Thursday, 4 December 2014

Christmas Gift Guide...ish

Nordic pattern Christmas Card, available from

I had thought of doing this last year, then life (or laziness) conspired against me and it didn't happen. So I thought I'd make an extra effort to get in gear this Christmas season and started doing some research into things for you and me to buy for him, her, them and everyone else... But then I thought that there are probably plenty of blogs and magazines and online shops listing gifts for different categories of people and presents at various price points, and would I be able to contribute much to the 'BUY THESE OBJECTS NOW!' conversation? I'm not so sure, so here's something slightly different:

Buy them membership
I'm a big fan of feeling like the cool dude with special access to a great arts organisation, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. If someone you know likes arts and culture, take a look for a membership package that gives them exclusive benefits, discounts and reasons to spend more time seeing the stuff they like. I'm currently wielding membership cards for the Design Museum, the Barbican, the ICA and the Irish Architecture Foundation, but I'd never say no to more...

Give them access to great buildings
Architecture's brilliant, isn't it?! Old or new, there are TONNES of amazing buildings in Britain and Ireland, and there is a host of organisations offering you access to them. Here in the UK, English Heritage offers access to over 400 buildings and sites of historic or architectural interest, while the National Trust lets you into a further 300. Historic Scotland looks after castles and more up north while the OPW Heritage Card covers sites of historic interest in Ireland. Membership for these organisations is a STEAL when you consider that signing up gives you unlimited access to so many properties, so it's well worth considering for the building buff in your life.

Get them a magazine subscription
This one's a great one for someone with a specialist interest in something, be it fashion, graphic design, cars, fishing or who knows what else. What's super cool about a magazine subscription is that your friend doesn't just get a present at Christmas, they get one arriving at their doorstep regularly over the course of a whole year. Hooray!

Sign them up to a class
Education's the gift that keeps on giving: this sounds totally naff, but it's actually true, so there. Signing someone up for a class (or giving them a voucher so they can choose one themselves) means they could learn something new and meet other people in the process (though of course they'll never make a friend as good as you...). Languages and more at CityLit here in London, screenprinting in Damn Fine Print in Dublin, a creative course at their nearest art school, the list goes on.

Buy them things in some of these places
If you'd like your friends and family to have something under the tree to unwrap, buy them something Irish from my map of Irish design retailers on Pinterest or browse through the blog for all posts labelled 'Shops and Cool Spots' and you won't be stuck :)

Image of a Nordic pattern Christmas card available from