Christmas Gift Ideas
It’s almost Christmas time again, and now is the perfect time to do your holiday shopping. It’s only a few weeks until Christmas, and starting now gives you extra time for stress-free online shopping. You can avoid the crowds, and Price Inspector will help you save money. We compare prices around the UK to bring you the cheapest prices on all your Christmas presents, so you won’t have to go to all the shops yourself, hunting for a great deal.
It may seem like a big task, especially if you have a long shopping list or have made mistakes in the past (waiting too long, spending too much, buying the wrong gift), but it doesn’t have to be. If you break the project into smaller tasks and start early, you’ll find it’s not so hard.
First, make a list of everyone who will be getting a Christmas present. Don’t forget people like your children’s teachers, the neighbour who house sits when you’re on holiday, or service people like your postman or garbage collector. If the list looks too long for your budget, you can often give some inexpensive homemade gifts, such as baked goods, crafts, or service presents. For example, you can give a certificate to your neighbour offering a certain amount of babysitting, lawn mowing, or other services.
Many of the people on your list, however, will be receiving a gift that you purchase. Your task now is to make a budget. You need to consider both overall spending and amount per person. First decide how much you can spend overall. Next, write a budget amount next to each person on your list. Total it up, and see how it compares to your overall budget, adjusting the individual items as necessary.
When you’re shopping online, be sure to check delivery times and prices on your items. Many sites offer free shipping on certain items or if you spend a certain amount. If it’s not free shipping, be sure to consider the shipping cost in your overall budget. The shipping times are also important, especially as you get closer to Christmas. Find out whether the item is in stock, how long until it ships, and how long until you should receive the item. Also check whether the shipping time is guaranteed, so if there is a delay, you could receive a refund on the shipping fee. If you will be shipping gifts to friends or family, be sure to allow enough time to ship the gifts after you receive it. You can also take advantage of gift-wrapping services from some online retailers and have the gift shipped directly to your loved one. This saves you both time and money.
What to buy?
Your biggest question, however, may be figuring out what to actually buy. Some people are natural gift-givers, instinctively buying the perfect present for every person on their list. What this usually involves is paying attention throughout the year, noting what the person likes, dislikes, needs, or wants. It may also mean buying the present when you see it, rather than trying to find it last-minute during the holidays. If you’re too late for that approach this year, no need to worry. Price Inspector has compiled the top 10 gift ideas for everyone on your shopping list. And as always, we make sure you get the cheapest prices in the UK.
Christmas Gifts for Her
Whether it’s a mother, sister, girlfriend, wife, or friend, most people will be buying presents for a special woman this year. There are easy, traditional gifts that are perfect for a woman you don’t know well, such as perfume, jewelry, bath salts or soaps, chocolates, picture frames, or scarves. These are all nice for casual acquaintances, Secret Santa exchanges, when you don’t know someone well, or when you want to avoid sending a romantic message.
However, there are other women in your life who should receive a special, thoughtful present that they’ll love. This may take a little more thought, but Price Inspector has collected some ideas to get you started.
- Cozy Feet Microwavable Boots: These microwavable boots, now available in pink and purple, will make a great present that won’t blow your budget. Just put the cozy boots in the microwave, warm for 90 seconds, and she’ll have toasty warm feet. They’re soft and warm, heat up quickly, and keep your feet warm even when walking around.
- Chocolate Fondue Set: If she’s a chocolate lover, consider a chocolate fondue set this year. A typical set comes with a ceramic heater stand, which keeps you from burning the chocolate, and four fondue forks. Sets do not come with chocolate, so you can make it even more personal by including some chocolate bars and goodies to dip, such as marshmallows, pound cake, and strawberries.
- Personalised Teddy Bear: Choose a personalised teddy bear for your special girl. There are different styles, usually either an engraveable heart-shaped tag around its neck or an embroidered sweater with your message. Whether it’s a holiday greeting or a marriage proposal, your message will be remembered and loved for years to come.
