The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide
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Christmas is all about giving
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
And possibly also the most expensive. But hey, that’s why we love Christmas, right?
It’s obviously not all about the gifts but one of my favourite things to do around the festive period is shop for presents that I just know my family and friends will love.
It’s that one time that you can treat your favourite people without them feeling awkward and saying ‘oh no but you shouldn’t have’, and so I take the opportunity with both hands and get shopping.
Rather than denote the recipient of each gift like I usually do, I’m just going to collate my findings into different categories.
Because hey, who am I to tell you if the Murad skincare set I’ve recommend for a ‘Mum’ gift would actually make your brother really happy?
So without further ado, here is three months worth of festive findings!
Photography by Kaye Ford
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I always think that skincare is a wonderful thing to gift because often it’s not something the recipient will think to treat themselves to. Skincare is the foundation of beauty and yet many of my friends and family who adore beauty, leave skincare as an afterthought. So why not treat them to some of my favourite finds.
Murad Ultimate Skin Perfectors Set – 3 luxurious products from the renowned Murad range set in a swanky keepsake box. Includes their AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, their Eye Lift Firming Treatment and their Invisiblur Perfecting Shield SPF 30.
Image Skincare 2017 Revitalise Collection – packaged in a festive snowflake emblazoned box, this incredible gift set contains a Vitamin C cleanser, a hyaluronic serum and a daily hydrating moisturiser with SPF 30. An amazing set for someone who is just starting out in the realms of skincare and wants to revamp their routine.
Westlab Relax Dead Sea Salt Scrub – for a pampering skincare stocking filler, this scrub is a great one to treat the ladies in your life to. Infused with a gorgeous blend of essential oils, including relaxing frankincense, calming lavender, soothing geranium and uplifting bergamot, the luxurious formula gently removes dead skin cells to reveal a healthy-looking, smoother appearance.
My perfume collection is re-stocked at Christmas every year, as it’s not something I typically ever remember to buy myself. Plus it’s amazing the discoveries you can make when someone else is doing the sniffing. Some of my daily favourites have been found through being gifted a scent I wouldn’t have picked up before.
Ted Baker Sweet Treat – this mini gift set includes the Sweet Treat fragrance and a pretty keepsake jewel mirror. The gorgeous bow gift box definitely exudes a luxury, high end feel and the scent itself is so versatile with notes of golden amber and rose.
DKNY Nectar Love – a beautiful seductive scent with base notes of honeycomb, vanilla and neroli. It’s super soft, delicate and feminine, yet the fruity addition of nectarine makes it perfect for the party season!
Ghost – Ghost have an assortment of gift worthy fragrances and I especially love how beautifully packaged their gift sets are. You could opt for the Ghost Sweetheart Mini which contains a stunning rose gold nail polish or their White Light 30ml gift set, a clean fresh scent with a shimmering compact mirror.
Juicy Couture Viva la Juicy Glacé – not only is this possibly the most beautifully packaged and bottled fragrance in the world but it also has wonderful memories for lots of us twenty-somethings, as it tends to have been one of the first ‘designer fragrance’ purchases and therefore still a staple. Viva la Juicy Glacé is a fruity mix of blackcurrant buds, mandarin and pear sorbet, woven in with orange blossom, sandalwood and sweet vanilla.
Missguided Babe Power – the fashion powerhouse launched their first fragrance earlier this year to a hugely gracious reception. This Christmas, you can make sure your friends are all stocked up with this gift set, featuring a fabulous pink fluffy keyring too!
Personalised Christmas Santa Sacks by The Handmade Christmas Co.
Everyone loves a pamper now and then (mine is a weekly scheduled event) and so sometimes the gift of a luxurious bath set or body lotion can really feel like a treat.
Aqua Manda Gift Set – these products are delicately fragranced for a gentle, soothing pamper. The beautifully packaged gift box contains a purse spray, a body powder and a beauty soap – perfect for a mini treat.
