Lovely Tring, the place that has been my home for nearly three years but yet somehow I feel like I have never lived anywhere else. Have you ever noticed that whenever you tell someone where you live they always have a connection to it – ‘ah yes, my family were the Tring brewers’ said the father of a friend recently or ‘yeah my cousin lives on the same road as you’ said a friend from Australia. I don’t exactly know what all this means but I do know that there’s something quite special about it.
I found out recently that there are over 900 businesses in Tring and the surrounding villages – 900! I still can’t get my head around it. That means that aside from the big and obvious businesses on the industrial parks and in the centre there are all sorts of things going on behind closed doors in our little town. No, not that <Eye Roll>. I’m talking about the beautiful bespoke papercuttings from Emma at ‘Pieces of Art’ or ‘Curious Food’ making delicious, unusual salamis just metres from where I live.
So, of course, it’s the time of year when most of us are thinking about what to get our nearest and dearest for Christmas. Now i’m as guilty as the next person, reflexively reaching for my phone to get onto amazon or whoever has the latest discount day on. Or stealing myself and armouring up for a day in Milton Keynes or Watford. So very tempting and convenient, but what a missed opportunity when we have so many businesses on our doorstep that can provide great, personal and a whole-lot-more thoughtful gifts.
I run Gilded Bee with Emily and we create bespoke gift solutions for businesses. Whether it’s a thank you for employees or a token of appreciation for clients at Christmas. We take time to understand what that relationship is all about and how best to recognise it with a thoughtful gift – just call us your personal shoppers! But whether in business or your personal life the principles are the same. We’re all about a gift that shows you have thought about the needs of the recipient. One that is beautifully presented and that once opened will encourage them to stop for a moment. That in mind and a list of recipients in hand I decided to do a little tour of our high street and beyond to get some inspiration for my own gifts this year and was really surprised by what I found…
First up, can you really go wrong with the gift of coffee & cake? For my cousins and aunt I will be picking up a few Black Goo vouchers. That way whether it’s a hangover breakfast or a lady-like afternoon tea I know they will be really well looked after by Sacha and her lovely team.
My Mum and sister-in-law would love some more time to themselves and I know the guys at my favourites: Elementary or Cara Holistics spas would help to make that time really restorative. I will be buying them vouchers for mani/pedis and massages to help forget the traumas of the festive period.
Slap-bang in the centre of town the guys at Market House make gift giving easy. Their beautifully curated range of homewares means I always leave with more than I intended. I can never resist picking up a few bits for myself here too. A few extra Christmas decorations or votives, you can never have too many right? I’ve got my eye on a set of African copper dishes for around £40 that I reckon will make beautiful festive centrepieces decorated with tealights & flowers.
For my impossible-to buy-for dad I head to Beechwood Fine Foods, the gorgeous deli tucked down Frogmore street which specialises in all things british and local. I know with Toby’s advice (and maybe a few cheeky tasters) I can pick out a great selection of british cheeses and all the bits to go with it including homemade chutneys, artisan biscuits and something to wash it down. They’ll do a lovely job of packaging it up too.
For the friend that I may have enjoyed too many Gin fizzes with in the Craft Yard it has to be a bottle of Campfire gin from the Puddingstone distillery out at PE Mead farm shop. Whether i’m brave enough to go for the Navy strength is another matter!
When buying for the little ones I find Fancy That is an absolute treasure trove of soft toys, puzzles & games. If i can’t find find what I’m looking for it always pays to ask as often that squirrelled away item is exactly what i’m looking for.
For the kids that are getting a bit older I always find a selection of stationery goes down well and as random as it sounds a favourite stocking filler is always a selection of metallic and coloured pens which Almar will always come up trumps with. Throw in a mini artist’s sketch pad and you’ve got a good bit of Christmas morning entertainment sorted.
For our friends that have just moved home i’ll be picking up a few bits from Lucky Lobster art. As keen cyclists I reckon their beautiful framed ‘Enjoy the Ride’ print will go down well for £35. I’ll also be dropping some hints to my husband to book me onto one of their Linocut workshops (£48 for a morning) to get a sneaky peek of how these lovely pieces are created.
Next up is my twelve year old niece who is really getting into pampering and will go nuts for a selection of bath bombs from Tring Beauty box. In fact I’ll probably stock up on bits of make-up and other pampering treats for stocking fillers.
If i’m feeling really sadistic (and flush) I might ‘treat’ my husband to a personal training package from On the Limit as Andrew one of their senior Personal Trainers is currently offering 10 sessions for £300. I’ll soften the blow by renewing his Tring Brewery membership for £55 which gets him invitations to tours and events – oh and of course some Beer!
Last but not least, for the gifts for the people that matter most to your business, Gilded Bee would love to help you make those gifts really special. Our favourites this year range from a personalised bauble (12.50) which is the perfect token to have at a place setting for an employee lunch or to send out to valued clients. Sets of games to encourage people to spend quality time with their families over the festive period. Or, our personal favourites, gifts for the Workaholic. Lovely stationery and desk accessories to recognise someone who puts in all the hours.
What ever you go for you can have a lovely warm festive glow knowing that you have supported our lovely high street.