Apparently it is better to give presents than to receive. But it might not feel that way when you’re on a frantic Christmas Eve gift-buying mission. Finding presents that bring joy rather than a polite smile can certainly be a slog – and especially when it comes to buying for those hard-to-please men in your life! After all, there are only so many times you can get away with buying novelty socks.
So what to buy instead? From unique subscription ideas they can enjoy all year to bespoke accessories, we have compiled a list of some extra special ideas to put under the tree this year. Pour yourself a festive dram and read on for all the gift inspiration you’ll need this Christmas.
Whether it’s box office hits like Hamilton or an Agatha Christie classic The Mousetrap, there’s a show to suit all tastes in London’s vibrant West End. This famous district in the capital is home to some of the world’s oldest and most prestigious theatres and offers a busy programme of world-class theatre, comedy and music.
Theatre vouchers make a perfect present and the recipient can take their pick. Choose from famous TV stand-ups, stirring opera or one of the classic West End musicals that have delighted audiences for decades. You could even make a night of it and treat them to dinner first. Which brings us neatly on to…
Treat them to a drink each month
Naturally we think it’s hard to beat a bottle of beautifully-wrapped single-cask, single malt.
But what might be even better is receiving one of the world’s most exclusive whiskeys on your doorstep every month. A drink subscription offers the opportunity to try a carefully-curated selection of a favourite tipple every few weeks. It’s literally the gift that keeps on giving.
If they love whisky, a unique subscription package includes award-winning tipples not available anywhere else, as well as the chance to join virtual tastings. Or perhaps they might prefer membership to one of the UK’s gin clubs – offering world-glass gins, limited edition glasses and artisan snacks?
Or a wine sommelier box featuring a selection of France’s greatest hits. You could even pick a pour-at-home cocktail box that invites people to enjoy a perfectly-made martini from the comfort of their sofa.
Whatever you plump for, you can be assured they will be raising a toast to you in appreciation.
Indulge a gourmande
If you know someone who loves and appreciates good food, why not treat them to vouchers for a high-end restaurant? Whether it’s the modern Indian cuisine of Battersea’s riverbank Cinnamon Kitchen, a two-course feast with prosecco at Marco Pierre White’s Birmingham establishment or a four-course Vietnamese street food feast, anyone receiving this present is bound to thank you. What’s more, it’s guaranteed to be a zero-waste gift.
Another great gift for foodies is a restaurant meal kit. These boxes of prepped and ready-to-cook versions of restaurant dishes took off during lockdown as a way to enjoy chef-prepared meals when we weren’t able to leave our homes. Now they have become a popular way to indulge on a special occasion or just as a fancy alternative to a takeaway. If you know someone who likes to cook – or just to eat – check out the boxes offered by restaurants such as Norma, Jose Pizarro, Mark Hix and Darjeeling Express.
Show a person you really know them
The best gifts are those that appear tailor-made for that personal touch. So turn to the experts in the field for a present they won’t forget. Car enthusiast? Why not book them a track day driving the iconic 007 Aston Martin Db5 and V8 Vantage, or a voucher to drive the legendary course at Silverstone?
If they love design, visit the Design Museum’s online store for gifts to delight architects, graphic designers, artists and other creatives. Literary types would of course love a book but it can be tricky to ensure you don’t choose a title they have already devoured. So how about booking them a session of ‘bibliotherapy’, where a specialist bibliotherapist will help them choose books specifically suited to their lives? Or a personalised book subscription from a leading independent book store?
Make it personal
What do you get the man who already seems to have everything? It has to be something unexpected and something he hasn’t seen before. A good starting point is to think about the items your recipient uses regularly and then look for versions that offer a twist on tradition.
A bespoke pair of shoes are bound to be treasured. You could also consider inscribing a watch, a silver hip flask or a photo frame with a personal message. A luxurious cashmere scarf or buttersoft leather gloves are gifts that are both practical and beautiful. Or how about a quirky and unique set of cufflinks that will make a talking point in meetings, or a custom silk tie featuring your own design?
Surprise someone with an online experience
Tickets to see a favourite band or performer are always a great gift idea. But unless you have access to their diary, how can you be sure they will be free on a certain date? It’s here that online shows come into their own. Whether it’s the latest play at the National Theatre or a live stream of a Rolling Stones concert, tickets to see something without the stress of getting there are sure to be a hit.
If music isn’t their bag, it’s worth checking out the range of masterclasses, tutored drinks tastings and cookery sessions that are also available. You could book them an online escape room, where participants use their logic and problem-solving skills to ‘escape’ a room and move on to the next challenge. Or online tastings where a selection of treats are delivered to the recipient’s house before the expert-led session. There are virtual photography classes and cookery courses from household names such as Jamie Oliver.
The only challenge is working out what to choose.