November 17, 2023 6 min read

Gift-giving is a beautiful way to use our creativity to express our love and show how much we care and know our friends and family members.

While gifts that are suggested/requested are sure to be relevant, there is something truly special about presenting a surprising gift that carries a deeper meaning.

In this blog, I will explore the world of original, personalised, and meaningful gifts, offering you a curated list of ideas that are sure to leave a lasting impression on your loved ones. I tried to think about all ages but I'd say it's more focused on 6+ y.o and adults.

1. Personalised gifts using photos/names

By opting for personalised and bespoke gifts, you show your loved ones that you truly understand and appreciate them

  • An arty portrait of a loved one or a photo of you and your loved one, transformed into a piece of cool art. See examples below. Email me here with a photo and I'll "vandalise" it for you. Starts from £20 for the below examples (digital version), and price to be discussed if I transform the photo more (i.e background and additional illustrations)



Available in many languages and countries and very easy to navigate with lots of help to find the right book per age, occasion, interest.

    Personalise the cover with a loved one's name, family member's names and even customise the illustrated main character. 


    2. Unique handcrafted art and decoration

    Gift a one-of-a-kind piece of art to your loved one who has just moved in a new home or is always looking for decoration ideas.. Whether it's a painting, sculpture, print, handmade art carries a unique energy and tells a story. And it supports independent artists which is cool.

    • Kat Vandal upcycled art: I've now started to make and sell art, all are one off pieces mostly made from upcycled materials such as toys, art tools or other everyday objects and my mission is to brighten up your home with funky + colourful + playful + personalised art. I can work on commission so you just need to get in touch with me by replying to this email to discuss what you'd like (a piece made of combs for a hairsalon owner? One with old legos for your teenager? One using your kid's first babygrow or teddy? you name it). I can deliver worldwide depending on the size and price of the item.

    • Comme des Crapules is a French creative business that offers decorative and useful objects made from 'macrame' craft, a craft that is super hot right now and Alexia knows how to make it super funky too! Phone cable covers, phone straps, wall signs, vintage lamps, table decorations, skipping cords etc. All her creations are full of funky colours. Order from Etsy for delivery in France or via DM on Instagram for the rest of the world.
    • Jazz up an existing item: sometimes there is no more space in our house or we can't bring a physical gift for everyone when travelling. You could give a "Vandalise voucher" to customise a jacket, a luggage, a piece of furniture. If interested, again reply to this email and I'll create a bespoke voucher for your loved one. Below are some pieces I have "vandalised" as a reference. *Voluminous items --> London only, clothes --> worldwide

      3. Create, learn and play

      • is a super clever company that makes kits to help your kids create wonderful things with cardboard, without the dangerous tools to cut and the meters of tape. It's actually a brilliant way to show kids how to be resourceful and creative with what they have and let's be honest, kids play more with the cardboard boxes than the actual toys sometimes!


      Changing from the same old same old board games that most families already have, with these you might surprise a few people and entertain the end of the family dinner on Christmas day!



        A subscription box is not only great if you're visiting family abroad and can't bring voluminous gifts, but also it's a lasting gift that will keep on giving.

        Kiwico has something something for every age and every interest from babies to adults and they deliver worldwide! We've been subscribed since my son is 4 y.o and each month is a treat to receive the box!


        • French magazine with craft activity monthly subscription: Pandacraft

        They deliver in both in France and UK (same price!). From 1 to 12 years old


        4. Advent calendar, stocking fillers and Christmas crackers ideas

        • Reusable advent calendar

        - Reusable advent calendar by Tatado, an independant small business hand making bag-packs, snack bags and now the cutest advent calendars! 

        - And here is a no waste creative idea to put inside each bag, instead of just sweats: take a few legos (even legos you already have that are stuck in boxes and not really getting love anymore), scan them with the app Brickit which will give you photos of what to make, print the photo and add in the bag. Or let you kid be creative and only show them the photos later if they get stuck.

        • Reusable Christmas crackers

        In the UK we pop Christmas crackers at the festive table, why not bring this fun tradition to your country too? The issue with this is that it can bring a lot of extra packaging and useless gifts that usually end up in the bin. So I have 2 ideas for you:

        - These beautiful reusable Christmas crackers by independent small business 

        I bought them last year and it also made the table so much prettier than the disposable ones. 

        Kaneo has lots of useful and meaningful fillers to put inside on their website but let me add one idea I did last year which was a hit:

        - Healing crystals! Take a bit of time researching the relevant ones depending on your loved ones personalities or situations, don't forget to print an explanation about what the crystal is about to add to the crackers and to place it on the right plate ;-) This idea could be used for stocking fillers and advent calendar too! Kids love stones and if you explain the power of each they might enjoy collecting them.

        Here is a small UK business selling crystals: this one delivers in the UK only but you can find so many on google depending on where you live.


        When it comes to gift-giving, going the extra mile to find a meaningful and unique present can make all the difference. . I hope that the ideas mentioned in this blog will help you create unforgettable moments and strengthen your relationships through the power of thoughtful gifting. about unique and meaningful gifts


         5. Books for 8+ year old kids but that I also really enjoyed as a parent

        I'll recommend 4 books that we have and have really loved. But not just, I truly think they are very different from what is out there.

        • Manifest for Kids by Roxi Nafousi. Help your kid (8+) learn a new superpower to become their BEST and HAPPIEST self. The book goes through 4 key steps:
          • Understand feelings (includes toolbox to deal with them)
          • Grow confidence
          • Practice gratitude
          • Goal setting

        We are half way through the book and my son absolutely loves it!

        • 2 French books I absolutely adore from author Baptiste Beaulieu that will make your kids think about how they see other people, situations and the world: "Les gens sont beaux" and "On a deux yeux pour voir"
        • 1 book full of fun facts: "Amazing, weird, mind-blowing facts for the curious minds". I have just received this one and me and my son have already learnt a few fun things, very easy to remember and share with others.


        I could add much more and I might over the next few weeks, but I didn't want to delay posting it. I hope it helps you find some original ideas and saves some searching time during this busy period.

        Enjoy the Christmas season

        xoxo Kat Vandal