When buying gifts for my family and close friends in the UK. As an expat I need to think about birthdays and celebrations and plan ahead of time.

I think the best tip for choosing the correct gifts is to start planning way ahead of the date.

I try to purchase the majority of gifts online while at home in Spain. Sometimes I have them delivered to a friend’s house ahead of time. Often as I order them 6 weeks before the date, this way I can check out discount or special promotions that may be coming up soon and allow time for delays in delivery.

Another advantage of getting gifts delivered in UK is avoiding the costly postage charges from Spain to UK.

The items arrive without being damaged and we also reduce the P&P costs drastically.

Also I avoid having to pay extra for a heavy suitcase on my low-cost Christmas flight from Málaga too!

Here are some suggestions for gift ideas:

For Her:

  • Wonderful quality Spanish leather, buttery and soft. Get a Lupo handbag. This Barcelona brand sells great quality high-end bags. For everyday use, a medium size bag is best. Not too small to over fill with things and not too big to weigh heavy if you keep adding things along the way. Choose a neutral colour, black, brown or grey. These bags last for years and have great pockets for all your stuff. They barely have labels or branding on them. Sold in the Corté Inglés and from Lupo stores.
  • Cosmetics from Benefit. They do great little cosmetic sets. One of their bestselling products is in this set: Gifts at Benefit Cosmetics You can purchase online or in many department stores.
  • Wonderful moisturizer from The Organic Pharmacy (London), this company use all natural ingredients. Their Double rose or Antioxidant versions are great and I can also recommend Carrot butter cleanser (which is used by Kylie Minogue) this is a great product for anyone. Remember to buy a muslin cloth with this purchase too. Stores are in London & L.A, but you can buy online.
  • Fun Pyjamas from Oysho Online Store I never tire of this brand. They have different ranges, some with Cartoon characters such as Snoopy or Hello Kitty and some more sophisticated lines too.
  • Another handy option is DropGifts UK if you are close to the date this easily sort you with a great last-minute gift. They arrange a gift card which is sent instantly to the recipient. They have loads of great retailers like John Lewis and Urban Outfitters making it easy to select the right gift!
  • Another great gift that I often ask for myself is a Magazine subscription to a UK magazine. It´s great when you receive a magazine each month from the postman. A gift all year round.
  • D&G Perfumes are wonderful. I currently like The One or the more recent version Rose the One.
  • Good quality slippers. Check out Ugg, Birkenstock and Nordikas brands. They last ages and are really comfortable. My favourites are Birkenstock Felt Slippers
  • Cute earphones for her Mp3 player or iphone. There are some great coloured ones or others with cristals and great sound quality. Skull candy and Bang Olufsen are good places to start.

For him:

  • Nordika slippers from Howorths UK Excellent quality hard-wearing Spanish slippers. Available in the UK & in Spain. They last several years and most people don´t want to change brands once they´ve tried them.
  • Another handy option is DropGifts UK if you need a last-minute gift idea. They arrange a gift card to be sent instantly to the recipient. They have loads of options like John Lewis, Cinema ticket vouches and even Pub tokens!
  • Stop him from sneaking dobs of your face cream. Less expensive products from Body Shop are really good.
  • Get a Magazine subscription to a UK magazine.
  • Gadgets, let´s face it , they just love gadgets and gizmos. Here´s a great site for finding one: Gadget shop

  • I just love little things. A good idea is a small sampler selection of fragrances. This way he can try different ones and the small sized bottles are handy for overnight stays or for travel. Airports tend to have the best selections of these sets but large department stores also have them in stock.
  • An inspiring travel book such as Gerard Brenan´s South from Granada or other books for Specialist Spanish bookshop Books 4 Spain
  • One of the best pressies I bought was 7 pairs of Calvin Klein boxers. You can buy them online at John Lewis, Amazon and in Corté Inglés too.
  • A great sports bag for the gym, a rucksack or laptop bag for work or a new overnight suitcase. I recently ordered in Spain from Samsonite Online for delivery in UK. Service was excellent. it was very quickly delivered.

For Children

  • I love the personalised dinosaurus T-shirts by Sgt. Smith
  • Personalised books with your childs picture and name included throughout the story: See: It´s Your Story
  • One of my absolute favourite stores for under 9´s is Imaginarium which is in most Spanish cities and also in UK
  • The Butterfly Garden – Insect Lore is a unique gift. Great for learning too. You actually see the butterflies hatch.  (Remember to check the season when ordering!)
  • A great book for Expat kids is Lucy & Lucia play hide & seek introducing them to language learning at an early age
  • All kids love to draw and colour: get them Crayola anything! Many stores online sell this brand.

I hope you find these ideas useful!

Let me know in the comment box below if you have any gift ideas for me…

Need more Expat advice? Check out my post Looking for work as an Expat