Electrical Practical Gifts
While I used to wish for snazzy clothes and perfume at Christmas time, this year on my Santa’s list is a hoover – and to be honest, I would be absolutely thrilled if it was waiting for me on the morning of the 25th! It’s the practical gifts, the ones you know you’ll use everyday and will become a staple in your daily routine, that can often be the best received. So here’s a couple of my faves.
Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Toothbrush – not only does this come highly recommended by dentists and offer a deep cleaning setting, but it will also look gorgeous on the bathroom shelf, with rose gold features, a matching travel case and charging stand.
Magnitone Vibra-Sonic Daily Cleansing Brush – the best-selling facial cleansing brush is back and this time it’s been re-launched in a gorgeous limited edition rose gold colour. This is an amazing gift if you know someone who is very into their skincare routine and wants to supercharge it with the deep-pore cleansing mode.
Magnitone Make-Up Blending Brush – as above, the renowned brand have also launched a vibra-sonic makeup blending brush for flawless blending of your foundation. It reduces the appearance of pores by smoothing any streaks, blending your products and massaging your skin.
Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless Perfection Headphones – I’ve actually been using these myself recently and they have transformed my gym sessions completely. No more fiddling about with tangled wires and having them ripped off my head when they get caught on a weight. Plus they come in a festive red colour, to make the perfect gift!
Juice Weekender Portable Battery – this is a super hard-working power bank for your devices, with in-built connectors (so no trailing cables around with you) and over 4 full charges for your iPhone. Perfect for days out or weekends away, the power in your pocket gift comes in a range of eye-catching colours.
Yubico Key – an amazing, tiny gadget that protects your online security and allows you to add two-factor authentication to almost any programme. It’s fast, simple and it sits on your keyring for easy access.
Nescafé Dolce Gusto Movenza Automatic by Krups – With a sleek, futuristic design, this could almost pass for some kind of snazzy gadget – though in reality, it’s a coffee machine that makes pretty incredible cups of caffeine! There’s a touch screen function for ease, 15 bar pump pressure for coffee shop quality and a descaling alert for regular maintenance so you never have to compromise on quality!
Pioneer DJ Headphones – For any music lovers in your family who don’t want to compromise on sound, you could definitely treat them to a pair of Pioneer’s. The staple choice for DJ’s all over the world, they are professional standard, sleek and some of the globe’s first to produce high-resolution sound. They’re durable, wipeable and comfortable.
Bitmore VR Headset – Virtual reality is the future, according to experts – and so why not let your family or friends indulge a digitally created world over the Christmas period! The Bitmore Eye Plus VR headset has built in crystal clear audio allowing you to listen to and play games, and watch movies in private. The headset utilises your smartphone and its compatible with hundreds of free VR apps online. So whether you want to watch 3D movies, explore new worlds, play immersive games or want to escape life’s realities – it can be enjoyed by everyone!
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I don’t know about your boyfriend or other half but mine only ever re-stocks his ‘grooming cupboard’ around the Christmas period. He never considers buying products for himself but is always excited to see them pop up in his stocking, so here’s a few that may sneak in this year…
ProShield Chill Justice League Gift Set – Gillette have teamed up with the latest Justice League instalment to offer a very snazzy limited edition razor which I just know will be popular with any film loving other halves! It has all the modern amenities a razor should offer (FlexBall/Precision Trimmer) plus five extra precision blades and a virtual reality VR viewer.
Philips Series 7000 Beard Trimmer – this is not only a fabulous gift for men, but also for the girlfriends who are just a teeny bit irritated by the hairs around the sink when beard trimming occurs. Because not only does this trim with extreme precision but it also has a tiny hidden vacuum inside, which sucks up the hairs as soon as they’ve been cut. The gift that keeps on giving, as they say!
BullDog Skincare Trio – technically this should be in the skincare section I suppose, but Bulldog offer such an amazing array of REALLY good grooming and skin products for guys that I couldn’t resist an insert into this column too. This set includes the v.good Original Moisturiser, the Face Wash and the Shave Gel.
Men-ü Selection Box – a generous gift set of grooming essentials, the box contains a black pepper and bergamot shower gel, shave creme, facial wash, skin refresh gel, matt moisturiser, 3-minute detox oil remover, moisturiser lift and liqui-flex gel.
