At the Oak & Rope workshop we simply LOVE creating the perfect present for the people on our list...
I might ruin a few of my own surprises in the run up to Christmas, but people generally know that they will be given something we have made in the workshop anyway, and this way I get to share my thinking behind the presents I am actually giving to the special people in my life…
Gift Spoiler Alert No. 11
What do I give the man who first showed me that #wemakethethingswewishexisted? I can not remember the first time he let me ‘borrow’ the saw or ‘help’ hammering in a nail. I must have been a right pain in the back side following behind him everywhere he went when he was building our family home in Norway when I was 5-6 years old…
But he showed me that if something needed doing, you simply start the task in hand and work it out as you go along. As he is entering his 70th year he has a fair share of experience now, but it wasn’t always like that. Our latest success was fixing a mysteriously leaking shower and he taught me how to tile mosaic in the progress…
Over the years he has had his fair share of Dad Joke books, socks and novelty ties… This year I am promising something more meaningful. We are going to spend a whole day in the workshop and I am going to teach him how to carve! At the end of it we will have made a truly priceless heirloom.
We offer these workshop experience days throughout the year (January to October, Monday to Friday, 10 am – 4 pm) where anybody can learn how to carve. You can select to make a doorstop, board, house sign or even a swing. One of our master makers take you through the whole process from selecting the piece of wood, carving the wording of your choice, oiling and wrapping it up. We include a delicious lunch at The Independent Pedaler Cafe . At the end of the day you will have your own heirloom to take home, the memories and satisfaction of making something with your own hands and the skills to start a new hobby. There are a maximum of 4 people at each course.
If you buy a voucher for one of our courses before 20th December we will send you a gift box with the voucher and a little surprise from the team which means they will have something to unwrap on the big day too…
Click here to shop for our workshop experiences
Gift Spoiler Alert No. 10
The Host/Hostess present…
Is it just me, or do you agree that this is a much overlooked area?
A lot of people grab something from the present drawer on their way out, even though the event has been in the diary for weeks!
But a bar of soap, second hand out of date chocolate box or a bottle of wine you no longer remember the origin of is a bit mean! Particularly if there are two of you turning up to a dinner or a drinks party.
I know it is not about the price tag, but it could be a starting point to look at the maths.
A half decent meal for two in a restaurant is rarely less than £150 with drinks. When was the last time you checked the price of a Thai prawn served by a reputable caterer? Spending £50-75 on a present for your host is not extravagant. What is the right price for a fabulous night out with your friends? Somebody cooking for you, inviting a bunch of people they think you will like, giving you as much food and drink as you can muster, and even clearing up after you!
This is not the right time to apply the English upper middle class frugality.
I would of course go as far to say that you should show them that it is not a last minute thought, and give a personalised present! Our match boxes, ticket holders, candles or G&T boards all fit the bill. If you are feeling particularly excited about the event, why not give an ice-bucket engraved with ‘CHILLING WITH THE ….(name)’? From £25 you can really leave the right impression. As we say, the perfect present is not about price, but about giving something unique, thoughtful and suitable…
Who knows, you might find that a few more invites land in an in-tray near you!
(Wishful) Gift Spoiler Alert No 9.
Nearly all my MiniMes are taller than me, and we do not need another height chart, but for all those with little people on their list I can not recommend these highly (get it!) enough!
We have had some glorious commissions coming through the workshop recently, and the Mary Poppins quote is probably my favourite… Although the ‘LOVE MAKES OUR FAMILY GROW…’ being made tomorrow, is a close second!
There are no better presents for a ‘First Christmas’ than these. As soon as children are up on two feet they will actually stand still to be measured on these. Over time, as each inch or centimetre growth is recorded these beautiful pieces of oak turn into priceless heirlooms.
Some people commission one per child or a family one in the hallway or kitchen. Others buy one for Granny to keep track of her ‘GROWING TRIBE…’
Gift Spoiler Alert No. 8:
Do you have that person in your life that travels a lot and then comes home and wants you to look through hundreds of photos on their phone?
Well, show them that you care, but get them to narrow it down to just a few good ones. With one of our multi frames they can do just that!
If we simply post photos on social media or keep all those photos on our phones we don’t really make them part of our every day lives. Put the special moments on the wall… it will bring a smile to your face every time you rush past!
There is a chance the person I am referring to is not really aware of this particular trait… So then this is not really a spoiler I suppose!
