I'm sorry if you're someone who isn't a big fan of Christmas in November, because unfortunately I definitely am. You can probably expect the big C to be mentioned in most posts from now until January and there's zero shame from me about that. Christmas isn't just a time of year, it's a way of life right? I think because when you have children it suddenly means something entirely different doesn't it? You see the magic through their eyes, it's so special and even talking about it now gets me so excited, especially that Patrick is that bit older now and can really understand what everything is about. But Christmas certainly isn't all about money, presents and food, though across blogs this month I'm sure the gift guides will be endless, mine being no exception, I wanted to talk about some of the presents that money can't really buy.

As parents we all know how heavy the load can be sometimes, it's not always about wanting a night out with the girls or even a date night with the hubby, it's just simply wanting some time to yourself. The gift of a night off is one that I don't think anyone would turn down, the freedom of being able to both nip to the supermarket together and not get the trolley with a baby seat, to listen to old school tunes in the car without demands for wind the bobbin up from the back seat and to just stuff your face with jaffa cakes without having to hide in the kitchen to do so. Me and John loving having an evening without the boys, I'm not afraid to admit that, whether it's spent doing housework and cleaning, watching a movie in and grabbing a takeaway or simply going out somewhere together - it's nice to have options that quite often you don't have when little ones are in tow.

I know the new year is all about healthy eating and making resolutions for 2019 to be a 'new year, new me', but by week three we're all a bit bored of lettuce and the winter slog leaves you craving stodge. A takeaway option is always amazing to have, but when you're trying to save the pennies after an expensive end to the year, and you have those jeans that most certainly don't fit looming over you too - it's easy to force yourself into getting up and cooking. The gift of a takeaway is a genius idea, or even still if you're really set on healthy eating, something simple like a Hello Fresh or Gusto box is a genius idea for those you really don't know what to buy, but want to lighten the load for.

Talking of subscriptions, any beauty lovers out there like myself will have most definitely heard the likes of Glossybox and Birch Box, having owned subscriptions to both of them in the past I know how great they are. Over the years I cancelled them as I entered into the fantastic wage that was maternity pay, and wanted to cut back on unnecessary things. It's not something you can justify yourself all the time, however the gift of a subscription is fantastic, it wouldn't break the bank as you can often pay monthly and it's one of those gifts that keeps giving - with the receiver having a little something to look forward to every month. I'm sure there are subscriptions on everything from gardening to books, so you're sure to find one suitable.

A good gift we've found to add on to a present, or maybe for that person that's demanded they don't want anything but you know you just have too, - the gift of self esteem. Me and the boys have made these for their Nanna before, we've filled a jar with little pieces of paper that they've told me their favourite things about her on. So in years to come, or even if she's missing them or feeling down, she can open the jar and read through all the reasons why they love her. It's sweet and is sure to get a good 'awww' on Christmas morning.

Last but not least is a really common gift I know, but I like the think past the traditional idea of the gift of a gift card. Sure nobody is going to feel put out by a card to spend at their favourite store, but I always think after Christmas most people don't really know what to go out and buy as they've probably received a fair bit of stuff for Christmas itself. I prefer an experience gift card, no I'm not talking those £100+ cards to go falconry, but more so like a gift card for the cinema or a meal out, little luxuries we all try to reign in during January. During my years as a nursery nurse there was one parent of a key child who would always buy me a gift card for the Odeon, it was fantastic and simply gave the message of 'have a night off, you deserve it', I think that's a fantastic message and one I'm sure wont go to waste.

Christmas is a time of giving, but it doesn't always have to be wrapped in a shiny box under a tree, some of these ideas are a little out of the box and not for everyone but I think sometimes it's nice to have a present a little different to the more conventional ideas that we all get year on year.

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