Hawkins & Brimble Gift Sets – this brand is a recent discovery of mine in terms of gifting but I’ve been hugely impressed by their array of male grooming sets, largely their Barber Grade Tonics and shaving balms and creams. Everything is attractively packaged up to make a very well received gift!
Let’s face it, you can’t really go wrong with biscuits, sweets or chocolate? And so if you’re completely stuck for choice, perhaps one of these options would be best received (or should I say, consumed).
Walkers Mini Shortbread Christmas Trees – my favourite shortbread brand before I had to give it up two years ago, it practically melts in the mouth with a generations old family recipe from the Scottish Highlands. This set comes in a keepsake Christmas tree tin and contains a bundle of cute tree shaped biscuits.
Lily O’Briens Dessert Collection – 18 scrumptious mouthfuls of dessert recipes in chocolate form. Creme Brulee, Key Lime Pie, Hazelnut Torte and Banoffee Pie. These won’t last long but every bite will be savoured.
Paxton Christmas Chocolate Thins – light bites of handmade chocolate things in 4 delicious flavours. The gift box contains apple, nutmeg and clove; apple, cinnamon and caramel; orange and panettone; and orange and cardamom.
Biscuiteers The Nutcracker – this gorgeously enchanting keepsake tin hosts the famous Nutcracker characters and a handful of Christmas inspired delights, all hand-iced by the Biscuiteers artists. Honestly, these almost look too pretty to eat, but they apparently taste just as good as they look!
Jing Tea-iere – the perfect gift for any tea lovers among your circle, the Tea-iere makes dealing with loose tea (and getting the best flavour) totally effortless, with a dishwasher safe filter and sleek transparent cup and saucer. I love Jing’s loose Peppermint Leaf tea – as it’s so soothing, but they have a huge range of delicious concoctions to suit every taste.
Mr Stanley’s Boxes – this brand is amazing if you want to gift something memorable and keepsake, but still edible. The vintage inspired sweets and chocolates are all made in England and are themed to reflect old classics, yet have a delicious modern twist. For example try the Chocolate Matches (with popping candy) or perhaps the Chocolate Sardines box. The Dark Chocolate Matches are flavoured with early grey tea extract and the fudge collection features Christmas favourites such as Christmas pudding flavour, salted caramel, mince pie and spiced orange.
Belazu Hamper – the fine ingredients company served in many Michellin Star restaurants have launched a delicious hamper featuring 11 delicious award-winning products such as their renowned balsamic, their tagging paste and their Verdemanda Olive Oil. Perfect for any cooking fans in your family or friendship circle.
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Alcohol & Drinking Gifts
i heart Wines – not only does this brand offer mini versions of all our favourite wine based classics (Pinot Grigio, Prosecco, Rose) but they are also delightfully packaged and available from your local Tesco. Perfect if you’re putting together gift hampers for family and friends, the mini bottles are the ideal size for stockings and some of the best I’ve tasted!
Meantime Chocolate Porter – this indulgent drink is undeniably the most appropriate beer to enjoy at Christmas. Brewed using four different roasted malts, there’s a typical mocha taste that’s aided by the addition of real chocolate during the maturation process. A well suited gift for anyone partial to a beer and a sweet treat, all in one!
Best of British Beer – perfect for beer lovers, this wooden crate comes jam packed with 12 x 500ml of fine British beer from 12 different breweries. The keepsake union jack emblazoned crate also hosts a beer guide with tasting notes, a trusty pub quiz and information on each of the varieties, just in case your giftee has a favourite!
Christmas seems to be the primary time of year when the board games are whipped out and really come into their own. So why not treat your family or friends to a new game to add to their collection. Here are a few favourites and some unique additions!
Woofy Whoops – Probably one for a younger family or those with a silly streak (me included), but this is guaranteed a few laughs! Take turns to spin Woofy and whoever he lands on has to pat him according to how many times he barks. Pat him once, twice, three times (or more), but if you’re unlucky enough to have the last pat, Woofy won’t be able to hold in his wee and the player will get sprayed with water!