Gift Spoiler Alert No. 7:
Sometimes people end up on my list simply because I have THE PERFECT gift for them. This friend is the greatest hostess with a busy house whatever the season. The house is called Hockley and it is the sort of house you can invite yourself to at very short notice and where 'a cup of tea' easily can turn into a party and however many people turn up, she is always 'pulling it off', be it that cup of tea and much needed chat, drinks, dinner parties or house parties with friends staying a while!
In between these times she also loves her walks, be it treks to exotic locations or the daily dog walks with her beloved Working Cocker.
She really is a 'one-off', so it could be that this particular engraving doesn't ring true to any of the people on your list, but I actually think our boot pulls are suitable for anybody who wears shoes...
See our range of Boot Jacks here...
Gift Spoiler Alert No. 6:
Godchildren, nephews and nieces between the age of 6 and 26, LOOK AWAY NOW...!
CREATE YOURSELF: CHOPPING BOARD KIT
Get or give the satisfaction of creating something beautiful and useful from a piece of oak without a workshop!
There is a creative urge in all of us. This is a great place to start exploring it. You never know what other projects and skills it leads to...
With this kit contains everything you need to make your own little practical chopping board which you can use every day.
Whether you are a frustrated diy'er, a desk bound creative, a child who needs some 'off-screen' sense of achievement, making something with your hands is very therapeutic.
"I love seeing how proud people feel when they have transformed a plank into something useful and beautiful that you know is going to be around for a long time..." Jeanette
Each kit costs £40, but if you can buy 3 for £100.
You can give these to several members of the same family as each board will look different, both by the unique grain in the wood and the personal touch of the maker...
These kits really are suitable for EVERYBODY on your gift list!
See our Create Yourself kits here...
Gift Spoiler Alert No. 5
My own Mother is my most difficult-to buy-for on my list.
Not only do I care so much about making her happy, but she is the master of getting all details right (see my story for more on that). Ironically I can’t do anything wrong in her eyes so she probably would be happy if I gave her a bag of our sawdust briquettes… but that is not the point!
I want it to be the perfect present!
So it is going to have to be our Candle Runner…
1.There is plenty of space to engrave something meaningful (I am still wrecking my brain)
2.She loves candles, and lights them as soon as it gets dark (which is quite early in Norway)
3.She is one of those people who determines when the season changes, so when she suddenly has snow drops on her table, you know the winter is about to let go of its grip and the days will soon be brighter…
4.She will use the candle runner as a centrepiece whatever the season, and even though I am miles away in England I will be part of it when she gathers friends and family around her wonderful table and home made food…
Gift Spoiler Alert No 4:
This is a no brainer for the children to give to their Dad, even the teenagers will approve!
I LOVE it when in English a couple of words can mean more than one thing, when they can mean more than two things, it is genius! When we in addition engraved it on something that is relevant, beautiful and practical we get really excited in the Oak & Rope workshop! For years these have made us chuckle every time one is packed up to be sent to it’s new home, where we know it will make people smile.
PS – The odd-one-out in these photos is not a ‘gift spoiler alert’ for the Nigel I know… just a customer who has caught our sense of humour…
See all our jars here...
Gift Spoiler Alert No. 3
We all have that friend who is jet-setting around the world, between different homes, to pursuit their hobbies or with work. How do they even know if they are coming and going? They wear so many different shoes, physically and metaphorically... As you can see my particular friend lives a tough life... but somebody has to do it 🤣 At least with this engraving I’m leaving it up to her which home she would like to put this in!
See our Boot Jacks here...
Gift Spoiler Alert No. 2
A lot of thought goes into what I give my sister for Christmas. She lives in The Hague, which is only 3-4 hours drive away, but being in different countries, children’s holidays being out of synch and busy lives in general we don’t get to see each other as much as I’d like. This year she has redecorated her kitchen, so I’m giving her one bar stool engraved with STAY A WHILE... referring both to her daily routine and our visits!
See our bar stool here...
Gift Spoiler Alert No. 1
I have this friend Rachel (I can’t even use fictive names for obvious reasons). Every Friday morning she organises for a bunch of ladies to come to her house for a dance class. It is an hour of badly co-ordinated moves (at least on my part) to some funky up-beat music with a great crowd. I have never taken a dance class before in my life, and it shows, but nobody cares. It is exactly what we all need to loosen up and get away from whatever we normally are doing, be it stare at a computer screen, race around after children or organise the weekend.
Our little gathering create a very special energy that I would love to be able to put in a jar… Of course that is not really possible, because it takes someone like Rachel to organise it and make you step out of your daily routine, but this little something will let her know how much we appreciate it…
See all our jars here...