We’re not sure about you, but The Handbook office is cutting it fine when it comes to Christmas shopping (except for Charlotte, she probably did it all in August). If you’re anything like the rest of us, then this is the guide for you, packed with bits and bobs, affordable and astronomic, beautiful and useful.
For The Foodie
For the Augustus Gloop in your life here are the decadent foodie gifts to be tucking into, preferably in bed with a good glass of something strong.
Anyone claiming the mantle ‘foodie’ will relish a Gordon Ramsay Gift Experience. From chef masterclasses (don’t miss the Beef Wellington) to Michelin star tasting menus, or else from gin and cocktail experiences to family brunches, there’s an experience for foodies one-and-all.
Shop gifts from £35 (order by Wednesday 19th December to catch the last post, or choose online delivery to receive an eVoucher straight away).
Perfect for Christmas tea times and snacking on during festive film marathons, these Christmas biscuits from Biscuiteers are almost too cute to eat. Almost. Arriving in a tin you’ll want to keep forever, the vanilla biscuits are beautifully iced with reindeer snowmen, bobble hat, donkey and Christmas tree designs.
Christmas is the perfect excuse to gorge on more cheese than usual and we’ll be giving the Stilton lovers this duo from Fortnum & Masons. Made by the last family-owned Stilton producer in the UK you can try their traditional Stilton alongside the Madeira infused Stilton.
Close the door on rainy, wintery nights and cosy down with this hot chocolate box from Cutter & Squidge. The box includes three hot chocolate spoons including a white chocolate and raspberry hot chocolate, giant toasted marshmallows and of course a cute mug to drink them from.
Forget the tin of cheap chocolates going round, for a truly decadent Christmas afternoon, curl up with a book, Love Actually or just the dog and tuck into a box of Charbonnel et Walker milk chocolate and sea salt caramel truffles.
Let someone breakfast like a champion on Boxing day by giving them a box of the limited -edition Nuit De Noël Ladurée macarons. Filled with 12 of their finest macarons, mix and match the flavours from the likes of chocolate orange, caramel, pistachio, orange blossom and chestnut.
This isn’t just any panettone, this is the result of the collaboration between Dolce & Gabbana and Italian panettone connoisseurs, Fiasconaro. Bringing together north and south Italy it’s the typical Milanese panettone but with flavours from Sicily.
For The New Parents
As a newly minted dad myself, I can attest to the fact that, grateful though you are, by the time the thirtieth bouquet of flowers gets delivered, you really do appreciate the genuinely helpful gifts that don’t leave your drawing room looking like the Eden Project. Here are some of them…
The Ergobaby is possibly one of the most necessary gifts you can give a soon-to-be or new parent. If you’re going to be mobile with a child then a carrier is a ticket to freedom, just strap them in and wander round Sainsburys like a boss. There are plenty of products out there, but the Ergobaby is the big daddy among them.
As with the carriers, other bouncers are available, but the stylish look of the Baby Bjorn (it actually looks like the sort of thing you’d accept in your home, as opposed to some of the garish plasticky alternatives), plus the practical-ness (it easily folds flat, ideal for travelling or just hiding when people come round) make this a top choice.
For indulgence and quality, not to mention a gift few parents would allow themselves to splash out on, a blanket from the White Company will always be warmly received (no pun intended). The White Company, purveyors of some of the best linen and textiles, are always a safe bet.
Is it another bouquet of roses? No, it’s a delivery from Babyblooms. This really did make my face light up when it was delivered (from my wife’s work colleagues, no less) and it’s ingenious. What look like flowers are actually carefully origami’d muslins and babygrows. Making this one of the most visually pleasing gifts, but also one of the most practical.
For The Early Adopter
We all know someone, or are someone, that just loves a bit of tech in their lives. If Alexa can’t do it then you can’t be Siri-ous.
It’s not normally a subject that’s met with a wry smile, but air pollution just got a makeover with the arrival of the Foobot. The device sits in your home and constantly analyses the air quality. Log in with your smartphone to discover how levels of fine particles, volatile compounds and CO2 in your home, and get an alert when levels get too high.
