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Find a Perfect Christmas Present in The National Forest

Wednesday, 23rd November 2011

For those scratching their heads about what to get friends and family who seem to have everything, The National Forest may hold the perfect solution for Christmas gifts.

Plant a Tree is truly a gift that grows.  Each tree is £25 and in return for supporting the Forest, you (or the person receiving the gift) will receive an invitation to attend a special tree planting event, a choice of tree to plant (normally ash, oak or birch), as well as a personalised certificate commemorating the gift. And you can keep visiting the Forest to see how your little tree within the woodland is growing. Find out more from Plant a Tree (Last date for Christmas purchase: 16 December).

With a daily market, quaint courtyards and gift shops, Ashby de la Zouch is a lovely setting to pick up a special Christmas gift. The castle is near the town centre, so you can combine a visit here with a leisurely lunch and a touch of shopping.

Browse around the wonderful shops at the Ferrers Centre for Arts & Crafts, which is home to craft workshops and the Ferrers Gallery. You can hand-paint a present for Christmas both here and at Crackpotz Ceramic Café in Alrewas. Barton Marina also has beautiful shops along its waterfront promenade including The Butcher, Baker and Ice-cream Maker and the Toys of Yesteryear.

You can pick up pottery and crafts at Sharpe’s Pottery Museum and at Mount St Bernard Abbey, where a unique range of pottery is lovingly handmade by its resident monks.

Or how about a gift voucher for one of the fantastic woodland craft and bushcraft courses in The National Forest.  Greenwood Days, Woodland Ways, the Survival School and Woodland Survival Crafts all offer gift vouchers that make perfect presents.  These can be used for a range of truly memorable workshops, day and weekend courses.

Or how about giving a voucher to be pampered at Champneys Springs or Eden Day Spa at Hoar Cross Hall? Champneys is hosting a Christmas Fair from 6:30-8:30pm on Monday 5 December where there will be discounts in the boutique, great 3 for 2 offers on gift sets and discounted Day and Stay offers as well as craft stalls, mulled wine, mince pies, free goodie bags and mini treatments.

The Crowded House Restaurant in Ashby de la Zouch is offering a festive stocking filler and will match the value:  buy a gift voucher for £25 and you will get vouchers to the value of £50! The vouchers are available until the 24 December and are redeemable any Sunday-Thursday in January and February.

There are a number of craft fairs taking place in the run up to Christmas where you can pick up unusual gifts.  These include Christmas at the National Memorial Arboretum on 4 December where there will be crafted Christmas decorations and cards, gifts, festive food and drink, 1940's entertainment as well as choirs, bands and carols.Calke Abbey will be hosting the Craft and Gift Show in the Riding School on 10 and 11 December, featuring fine crafts and original Christmas gifts to buy.

You will need to get a tree to put all those presents under and where better to get your Christmas tree than The National Forest!  Real UK-sourced Christmas trees are available from the Forestry Commission at Rosliston Forestry Centre and Hicks Lodge Cycle Centre from 24 November until 23 December, and, weekends only from 26 November, from Sence Valley Forest Park. All trees come from sustainably managed UK woodlands.

More information on candlelit trails, carol services, craft fairs, grottos and parties taking place across The National Forest can be found on the events listing.