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Christmas: The gifts that keep on giving

December 7, 2014
Handmade Exmoor wool socks £16 at www.cocoonu.com.

Hand-made Exmoor wool socks £16 at www.cocoonu.com.

Not socks again for Christmas? Well, why not? It does all rather depend on the socks themselves, doesn’t it? And a pair of UK hand-made socks in a choice of gorgeous two-tone colours? They are most welcome, thank you very much indeed. We know we will feel cheered and blessed every time we see them, touch them and put them on. See, the gift that keeps on giving.

This Christmas I have decided I will not do the usual – work like crazy, buy nothing until the week before the BIG Day, dash around the shops and the websites in a mad frenzy of buying and ordering, realise on Christmas Eve (otherwise known as The Day That I Have Set Aside To Beautify Myself As I Try To Undo The Damage Caused in the Previous Year)  that I have forgotten presents for a ridiculous number of people (especially husband) so go to anywhere still open and with anything left of the shelves and buy truly hopeless junk.

Nope, not doing it. This year, I am making considered, occasionally inspired choices, choosing gifts that are different, quirky, original and pretty darned gorgeous. And that includes socks, like these cosy, colourful ones from North Yorkshire based CocoonU, above. See: http://www.cocoonu.com/ They won’t get lost in your undie drawer and they will look fab peeping over the top of ankle boots.

Space at The Ginnel off Parliament Street in Harrogate has lots of lovely vintage and retro gifts. from glassware to old record players - and they look as good today as they did when they were first made.

Space at The Ginnel off Parliament Street in Harrogate has lots of lovely vintage and retro gifts, from glassware to old record players – and they look as good today as they did when they were first made.

For a gift that’s really special, unusual and original, vintage is the way to go, and Space in Harrogate – http://www.spaceharrogate.co.uk/ – is a large vintage store housing a variety of small retailers, with fashion, watches, jewellery and home wares on the ground floor (including the most beautiful black Christian Dior gown – unless it’s sold) and then more home wares upstairs, plus a great vinyl and CD record store, a section selling vinyl record players and a really lovely and atmospheric bar/eaterie called Major Tom’s Social, which sells a range of beers among other drinks and great-tasting platters (and the fish stew is amazing).

Check out the fish stew and real pizza at Major Tom's Social at Space.

Check out the fish stew and real pizza at Major Tom’s Social at Space.

Actually, if you are in Harrogate doing some Christmas shopping, Major Tom’s at Space is a fab place to go for a drink and a bite – there’s nothing else like it in the town and it’s really worth a try. See:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Major-Toms-Social/471782272917351

Learn to make a mosaic in Otley or give vouchers to join a mosiac-making course.

Learn to make a mosaic in Otley or give vouchers to join a mosiac-making course.

The gift of creativity really is the gift that keeps on giving – and Frances Taylor is a mosaic artist with a studio in Otley, where she runs classes in mosaic making, so you can create pieces like the ones above. You can go by yourself or get together a few friends and go as a group, and all the materials are provided. Or you could give a gift voucher for a course to be taken to suit the recipient – ideal for someone you suspect really wants to discover their inner artist. The courses cost £35 for a half day and £70 for a full day. Email: Frances@bighooha.co.uk

The Pyjama House has the most fabulous traditional PJs, nighties and sleep shorts for children. adults and teenagers.

The Pyjama House has the most fabulous traditional PJs, nighties and sleep shorts for children. adults and teenagers.

For anyone who lives in pyjamas at the weekends and on Bank Holidays, or has children who do so, proper brushed cotton pyjamas from The Pyjama House, based near York, are absolutely perfect. See: http://www.thepyjamahouse.co.uk/ The colours are gorgeous and the quality is superb, with prices for PJ sets starting at £23, which we think represents fantastic value. Not that we want to encourage teenagers to spend all day in their jarmies – but when it’s Christmas …

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