Living abroad no doubt fills your life with new experiences and adventures. But let's face it, missing loved ones' birthdays and other special occasions back home can be tough. On top of that, sending gifts to friends and family back home in the UK all the way from your new 'home' country can feel like a logistical nightmare. Especially with the looming shadow of customs fees and shipping delays.

Fear not, though, globetrotting and expat gift givers! It's entirely possible to surprise your UK family with thoughtful presents from the comfort of your overseas haven, all without the customs blues.

Gifting to friends and family back home in the UK

Our co-founders Lisa and Saskia have made the UK their home a long time ago. But, when sending gifts to family and friends in their respective home countries (The Netherlands and Germany), they often opt to send them gifts from small online businesses based in their home countries. You can do the same when sending gifts to your friends and family in the UK.

Here's your smart guide to gifting to friends and family back home in the UK. Learn all about how to skip the customs hassle by sending gifts with ease by supporting UK-based businesses.


Embrace the UK Marketplaces

Forget the generic chains and big players! Dive into the vibrant world of UK online marketplaces like Yumbles, Food Market, Not On The Highstreet, etc. These treasure troves offer a kaleidoscope of unique, handcrafted gifts, from personalised prints to artisanal delicacies. Best of all, you will be supporting a small business that is likely to put their heart and soul into your order. 


Think Local, Gift Local

Support independent, UK-based shops for that extra touch of charm and authenticity. Many small businesses have online storefronts and offer UK-wide delivery, making it easier than ever to spread the love.

For a truly personalised and delicious touch, consider sending a letterbox-friendly gift of personalised happy birthday biscuits.


Get Creative with Experiences

Who says a gift has to be wrapped and tangible? Think outside the box and consider gifting experiences! Sign your family up for a local baking class, tickets to a concert or theatre show, or even a subscription box curated around their interests. These unique presents create lasting memories and encourage them to explore their own backyard.


Delivery Savvy

Many UK gift shops offer nationwide delivery, making it a seamless process.

For a true hassle-free surprise, opt for letterbox-friendly gifts. That way, the recipient doesn't have to be at home at the time of delivery (remember UK doors with letterboxes?!). 

Factor in delivery times, especially if you're sending a birthday gift on short notice.


Cost-Conscious Tips

Plan in advance: Ordering gifts early allows you to avoid last-minute shipping costs. You'll also have more time to compare prices and find the perfect present.

Be mindful of the exchange rate: when purchasing a UK product from Australia, Canada, South Africa, India, etc. make sure to note the exchange rate from your bank or sites like Factor this into the payment. (Bonus tip for the future: Check out multi-currency bankcards such as Wise and Revolut to help cut the cost of exchange rates.)

Combine Gifts: Group your orders for multiple birthdays or occasions to get multi-buy discounts. Many shops offer discounts for bulk purchases, making it a win-win situation.


Personalisation is Key

Even the smallest gesture can make a big difference. Add a handwritten note or card to your gift to personalise it and show your loved ones you care. A simple phone call or video chat on their birthday can also do wonders for bridging the physical distance.


Remember, it's not about the cost or size of the gift, but the love and thoughtfulness behind it. By following these tips and embracing the spirit of creativity, you can send beautiful, meaningful gifts to your UK family and friends without breaking the bank or getting stuck in customs limbo.

Happy gifting, globetrotters. 

Written by Saskia Roskam

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