Anyone hopelessly hooked on Apple products will be well aware of the decision by phone designers to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack, forcing us to use the lightening port instead. Well, in part, this was intended to introduce us all to another Apple product, their AirPods. And they’re totally awesome. The bluetooth earphones work seamlessly with Apple devices, so no faffing around constantly repairing. They come in a nifty case which doubles as a charger and they last a good five hours, which may well be more than your actual phone.
Retro is the new, um, tro. And what could be more retro than a 90s throw-back games console? Nintendo have brought back the original Nintendo and Super Nintendo consoles but in a far cuter form; they’re all shrunken. But these Sylvanian Families style consoles are more than simply sweet miniatures, they pack the same punch that they did back in the day as you rediscover the games you loved as a child.
Sonos is synonymous with high quality sound integration. Cleverly getting out front of the competition to dominate the top end of the wireless music revolution these speakers can be placed in every room of the house (if you can afford it) and they pump out some serious noise too.
The coffeemaker alarm clock is no new phenomenon, it’s been with us since anyone can remember. But never like this. The Barisieur just looks incredible, the sort of thing you’d actually want to have in your bedroom. The design here is superb and the result is both beautiful as well as functional.
For The Perpetually Thirsty
It might be the only time of the year we can justify a drink at breakfast, so start Christmas day with boozy marmalade and a stocking stuffed with spirits.
If anyone says you’re too old for Christmas stockings, then they’re wrong as this Tipplesworth stocking proves – no five-year-old needs this. Filled with two mini bottles of Tanqueray London Dry Gin and a bottle of the Tipplesworth Festive Punch Mixer. Use the mixer to make a hot gin cocktail, put a dash in a glass of fizz or just serve warm mixed with water.
That Boutique-y Gin Company has taken the flavours of Christmas (think clementines, dates, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, mince pies, chestnuts and cloves to name but a few) and distilled them into a bottle of a gin. This really is the festive spirit.
Know someone who loves beer? Then you need to get them a subscription to Beer 52, the craft beer club that delivers eight craft beers, a magazine and a snack each month. You can customise their case if you know what they like it or leave it up to the Beer52 team to choose and send over different beers, right to your door.
For when you can’t finish that bottle of wine (because even at Christmas we need to have a day or two off), topped it with this impressive bottle stopper… technically it’s a stag but given that it’s Christmas we could say it’s a reindeer.
Whether you bake with it, spread it on toast or eat it straight out of the jar, this boozy marmalade is the perfect spread this year. All the alcohol is cooked off during its creation so don’t worry you won’t have a hangover by lunch time if you start your day with it. Choose from whisky, rum, beer, gin and tonic or the Porn Star Martini.
For The Fitness Freak
Whether they’re up and out on a run whilst the rest of you nurse a festive hangover, or they’re usually stuck to the sofa and you’re trying to get them a not so subtle hint, check out these gifts for the sports lover.
Looking to tone up? Battling against becoming an actual pig in a blanket after eating one too many? Then you need to check out SIXPAD’s Abs Belt which trains your ab muscles so you can continue to lie on the sofa over Christmas and know you’re toning up or wear it after you’ve been lifting weights at the gym. The ‘wearable training gear’ is now equipped with Bluetooth and you can synchronize your SIXPAD with your smartphone app so you visualise your training and track your progress. Now everyday can be an abs day. SIXPAD is available for purchase at sixpad.uk or at their flagship store in Westfield White City.
They’ve got the yoga mat, but do they have the yoga mat bag? And is it as sleek as this one? This luxe bag is for the yogi in your life who likes a little (a lot) of glamour. Trimmed with leather it features an adjustable strap to customize the fit, a drawstring tie and a zipped pocket to stash away keys, headphones or gym passes.
Stay hydrated at the gym and so you bit for the environment with this water bottle by A Piece Of Ltd. Personalise it with your favourite hobbies, there’s everything from bikes to burgers and snorkelling to saxophones and add in your initial too. It also comes with two lids one with a clip so you can attach it to hiking bags or your bike.
For those who like to keep a track on their health, Fitbit have released their most advanced health and fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge 3. New features include a larger display, better animations, the ability to set goals in distance and workout not just time and you can use it whilst swimming! Ladies, it said that a future update will even let you track your ovulation directly from the screen.
