8 Christmas Gifts Ideas that Don’t Cost the Earth

Looking for something different to give this Christmas? We know how difficult it can be to give a really special gift, especially ones that Don’t Cost the Earth. Here’s some inspiration…

In the VeggieTales animation, ‘Madame Blueberry’, Bob the Tomato asks, “How much stuff do you need to be happy?” To which Larry, the Cucumber, replies, “I don’t know, how much stuff is there?

Most of us have a voracious appetite for ‘stuff’. With Christmas just around the corner, a recent study discovered that a typical child in the UK owns 238 toys, but parents think they play with just 12 ‘favourites’ on a daily basis. Hundreds of thousands of pounds this year will be poured out of our bank accounts to purchase ‘useless plastic objects’ as one singer described it.

It takes courage to buck the trend, but here is a few Christmas gifts ideas.

 1. Life is Better with Trees

A beautiful carpet of bluebells in a woodland setting with the sun which is setting casting long shadows of trees
A beautiful carpet of bluebells in a woodland setting with the sun which is setting casting long shadows of trees

Who wouldn’t agree with The Woodland Trust’s exclamation that ‘Life’s better with Trees’? However, only 13% of the UK is covered with trees, compared to the average European country that has 37%.

Trees filter our air, cool our cities, purify our water and enrich our soil and protect woodland animal species. Dedicating a tree in one of the Trust’s many woodland projects up and down the country, will help to protect and preserve our precious woodland heritage.

It costs £15 to dedicate a tree in your nominated woodland and The Woodland Trust will issue a certificate personalised with your special message along with information about your chosen wood, including an outline map showing the dedication area. If you are feeling more generous, you can dedicate a woodland area!

English Lakes has donated over £165,000 to local nature conservation projects caring for the magical landscapes and wildlife of the Lake District and Cumbria through Nurture Lakeland.

2. Experience your favourite tipple like never before

Whisky Tasting Evening at The Wild Boar. Image by: Naik Media
Whisky Tasting Evening at The Wild Boar. Image by: Naik Media

Instead of dashing to the supermarket to buy a bottle to give as a gift why not consider booking a tasting experience? Both Waterhead and The Wild Boar host regular Gin and Whisky tasting evenings and occasional Champagne and wine tastings where they invite the experts to come and talk about their tipple of choice.

Gin Tasting at Waterhead
Gin Tasting at Waterhead

Armed with your new found knowledge, your favourite drink will never taste the same again and we promise you it’ll be for the better!

3. Smoking … but not as you know it

Smoking course at The Wild Boar
Smoking course at The Wild Boar

This is one of our favourite gift ideas – Treat your nearest and dearest to a Smoking Course at The Wild Boar, in the heart of The Lake District.

Smoky Jo's Food Smoking Course at The Wild Boar
Smoky Jo’s Food Smoking Course at The Wild Boar

The Lake District Hotel has teamed up with Smoky Jo’s, renowned for their high quality; hand smoked food. Having in the past supplied gourmet outlets as Fortnum and Mason, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, Jo and Georgina are experts in the art of smoking.  Participants learn how to hot and cold smoke their food – chicken, salmon, sausages and cheese and a few surprise ingredients – which they then enjoy in a celebratory banquet at the end of the course.

4. Afternoon Tea at The Midland

Afternoon Tea at The Midland
Afternoon Tea at The Midland

These days it would seem, every generation wants to celebrate that great British tradition – The Afternoon Tea. The practice is supposed to have sprung from the rumbling tummy of the 7th Duchess of Bedford around 1840. She is said to have complained of ‘having that sinking feeling’ late afternoon and couldn’t hold off until dinner at 8 pm. A quick cuppa and a light snack in her boudoir developed into an afternoon tradition enjoyed within fashionable society.

A vast selection of loose leaf teas
A vast selection of loose leaf teas

Today, it’s just a great way to spend a leisurely time with friends and family, and I’m pretty sure there will be somebody selling afternoon tea in a venue near you. For a spectacular view over Morecambe Bay, we can recommend Afternoon Tea at The Midland, which could well be on the ‘Christmas wish list’ of several of your friends and family.

5. Shake off and Shape Up

Paddle Boarding at Low Wood Bay Watersports Centre
Paddle Boarding at Low Wood Bay Watersports Centre

Give a gift that looks beyond the haze of Christmas excesses. Most people will thank you for a day that encourages them to ‘get up and go’, something to put in their diaries and look forward to later in the year! There are lots of ‘experience’ websites, but it’s worth doing your research of activities in your chosen area. That way you miss out the middleman and very likely get better value for money.

Clay Pigeon Shooting in The Wild Boar Woods
Clay Pigeon Shooting in The Wild Boar Woods

English Lakes has a wide range of exciting watersports activities at Low Wood Bay Watersports or try your hand at Clay Pigeon Shooting in The Wild Boar Woods.

6. Sponsor a Child

Buying a gift like this for your children is a great way to get them involved in learning to give rather than get. Sponsoring a child in a developing country allows you to build a relationship with that child, learn about a different culture and know that you are helping an individual overcome the, often challenging, living conditions that they face. This is something you can do as a family. There are many charitable organisations to choose from and the monthly donations vary, but typically, the cost of sponsoring a child can vary however you usually receive frequent letters and emails from your sponsored child.

At English Lakes each of our support office, five individual Lake District hotels, leisure clubs and watersports centre sponsor each sponsor a child with Open Arms International.

7. A Local Artisan Gift

Buy a gift designed and produced by artisans can make a unique and special gift.

Artisan gifts from developing countries to lend your support to social change and online shopping opens up a worldwide marketplace crammed with beautiful hand-made arts and crafts.

Sarah Nelson's Original Gingerbread from Grasmere is a delicious local treat
Sarah Nelson’s Original Gingerbread from Grasmere is a delicious local treat

A little closer to home, here in the Lake District we have many local gift shops that do sell some unique gifts. If you are planning on coming for a Lake District Shopping Trip, you must check out Grasmere, Cartmel Village and Yew Tree Barn. Alternatively some great Lake District gifts can be ordered online at Love The Lakes.

8. Something for the person who has everything – Gift Vouchers

Well, the song says you ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ and money certainly can’t buy that, but what about treating the one you love to a cosy, romantic winter break to express that love.

Our family of hotels offers something for every taste – from individually designed bedrooms with opulent copper baths, sophisticated townhouse living in the heart of the Lake District, elegant art deco inspired hospitality overlooking the sea, roaring fires and an extensive choice of the finest locally sourced ingredients and an experienced team of the finest Chefs to cater for your every need.

With English Lakes Gift Vouchers, we can post them to your door or direct to your friend or loved-one allowing them to choose how they spend their gift voucher in the Lake District or North Lancashire.

For more inspiration on how English Lakes Gift Vouchers can be spent, see our 25 Days of Christmas list.

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