Ah, Christmas shopping! It’s not something I enjoy that much, I’ll admit. But it’s a necessary evil, isn’t it? This year, I’m making a conscious effort to buy more ‘experience’-type gifts rather than things (after all, no-one really needs more ‘stuff’), and if you’re tempted to do the same then read on.

I’ve compiled a list of gift ideas for Dorset families. I’m sure if you bought something off this list for your family or friends, they would be delighted!

Supporting local independent businesses at Christmas

As a small business owner myself, I consider it really important to try to support other independent, and particularly local, businesses. Let’s face it, it’s tough out there! Anything you can do to support these people will certainly be much appreciated and help to keep them in business.

The products, services and experiences I’m suggesting here are just some of the gifts you could buy – do let me know in the comments below which others you would suggest I add to my list!

Gifts that keep on giving

Many of these suggestions are gifts that keep on giving. They are not just another plastic toy that will soon be discarded and forgotten about. Nope, I’ve deliberately selected gifts that the family can enjoy together.

And they are the type of gift that is not necessarily just going to be enjoyed at Christmas time, but well into the new year too.

Better still, they are all available to buy from Dorset-based independent businesses. 😊

I hope you find this list useful. If you do, please also share it with your parents, friends, colleagues and family to give them some gift ideas this Christmas too.

My Top Ten Christmas gift ideas

  1. A KW Photography Family Photoshoot Experience

First up is my very own photoshoot experience! My brand-new gift vouchers are now available to buy for just £95. They would be a great gift idea for a local family who would love the gift of photography to capture special family memories.

A private 30-minute mini portrait session and five high-resolution, print-ready images are included in the price, and the vouchers can be redeemed at any time (subject to my availability) up until the end of July 2019.

I’m releasing just 10 for sale this Christmas, so if you’d like one, please contact me ASAP to secure yours.

  1. Farmer Palmers Farm Park Annual Season Ticket

This award-winning family attraction is a must-visit if you have children under 8 years old. It’s open all year round and has indoor and outdoor activities that will keep the kids entertained for hours!

As season ticket entitles you to unlimited entry throughout the year. Prices start from just £21 for a child aged 2, and they are £45 for adults.

For more information visit: https://farmerpalmers.co.uk/annual-passes/

  1. Moors Valley Country Park Car Park Pass

Moors Valley is another year-round attraction with loads to do for all the family. It’s the home of Go Ape, the treetop adventure, and it’s where you can enjoy a full day out among the forest.

Following the play trail, picnicking on the lawn, riding on a miniature steam train and playing on the playground equipment are just a few of the things you can do there!

A car parking season ticket will save you lots of money if you visit regularly. For more information visit: https://www.moors-valley.co.uk/visitor-information/season-tickets/

  1. Chewton Glen Spa Experience

I don’t think I know any hard-working mummy (or daddy for that matter) who wouldn’t enjoy a relaxing spa day experience, and Chewton Glen in the New Forest is the best in the area.

But even if a spa day doesn’t float your boat, there are lots of other things to do. You could enjoy a relaxing lunch in the hotel grounds, or an indulgent champagne afternoon tea. Or, there’s even the option of a half-day cookery class or a ‘treehouse escape’!

Vouchers are available to buy in denominations of £10 and upwards. For more information visit: https://www.chewtonglen.com/spoil-yourself/the-spa/

  1. Cherry Picked Hampers

Hampers are a great gift at Christmas time, and Cherry Picked Hampers contain products sourced only from across Dorset – what a great way to support local producers!

They offer an extensive range of hampers, including local wines, beer and ciders, cheeses and chutneys, with prices starting from just £12. For more information visit: https://www.cherrypickedhampers.co.uk/

  1. A National Trust Annual Pass

Members of the National Trust get access to over 500 attractions across the country – my favourites locally are Brownsea Island and Kingston Lacey. There’s also free parking for Trust members at all attractions including at the beach carparks at Studland.

There are junior memberships available for children and teenagers, priced just £10 for the year. For more information visit: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/join-us

  1. Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre Gift Voucher

Gift vouchers are a great way to treat someone you know who loves Monkey World. Valid for 12 months, the vouchers are available to buy in denominations of £5, £10, £20 and £50 and can be redeemed against the entrance fee and used in the catering outlets and on-site shop.

Gift vouchers are also available for guided tours around the centre, which is open every day except Christmas Day. For more information visit: http://monkeyworld.org/vouchers.html

  1. Chococo Chocolate Experiences

Sure to be a hit with chocolate lovers is the Chocolate Experience by the Swanage-based chocolate manufacturer, Chococo. This company creates fresh luxury chocolate gifts which have been handmade in Dorset since 2002.

Suitable for children and adults, their experiences include chocolate tastings, chocolate parties and you can even make your own in their chocolate workshops.  You can also give the gift of chocolate by buying a three-month chocolate subscription – yum!

For more information visit:  https://www.chococo.co.uk/

  1. Cinema tickets

If the little (and big) kids in your family love going to the cinema, as they do in mine, then a great Christmas gift is Cineworld’s Christmas Gift Box.

This includes 2 x 2D film vouchers, 2 regular soft drinks, 1 regular popcorn voucher and 2 candy canes or a pack of humbugs. They also the option of buying a year’s worth of unlimited cinema visits with their Unlimited Gift Box.

For more information visit: https://www.cineworld.co.uk

  1. A cultural experience at Pavilion Dance South West

Finally, if you know a family who loves dance, theatre, music and storytelling, then why not treat them to an experience at Pavilion Dance, based in central Bournemouth?

Pavilion Dance hosts live dance performances, screenings, exhibitions and more than 40 different dance classes each week, many of which are suitable for families and young people to enjoy together.

For more information visit: https://www.pdsw.org.uk/whats-on/

Which of these gift ideas for Dorset families will you buy this Christmas? Do feel free to comment below to let me know.

Bye for now,

Karen x