Add to Basket: The Socially Distant Gift Guide
Nothing beats receiving an unexpected gift in the post, especially in self-isolation. We round up the loveliest indie-made presents to send to loved ones.
I've been told I'm good at buying presents. Not-so-humble brag aside, I really do spend a lot of time thinking about The Perfect Gift. It needs to be personal and unexpected; it needs to be something the recipient never knew they wanted, but won't be able to live without.
Present-giving has never been so needed right now, in self-isolation. And you won't just be supporting a pal who's blue, but also the independent shop or maker from whom you're buying. Whether it's your mum's birthday, an anniversary with a long-distance lover, or just because a friend needs cheering up, here are my favourite little (indie) gifts with big impact (all shoppable online, of course).
(Please note, this feature includes a few affiliate links, which means we earn a small commission on sales.)
Buly 1803 Personalised Lip Balm, €28
A monogrammed, leather-encased lip balm - have you seen anything chicer? So it's a little spenny at €28, but it would make such a special gift for him or her. You could even include a creepy note that reads, 'All the better to kiss you with.' Or not.
Emily Peacock Tapestry Kit, from £58
No self-isolating crafter will be able to contain their excitement upon opening a tapestry kit by Emily Peacock. As someone who enjoys not only crafting but also reading my horoscope on five different apps until I find the precise forecast I want, Peacock's astrology kits are especially joy-inducing.
Tiny records! Teeny tiny records! The fact they don't actually produce music is simply a minor inconvenience, and one your recipient will promptly forget when marvelling at how GODDAMN TINY they are. Here's a cute idea to woo your crush: send one of these with an accompanying letter containing a few pertinent lyrics. Thank me later.
Vintage Alphabet Hair Clip, £5
If you haven't experienced the pure, unadulterated joy of rifling through deadstock hair accessories on Etsy, you haven't lived. Pick the first letter of your hair-accessory-loving giftee's name, click buy and wait patiently for the tagged Instagram Story to appear.
Mud Urban Flowers Dried Bouquets, from £26
If you're subscribed to our newsletter, you'll know about Mud Urban's beautiful dried bouquets (if not, subscribe here!). Send one to someone home-proud, and be safe in the knowledge that they will house them in the prettiest vase and Instagram them often.
You know what's better than snail mail? Cat mail! This letter set, from one of my favourite Etsy sellers, is the purrfect present for the writerly cat lady or cat man in your life. Alternatively, you could keep these paper pusscats for yourself and write letters to all of your socially distanced loved ones. Either way, it's an excellent purchase (purrchase?).
Even the most hardened of hearts is sure to thaw at the sight of a custom, handstitched, linen love letter (complete with envelope, and tiny stitched stamp!). Have it embroidered with a special message, be it motivational words for a down-in-the-dumps friend, or something sappier for a long-distant love.
Mon Cheri Letterbox Sweets, from £6
The concept is simple: retro candy, delivered - and all in a handy, letterbox-sized package so you don't have to worry about all that signed-for nonsense. Mon Cheri is a Bath-based small business that aims to sate all of the sweet-toothed honeys you know and love (but just can't see IRL right now).
Lisa Stover Blown Glass Tumbler Set, $105
If you really want to treat a homeware fanatic, send them this pair of handmade tumblers. In all their artfully knobbly glory, they'll make gin o'clock much more aesthetically pleasing. They're available via Casa Shop, a shop that started out on Instagram - be sure to give them a follow.
By Eleanora only sells their handmade napkins with bespoke embroidery via Instagram DM or email, which somehow makes the whole concept even more secret and special. Send them to your nearest and dearest as invitations to your next Zoom dinner party. Self-isolation dining just got chiiiic.
Words by Natalie Hughes