December is my favourite month. It’s my birthday, it’s Christmas, it’s New Year, and this year it’s the long-awaited END OF 2016. And what better way to celebrate than by fulfilling your gift-giving obligations to friends, family, and – sod it – yourself, because we all deserve something beautiful for getting through this pig of a year.
I’m not going to insult your intelligence by splitting it up according to age or gender, I’m sure you can figure out who in your life would prefer which gift. So here’s a general selection of things I think are great, which handily happen to be available for sale before December 25th.
1. Snugg Marble Macbook case
I don’t even have a Macbook, but these absolutely beautiful marble-effect slim shell covers for the Macbook Pro 13″ make me want to buy one immediately. And those babies aren’t cheap.
There’s a range of colours including classic black and white marble, sandstone, and my favourite, this gorgeous gold design. It reminds me of the Japanese art of Kintsugi, where broken pots are glued back together with gold to make the breakage part of the item’s history.
2. Goodmans Heritage DAB+ digital radio & Bluetooth speaker
A really beautifully-designed digital radio is such a good present for people who are impossible to buy for. Everyone likes music, right?
I have the Heritage in sky blue in my living room, and people always comment on its classic 50s look. It’s a great example of retro styling combined with modern functionality – you can use it as a Bluetooth speaker for your own tunes when you’re not in the mood for radio DJs, and the sound is superb. It’s also stupidly easy to use: just dial through the station names and press OK.
If you’re not a fan of blue, it also comes in spring green, piano white and a 70s-esque dark wood finish. And if you’re after something a little cheaper, I can recommend the copper Canvas, also by Goodmans – my grandad loved his last Christmas (well… he fell asleep listening to it. I’m assuming that’s a good thing).
3. Makeup brush washing machine of dreams
Anyone who has more than three makeup brushes needs one of these. Personally, I seem to have about three hundred, and washing them is the absolute worst. This wondrous gadget consists of a whizzy bit and a mini fishbowl. You put washing solution in the fishbowl, attach brush to whizzy bit, introduce one to the other and then let it spin dry. It all takes seconds and your brushes are bone dry afterwards. Also clean. Possibly cleaner than the day you bought them.
This thing changed my life when I reviewed it back in March, and I’m still using it now. How it isn’t a household name already is anyone’s guess (especially when it was invented by an Apprentice winner), but you can take advantage of that and rock the world of your favourite makeup fan this Christmas. Plus if you get it at Boots, you can spend the resulting Advantage Card points on yourself. Win-win.
4. FLAVR phone case
I love these cases, they’re so cheerful. The pug one is pretty much guaranteed to please anyone on Tumblr, and personally I find the cactus one weirdly adorable. I guess people called Holly like prickly things, eh?
They’re available for iPhones from 5 to 7 (yes, including the silly letter varieties) and the Samsung Galaxy S7/Edge. Some of them are currently on sale for £7.49 at Carphone Warehouse, too.
If you’re giving the present a decent amount of time before Christmas, there’s also a festive range of cases that I think make really sweet Secret Santa presents (assuming your limit is £10, of course. If it’s £5 just get them some snacks, that’s all anyone really wants). The Christmas jumper one is my favourite – although it’s not quite as cosy as having a Note 7 in your pocket 😉
5. Sugru Rebel Tech kit
This makes an excellent stocking-filler, or Secret Santa, or pressie for the hard-to-buy-for tinkerer in your life. You’re not so much buying them a thing, as giving them back their broken things, and opening up an exciting new world of “thing hacks.”
There’s more detail in my review, but essentially, this is magical tech Play-Doh that turns into flexible rubbery stuff. You mould it the way you want it, then leave it to cure, and like magic you’ve added bumpers to the corners of the kids’ tablet. Or strengthened your rubbish Mac cable. Or fixed the hole in your sole. No, not that one. Just your shoe. Sorry.
Part 2 of the quick-fire gift guide will be up sometime before Christmas. Probably.