Christmas is four days away, but the introduction of new tier 4 restrictions across London and large parts of the South East of England over the weekend has seen non-essential retail stores close for the foreseeable. For those still chipping away at their Christmas lists, completing our shopping in time has quickly become trickier than ever.
Fear not, as we’ve rounded up a list of brilliant gifts you can still buy this week, from thoughtful experiences that are sent via email, to the best places you can still safely click and collect from…
Give a virtual experience
If you’re unable to visit friends and family over the festive period, sending a gift via email is a thoughtful gesture. Experiences – think pottery courses, calligraphy classes and cocktail masterclasses – have always been popular gift ideas (particularly for the person who has everything), and in this lockdown-era, a host of them have been adapted to work on Zoom so your giftee needn’t wait for lockdown to lift to enjoy.
Wardrobe whisperer Alexandra Fullerton has a selection of personal styling sessions on offer, from hour long video calls to closet audits and socially distanced personal shopping, which can be redeemed once retail stores reopen. She’ll help the recipient hone their style for the new season, which is a great gift for the fashion lover.
Having your colours done is another brilliantly helpful and insightful gift experience for any fashion fan. A stylist will analyse everything from your skin tone to eye colour to work out the colour palette that will flatter you best, helping you to make informed shopping decisions and revitalise your wardrobe. House of Colour and Colour Me Beautiful are renowned for their excellent colour consultations.
SOTT (Sign Of The Times) meanwhile sells pre-owned luxury fashion and has launched the SOTT Box. A virtual call with one of its stylists will help them to create a bespoke box full of pieces to suit your style, delivered directly to the recipient and making light work of shopping the luxury second-hand market.
Virgin’s popular Experience Day site now has a ‘stay at home’ gift section which includes wine tasting and afternoon tea to garden design courses and virtual stargazing tutorials, where everything you’d need is sent straight to your home after you’ve picked your gift.
The Whodunnit is an immersive murder mystery that takes place with a cast of actors via Zoom, complete with suspects, where you assist the detective on the case to solve the crime, which is great fun for all of the family.
Get a gift card, beyond the obvious
A gift card is a good option if you’re short on time and not sure what to buy, and means they can pick a gift themselves that they know they’ll love. The majority of stores and stockist sites offer e-gift cards that the recipient can use online for now, and often, gift cards that can be used when any physical stores reopen.
For the widest selection that spans everything from fashion and beauty to homeware, opt for one from Liberty (which offers fabulous ‘gift coins’) Harrods or Selfridges. For those on a smaller budget, ASOS, Etsy and M&S are great options.
But if you’re looking for a gift card that’s less obvious, think beyond the mainstream retailers. For foodies, lots of independent restaurants have taken to offering gift cards to be enjoyed when they reopen which makes for a lovely present. Dishpatch works with myriad restaurants to deliver fully-chef -prepped meals to your door, and sells gift cards that can be redeemed against meals – the next best thing to a sit-down festive meal in town.
For pasta-fans, you might like to note that there are lots of options for sending tasty fresh pasta dishes that can be finished at home, making it a bit more special than sending a takeaway to someone. Pasta Evangelists and Lina Stores are two of the best we’ve tried. Be sure to include the cocktail of the week from the former, or a pear and chocolate panettone by the latter for extra brownie points.
Presents with same day delivery
Anyone partial to buying Christmas gifts the week of the big day will already be au fait with speedy next day delivery services, but if you can’t visit the recipient yourself, having the gift sent directly to them is a great idea and saves time. A host of brands allow you to opt for a gift receipt at checkout, which removes the price and any extra details. Be sure to opt for the gift wrapping service if there is one to make it all the more special and they can pop it straight under their tree.
Both Matches Fashion and Net-a-Porter offer a reliable next day delivery service (and gorgeous packaging), and both currently have a sale on with up to 50% off, too.
To ensure delivery on time, you can order from Matches up to 12pm on Wednesday, and it has a 90-minute turnaround service up to 4pm on Christmas Eve for those in London. Net-a-Porter’s cut-off is 3pm on Wednesday, with a same day service on Christmas Eve for London postcodes, and orders made by 10am. Browns Fashion operates a same day service in London, too.
Click & Collect options you can get hold of ASAP
With delivery drivers and Royal Mail swamped by the huge demand in e-shopping this year, a host of big stores are offering click and collect services instead – you can order your present safely online, then collect it, often within the hour.
In the new tier 4 rules, shopping centres that are home to said stores will remain open, too: in London, both Westfield shopping centres remain open, with stores including House of Fraser and Waterstones offering click and collect.
John Lewis & Partners’ same day click and collect offering extends to collections from Waitrose and Co-op as well as its own stores, should those be more easily within reach. Next (which has orders ready within the hour) and Ikea are also offering click and collect to their superstores.
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