Stop your gym bag from getting soaked after swimming with this rucksack from Speedo. With 45 litres of space there is plenty of room for your towel and clothes and the waterproof pocket means you’re swimsuits and costume won’t leak everywhere. It also features a base made from water-resistant fabric so it won’t get wet in the changing rooms.
For The Millennials (Assuming You Can’t Afford To Just Buy Them A Flat)
The millennial has become somewhat of a household phrase as of late and so it’s no surprise people have jumped at the chance to create gifts that poke fun at us. Surprisingly there was more than just avocado and unicorn related gifts to offer the millennial this year, so here’s a look at what’s on offer…
Let’s face it, when we’re talking millennials it would be a total shocker if there wasn’t something avocado related involved. Who knew a green fruit could cause so much raving. But, alas, we love avo and we know you do too. Which is why this cutesy Let’s Avocuddle mug – that can be personalised might we add – should be pushing its way to the top on your Christmas wishlist. Drinking your coffee will never feel so good!
We’re a little bit in love with this HP Sprocket Photo Printer. Why? Because it literally prints full blown glossy snaps fresh from your phone and it’s just well… revolutionary! Say goodbye to those online photo orders and drawn-out wait for them to develop before pick-up. This little device connects via Bluetooth and prints 2 x 3 (5 x 7.6cm) stickable photos for you quicker than you can say “cheeeese”. What’s more, it looks cool, so we’re totally sold!
Well what do you know? Monopoly just got all millennial on us, allowing you to now laboriously game against your pals gaining ‘experience points’ as you go and visiting things like music festivals, farmers market and vegetarian bistro’s. Sounds just like our average week day to be honest. Unfortunately, only available at Walmart (as far as we’re aware) but totally worth the shipping when Community Chest cards say things like “your free web-streaming trial expires. Pay the bank $40”.
£46.99 (from America)
If you can drag yourself away from your avocado obsession you may be interested in drinking unicorn tears. There’s a sentence we never thought we’d write! Yep, this next gift features a mythical spirit made from the tears of humanely raised unicorns, polished off with a glittery finish. If you believed what we just wrote then this is exactly the kind of gin for you.
This one’s so self-explanatory we probably don’t even need to write anything. Never the less, we shall tell you more about the book that talks about when brunch doesn’t look good enough to Instagram and The Sims is the closest you’ll come to owning a home. #MillenialProblems is a collection of gaffaw-inducing tweets, and we suggest you take a closer look.
For The Dog
Dogs, they aren’t just for Christmas but it seems, nowadays, Christmas is for them! And oh boy are there a great selection of gifts out there for your perfect pooch pal. From subscription boxes filled to the brim with doggy must-haves, to activity monitors for their play time. Here’s what we suggest…
Dogs need pressies too you know, and what better way to start than giving your dog something they’ll be happy about each time they see it… if only they could read! This Best Dog Ever bowl by Fringe Studio is cute, simple and well as far as you’re concerned it speaks a whole lot of truth!
We know how much you love your dog, but let’s face it; in the hustle and bustle of life it’s hard to give a dog a bone (figuratively speaking) every spare second you get. To monitor it however, this nifty little gadget comes into the forefront. Pooch Play activity tracker and app will record the exact amount of time your dog has exercised for, alongside tracking their weight and important appointments for vaccinations and any check-ups. You’re definitely barking up the right tree with this one!
Your dog might not realise that he/she is getting a subscription box each month, but the contents will be totally worth the sign-up. Introducing the Woof Box; simply subscribe by choosing your preferred plan, and then every month you’ll receive six doggy related products. There’ll be toys, treats, accessories and health care products galore which means you’ll probably end up saving money as opposed to splurging it. Thank us later!
Price varies depending on subscription type
Your hounds get up to some real questionable stuff so it’s only right that they get a good scrubbin’ as a result. But why should humans be the only ones to benefit from lovely shampoo when you can guy Kiehls? The doggy shampoo is ideal for giving you furry friends a thorough rinse and make them smell fresh as a daisy… before they get themselves dirty again seconds later.