- Cath Kidston Mugs: Products by Cath Kidston are very popular during the Christmas holidays. A lovely gift that isn’t too expensive is a set of four traditional mugs. You can start or add to her collection of Cath Kidston, as these come in yellow, pink, green, or blue patterns. The mugs are stylish and presented in lovely packaging. You can also find matching items such as a teapot, sugar bowl, and milk jug.
- Key Finder: She won’t have to worry about lost keys with a wireless key finder. There are several different versions, from a push-button control, a whistle, or an LED sensor.
- Twilight Umbrella: The Twilight umbrella as built-in twinkle lights, brightening up even her rainiest day. The umbrella comes in black with white lights, black with colour lights, and lights both inside and outside the umbrella.
- Gift Hampers: Hampers are always a popular gift at Christmas. You can choose from numerous pre-built hampers available in all price ranges and interests, or you can build your own. This way, you know she’ll love everything in the box. Choose a company that assembles the basket for you or buy your own items and container for a completely personalized gift.
- Sunrise Alarm Clock: In the winter, the short, dark, cold days can make anyone feel grumpy, lazy, or depressed. This makes it hard for many people to get out of bed in the mornings, and having a loud, annoying alarm clock doesn’t help. Being jarred awake isn’t nature’s idea of a great start to the morning. Instead, the new Bodyclock Dawn Simulator gradually wakes her with light, simulating a natural sunrise to gently reset her sleep/awake hormones.
- Spa Treatments: A spa gift voucher is a great gift to pamper any special woman. You can give a certain monetary amount that she can spend on her own selection of services, or you can buy a deluxe spa day package. With either a preset or build-your-own list of services, she can enjoy a full day of being pampered and relaxed.
- Holiday Travel Package: Many women enjoy gifts of travel. It can be a fun, new experience or a favourite destination spot, but the most important part is that you enjoy it together. Part of the gift is showing her that you want to spend precious time together. Just be sure to take along a small [pd:compact 14.0 digital still camera:digital camera] for long-lasting holiday memories without carrying a lot of weight.
Christmas Gifts for Him
People complain that women are hard to shop for, but men don’t make it any easier. Generic gifts may be easy, such as ties, cufflinks, a wallet, aftershave, DVDs, CDs, and wine or beer. But if you’re looking for a great gift, consider one of these:
- The Book of General Ignorance: Books can be great Christmas presents, and this title is perfect for any guy who likes trivia. This collection of all the commonly believed misconceptions will provide hours of entertainment. This you know how many wives Henry VIII had, how many Earth moons there are, and the world’s tallest mountain? There’s a good chance you don’t. Great for after-dinner conversation when all the gifts have been unwrapped. The book is so popular there are now two editions.
- Personalised Wine or Spirits: Most people enjoy personalised gifts because they give that little extra touch of something special and unique. You can buy his favourite spirit or wine, then personalise it in a number of different ways. Buy a gift box that can be engraved, or create a custom label to commemorate the occasion.
- Brew Your Own Beer Kits: This year, don’t just buy him a collection of pints. Instead, combine his love of beer and his love of building with a brew kit. Look for a starter kit that includes reusable bottles and caps, malt extracts, and clear instructions. After he brews the first batch, he can buy more malt extract tins to start the next batch. There are many different beer and lager varieties to choose from, so you can pick his favourite varieties.
- Wi-Fi Bathroom Scale: If your man is a health or fitness buff, this is a great gift. It combines his fitness interests with his love of tech toys. It’s practical, he’ll use it, and men love gadgets. This scale can send his weight to an online account that tracks his weight over time. No buttons to push in the morning—just step on, wait a sec, and you’re done.
- USB Beverage Warmers and Coolers: Whether he want to keep his tea warm in winter or his soft drink cold in summer, these are the perfect solution. There are warmers, coolers, or warmer/cooler combos that conveniently plug into a USB port on the computer.
- Xbox Kinect or PlayStation Move: Depending on which gaming system he already has, these are the latest toys for gamers, released in the UK just in time for Christmas. Xbox Kinect uses a sensor to track body movements, recognise your face, and listen to voice commands. Instantly control any Kinect game without having to learn a complicated controller. Kinect uses your head, hands, feet, and torso to control your onscreen character.
