We never used to have a particularly chocolatey Christmas. Advent calendars and selection boxes were not part of our Christmas tradition. There were only two reliable chocolate traditions. The first was always having a bag of chocolate money, tucked inside the bottom corner of our stockings (or pillowcases), alongside the satsumas. The other was my aunt sending us a tin of Quality Street or Roses chocolates. Even if we didn’t see them and our cousins over the Christmas season, reliably every year, a big tin of chocolates would arrive. In our family, the purple hazelnut in caramel would go first, followed by the pralines and green triangles, often accompanied by a story about a Great Uncle who polished off a whole jar of green triangles from the family shop. Toffees and fudges would go next, and the cremes – strawberry, orange and coffee – would be let to be picked over in the week after Christmas. Anyone who would choose a creme before the rest of the chocolates had gone should be viewed with suspicion – an attitude I still agree with! I think the coffee cremes generally ended up in the bin.
Thinking about that special tin of chocolates, made me consider that sometimes over Christmas, you don’t want to give a gift to one person, but to a whole family. With this in mind, I’ve put together some ideas for gifts to give a family.
Well, after describing my Christmas memories above, I couldn’t not include a tin of chocolates. It’s always exciting and will received with joy. Obviously the traditional tins of Roses or Quality Street are always fun. I loved the brightly coloured wrapping when I was little, and that wave of vanilla smell as you pop the lid off the tin. For an alternative, these tins of beautiful artisan chocolates look lovely – so beautifully decorated. I bet the chocolate is pretty tasty too. Plus you avoid having a tin with a few leftover coffee cremes.
Writing this post has sparked off some serious chocolate cravings, so I’ll make special mention of this beautifully boxed chocolate panettone, but turning up at a family’s door with any panettone has to be a popular move. As with the chocolates, this gift is easily shared between a family and a special treat. I love the sweet, fluffy vanilla air that makes up a lot of the panettone, studded with jewelled dried fruit. It’s also a very practical present – it doesn’t have to be eaten straight away, it works well as breakfast, afternoon tea, or a sugar hit after a long dinner or pink-cheeked walk as a toasted chocolate panettone sandwich.
3. Personalised Robin Family Print
This print will work really well if you know the personalities of the family you’re giving to. Not only can you personalise it with the family’s surname, but you can name the gorgeous Christmas robins after members of the family. Do you know someone that always falls asleep in their, someone who can be found having worked their way through the chocolate tin, or the family member who loves the snow? Name these brilliantly round and squidgy robins after the people you know and love – or leave the print as it is, just simply celebrating all the best bits of Christmas. This present works well for a family who don’t want to add to their piles of food, but have a lot of love for Christmas, and will bring out the print year after year.
4. Personalised Plate
I came across this plate and I couldn’t resist! How sweet is this? It’s perfect for a young family with a love of colour, it’s the sweetest gift.
5. A Board Game
Anyone else used to think that ‘board games’ were actually ‘bored games’ for when you were bored? Just me? As the long dark winter afternoons stretch out, and everyone gets a little restless, a board game can be the perfect activity. Choosing the right one will depend on the age of your family, from the classic Hungry Hippos, which can be played by just about anyone, to our family favourites which were Rummikub and Monopoly. It’s a brave family that takes on Monopoly over a stressful Christmas though! It has caused many an argument, and more than one ‘how LONG does this game go on for?!’ I think that team games like Taboo or quiz games like Trivial Pursuit are the most fun, and the perfect family Christmas present.
6. Christmas Tree Topper
While a lot of families have a special topper already, some do not. We never did – it tended to be whatever we could craft out of whatever was in the house, so this would have been great. I love to think of giving a family those small details that they may not buy themselves. The special, the beautifully designed fringes of Christmas, that are not the first priority to buy yourselves, but will be brought out year after year. This will become a really treasured object.
7. Recipe Subscription
Give the family something to look forward to. January and February can seem long, where the repeated dark mornings, dark evenings and root vegetable dinners can make the weeks pass slowly. Giving the family a recipe kit can give them a good excuse to cook together, bringing some much needed spice and warmth into their evenings. I love the Spicery recipes – they are adventurous and extremely tasty, with step by step instructions to produce a main dish and sides. Do keep in mind, these kits are probably better for families with older children who can join in cooking preparation and enjoy a bit of spice. They’re a bit complex to try and achieve with a tiny toddler and little sleep.