For The Kids
Kiddos, we’ve got you covered this Christmas. From a vintage-style car you can whizz about in, to a cutesy jumper with protesting squirrels on. You’ll be kitted out a treat, until Boxing Day when the likelihood is you’ll have forgotten about your Christmas pressies and be after the latest craze advertised on TV. For now though…
Question: why did we not have these as kids? OK granted we did have Tamagotchi’s which were pretty cool. But I’d much prefer to have been zooming about in this fancy contraption! The Vilac Black Metal Vintage Ride On Car Toy (blimey that’s a lengthy sentence!) comes equipped with saddle, petrol cap and steering wheel, making it even harder to catch your kids!
This book has taken the kiddie world by storm as of late and so it totally warrants an inclusion. Revolutionising bedtimes, Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls pushes Disney tales to the side lines for a while, introducing one hundred extraordinary women to children. The likes of Ada Lovelace, Amelia Earhart and Michelle Obama all have some form of commentary laced in the pages, with a focus on what if the princess didn’t marry Prince Charming but instead went on to be an astronaut? We can imagine that would make for a pretty interesting movie…
We can imagine charades to be pretty hard for kiddos. I mean it’s hard for us already let alone watching little ones trying to re-create One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. So here we have Charades For Kids, a game that allows children to have fun by looking at the pictures and acting subjects such as lions, dogs or cats.
Look at this adorable piece! We’re pretty jealous they don’t make them in a larger size. The Mini Rodini sweatshirt dons adorable little squirrels waving placards saying peace, I love you and end all wars now. The thought of little people campaigning and standing up for what they want is simply heart-warming and we’re all about it!
We’re pretty tricky to please us girls, which is why it’s pretty essential to have a ‘for her’ section. Whoever you’re buying for we hope some of these gifts will do the job, from a mini Elemis mask that works magic to a cosy throw that’ll keep you snug until Spring when you finally don these glittery sunshine earrings. Thank us later!
This here cream is proof that good things really do come in small packages. The Elemis Travel Pro-Collagen Marine Cream is a champ at firming, smoothing and hydrating using Padina Pavonica and Ginkgo Biloba. Whilst we’re not totally sure what those things are we can speak from experience that they work wonders. So, if you want to look way, way more than ten years younger over the festive period, give this a go!
A personal planner might be an obvious choice we admit, but to be honest pretty much anything from Kikki. K is uber cute and sure to light up a female loved-ones face. We’re all about this pastel pink shade planner made of leather which includes an 18-month calendar and seven tabbed sections. Plus if you want to give it a good old razzle dazzle and really make it into her good books you’ll be pleased to hear there’s a Monogramming service available to pop on initials. Groovy!
We didn’t just choose this because we love Dolly Alderton… promise! However, we do totally love her, and her book at that matter. Everything I Know About Love is an incredibly raw, hilariously funny and at the same time heart-breaking book about growing older and navigating all sorts of love along the way. Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced something that doesn’t fall into the gentleman realm along the way. The memoir circles between self-sabotage, job hunting, falling in love and throwing a disastrous Rod Stewart house party, and overall it sounds just marvellous.
The UK is notoriously chilly in the winter months, so not only will this fluffy throw be practical but it also looks darn good! The latest collaboration between Habitat and Shrimps has seen ladies going slightly crazy with love for the products, but this one here is our top pick. We can imagine it’ll look utterly fabulous draped over furniture, and even better wrapped around you whilst you cosy up to a film.
Charlotte Tilbury is the coveted make-up brand that’s pushing the high street brands right to the side lines. Plus, everyone needs a bit of glam over the festive period so it makes this palette a pretty marvellous choice. Stars In Your Eyes eyeshadow palette has adorned the faces of many a super star, and now you can showcase it on your own. Throw in the travel Gift of Magic set too and you’ll be the envy of all your friends with silky smooth skin.
Stars In Your Eyes Eyeshadow Palette, £60. The Gift Of Magic Skin Travel Set, £55
We’re looking ahead to the summer with this gift of handmade earrings. The Treasure Sun Earrings are made from 18ct gold plated silver and boast cute touches of colour in the form of multi-coloured agate gemstones. Soru jewellery is beautiful so be warned, once you go on the website there’s no turning back!
