Christmas is the time of year we all come together, eat until we’re ready to pop, drink copious amounts of alcohol and spoil each other with lots of presents. We’re first in line to admit that we’ve relished in the excess that Christmas brings, but with it also comes that familiar guilt. Waking up with a hangover, unable to look at another mince pie and gazing gormlessly at the overflowing recycling bins outside. It’s no surprise that rubbish production goes up by an extra 30% over the festive holidays, a figure which GWP group estimate to be in the region of 3 tonnes of extra waste, in the UK alone.

It’s been a strange year to say the least, but if there’s one golden thing that we’ve learnt, it’s how to prioritise. How much of this stuff is really needed? Well it turns out very little. Now that Christmas is around the corner, instead of buying for the sake of buying, we decided to search for gifts with more substance and less waste. Looking into experiential gifts from independent businesses, for the opportunity to create beautiful lasting memories or even learn a new skill, whilst cutting back the clutter.

Here we’ve put together a list of some of the unique experiences we’ve found, for inspiration this Christmas.

For the Food Lovers

Sign up for a private online cooking class with the Test Kitchen, receive a personalised gift voucher (redeemable for individuals, couples or families, cooking in the same kitchen) and a bespoke list of delicious dishes to choose from.

Epsom Bakehouse, offer online baking classes for anything from baguettes to ciabatta, cinnamon rolls or brioche.

Subscribe to Little Cooks Co and treat your little chef to a monthly subscription of easy, fun and healthy recipes. Includes all organic ingredients, no refined sugars or flours and compostable food packaging.

For the Crafty Cats

Subscribe to Calm Crafters for a mindful activity, supporting mental health and well being. This can be a one-off subscription or also available monthly.

Toiletries are a staple Christmas gift, and with crafty by nature you can make them that extra special by treating someone to a bath bomb and lip balm making kit. Made with natural vegan ingredients and eco-friendly packaging.

For the Business Entrepreneurs

Show your support to a friend or family member, who is setting up their own business, by purchasing a copywriting gift voucher from Ella St Communications. These are perfect for setting up a new website, blog posts, email newsletters, press releases and more.

Or if it is a Graphic Designer and Product photographer they need to give their brand that cutting edge, visit L.A. Johnstone for a bespoke gift voucher.

To support an aspiring writer contact literary consultant and writing coach, Claire Wingfield. Offering tailored support from a one-off consultation to a full manuscript edit, full book production services to ongoing coaching.

For the Music Lovers

Musical Miniatures offer a monthly subscription to their educational music classes, for children aged 0-5. Using engaging material designed to stretch their minds, whilst having fun along the way.

Treat a loved one to a month’s membership with The Sing Space, including 5 sessions per week, covering vocal health, stamina and technique.

Support someone pursuing a career in the music industry with Polyphonyarts, offering tailored gift vouchers on courses and career coaching for musicians.

Sound Generation are offering online guitar lessons, piano lessons or even songwriting lessons. Please contact them to discuss their gift voucher options.

For Relaxation and Restoration

Escape to the beautiful French countryside with a gift voucher for Rêve Retreat. This can be used to try their delicious food and cocktails or towards the ultimate glamping experience.

Mindwave Meditation offers a variety of online courses and 1-1 transformation coaching. If you have someone who you know will appreciate this mindful gift, get in touch.

Treat that Superwoman in your life to a well deserved, lifetime gift subscription with Nourish app, the well-being app for mums. Created by mums for mums, this app offers the much needed support to pause, relax and restore.

Contact Little Yoga Studio, to book a yoga class, now also available online. Strengthening connection to Self through mindful movement, breathing and relaxation.

Treat someone to a healing experience at Reiki with Emmy, sound meditation with Soothing Sounds for the Soul or spa gift voucher from Chelsea Swim Spa. If you’re based in Lichfield contact The Hand of Nature, to discuss a gift voucher for reflexology, Swedish massage or aromatherapy massage.

For the Whole Family

Purchase a family membership with Vesta, the online family members club. Offering a range of online activities for parents and children, at home, working remotely or on the go. Now also offering a Christmas experiential and digital camp gift package for children aged 4-11 years.

Journey back in time with Turnstone Genealogy offering gift vouchers for a unique experience, uncovering family history.

A photoshoot is also a great way to get the family together and often a popular gift option for parents. Contact London based photographer Dana Mendoca or visit Instagram for Bournemouth based photographer Katie Needle, to arrange a photo shoot gift voucher.

Comedy, Table Tennis and Everything Inbetween.

Give the gift of laughter, with award winning comedy coaching at Angie’s Comedy Courses.

Learn to take the perfect photo and book a 4 week photography course for beginners with Capture24.

Treat someone to online French tuition with ALR French, offering one to one classes for adults and teenagers.

For a tailored 1-1 fitness program, book an online session with personal trainer Jill Huskisson.

And finally, if you’re still stuck for ideas visit Indytute for a wide variety of alternative gift experiences. Whether it’s paddle boarding, learning blues guitar with a musical legend, a fermentation workshop or a table tennis master class; Indytute has got it covered.

2020 has been a year of uncomfortable challenges, adaptation and growth. Like so many things this year, Christmas will be different…But different can be positive. This Christmas could be the perfect opportunity to embrace the change and cut back on all the unnecessary waste we create every year. We could enter 2021 with those positive habits already in place, no need for new years resolutions. Less clutter, less distractions and more quality, wholesome interactions. If we assess what we actually need, purchase sustainably, mindfully and support each other in the process. We hope we’ve managed to spark some creative direction for your christmas list, or even better, taken care of it all together. Can you recommend a gift experience? If so then please leave a comment in the section below, we’d love to hear all about it.

Podengo is not affiliated in any way with the above businesses. Nor, do we receive any affiliated fees if you decide to book or use the services of the above businesses. We are simply providing a spotlight for fellow small businesses. If you would like us to feature your business on our blog, please contact:

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