I love a good old gift giving. I’m SUCH a sucker for it. My family is not big on Christmas, at least not on the gifting part. Last year we weren’t going to do any gift exchange whatsoever, but I caved at the last moment and ended up on a little shopping spree buying each person from my family a little Christmas present. Then, on Christmas Eve, I wrapped them all up, wrote a little Christmas card with a little explanation as to why I brought them each what I brought, then I signed it from ‘Santa’ and then put it all out on the kitchen table once everyone else had gone to bed. I told you, I’m SUCH A SUCKER. This year is no exception. I went to all of my favourite local shops in Edinburgh to get the best of the best for the people I love most.
This year I’m living out the plot for a Christmas movie. I moved overseas in September, it was the first time I ever left home for a long period of time. I haven’t seen my family in months. I’m flying home on Christmas Eve and I have a one hour layover in Toronto Pearson, one of the busiest airports, during which I have to go through customs AND security, and then make it onto the last flight out to my hometown. Jury’s still out on whether or not I will make it (I did). However, I have gone above and beyond on the gifting this year.
I didn’t spend a ton of money, and I didn’t buy a ton of stuff, I just think I’ve got the best of the best in terms of finding things that my loved ones will love.
for mom – It’s my mom’s birthday on January 5th, and I leave on the 9th so I’m doing a two for one deal here. For Christmas I bought her a tiny espresso mug from the Meadows Pottery (I picked up TWO), hers is red and speckled and I think she’ll like the colours in it. My mom practiced pottery for a few years and fell in love, so our house has tones of homemade bits and tons of mugs that have been brought home from potters around the world. I didn’t want to bring ANOTHER big mug home, so I’m appealing to the Italian in her with the espresso cup. To be fair, she makes espresso every day… except she just uses it to make lattes.
Then, during Black Friday, I was prepared to buy her birthday/Christmas present. Earlier this year she said her ideal, ultimate gift would be a Le Creuset roasting pot. Well, there’s a Le Creuset shop in New Town, so I went there first thing on Black Friday. I picked a pot that was on sale, it’s grey and it’s not TOO big (not too many people living at home anymore, plus not too heavy) and I brought it home with me. Then, I went to Golden Hare Books in Stockbridge during their holiday sale and I found a copy of Le Petit Prince published by the MacMillan’s Collectors Library – they publish classics in small books bounded in baby blue, and they’re super duper adorable and easy to travel with. My mom bought me one of their copies of Dubliners when she was in Ireland a few years ago, and she loves Le Petit Prince, so I had to buy it for her. Naturally.
for dad – Things people always buy my dad include: magazines, books, socks, tea, mugs and t-shirts related to his favourite shows. What I wanted to get him was a wool tie from Walker Slaters, but they’re very pricey and I don’t know if people actually wear wool ties. And then I thought, for a family that buys each other a LOT of pottery, I don’t think anyone has ever bought a fancy pottery mug for my dad. So, I trekked back over to the Meadows Pottery and bought him a nice, fancy, handmade mug.
for my oldest sister – I like to buy this sister knick knacks because I know she’ll appreciate them. Firstly, I bought her one of the small espresso cups from the Meadows Pottery, because she loves pottery and also because it will match all the cute stuff in her kitchen. Then I bought a really nice tea from my favourite cafe – Lovecrumbs in Tollcross – because she spends a fortune on tea and drinks it day and night. Then, I went to the John Kays shop in the Tron Kirk and picked up an adorable pencil sharpener in the shape of an old airplane!
for my brother + sister in law – They’re technically not getting married until later this year, but they recently moved into a new apartment, got a new dog, they’re engaged, so they get one gift. I got them an orange tartan wool blanket from the Christmas Market in Edinburgh. It’s recycled wool, and it IS quite itchy, but it’ll keep them warm during the cold Winnipeg winter! Plus the colour matches their dog. I also got them a little magnetic puppet of Hannah Arendt that I found at the Observatory shop on Calton Hill, because my brother studies law and wrote a paper on something related to Arendt’s own work… and I just saw it there and I thought it was so funny they had her so I had to buy it.
for my younger older sister – This is a good one. Again from Golden Hare books, I got her a ‘surprise’ book. It comes pre-wrapped with a little tag that describes the book inside. In this case it’s all about the women’s movement, how it got to where it is now and where it might be going in the future! I also picked up two very cute pairs of earrings from Primark for her because we don’t have anything like that back home, and she’s the kind of person who will genuinely wear and appreciate getting jewellery.
for my little Cordelia (my dog) – Cordie’s best pal (my other dog) Butch died two weeks before Christmas. It was relatively sudden even though he was a bit sick, and he left my whole house broken hearted, but especially Cordie. Cordie was around before we got Butch, we adopted him because she was a sassy little monster, and we didn’t really see him out living her because she’s a golden and they don’t live very long. To be honest, I didn’t think much about who would die first because I didn’t think it was going to happen so soon. Needless to say, my parents and sister have been showering my little Tootie with love, but I wanted to bring her something back from Scotland, even though she won’t ‘get it’ because it’ll make ME feel better about not being around during this sad time. I went to the pet shop in Stockbridge and got her one of her favourite balls that ALSO has a tug attachment – it’s her two favourite kinds of toys in one!
Do you prefer seeing what people bought OTHER people, or what they got for Christmas themselves? I hope you all had wonderful holidays! In my house, gifts aren’t really a thing, but I wanted to bring my family home little things from my favourite places in Edinburgh so they get a little bit of my home to bring home with them. Result: basically a guide to local gift shopping in Edinburgh.