Spin to Sing – great for kids, families or even adults (after a few Bailey’s this could be a great way to find everyone’s hidden talents), you simply spin the microphone to select a performer who has to sing to one of the tracks on their phone through the free Spin to Sing game app. Whether you’re the next Beyonce, or completely tone-deaf, Spin to Sing is all about who gives the best performance.
Mr & Mrs Family Edition – a great one for getting to know new members of the family or perhaps finding out more about your loved ones, this new game is based on the hit TV show All Star Mr & Mrs. Pair up with your romantic other half, or even a friend or family member to answer in-depth and entertaining questions about each other. How well do you know them?
Gutterhead – definitely one more for the adults and probs not a great one for a family xmas, this is a new game that UNILad described as incredible, so I was intrigued to see what it had in store. Best pulled out at pre-drinks before a festive party, it’s essentially an evil love child of Cards Against Humanity & Pictionary, with teams competing against one another.
With the party season taking up the majority of December, all the styling, colour and heat treatment can really take its toll on our locks, so I’m positive that a haircare treat would be extremely well received come the 25th.
Philip Kingsley Heavenly Hair Collection – the much loved brand are offering an array of haircare goodies packaged beautifully in a keepsake sparkle grey washbag. Inside is a trio of their hero products including the Elasticizer, Daily Damage Defence and the PK Prep Polishing Balm.
L’Oreal Professionnel Colour Radiance Set – the Serie Expert Vitamino products are ones that I absolutely swear by and so I shall definitely be gifting this to my highlighting friends and relatives. Including a shampoo and a conditioner, the hard-working ingredients ensure that your precious, expensive colour doesn’t suffer any fade – plus it also boosts your highlights radiance.
Nicky Clarke Supershine Rose Tong – Not only are these styling tools THE most Instgrammable and dressing table worthy on the market, but they’re actually really great practically too. They have a new steam ion technology which infuses extra moisture into the hair for hold, shine and vitality. In fact, I love them so much, I wrote an entire post on them here.
Mark Hill When The Girls Go Out The Curls Come Out – This is the ultimate curly girl styling kit, featuring a mini tong, a radial brush and a curl spray, all for under £30!
Sometimes it’s lovely to surprise someone with a totally unique gift that they weren’t expecting. Usually the best examples of these are when you personalise something or find it on the minefield of the internet – so many pages deep that others are unlikely to buy the same thing!
Art of Football T-Shirt – the sports lovers in your family will absolutely love this unique concept, which brings to life iconic sporting moments by producing them into bespoke works of art. You can order the artwork on a print or t-shirt form, and you can pick by team – just make sure you don’t get the wrong one!
Star Wars Premium Office Set & Stationary – Stationary is a fail-safe gift to start with, maybe it’s the inner child in me but there’s still something very exciting about receiving a brand new pack of colouring pens or a snazzy new notebook that leaves me feeling all warm and fuzzy! For the Star Wars fans among your circle, bump things up a gear by treating them to an office set or a stationary kit, emblazoned with their favourite characters. The perfect gift for an adult or older child, this somehow takes away the ‘novelty’ factor and are gorgeous standalone, office-worthy items in their own right.
Zatchels Satchel – These handmade satchels make for the perfect gift, however for something slightly more compact and stylish – you could opt for something from the Zatchels sugarcube range. Whether you opt for a timeless classic leather or something from their metallic range, you’re guaranteed to find something to suit every satchel wearer.
Under The Rose Nugget Earrings – these gorgeous versatile hoop earrings are woven with nuggets of gold or silver and are the perfect size for both casual and elegant outfits (amazing if you’re rushing from work to dinner to party!).
Chrome Ball Cufflinks – admittedly cufflinks always make a great present, but this sparkly pair are even better for festive gifting. They are super affordable but look luxury, with an elegant silver finish.
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A couple of years ago a relative kindly bought me a set of make-up brushes and it was possibly the best gift ever, because they were the most high quality in my collection and I’ve used them religiously to this day. Again, like pampering – often we forget to treat ourselves to new make-up bits, so receiving them in your stocking is a guaranteed winner!
