OK, stop. Cross off Old Spice, bath salts, and socks (novelty or not) from your shopping list. However much your grandparents tell you that just seeing your smiling face at Christmas is present enough, we all know they deserve better than a hasty purchase from the ‘on offer’ shelf at your local chemist. But bridging the generation gap can be tricky, so we’re here to help with 15 of our favourite gift ideas, from cultured to cosy, tech-y to foodie, all guaranteed to be better than a pair of socks or soap on a rope…[nextpage title=”next”]
1. Festive Cheer hamper
This hamper has all the traditional treats you need for a proper British Christmas, including shortbread, marmalade, tea, chocolates, Christmas pudding, and fruit cake, and you can have it delivered free (on the day of your choice) for an extra special surprise.
It’s £30 from Marks and Spencer[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”next”]
2. The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh
Two of the wittiest figures in twentieth century literature had a long (and sometimes caustic) friendship conducted mostly by letters – 500 of them over 22 years, to be exact, covering everything from war to religion, to (naturally) writing. The best ones have been collected in this volume edited by Nancy’s niece, Charlotte Mosley, who also provides context to the events referenced.
It’s £13.59 at Amazon.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”next”]
3. Breezie tablet
For older people who want to make it easier to keep in touch with loved ones/the outside world but find computers, tablets, and smartphones a minefield, Breezie makes things simple. It can either be downloaded onto an existing Samsung tablet or bought with a new one. Either way, it has an intuitive, simple, and easy to read interface and comes ready to go, with the user’s contacts, apps and email all set up so they (or you) only need to connect to Wi-Fi to get started.
It’s £75 for the software or £239 for the full deal from Breezie’s website.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”next”]
4. Crock-Pot 37401BC Slow Cooker
Soups, stews, even lasagne – slow cookers make it easy to prepare all kinds of warming meals. Especially if your grandparent lives alone and needs some convincing to have more than a ham sandwich for dinner. It’s dishwasher-friendly, keeps food warm until you’re ready to eat, and the 3.5 litre capacity will feed two people, or one person plus leftovers.
It’s £21.95 from John Lewis.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”next”]
5. Dreamland 6967 Intelliheat double fleece mattress cover
There’s NOTHING cosier than an electric blanket at this time of year (nope, not even a onesie). This one’s a mattress cover/heated blanket combo so it just slips on and has dual controls so each person can monitor their own temperature. It heats up in just five minutes (and has auto switch-off so it doesn’t get too hot). It can even be safely washed and tumble dried. (Don’t even go there if one of your grandparents has a pacemaker though, it’s not safe.)
It’s £44.99 from John Lewis.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”next”]
6. Luxury hot chocolate gift selection
You can’t, or at least shouldn’t, have Christmas without hot chocolate. This gift pack comes with classic milk chocolate powder, sweet white chocolate, or 70% cocoa for the hard core chocolate addict. Plus, the tins are pretty enough to leave out on the counter year-round (if they last that long).
It’s £12 from Whittard.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”next”]
7. Logik Digital Radio
Because it’s compact and easy to carry, this digital radio can be used as a kitchen/living room radio, or an alarm clock. It has a dual alarm function that’s perfect for couples who get up at different times, and if you’re feeling really giving, you could pre-set your grandparents’ favourite stations so all they need to do is switch it on.
Pick it up for £29.99 from Currys.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”next”]
8. National Trust membership
No one knows what causes it, but when a lot of people hit 30, they develop the kind of passion for castles and abbeys that they used to have for memorising every song in the top 40. It’s the kind of craving that can only be quelled by a National Trust membership, which includes access to 300 historic houses, gardens, and countryside or coastal routes, a guide to all those places, and regional newsletters listing nearby events.
It’s £43.50 for one person or £71.62 for a couple from the National Trust website.
Image of Waddesdon Manor by Mattlever, via Wikimedia Commons.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”next”]
Thanks to advances in photography, this stunning nature series went underwater in a way no documentary had done before, exploring everything from shallow tides to the open water (and the creatures that live there). And, of course, it’s all narrated by the dulcet tones of David Attenborough.
10. Dressing gown(s)
There are few things cosier in the depths of winter than a fluffy new dressing gown, and BHS has some affordable options for both sexes. This women’s style comes with a hood for extra warmth, in pink, blue, or mocha for £25, while the men’s is soft and snug in classic navy for £20.
11. Aged ceramic bird bath
If your grandparents like gardening, birds, and tasteful outdoor decor, this pretty bird bath ticks all the boxes. It’s not attached to a stand, so it can be moved around the garden, placed on top of a wall or even on the floor (as long as there are no cats nearby). Plus, it gives birds somewhere new and cool to hang out.
Find it at Waitrose Garden for £16.99.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”next”]
12. Theatre tokens
If your grandparents love to see a show, but you’re not sure what’s next on their list, tokens are a great gift that unlike money, can only be used on something fun. They’re valid at 240 theatres around the country, from local theatres to the West End, and they never expire.
Prices start at £5 from the website.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”next”]
13. Heated Sofa Snuggler
Yep, electric blankets aren’t only for bedrooms. This one’s designed for keeping warm on the sofa, and makes the ideal present because it’s the kind of thing we’d all appreciate but probably find a little too indulgent to buy for ourselves. It has six temperature settings, heats up in five minutes, and will apparently provide three hours of warmth for less than a penny.
Find it at Lakeland for £49.99.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”next”]
14. Champagne and chocolates box
Maybe your grandparents are indulgent types who love champers more than the kind of people who crave an early night and a cuppa. And maybe you’ve just got your trust fund statement and are feeling flush. In that case, you can hardly do better than this gorgeous gift box from Fortnum and Mason which includes Marc de Champagne Truffles and Brut Reserve Champagne in a luxurious satin-lined box.
Find it in store or online for (deep breath) £60.[/nextpage] [nextpage title=”next”]
15. Personalised crate or basket
Pre-packaged hampers and gift sets are great if they suit your grandparents’ taste (and your budget) but if not, why not try making your own? Buy a crate or basket, and fill it with some of their favourite little luxuries, from sweets to hand cream. (You might be surprised how much you can pick up at pound shops, or you could even add home-made treats.) Finish with gift-wrapping cellophane from Hobbycraft and a big bow, and there you have it: a thoughtful, practical, personal gift. Perfect.
Waitrose has a small gift crate for £5, and Hobbycraft has a range of baskets starting at £1.49.
If you’re more interested in getting a new camera than new clothes this season, you might be interested in these camera accessories for your iPhone, which beg the question: Do you need a camera if you own a camera phone?[/nextpage]