If he’s a PlayStation guy, Move uses an controller that’s very easy to use, letting you capture a complete range of motion. The controller combines motion changers, easy-to-use buttons, vibration feedback, and a colour-changing sphere. The controller accurately tracks motion with a magnetic field sensor, gyroscope, and accelerometer, letting you interact with the game.
- Retro Candy Gifts: Indulge his nostalgia for the childhood candies of yesteryear. There are many collections available with candies that are no longer commonly found in shops. Some of the favourites include Fizzy Cola Bottles, White Chocolate Fish and Chips, Shrimps, Black Jacks, old-fashioned gobstoppers, Refreshers bars, Rhubarb and Custard, Space Dust, and Aniseed Balls. Perfect for the little boy in every guy.
- Mensa Gifts: Guys like to show how smart they are, and this lets him prove it once and for all. Choose from card packs, paper tests, games, puzzles, or electronic trainers. He can test and strengthen his brain power at the same time.
- E-book Readers: There are numerous brands and sizes available, but basically, these readers are thinner and lighter than a paperback and hold hundreds or thousands of books. It’s the perfect gift for the book-loving, gadget-loving guy in your life. It’s also great for anyone who travels or has a long commute, carrying an entire library of books in about 240 grams. Popular brands include Amazon Kindle, Sony, and BeBook.
- Waterproof MP3 player: If he’s a swimmer or water enthusiast who loves music, this is the best gift imaginable. The NU Dolphin MP3 player is specially designed with swimmers in mind. It’s extremely lightweight and compact, weighing only 25g. It measures 60x21x21mm. The earphone attaches using a screw-in jack for water-tight performance. Both the player and the earphone comply with international water resistance standards, while still providing high quality sound.
Top Christmas toys for Girls
Children may be the easiest or the hardest people on your Christmas list, depending on your perspective. If you’re a parent with only boys, if your children are grown, or if you’re not a parent, you may find shopping for girls a little challenging. Price Inspector has collected some of the top girls’ toys for 2010 to get you started:
- Moxie Girlz Art-titude Dolls: Moxie Girlz is a brand of fashion dolls designed for today’s girls. Their line of Art-titude dolls are designed to stimulate her creativity. With an array of product ranging from dolls, fashion design kits, RC vehicles, and more, she’ll have hours of creative fun. The clothes come with washable markers so she can create her own designs.
- Baby Born Magic Feeding Doll: Stimulate her nurturing skills with this 43cm doll lets your girl feed the baby ice cream, creating a messy face to clean in the process. The waterproof doll eats, drinks, and cries water tears. It comes with a cleaning cloth that has a colour-change effect, ice cream, spoon and plate, diaper, magic dummy, potty, and birth certificate. Available in girl or boy baby dolls.
- Barbie Puppy Swim School: Taffy the swimming dog, two cute puppies, and Swim Instructor Barbie will create hours of play with Barbie’s inflatable pool. Just wind Taffy’s tail and she’ll swim. Comes with Barbie, Tanner, two puppies, a pool, basketball and hoop, towel, and inner tube. After the dogs jump off the diving board into the water, just push a button on Barbie’s back and she’ll dry them off with the towel.
- ZhuZhu Grooming Salon: If your girl loves her ZhuZhu pets, the grooming salon is a great addition to the collection. The pets will sit in the salon chair while the fan ‘dries’ their hair. Comes with mirror, lights, and grooming supplies. When the makeover is complete, the pet can zoom down the tube to the rest of her ZhuZhu habitat. (Note: ZhuZhu pets should not get wet.)
- Ocean in my Pocket Coral Reef: This adventure park play set features cool rides for the Whale family. Rides include a swing, slide, see-saw, and merry-go-round. The set comes with exclusive Whale pets: Mom Elsa and her three babies, Edward, Ethan, and Ellie. Other Ocean in My Pocket animals and play sets are sold separately.