For The Film Buff
Need a gift for a James Bond fan? Then look no further as Secret Cinema have announced that their next immersive experience will see them bringing Casino Royale to life. Taking place next summer, Bond fans will be given a new identity and trained in the art of espionage as they delve into 007’s world before watching the film. It’s a cinema experience like no other.
He’s one of the greats, any film buff should have a collection of Tarantino hits on their book case. The real question is, will they still have a DVD player to watch them on?
Set the scene this Christmas, with a professional clapperboard. Whether your up-and-coming Kubrick is putting together their own production, or just wants something for the shelf, this clapperboard will give an air of a authenticity, or just be a fun novelty.
Emily in the office just bought one of these and swears by it nearly as much as she swore at the thief who pinched the last one. With a range of prices to suit most price points, it’s a great alternative to a telly and allows you to watch your favourite films (or Love Island repeats) on the wall.
£379.99 to £1,499.99
For Those Who Want To Belong
The perfect gift for anyone who wears corduroy, National Trust membership gives members’ access to all the National Trust’s extensive collection, letting you walk in as though you own the place. Which you sort of do, their properties are held in trust for the nation. But the rest of us have to pay to look at the old stuff that members can ogle for free.
If you’re eyeing up your diary and thinking it’s going to be a heavy Christmas, perhaps the perfect gift would be gym classes for anyone you know about to face a similar calorific onslaught. And in that case, Classpass is a no-brainer. Gift fitness classes that will hopefully get them over the initial January weigh-in shock.
£50 or more
London’s Barbican is one of the cultural highlights of the capital, with no end of theatre productions, exhibitions and events. And with priority booking, no booking fees and 20% off cinema and theatre events it’s well-worth gifting, and also gives special members’-only lounge access.
Purchase a share in The Wine Society for the oenophile in your life. The society offers members the chance to buy specially selected wines from the not-for-profit organisation, meaning that all the costs are rolled back into the society.
It would be remiss of us not to quietly upsell our own super-useful membership. Giving access to the contact details of over 60,000 celebs and influencers, the service is ideal for anyone in the PR or events industry, entrepreneurs or anyone who relies on publicity from the great and the good.
£68.40 per month
For Those Who Have Everything (Give To Someone Else)
If you know someone who has everything then give someone else a little bit of happiness this Christmas by donating to one of these charities.
Lucy’s Air Ambulance is a national charity that flies children up to the age of sixteen years between hospitals, it also happens to a charity close to The Handbook’s heart. Bringing comfort and support to families going through the most difficult of times, they are the only charity in the UK that can transfer children between long distance planned journeys because the NHS are unable to do so. Receiving no government funding but equally not charging families, Lucy’s Air Ambulance will be working across Christmas and the year to make sure children are in the best hospitals for their needs and will be making sure they are as close to home as possible.
The BBC reported in November that there are now 320,000 people recorded as homeless in Britain with the London having the highest rate of homelessness. Set up a few years ago, The Homelessness Initiative is a charity that puts together bags of much needed items such as waterproof ponchos, thermal mats, microfibre cloths and handwarmers and then hands them out on the streets of London. For as little as £7.50 you can buy socks for ten people or £45 will give 100 people wet wipes.
Movember might have finished but that doesn’t mean that it should now be forgotten about until next November. Their aim is to stop men dying too young with a focus on prostate and testicular cancer and poor mental health. Encouraging men to talk about what they are experiencing rather than ‘trying to man up’ or stay strong and silent, they aim to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25% by 2030.
For the elderly with no family or who live alone Christmas can be a time of loneliness and seeing everyone together can reinforce their situation. Age UK offers support for those who are lonely later in life with both telephone calls and befriending services. It is said that loneliness can be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and can leave older people feeling ignored and invisible, by donating you can help make a difference to somebody’s day and ultimately their life.
If you’ve been watching the latest series of Dynasties, watching the news or just seen the videos on Facebook then you’ll know that the world is in a mess. World Land Trust is an international conservation charity which protects the world’s most biologically important and threatened habitats. Since 1989 they have helped secured more than 600,000 acres of threatened habitat in 20 countries and patrons include Sir David Attenborough and Steve Backshall.