A couple of Christmases ago, my partner and I made the decision to stop giving each other presents. We didn’t enjoy the pressure to find each other suitable gifts and would much rather spend the time doing something together. We do give each other little gifts or surprises now and then for no reason at all, which is usually completely unexpected and the lovelier for it, but I missed having an opportunity to make a gift and keep a little secret. So I introduced a German tradition from my childhood to him – St. Nicholas Day (or Nikolaus Tag as we know it). Usually St. Nicholas fills the boots of young children with sweet treats, nuts and fruit in time for them to wake up on 6th December. I fill a homemade stocking with gifts and treats (usually something we can both enjoy) for him to discover.
This year we’re doing up our house, so Christmas decorations are still in the attic and my stocking is buried somewhere beneath them, so I had to make do with a canvas bag, but he loved the presents anyway. Here’s what I squirrel away this year.
Gig tickets for Chris Cornell
One of the most expensive gifts I’ve ever bought, I bought two tickets for us to see Chris Cornell in Bristol next year. The expense was worth it for the look on my boyfriend’s face. We’ve both never seen Chris Cornell before and really love his previous solo music as well as Audioslave and Soundgarden. We’ll make a lovely long day of it in Bristol visiting our favourite pubs before we go to the gig. He can buy me a round!
Images from Amazon.co.uk
Seeing as the tickets didn’t come cheap, I decided to browse the local charity shops for other gift ideas. I came across Ranulph Fiennes’ Mad, bad and dangerous to know and Brian Blessed’s new autobiography Absolute Pandemonium. They both look like really interesting reads (not just for the boyfriend) and were a bargain, especially the Brian Blessed book which I’ve seen retail at £20.
Seed and Bean Sicilian Hazelnut dark chocolate bar
A stocking isn’t the same without a little bit of chocolate. I love Seed and Bean’s dark chocolate bars. They’re so much smoother than other dark chocolate I’ve tried and really melt in your mouth. The flavour combinations are also quite unusual and mouth-wateringly good. I picked the Sicilian Hazelnut to try. It’s almost all gone (already!).
Voucher for breakfast in bed
I love giving vouchers in the stocking because I prefer to do something for someone than purchase a present. It’s cheaper, more environmentally friendly and also a lot more personal. I had thought that by this time we’d already have moved house and be settled in somewhere else, but that hasn’t happened yet. To keep moral high and our motivation going. This year’s stocking voucher is for a breakfast in bed to be redeemed when we’ve bought and settled in to a new house.
Do you celebrate St. Nicholas Day? What sort of gifts do you include in a stocking? Do you and your partner exchange gifts at Christmas?