I loved the result but the whole process nearly killed me. Between communicating with the brands in advance of the giveaway, posting each day (without pause), promoting the post, monitoring the entries, doing the draws, contacting the winners and arranging prizes to be sent out, I was stressed and exhausted. This year, I've already been crazily busy between the day job, trying to have a life, the blog, another big side project (see day five this year), travelling more and going back to college for an evening course in a new language. I couldn't figure out how I was going to make time for the 12 Days this year but I didn't want to not do it either. I like giving something back to people who keep returning to this blog, even if it's nothing very big or impressive, and I didn't want to skip out on that.
After stressing about it for a while, my best friend just said, "Why don't you make it 'Five Golden Gifts'?"
Which is what I decided to do. Never fear, however. There may be less giveaways this year but they are bigger and better than before and I'm really happy with them. I also really like the gift ideas that I'm putting forward this year as they really reflect how I feel about gifting, in general, and the way I plan on giving gifts myself.
The first of these gifts, and the one I believe in most, is the gift of time.
We are all so busy and spend so much time running around like idiots that it is easy to turn into a recluse and just bail on everything in favour of our pyjamas and preferred streaming sites. As a result, we often don't spend as much quality time with the important people in our lives as we should or would like to.
For me, one of the best gifts to receive is a concert ticket or a trip or meal in a restaurant. Preferably, it is one-on-one with someone and we have the chance to spend time together and talk beyond merely catching up. I have way too much stuff in my life as it is, I don't need more things but I could always do with more time with the people I love. Most of all, this gift isn't just about monetary value, it is somebody setting aside time to focus on you and you alone. Money can't buy that.
So, my first gift idea is a voucher. Not just a voucher for a shop (not that there's anything wrong with that) but one that comes with an additional gift; the promise that you'll spend some quality time together.
The 5 Star Fitzwilliam Hotel on St Stephen's Green in Dublin coming swooping in this festive season with vouchers that are perfect for this. There is quite a range of vouchers to choose from with options for all sorts of pairings, groups and price points. Whether you want to bring your dad to dinner, go on a spa weekend with your bestie, take your granny on a shopping trip, have a romantic staycation with a partner or go for afternoon tea with your mammy, there is something for everyone.
You can personalise the message on each of the vouchers and design them according to your taste and then have them posted to yourself or the person in question or, even, have them e-mailed for the environmentally conscious giftee. We've teamed up to give away a voucher for afternoon tea for two but you can browse the other voucher options here, with prices starting at just €25.00.
I had the opportunity to try out the afternoon tea a few months ago with one of my closest friends and it actually opened the door to a really lovely day where we ended up spending a good fifteen hours straight together. It was probably one of the nicest days I had with a friend all year. Afternoon tea itself took two or three hours, as we were really relaxed and taking our time, and consisted of delicious sweet and savory snacks, good tea (so hard to find) from a wide selection and cocktails. The environment was decidedly unhurried and perfect for chatting at length. The staff at the Fitzwilliam were incredibly accommodating and informed, explaining what everything was in detail and making sure we were never short of anything.
As a bit of an afternoon tea aficionado, I can confidently say that it was one of the better experiences I've had and I can't recommend it enough. If you want to try it yourself and give the gift of your time and a lovely afternoon to someone you lovely, just read on to find out how to enter. And be sure to come back for the next four days for some more amazing gift ideas and prizes!
1. This giveaway is open to anyone, over 18, who can be in Ireland to use the voucher.
2. The prize is a voucher for Afternoon Tea for Two at the Fitzwilliam Hotel, Dublin and is worth €70.00.
3. All you need to do is comment below here or on Facebook with who you'd give it to - or if you want it for yourself! However, you must be following me on at least one platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Friend Connect, Bloglovin', Tumblr), let me know which one in the comment if it's not obvious!
4. Competition closes a week from now on the 8th of December 2016 at midnight Irish time.
5. Winners will be chosen at random.
6. I will then comment below the winner's comment and ask you to email my official blog email address.
(Thanks to The Fitzwilliam for providing this amazing prize!)
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