- FurReal GoGo Walking Pup: She can walk her very own dog, complete with realistic walking and barking. A touch sensor brings GoGo to life, and the lead puts your girl in charge. GoGo features 18 sounds that express her mood. Your girl can also personalise and print an adoption certificate for GoGo.
- Baby Alive Bouncin Babbles: The latest toy from Baby Alive, this doll has a big smile and wide-open eyes, ready to play with mummy. The doll comes in a package that looks like a crib, and she makes realistic baby and laughing sounds. Her motion sensor lets her react to movement, and the doll bounces up and down when you hold her hand.
- Sylvanian Families Motorcycle and Sidecar: This motorcycle and sidecar is great for exploring. The old-fashioned vehicle comes with two raccoons: Grandma Mildred and Granddad George. The motorcycle has storage in the front and back of the cycle. George has a helmet and goggles, and Mildred has a wrap to keep warm in the sidecar. Other sets include a caravan, houses, cars, and plenty of animals for your forest family.
- JLS Collector Dolls: If she loves this popular boy band, what better present than collector dolls? You can buy a complete set of four, or you can choose her favourite: Aston, Marvin, JB, or Oritse. Each doll comes dressed in bespoke fashions focused on their own individual colours.
- Barbies A Fashion Fairytale doll: Based on Barbie’s latest movie, A Fashion Fairytale, Barbie has a fashion show outfit that can transform from a princess-style gown to a party dress. Just push a button, and Barbie’s bodice lights up and plays music from the movie. Just fold down the top of the dress and flip the skirt, and you’ve transformed the dress to a new style.
Top Christmas toys for Boys
If you’re looking for the favourite toys for a boy in your life, consider these popular items:
- Toy Story Collection Sherriff Woody: Your boy can own Andy’s favourite toy from the Toy Story trilogy, Woody the Sherriff. Woody comes in several different versions, including softy toys and talking Woody dolls.
- Lego Star Wars Hoth Wampa Cave: Help Luke Skywalker escape the evil Wampa ice creature. Luke gets attacked and captures during scouting duty on Hoth. Build the set, and then help Luke. The cave features a light saber catapult and a skeleton. The snowspeeder has a cockpit that opens and a table cable complete with hook and string.
- Bens Mark 10 Car (pictured above): On the Ultimate Alien series, Ben has a brand-new car, the Mark 10. This car transforms into several different modes and features a missile firing action.
- Armouron Action Set: Create our own Armouron armour with the Snapperons. This is an imaginative dress-up action toy, letting your boy design child-sized armour. There are additional accessories that can be purchased separately to customize his armour.
- Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver: This great toy has authentic lights, spring-loaded extending action, flashing LED lights, and four sound effects. Inside the cap at the end, you’ll find an additional sound effects button and light. It’s the perfect toy for every Doctor Who fan.
- UNSC Arctic Rocket Warthog: The all-purpose 4x4 vehicle comes with mounted weapons for moving troops, scouting the terrain, or attacking enemies. This buildable vehicle from features white blocks for winter camouflage. There are 4 working wheels, and the improved design features a sturdier, faster build. The set comes with two soldiers, pistols, and a sword.
- Kung Zhu Battle Arena: The older boys’ version of the popular ZhuZhu Pets, Kung Zhu battle hamsters pit the Ninjas against the Special Forces. The Battle Arena is where they train to be warriors, earn armor, and then fight in the arena.
- Beyblade Super Vortex Battle Set: Everything you need for a serious Beyblade spinning tops battle. The stadium set comes with two metal tops, launchers, ripcords, rule book, tournament grid, and assembly tools. It also comes with two codes so he can battle online.
- Star Wars General Grievous Lightsaber: General Grievous is a highly skilled adversary of the Jedi Warriors. His double-bladed lightsaber has a gyro-grip for realistic spinning action. It can be separated for two-handed play, and it features light saber sound effects.
- Bakugan Maxus Dragonoid 7-in-1: Boys can save the Earth by building the ultimate Bakugan warrior. The traps can be used separately in Bakugan battles, or they can be joined together to create one huge monster. Together or apart, they’re nearly unstoppable. It comes with 6 traps, 1 Bakugan, 1 metal gate card, and 1 ability card.
