I love Christmas. I love the cold, the magic, the hot chocolate. I know people hate it, but I feel more myself in the dark sparkly cold winter months than in the sweaty hot disgustingly sunny summer days. However, this year is the first that I wouldn’t spend Christmas in Ireland with my parents. I know Christmas in Ohio won’t be bad, there’s even a chance it’ll actually be white. But it won’t be the same. So  I’ve tried to surround myself with lots of holiday cheer. Little pieces of magic that bring a smile to my face to distract me from the longing I have to book a flight and run home to snuggle with my doggies.

    Tinsel and Lights: The Ultimate Christmas Combinationimg_6116-2

    I put lights up around the top of my apartment the week we moved it (and by ‘I’ I obviously mean my boyfriend). I love fairy lights, they just make any room better. So in the run up to Christmas, we added red tinsel all the way around the ceiling where the lights are and some silver baubles (which match our tree) on our green accent wall. Nearly all our decorations are from the Dollar Store or Family Dollar, by the way.  Cheap and cheerful!

    Little Touches
    img_6097  img_6138
    I didn’t realise how much I loved flowers until I had my own apartment. I get annoyed at how expensive they are and I get sad when they die but for some reason, I still love having them in our apartment. And I’m enjoying incorporating Christmas colours into my blooming choices. I popped some Nutcrackers (again from the Dollar Store) in front of my potted Poinsettias and voila! Instant Christmas vibes. We also used command hooks to put some special Christmas ornaments on the wall by the door, just because I did’t want them to get lost in the tree. We also have little ornaments on every door handle in our apartment, like the little Santa pictured above.

    Sidetone – also important at the holiday season: candles. Remember, ABLC. Always be lighting candles.

    The Tree
    img_6144Ahhh the tree, the pièce de résistance. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but our tree is beautiful. Most of the ornaments came from the dollar store and I think it still looks fabulous. I have to give credit where credit is due, my boyfriend did a great job of arranging the baubles and lights and tinsel, while I instructed him on what worked and what else was needed. I’ve never picked out a theme for a tree. At home we use the ornaments that have been collected over the years, most of which don’t match. So suddenly standing in the Dollar Store faced with different options, I felt very overwhelmed. I decided on red because the ornaments didn’t look as cheap and we have a lot of red accents in our apartment already. Plus I thought it would look good against the green tree. Then we went with silver to compliment it. We bought a silver multiply pack of ornaments, which came with dark silver and a few goldy silver ornament too. I think these helped to bring some colour and dimension to our tree. We also added some candy canes cause tis the season and all. Now we just need a tree topper… oppsss…


    Jane x


    I’m good at buying presents.  There’s very very few things that I think I’m good at, but buying presents is definitely one of them. I like shopping and I like curating things, so buying presents is an extension of that. I mean, it’s shopping without the guilt, what’s not to love?  I think anyone can be good at gift-giving, it just take preparation and planning.  Even though I enjoy it, I still think finding the right gift can be very extremely stressful. So here’s how I approach it to try and make the holiday season go a bit smoother:

    Make notes
    It might be a little late for this one this year, but I think it’s one of the most important tools. Whether it’s on a phone or on a piece of paper, make notes when your friend and family say they like something. I have a notebook where I write down thoughts and ideas, along with things they’ve said they like. It might seem silly in January to write down that your aunt said she liked the necklace she saw online but you’ll be glad in November.

    Search general topics
    If you don’t know what specific item you want to get someone, try searching some bigger topics on online stops; just more general interests will give you some inspiration and help give you an idea of what’s out there. Brain storm about what you know they like; food, movies, products etc. For example, I know one of my friends loves The Nightmare Before Christmas. So I went onto Amazon and literally just searched for ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’. I scrolled through a few pages, and found a mug that said ‘Skellington Coffee’ in a copy of the Starbucks logo. This is perfect because the person I was looking for loves Starbucks too. I would never have thought of searching for this exact item, so sometimes just approaching it from more a general perspective means that it’s not only less daunting but you might something you didn’t even know exists.

    Don’t be afraid of gift cards
    People think they’re impersonal, but it’s all in the delivery. For example, I’m going to put a Starbucks gift card in the Skellington Coffee cup I mentioned above. Sure it’s a gift card but it’s something she will use and it’s presented in something thoughtful. You don’t have to buy a mug, you could make their card, buy some chocolate you know they like etc. Or really just buy a giftcard to a place you know they love. Maybe it’s because I know I’m hard to shop for and I’m very picky, but I would never be mad at a giftcard. On a sidenote, did you know you could get Netflix giftcards? I didn’t!! But that’s so cool!

    Gift guidessushi-socks
    It’s time consuming but look at gift guilds, both on YouTube or online stores. They tend to have more general presents but they may get your imagination working. Most websites have them, I love ASOS for random gift ideas (really I just love ASOS in general), but there are tons of different options out there. I found socks on ASOS that I’m going to give people this Christmas (sushi socks and Star Wars socks – both are sold old but they have tons of other options).  I think funky socks are a fun idea because they’re a classic – the ultimate socking stuffer – but if you find a cool pair with something somebody likes on them, they are also thoughtful and useful.

    Keep an open mind
    You never know when you’re going to see something for somebody. Recently I went away for the weekend and ended up in a wind-chine store (who know they were a thing?).  They had a bunch of random things, and in a corner I found some fossils. Now I know that seems like a ridiculous present but the person I bought it for will love it! So the moral of the story is, you never know when you’re going to find something, so if you’re struggling to find something for someone, try not to stress about it, just keep your eyes peeled and your mind open.

    Remember, presents don’t have to be a physical object, you can always go for plays or concerts.  That’s what my parents are getting me for Christmas, tickets to see the King and I in February.  I normally get that kind of thing for my parents too. It gets more expensive, but in the past I’ve gotten them tickets to something in the UK and bought flights and a hotel for them too. Food is also always a good options, so whether that’s a cooking class or a giftcard to dine somewhere, everybody’s gotta eat!

    Remember that giving gifts should be fun and about the thought, don’t get too stressed out about! Have fun with it and enjoy the holiday season.