EcoTools Beautifully Bronzed Brush Set – for the ultimate glow, this pretty gift set (worth £45) contains five different brushes, two beauty blenders and a gorgeous keepsake travel bag for them to squeeze into. The brand is totally cruelty free and the handles are made with renewable bamboo!
Charlotte Tilbury Book of Make-Up Magic – CT is an expensive gift, I totally understand – however they’ve recently launched a pop-up at designer outlet village Bicester where I picked up a gift set containing 12 products for under £100!
Sleek Bring On The Night Set – amazing for the festive party season, this incredible gift set includes the iconic I-Divine Eyeshadow Palette Vintage Romance, the Highlighting Palette Solstice and the Blush By 3 Palette Lace.
Bobbi Brown Sparkle All Night Palette – Exclusive to Selfridges this Christmas, Bobbi Brown’s mammoth Sparkle All Night extravaganza is pretty much all you need for the festive party season. Featuring 12 beautifully pigmented shimmering eye shadows, two peachy blushers, two bronzers, a dual ended brush and a very helpfully sized mirror. It’s every make-up lovers DREAM!
Candles make the perfect gift as it’s such a treat to be able to infuse your home with such a gorgeous scent! I’ve always had such positive feedback when I’m popped a candle into a gift mix – and so I really don’t think you can go wrong, especially if you’re buying for someone who has everything. I mean, has anyone ever said ‘you can have too many candles‘, ever?
Yankee Candle Christmas Range – one of my favourite things about the festive season is sneaking a peek at Yankee’s Christmas range and this year was no disappointment. My faves include Spiced White Cocoa and Crackling Wood Fire, but they also offer Christmas Magic and Christmas Tree scents too!
Monsoon Seaspray & Cotton – a fresh, seaside fragrance which makes you feel as though you’re inhaling the salty ocean mist from the comfort of your own home. Amazing if you love soft, clean scents.
Crabtree & Evelyn Supper Club Reed Diffuser – okay so technically not a candle, but still destined to fill your house with an inviting aroma all the same. This 200ml diffuser is great for the kitchen as it’s a mix of rosemary, aniseed, basil and tarragon to really excite the senses and inspire your cooking space.
The White Company Seychelles – I would struggle to find a person who wouldn’t get very excited to see a candle from The White Company sneak into their stocking, so they definitely make for perfect gifts! Whether you go for the mini or larger three-wick version, I implore you to try the Seychelles scent – it’s incredibly gorgeous!
Ted Baker Fig & Olive Blossom – Not only is this scent the most cosy, warming fragrance I’ve had had the pleasure of sniffing – but they’ve also recently redesigned their package to look even more sleek, floral and gift-worthy. Opt for the candle (as pictured above) or the gorgeous reed diffuser in the same scent. Or both!
Orla Kiely Fig Tree Candle & Diffuser Set – A really earthy, yet sweet fragrance, blended with essential oils of lime and bitter orange – this signature scent is luxuriously warm and perfect for the Winter months. This pretty mini gift set features a diffuser and candle from the Orla Kiely range and the packaging features one of her iconic retro-inspired patterns.
Personalised Message Candle – Not only is this a gorgeous luxury rose scented candle in its own right, but you can also personalise it – making for the perfect gift! The white glass jars are slightly frosted for a touch of elegance, while the silver lid can be engraved with a message of your choice!
Often several tiny gifts packaged in a beautiful stocking will be just as, if not more, well received than a larger more expensive present, so don’t feel like you need to spend the earth to create an amazing gift.
Philip Kingsley Polished Perfection Gift Set – this mini cracker shaped set is super affordable and offers a taste of their incredible haircare delights. For just £10, there’s a 40ml Elasticizer and a 20ml prep balm.
Beauty Kitchen Shimmer Soak Bath Bomb – a fizzing pamper of cinnamon, orange and frankincense, perfect for any festive pamper sessions! Freshly made in the UK with no synthetic fragrances, so it’s ideal for sensitive skin.