Christmas Stocking Fillers
For some people, stocking fillers can be as challenging as the actual presents. Some families have the tradition of only small, inexpensive items, while others spend considerably more money. Candy is fine for everyone, and younger children are generally fairly easy. Think cheap costume jewellrey, play makeup, games, or tiny dolls and animals for girls. Good gifts for boys include cheap toy cars like Hot Wheels or Matchbox, temporary tattoos, or small puzzles.
If you’re filling a stocking for teenagers, adults or colleagues at work, however, it can be more challenging. Some of Price Inspectors’ suggestions for unique, inexpensive items include:
- Erasable Puzzle Pen: This is a great stocking filler for the crossword or Sudoku fan. Pens are practical for these games, but they don’t display clearly and they smudge. An erasable pen gives you the best of both worlds for the puzzle lover.
- Digital Photo Key Chains: These are small, inexpensive versions of the popular digital photo frames. Simply download your favourite pictures onto the keychain, and they can take it anywhere. Either preload the images or let them choose their favourites.
- 20Q: This pocket-sized toy is the electronic version of 20 Questions. Think of an object, and the toy will ask you simple yes/no questions. (Is it an animal? Is it bigger than a duck?) You’ll be amazed at how well it reads your mind to guess the item.
- Zuru Mini Light-Up Football: Perfect for kick-around games in low light, this small football comes in three different light colours and measures about 14cm.
- Hot Stone Therapy Pack: Perfect for the person who wants a lighter touch but needs deep muscle penetration. The set comes with tumbled river pebbles, massage oil, and a fragranced candle—everything you need to create a professional spa experience at home.
- Sudokube: Combine the original Rubiks Cube and the popular Sudoku game, and you’ve got the Sudokube. Plays the same way as the original, but here you’re trying to get numbers 1 through 9 on each face of the cube, like the Sudoku game.
- Tude Beams: Take those peaceful mood lights, and crank them up a notch. These slightly angry characters are a lot cooler, but they give you the same effect. They relax you by play emitting soft coloured lights that dance to your music. But these cool guys, named Feisty, Flex, Loaf, and Cross, fit your personality.
- Henry Desk Top Vacuum Cleaner: This tiny, battery-operated Henry Hoover is perfect to keep your desk clean and tidy. Featuring the friendly Henry vacuum cleaner face, this hard-working vacuum will keep your desk clear of crumbs and dust.
- Eyezone Massager: Perfect for tired eyes, tension headaches, or sinus pain, the Eyezone massager combines magnetic therapy, massage therapy, and pinhole therapy.
- Telly Terminate: If you’re bothered by a loud television in a restaurant, or if you simply like playing pranks, the Telly Terminate lets you turn off any TV with a keychain remote. It’s easily concealed in your pocket, but even if you do get caught, it doubles as a keychain torch.
Christmas Gifts for Nerds
Buying gifts for the tecchy boffins in your life can be difficult, especially if you’re not one! It’s even more challenging because they are a diverse group of technology lovers, with focuses on computers (such as the obvious Xbox Kinect, Playstation Move, iPads etc), music, photography, and more. Here are some of Price Inspector’s favourites and unique ideas:
- Firefox Magic Wand Remote Control: This remote control looks and works like a magic wand to channel the inner Harr Potter. Program it to respond to different movements for different functions. For example, flick your wrist to turn the TV on, and flick it a different way to change songs on your Ipod.
- Sony NEX-3: This compact camera features professional image quality in a small, lightweight body. It has 14.2-meg, a CMOS sensor, and an interchangeable lens system. It can shoot HD movies and has a burst mode for rapid shots.
- Three Mifi: This gadget, about the size of a business card, create a Wi-Fi hotspot that gives 3G web access for up to five devices. It’s great for a laptop, iPod, PSP, and more.
- Monster Beats headphones: Created by Dr Dre, these red headphones have a built-in microphone so it can also be a hands-free device for your iPhone. The big, bass-heavy speakers are great for rock and hip-hop tunes, and a portion of the proceeds are donated to doctors fighting AIDS.
