Christmas is a weird season. The smell of spiced, mulled wine embraces you in a thick, cosy comfort. The sparkling decorations treat you to a simple wonder. The snuggly woolly jumpers and the warming winter comfort foods come out. Everything seems designed to make you nice and calm and warm…
…and then there’s the present buying part. Out of the blue, you’re smacked with panic and stress that really clashes with the rest of the season. Never mind the pretty mulled wine scent, does Mum like mulled wine? Would Dad wear a woolly jumper, is that a good present? And what on earth are you going to get your grandparents?
Yes, Christmas flits between a calming winter wonderland image to a hectic, electric ball of utter stress. Take a deep breath, because we’re here to help you out. Take a look through our Christmas gift guide to nail down the toughest part of Christmas celebrations.
For your partner
This one is probably the easiest one, because you likely have a very good idea of what they like, dislike, and what they already own. This can be a double-edged sword, however, as it’s difficult to surprise someone who knows you know what they want!
Beyond buying them that video game they wanted or this gadget they’ve been eyeing up, one good tip would be to have a little look at the coming year. Is their favourite band, comedian, or celebrity doing a tour or event next year? Tickets to that show will not only cover Christmas, it’ll hold up the excitement all the way up to the big day, and create a great lasting memory together.
To make it extra special, why not look at upgrading the ticket to a VIP or Meet ‘n’ Greet package so your significant other gets the chance of a lifetime to meet their hero? Or, you could make a weekend of it and book a fancy hotel to go with the night out!
For your parents
We’re moving on to what could be the hardest Christmas gifts to buy — what do you buy your parents? Chances are, you fall back on similar types of gifts every year. But there’s a whole world of gifts out there, so let’s take a look!
Let’s face it, Dad probably has enough socks now to last him a few lifetimes. But if you go looking online or through the ‘Gifts for Dad’ section of any store, there’s a certain theme running through it.
Beer, football, and golf. Occasionally some D.I.Y. gifts sprinkled in. It’s all a bit samey, and, well, a bit tacky. Even if your dad loves beer, attends every football match for his team, golfs on a weekend, and can fix any shelf ever put to a wall, he’s probably got a pile of those ‘quirky’ gifts somewhere in a drawer.
Why not get him something he actually needs and will use?
For example, many of us are used to hearing our mothers give a despairing sigh at the sight of her husband putting on his go-to, trusty shoes for a formal occasion like a wedding or family get-together.
“You’re not wearing them, are you?”
“Why not? They still fit!”
Yes, dads often have their go-to shoes for many, many years. They get every penny out of them, even when the leather is worn and loose. No doubt it’s time for a new pair, so why not treat him to a new, shiny pair of black derby shoes? They’ll work for so many different occasions, and you mum will probably thank you for the opportunity to throw out those decades-old, worse-for-wear pair your dad has clung to…
Mums tend to get the same ‘one size fits all’ treatment from the gifts section of any store as dads get. For mums, the running themes tend to be flowers, chocolates, and wine. Lovely presents to be sure, but you probably used them to cover her birthday and Mother’s Day this year too, didn’t you?
There’s always jewellery, but that is a potential minefield. Does she prefer gold or silver? Which gemstones doesn’t she like? What’s her favourite cut of gemstone? And that’s all without trying to remember her ring size.
Chances are, your mum doesn’t get to see you as much as she would like. Lives are busy, and months can tick away without us realising how long it’s been since we last visited. So why not give her a Christmas gift of an experience day together? Something like an afternoon tea for two can be a beautiful day out, or if your mum is a thrill-seeker, there’s loads of experience days tailored around adrenaline rushes! These days out can be tailored to suit your mum exactly, from spas to bungee jumps, and you’ll be there to enjoy it with her. Much better than a bottle of wine. Again.
For your grandparents
Grandparents love to spoil their grandkids, so getting your gran and grandad something good for Christmas is a must.
Again, alcohol and chocolates always seem to be the fall-back purchase for grandparents, but it’s the unspoken agreement and understanding of every person on the planet that this choice of gift is the ‘I have no idea what to get you’ gift.
