Monday 26 August 2019

Left your gift shopping until the last minute? Don't panic - pick up these perfect presents

From food hampers to faux fur hot water bottles, Meadhbh McGrath looks at your festive options

If you’re bracing yourself to hit the high street today for some last-minute Christmas shopping, we’ve got you covered (Stock picture)
If you’re bracing yourself to hit the high street today for some last-minute Christmas shopping, we’ve got you covered (Stock picture)

Meadhbh McGrath

Here we are, another Christmas Eve and beneath your tree is looking conspicuously sparse.

No matter how many times we promise ourselves otherwise, it seems that, as a nation, we can't help but procrastinate over presents, and inevitably find ourselves in a blind panic as we frantically sweep the shelves at the local pharmacy for a Britney Spears perfume set, hysterically grapple with the wrapping paper and swear colourfully at the Sellotape because we can't find the end.

But there's no need to settle for paltry gifts. If you're bracing yourself to hit the high street today for some last-minute Christmas shopping, we've got you covered.

For foodies

A Christmas hamper always goes down a treat, and Avoca has a lovely selection, ranging from small sets of tea or jam (from €20) to an all-Irish spread (€85).

In Dublin, you can pick up a delightful craft hamper from Lilliput Stores (open until 2pm), while the incomparable Sheridan's cheesemongers will be open until 4pm (6pm at their Dunnes Stores counters) offering a variety of hampers and cheeses.

If you have an aspiring Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood at home, check out Marks & Spencer's adorable mini rose cake tins (€10, inset left).

For the coffee snob in your life, grab an Aeropress or V60 kit (from €30, Coffee Angel), while chocolate lovers will adore the Winter's Bark sharing slabs, available in dark, milk and white, from Bean and Goose (€30, see for stockists).

For fashionistas

If you're opting to buy clothes as a gift, the safest option is knitwear - no one wants to see the crestfallen face of a loved one unwrapping a dress two sizes too small on Christmas morning. Happily, there are plenty of stylish jumpers to spoil the women in your life. The brand new & Other Stories has a fabulous stone embellished knit (€95, inset above), while Bella Freud's playful jumpers (from €310, Brown Thomas) are a cult favourite.

Jumper, €95 at & Other Stories
Jumper, €95 at & Other Stories

If you do opt for lingerie, Stella McCartney's lip-print brief gift set (€95.95, Brown Thomas) is a good bet, or David Gandy for Autograph's two-pack briefs for men (€27, Marks and Spencer). UGG's cosy knit slippers (€120, Arnotts) are an equally smart buy. A faux fur backpack (€55, Urban Outfitters, inset right) is likely to impress teens, as are a pair of Joanne Hynes rhinestone backseam tights (€15, Dunnes Stores).

Style-conscious men will be thrilled by a Schnaydermans shirt (€140, Indigo & Cloth) or a pair of the Adidas classic Spezial in grey suede (€89.95, Office).

For fitness fans

The upgraded Fitbit Charge 2 fitness tracker (inset left) allows you to see your heart rate, text notifications and boasts a workout pause function (€160, 56 Degrees North). For walkers and hikers, an up-to-date guidebook can prove invaluable, and Helen Fairbairn's guides cover many of Ireland's most popular areas (from €12.99, Eason).

Fitbit Charge 2, €160 at 53 Degrees North
Fitbit Charge 2, €160 at 53 Degrees North

A properly warm, waterproof jacket is an essential for outdoor winter workouts, and Columbia's Powder Lite jacket is cosy and lightweight (€130, Great Outdoors).

For hygge enthusiasts

There's no better antidote to cold days than a faux fur hot water bottle (€25, Paul Costelloe Living at Dunnes Stores) or a personalised scented candle from Max Benjamin (€24 at Arnotts), made with natural wax. The brass watering can at Makers & Brothers pop-up shop on Dawson Street is gorgeous (€85), or you can light up a friend's dingy apartment with an LED light box (€22.50, Designist).

For beauty lovers

Gift sets are always popular this time of year, but it's dangerously easy to get it wrong. Try to sneak a peek at your family member or friend's bathroom cabinet before splurging on a fragrance, beauty or skincare set. Glamazons will love Charlotte Tilbury's World of Legendary Parties set (€195, Arnotts), which is filled with the brand's most beloved make-up products.

Bulldog skincare kit for men, €20 at Boots
Bulldog skincare kit for men, €20 at Boots

The Clarisonic cleansing brush (from €150, Brown Thomas) is worth every penny and a great buy for men or women, and for the man who believes a good auld bar of soap will suffice for all grooming purposes, Bulldog's skincare kit is an ideal place to start (€20, Boots, inset above).

Irish Independent

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