- Norm69 Shade 120: This beautiful light is very popular in Scandanavia, featuring an intricate snowflake design. It comes in 69 pieces that you have to assemble, making it a great tech project for after Christmas dinner. (Tell him the record construction time is 34 minutes, and he’ll have even more fun trying to beat the time)
- HP PhotoSmart Plus E-All-In-One: This printer makes it easy to print your photos with wireless access to your PC, iPhone, or iTouch, or you can print directly from the memory card. The touchscreen makes it easy to crop, fix, or edit before printing. It also scans and copies.
- Logitech HD Pro WebCam C910: Video chat is great when you can’t be with those you love. This webcam has stereo sound, 10-meg still, and full 1080p video recording, giving you great detail for your video chats. Even better, the face-recognition software eliminates the need for passwords.
- Pure Sensia: This digital radio features a lot of tech gadgets for your favourite tecchy boffin. Features include Wi-Fi connectivity for Twitter and Facebook, a touchscreen, and audio input. Set up a personal ‘Lounge’ to store favourite stations or podcasts.
- Razor TRON Gaming Mouse and Mat: Perfect for gamers, the mouse lights up in a TRON-like blue glow, based on your in-game movements, and the mat emits a blue tracking glow. It also plays music and sound bites from the new TRON movie.
- Thomas Pink Commuter Tie: Perfect for the guy who already has every cool gadget imaginable, this necktie features a small pocket on the back to hold his MP3 player.
Christmas gifts for Pets
You don’t want your beloved pet to be left out of the holiday fun. Of course you can always buy a big chew bone for your dog or a catnip toy for your cat, but if you’re looking for something different this year, Price Inspector has some great suggestions:
- Slanket for Dogs: Now the ‘blanket with sleeves’ is available for your four-legged companions as well. Keep them warm and comfortable with adjustable Velcro tables and an effortless step-in design. They can be worn with collars or harness, and they are machine washable.
- Donut Cat Beds: Let them snuggle in style in this donut-shaped cat bed. Soft, warm, and cozy, the unique shape lets them curl up naturally and comfortably.
- Tuffys Red Paw Ring Dog Toy: This is the toughest, softest dog toy around. It has soft edges that won’t hurt your dog’s gums. Its four layers of industrial-grade material and seven rows of stitching make it virtually indestructible, and then it’s covered by a soft fleece layer. It’s also machine washable and floats.
- Giant Rawhide Candy Cane: Keep your big dog happy and in a festive mood with a giant rawhide, shaped and coloured to resemble a candy cane.
- Comfort Control Dog Harness: Take your dog on long, comfortable walks with this adjustable harness. It’s easy for your dog to setp into, and it gives you safe control during your walks. The mesh material is comfortable, lightweight, and breathable. The heavy stitching and metal D-ring show it’s built to last.
- The Company of Animals Interactive Dog Game: Put your dog’s intelligence to this test. This toy has your dog try to dislodge removable bones, push covers, and find hidden treats. You can adjust the difficulty level depending on your dog’s experience and intelligence.
- Heated pet beds: Designed to provide comfortable warmth and softness while your dog sleeps, it provides a low-level heat that’s not hot to the touch. It controls the heat to the dog’s natural core temperature, allowing them to relax and sleep. It’s perfect for older dogs or dogs with arthritis.
- Drinkwell Pet Fountain: No more filling, spilling, or cleaning the water bowls. This fountain is designed for households with multiple pets, constantly circulating and filtering the water to prevent bacteria growth. This keeps the water fresh and odour free for long periods, making it attractive to your pets.
- Fishing Rod Cat Toy: The feathers on this toy mimic the flight of a bird, making it a great exercise toy that appeals to your cat’s natural instincts.
- Petstages Flashing Firefly Mat: If you have a cat who plays all night, this is the perfect gift for both of you. The randomly flashing lights keep your cat occupied in the dark while you sleep. The touch-activated LED lights blink quietly, do not generate heat, and turn off automatically when your cat is done playing.