Gran, granny, nana, grandma, nanny. Whatever epithet you choose to call your grandmother by, make sure you get her a Christmas present that will truly light up her heart.
One suggestion would be to get something heartfelt. As we get older, memories become a more and more valuable treasure. To that end, photographs tend to become beloved keepsakes — your gran might well have stacks and stacks of photo albums and framed pictures of her beloved children and grandchildren!
Get her something truly personal and to cherish. A personalised wooden photo box is a different take on the usual photo album, and can look beautiful on display or as a keepsake. Some boxes have gorgeous etching options on the outer lid, and some have photo slots on each side of the box, leaving room inside for trinkets.
As your gran will probably tell you, your grandfather does not need any more bottles of whisky, please stop buying him bottles of whisky for Christmas.
Again, look at something a little more personal. For example, many grandads have an undisputed seat in their own home, right? It’s Grandad’s Chair. No one ever told you this outright, but everyone accepted its existence. That chair is Grandad’s Chair, and no one else sits in it.
Make it an official law of the home with a brilliant (and comfy!) ‘Reserved For Grandad’ cushion! It’s a nice little joke about this household rule, and it will no doubt be used, useful, and put proudly on display in his preferred chair!
For the kids
Kids toys are arguably the easiest gifts in terms of knowing what to get them. There’re lists upon lists of toys online noted to be this year’s must-have toys!
For younger kids
For 2018, retailer Amazon has released their top 100 kids toys for Christmas. One that features on the list, and on numerous other lists from retailers, is the fluffy, super-popular Pomsies.
Pomsies are this year’s Hatchimal, Furby, or any other fluffy, cute, pet-like toy. They’re small pom-pom like critters with long tails and big, light-up eyes. The appeal is that they can wrap around your arm, wrist, or bag to take anywhere, and their eyes change colour depending on their mood. There’s a number of different colours and varieties to choose from, but be quick — these are selling out all over!
For older kids
Another frequent-feature on these lists is the LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall set. Hot on the heels of the latest Fantastic Beasts movie, the world of Harry Potter is enjoying something of a resurgence of late. After the last movie came out back in 2011, there was something of a lull in Harry Potter merchandise on the shop shelves. But now it’s back, and there’s a whole new generation wanting to explore the magical world. Don’t be surprised if a few adults in the house are looking jealous of your child getting this set for Christmas!
For older kids, the top picks include this season’s new video game releases. Expect hyped new titles Fallout 76, Pokemon Let’s Go, and Super Smash Bros Ultimate to feature on many Christmas lists this year.
December also sees the release of the PlayStation Classic mini. Much like the sell-out favourite that was the NES Classic mini back in 2016, the PlayStation Classic mini is a hot favourite this Christmas. Featuring 20 preloaded classics such as Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid, this may well be one for kids and big kids alike!
The tougher part of this category is buying for a teenage daughter. Trends change fast, but there are a few brands that are sure to bring a smile to any teenage girl this festive season:
- Tarte Cosmetics Pineapple of My Eye Collector’s Set — eyeshadow, liner, mascara, cheek and lip products all in one set by the brand every beauty influencer adores. You can’t go wrong if your daughter is a make-up addict!
- Jeffree Star Holiday Collection 2018 Velour Liquid Lipstick/Alien Eyeshadow Palette — another hot pick for any girl following the popular world of beauty gurus and influencers, the latest Jeffree Star collection has just hit shelves and it’s already selling out! Leaving Christmas shopping to the last minute? #CantRelate
For teens who aren’t into the Instagram influencer trend, the other world-domination trend for tech-obsessed teenage boys and girls comes with the hype that is Fortnite. With a line of Funko Pop figures recently hitting shelves, shirts on Primark’s rails, and even a limited edition Fortnite Monopoly game, there’s so much merchandise for this fandom that really, it’s easy picks!
Hopefully, this guide has helped you find some new avenues to explore for your Christmas shopping. And remember, if all else fails — no one in the history of mankind has ever asked for the receipt for a £20 note in a card.