It's a dilemma I think most of us have faced at one time or another: what do you buy as a Christmas present for the relative you don't know very well? Your nephew who lives at the other end of the country, who you only see once in a blue moon? Auntie Ethel who appears to have no discernible hobbies or interests? Your brother in law who's famously hard to please?
Well, one option could be to simply agree to only buy for the children in your family. But if that would cause too much family strife, you have to think again.
The other option is to use the festive season as an opportunity to get to know them better - give them a call and find out if there's anything special they'd like. And if that doesn't bear fruit, here are some ideas to suit all:
- WineThis is a one size fits all type of gift. For something a bit different, check out the range of pomegranate wines from Rimon Wines. These elegant bottles are available from Waitrose and independent stores. I think they'd make a good talking point kind of gift to break the ice with someone you don't know well. The pomegranate is an ancient symbol of royalty, prosperity and beauty, so take this along to the in-laws if you want to flatter them. The Port-style version goes well with cheese, fruit and chocolate, so would make a good gift for the host of your Christmas dinner.
- Something from your localityLast year, a big hit with some of our relatives was a Christmas tree decoration from Brighton Pavilion. I was hoping that in using it they'd remember us, their Brighton family. So get down to the gift shop of your local tourist attraction and see what's on offer from your region. Locally made produce - maybe cheeses or honey - can also be a hit. Support your local micro-businesses and give something that reflects your family.
- A gift cardThere are a huge varieties of gift cards around now - valid for everything from a trip to Pizza Express to adopting an animal.
- A quality brandOne small, good quality item is probably better than a panic bought pile of tat. And don't assume that this has to be expensive - Fortnum and Mason, for example, have some beautifully packaged coffee gifts at only £6.25. Though if you feel guilty about not visiting that nephew often enough, you can always splash out on this children's hamper.
- Practical giftsGifts like gloves and umbrellas aren't the world's most exciting, but they tend to be the sort of thing that everyone needs. Though personally, I would love a decent umbrella as mine is falling apart. Check out TK Maxx for bargains in leather gloves and brollies, or these lovely coloured ladies gloves from John Lewis.
- An experienceInstead of buying each other gifts, why not suggest that your family spends the money on a night out or a day trip together?
So what will you be buying your relatives this Christmas? Leave a comment and let us know your top picks
More handy hints here in our Tip of the Day section