Your complete guide to a Funding Circle Christmas
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas: The Pogues are back on the radio, we can finally dust off our winter woollies and we’ve waved goodbye to the chaos of Black Friday for another year. With 20 shopping days left before the big day we thought we’d give you some ideas of how you can make this Christmas extra special, by showing your support for small businesses across the country.
Thousands of investors have already done this by lending over £450 million to 6,000 small businesses through Funding Circle. But there’s more we can do to help British businesses. Instead of heading to the high street giants for your presents, stocking fillers and Christmas Day fayre, why not have a look down this list and see if you can get anything from a local Funding Circle borrower.
Gift ideas from our favourite borrowers this year
1. Add some sparkle: Jewellery
Small wrapped boxes look fabulous under the Christmas tree and diamonds will continue to be a Christmas favourite for your loved ones. Stirling Jewellers, a family-run business in Walsall, may have just the thing for you. As well as watches, bracelets and necklaces, they offer a bespoke design service so you can have a personalised piece made. And, as one of our oldest borrowers having been established in 1893, you’re sure to find something special. What could be better?
2. It wouldn’t be Christmas without: Chocolates
This year we’re loving James Chocolates, and especially their dark chocolate minty penguins. We ordered some for our November Investor Evening and not one box was left! Or, if you’re looking for something dairy and gluten free then you’re in luck too. Have a look at Moo Free for yummy chocolate treats without the dairy – you’ll struggle to taste the difference, and cows will be happier too. We also met them earlier this year.
3. Gizmos: Earphones
A recent report found that over 10.2 billion songs were streamed in the UK in the first 9 months of 2014, proving just how important music is to us. BassBuds, who borrowed through the Funding Circle marketplace in October, are high performance, luxury earphones and are available in a range of bright colours to get you and your friends noticed. They have the largest colour range in the world, and you can personalise them. Impressive.
4. Pampering presents: Bath and beauty
Smellies from Neal’s Yard Remedies are a perfect gift for all of the family. They have a number of gift boxes available starting from £22.50, and a range just for men too. Their organic products are all made down at their base in Dorset. 1,604 people lent to the business so they could refurbish their shop in Bath. If you get a chance, why not pop down to see the work they’ve done?
Gift ideas done, now let’s talk about preparations for Christmas Day.
5. Hosting a Christmas get together or a New Year’s party?
It may not be a traditional marquee season but that doesn’t mean they can’t be just as magical in in winter. If you’re based in the Dorset, Wiltshire, Devon and Somerset, then take a look at Oakleaf Marquees. They have a range of sizes for all types of events so you’ll be sure to find something suitable. And, they have a ‘Christmas House extension,’ just in case you’ve invited a few too many people for the turkey. Good thinking guys!
6. Christmas Trees
To many, buying your Christmas tree is a ritual and signifies the start of the festive season. To avoid getting into the real vs. fake debate, we’ve got two suggestions of where you can buy your tree. If you’re up in the Argyll area of Scotland, have a look at the real fir trees which Walkers Home and Garden Centre has on offer. Or if you prefer longevity over tradition, then the online Internet Gardener stocks a range of artificial trees. You can pick up all of your lights and decorations from them too. Handy.
7. What are you having for your Christmas meal?
The big day has arrived – what will you be sitting down to? Turkey, ham and duck are some of the favourites, and you need look no further than Direct Meats who borrowed through the marketplace twice this year. Priding themselves on traceability and quality since 1995, you can either visit their outlet outside of Colchester or simply give them a call. Alternatively, visit Newton Farm Foods in Somerset for locally produced, high quality foods.
8. Fill your house with the aroma of mulled cider
Some of you may enjoy the waft of mulled wine and cider at Christmas markets. Thankfully, they’re very easy to make at home: you’ll need some cloves, an orange, sugar and some spices. For the mulled cider, you could try Ashridge Cider from Devon, our favourite was the Organic Vintage Cider. 473 people lent to them through Funding Circle in October. For wine, you’ll find everything you need: from a Champagne to a Rioja at Kent-based Durrant’s Fine Wine’s, although I wouldn’t recommend mulling the champagne…
So that’s the food, drink, decorations and gifts sorted. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy Christmas. Happy shopping!