Time Bomb Hand Cream Cracker – this beautiful duo contains two of the bestselling combat hand creams, which are not only super hydrating but they have anti-aging properties too!
Harry Potter Top Trumps – still my all-time favourite game and amazing to play on long train journeys, this is destined to be well received by Harry Potter fans and a really great stocking filler!
Sleek Rioja Red Pout & Polish – match your nails to your lips with this tiny stocking insert for make-up lovers! The deep red matte lip cream and matte nail varnish will compliment your best festive party look!
Dr Bronner Organic Almond Liquid Soap – this entirely natural, organic and fairtrade soap has 18-in-1 uses, smells incredible and is a sure staple in any bathroom cupboard. Face, body, hair, food, dishes, laundry, mopping, pets, cleaning. Just remember to dilute it!
This section may not apply to you yet, but as I have a younger sister (she’s ten), I always keep my eye out for cute gifts for children and presents that are a bit different or a little special.
Star Wars Tsum Tsum – if you’d asked me several months ago what a tsum tsum was, I would have been utterly bewildered. But my sister opens her mouth aghast when I ask her and explains that they are THE best toys and that apparently you can stack them and collect them. Well that was me told. Apparently, the most coveted ones currently are the rather adorable Star Wars versions.
JoJo Maman Bebe Musical Jewellery Box – a gorgeous printed keepsake box, this is the ultimate gift for anyone who wants to keep their treasures safe and sound! The pop-up ballerina and Waltz of the Flowers tune play up the traditional feel, and there’s plenty of space for necklaces, earrings, bracelets and other trinkets.
Glimmies Rainbow Friends – another collectable that I know I would have totally been on board with as a 10-year-old! These are much snazzier than in my day though, as these enchanted creatures change colour, light up and interact with other Glimmies if you put their hands together!
Buff – The children’s ‘original’ Buff can be worn in a variety of ways including a neck scarf, hat or headband and is available in a wide range of colours and designs, also featuring some of the much loved favourite characters, including Minnie and Mickey, Hello Kitty, Frozen and Star Wars.
As you probably know by now, I recently discovered that I’m severely intolerant to dairy and so rather sadly, my usual Galaxy, Milky Way and Lindt Advent Calendars are off the agenda.
However, this has inspired a research mission to find the very best and most exciting non-traditional advent calendars on the market – and I think this year, I’ve outdone myself.
Introducing, three advent calendars that your Christmas just won’t be complete without…
YOU Beauty Advent Calendar
One of the most popular and hotly tipped of the beauty advent calendars, YOU has amazed us again with an incredible selection of hair, make-up and skincare products to try and test out. The beauty lovers among us will rejoice at a new treat to try everyday and the brands featured include Oribe, Rodial and Monu. It’s also very reasonably priced in the market, at just £60 – plus there are tonnes of exclusive offers in the enclosed guide, including 15% off at The White Company and £230 worth of discounts.
Virgin Wines Wine Advent Calendar
Wine lovers behold, the totally sold out Virgin Wines advent calendar from last year is back and it’s better than ever. Following the motto ‘Christmas is too short for bad wine’, which I am totally on board with – the premise behind this snazzy advent calendar is simple, with a serving size bottle behind each door. Not only do you get to try and test 24 different wines, but they also make great gifts and this is a truly an adult advent calendar to top all advent calendars.
Jessops Personalised Advent Calendar
Okay so technically this is chocolate filled, but since this would tend to be something you’d get as a gift, I thought I’d let myself off. Jessops offer a very unique service whereby you can send off your favourite image (1MB minimum) and they’ll send you back a giant advent calendar with your image as the backdrop. Behind each door is a Kinder Bueno treat, which I just know my boyfriend will LOVE.
Mad Beauty Advent Calendar
An amazing option if you want to try out a beauty calendar but don’t fancy forking out over £20! Wake Up to a make-up treat every single day – with lipstick, nail polishes and eye-shadows from the renowned Mad Beauty line waiting for you behind each door. There’s even a Christmas light surprise too!
What’s on your Christmas list? Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?