Whether you love Christmas or hate it, you’ve got to admit there’s something really rather wonderful about buying that *perfect* gift for your friend.
But it’s hard enough finding something for someone you live with, let alone a BFF who lives in a completely different country to you.
I’m lucky enough to have friends that live in Germany, America and beyond. But deciding what to gift them for Christmas comes with an interesting set of challenges: if you haven’t been round their place recently you might not know what items they have already/need. And you don’t exactly want to be spending more on postage than the actual gift itself…
But fear not, I have pieced together a handful of Christmas gift ideas for you to send to your BFF. From food items to personalised gifts to wonderfully British buy, I’ve given all of the below to friends over the years and they’ve gone down a treat – happy shopping!
Heads up: before buying anything I’d recommend checking the Royal Mail’s list of items you can’t send through the mail. Each country also has a list of restricted items that can’t be delivered!
1. A chocolate advent calendar
One thing I always send my friends every Christmas is a chocolate advent calendar. This is a risky one as they live in Germany, which is well-known for its ahmazing chocolate. However, I just happen to think that there’s something rather special about British chocolate – and who doesn’t love trying food from another country? Thorntons have a fantastic range of advent calendars (even personalised ones!) so you can make your BFF feel extra special. Just remember to send the advent calendar before December so that your mates can experience the Christmas Day chocolate build-up!
2. An experience voucher for a trip/a local attraction
If you know your friend is off on their travels somewhere soon – or is just dying to do something in their home country – why not gift them an experience? There are plenty of websites, such as Tinggly or Viator, which allow you to select a travel experience. Alternatively, present your friend with a gift voucher so that they can decide on the experience they’d like for themselves.
3. Primark accessories
If your friend is into any kind of pop culture – from Disney through to Harry Potter, Friends and comic books – chances are you’ll find some sort of branded item in Primark that they’ll love. Although Primark is popping up in countries across Europe as well as North America, it’s everywhere in the UK – and I always manage to find some little trinket to send to friends. If you’re on a budget, go for smaller accessories (e.g. pins, socks, purses) over anything too bulky like a jumper. Remember you need to pay for these things to be shipped!
4. A personalised video
Is your friend yet to visit your pad? Make them feel included by filming a tour of your flat/house/room – this requires a little bit of extra effort (*ahem* cleaning), but your mates will love feeling that little bit closer to you. I did this for some friends last Christmas – I gave them a USB stick with the video on so they could watch it on their computer or TV – and they really enjoyed seeing the place I call home.
One thing that Britain does well is tea. This one can be as expensive or as budget-friendly as you like; send your friend over some fancy tea from a department store like Fortnum & Mason, or treat them to your favourite everyday tipple, like PG Tips or Yorkshire Tea.
6. Coffee shop mug/tumbler
If your mate has a favourite coffee shop in the UK (e.g. Costa, Pret or Starbucks…) how about gifting them some merchandise? A branded mug or a reusable tumbler will remind them of happy times with each sip!
7. Books on British humour/sayings
My friend from Norway is obsessed with weird British sayings and words. I love watching her face as she tries to work out what weird and wonderful words like ‘kip’ and ‘chinwag’ and ‘banter’ mean – not to mention bizarre phrases like ‘Bob’s your uncle’. Earlier this year I bought her a small book of British phrases so that she could understand what we’re all saying, as well as learn the history behind all the phrases. (And, to be honest, I enjoyed having a flick through myself as I barely knew any of the stories behind the sayings!)
8. Print of a favourite destination
I’m big into prints this year, particularly wanderlust-inducing prints. They can be quite subjective – so you run the risk of buying something for your BFF that they absolutely can’t stand – but there are a number of cheap options around. Pick up a print of their favourite British destination, or maybe of a faraway land that you’ve visited together!
9. Unusual sweets and chocolate from home
If you don’t go abroad and make a beeline for all their sweets and chocolate, did you ever really go to that country?
Adding some British sweets and chocolate to your Christmas parcel is cheap, easy and fun. Bonus points for adding the more unusual confectionary items that people might not necessarily see everywhere: think Love Hearts, Curly Wurlys, and festive-themed Maltesers reindeers.
10. Printed photos
I’m a big fan of printing out photos because I love having lovely images of my friends, families and happy memories dotted around our flat. But I very very rarely print them out myself because I’m ridiculously lazy. Sending through some of your fave #throwback pics of you and your BFF will undoubtedly give them a chuckle. Maybe you could create a personalised calendar with a different picture for each month? Or a pretty little frame to go along with it?
11. The gift of presence!
And finally, what better gift you could give someone than *you*?! That could either be with you making your way over to them, or you treating them to a little holiday round yours. If your mate lives a Eurostar or Ryanair journey away, you could even give them a gift voucher to help with the cost of their trip.
What do you think of these Christmas gift ideas? Are there any others you’d add to the list?
This post was created in collaboration with Thorntons. However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are mine.