perhaps you could even sew one!

A jar filled with ingredients for their favourite recipe. I'll include my handy guide for brownie mix in a jar. First recycle a jar from your cupboard (just make sure it gets a good wash!) Then pick your favourite recipe. Layer your dry ingredients; flour, cocoa powder, sugar, chocolate chips. Close the jar and tie a ribbon around the lid. Make a label with instructions to just add the needed quantity of eggs and butter. And there you have it, a cute gift, with things you have in your cupboard already!

Finally, add a recipe book - a second hand one or perhaps you could create one by printing all their favourite recipes and sticking them into a notebook.

Optional Extras; a chef's hat or additional baking utensils.

The Coffee addict

Pick a couple of different flavoured/roast/intensity beans or grounds. This will depend on whether your recipient prefers to grind their own coffee. Or perhaps they would prefer coffee pods!

Some nice biscuits to go with the coffee - make sure to choose a dunkable variety.

A novelty mug that says how well you know the recipient. Second hand is always a win!

Of course, always add some chocolate.

Optional extras; Maybe add in a £5 gift card to their go-to coffee shop! It's like a coffee-scented warm hug. You could also add some hot chocolate and marshmallows or a flavoured syrup!

The plant parent

A plant - of course! Does your recipient love cacti? Flowers? Choose something they'll love.

A water spray bottle to keep that soil moist.

Seeds to keep on growing!

Plant food/plant scissors to keep the plants looking extra fresh.

Wooden plant name tags and a nice plant pot to keep their plant children looking tidy and organised.

Optional extras; a plant care guidebook or a plant pot stand!

I honestly could go on; you get the idea. These are just a few of my own suggestions, but you could easily make it fit around any person or theme. Think new baby must haves, game night essentials, a date night gift pack! I even use the same ideas to fill my family's Christmas eve boxes! To make it a well-rounded gift and to fill out the bag nicely I would always recommend a minimum of 5 items (including chocolate!).

Once you've got your items, it is time to wrap! Presentation makes ALL the difference. I always keep hold of any nice giftbags I've been given, it's a bit like that bag of supermarket bags everybody has under the sink. Call me crazy, but I also have a giftbag full of giftbags. I also keep any nice tissue paper. I highly recommend keeping your old giftbags and paper, but if you don't have a suitable one, you can get these cheap from your local card shop!

To fill the bag; I always put some scrunched tissue paper in the bottom of the bag, and then neatly place each individual item. If you're going the extra mile, you can individually wrap each item in tissue paper or wrapping paper. If you're feeling fancy, you could then put scatter some wrapped sweets/chocolate or confetti. Then pop some more tissue paper on top and seal the bag. If you're reusing a bag, remember to remove the gift tag if it's been written on!

Lastly, don't forget the card! It's nice to add a themed phrase such as 'enjoy your movie night!' or 'pamper yourself' to clue in your gift recipient to the theme of the bag. You could even add detailed item descriptions.

Here is my final pro tip; try using a 'things to get me' list as your shopping list to help you!

It's free
always has been, always will be

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It's free
always has been, always will be