While it might feel like only two minutes ago we were opening the first door on our advent calendars, Christmas Day is now fast approaching.
Despite a UK-wide agreement that allows families to meet in “bubbles” between 23 and 27 December, Christmas will still be very different this year many festive events and yuletide celebrations have been cancelled.
Given it’s been such a turbulent time, you’ll be forgiven for leaving your Christmas shopping to the last minute, but with just days to go and the panic setting in, you might be regretting turning a blind eye to the calls to get your act together. Fear not, we’re here to make sure your giftees are not left empty-handed on the big day.
Whether you’re buying for an oenophile or someone who’d rather their gift be one that gives back, we’ve found the presents that are sure to spread some festive cheer.
Considering you’re now a little strapped for time, we’ve only selected the gifts that you won’t have to post, from subscriptions to charitable donations, all you need to do is put your feet up, drink some mulled wine and feel smug that you’ve ticked everyone off your list.
Plus, if you’re not going to be with your loved ones this year, these gifts are the perfect option too, since they don’t require you giving them in person. Happy shopping!
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
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Bloom & Wild subscription, 3 months
This lovely bunch was crowned the IndyBest buy in our review of the best letterbox flowers, with our tester praising the brand on its arranging guide, the longevity of the blooms (two weeks) and the fact two packets of flower food are included. When it comes to gifting, we don’t think there are many things better than receiving a monthly bunch of flowers to brighten up the everyday. You can opt to choose the bouquet or leave it as a surprise, either way, it’s bound to make someone smile. Pop the downloadable gift certificate under the tree, and your work is done.
Buy now £65.00, Bloom & Wild
First News subscription
Buying for children? This weekly newsletter aimed at kids aged between seven and 14 explains the complicated news and current affairs in the appropriate language, without being negative or patronising. It’s so popular in fact, it took the top spot in our round-up of gifts for six-year-olds, with our reviewer noting that it’s “a really valuable and engaging tool for talking about the world”. If you’re concerned this is too grown-up, there’s “plenty of fun in there too, including positive news stories, competitions, puzzles and pictures”.
Buy now £22.99, First News
Choose Love e-card
This year we’ve been walking our neighbour’s dogs, clapping for carers and trying our best to support our community wherever possible, so perhaps you want to continue this at Christmas and give a gift that gives back. Enter Choose Love, the charity working to raise money to support refugees.
The premise of the e-gift card is simple, select your gift, ranging from hot food (£10) and warm winter clothes shoes (£20) to women’s support (£25), education for children (£20) and even the whole store (£550), then choose the design of your gift card, write the message you’d like to send, and you’re done. A simple, yet lovely way to give back to the global community.
Buy now £10.00, Choose Love
Tring Winery the discoverer series, monthly
For the oenophile in your life, is there a better gift to get them through the January blues than an online wine tasting? You can trust that this a good present since it landed a spot in our review of the best wine gifts.
“Each month, five curated wines are sent in eco-conscious, low-carbon, letterbox-friendly packaging across a theme – it could be wines of southern Italy or island wines – and an invitation to an online tasting hosted by Tring Winery’s experts, where you can ask questions and taste along,” explains our tester.
If you’d rather not subscribe on a monthly basis, there are also one-off tasting packs, the next one being the paso-primero tasting (Tring Winery, £25) on 8 January.
Buy now £22.50, Tring Winery
Migrateful online cookery classes
Buying for a trusty home cook, or a budding chef? Whatever their culinary skills, this would make a fantastic gift, because surely there’s no better way to spend a Saturday night at home than learning new dishes, taught live over Zoom? Taking the top spot in our review of the best sustainable Christmas gifts, our tester praised Tina’s cook-along classes for being a fun way to spend an evening, but also educational.
“The icing on the cake is Migrateful’s mission to empower and celebrate refugees and vulnerable migrants on their journey to integration – another way that food has the power to bring people together,” our reviewer says.
Gift vouchers can be sent directly to recipients via email and are valid for 12 months, and they can select the chef and date of their choice.
Buy now £20.00, Migrateful
The Chocolate Society box of the month
Got a chocoholic on your hands? Allow us to introduce you to The Chocolate Society box of the month, which was crowned IndyBest buy in our guide to the best chocolate subscription boxes.
“Experimental in ingredients, flavours and techniques, Valrhona-trained chocolatier Alasdair Garnsworthy creates small batches of seasonal monthly boxes out of a professional chocolate kitchen down in rural Somerset,” explains our tester.
In each box, the lucky recipient will receive two of each variety, which means sharing is possible, but we won’t judge you if you keep these all to yourself.
Our reviewer praised them for being “hands down the most lovely-looking chocolates we’ve seen, with their eye-catching, colourful shells decorated with contemporary contrasting metallic flecks then elegantly boxed and tied with ribbon.” A perfect gift that keeps on giving.
Buy now £65.00, The Chocolate Society
Hand Me Down Book Club book bundles subscription
Another favourite in our guide to the best sustainable Christmas gifts, this is the perfect option for the bookworm you forgot to buy for. According to our tester, the brand was founded to prevent books from being sent to landfill when they’ve still got stories to tell. Essentially, you select your lucky recipient’s favourite genres and they’ll be sent a selection of second-hand books, tied with string, with the lovely added touch of a Clipper tea bag. While you won’t be able to put this under the tree, it’ll certainly give them something to look forward to receiving at a later date when the Christmas cheer is just a distant memory.
Buy now £9.99, Hand Me Down Book Club
Manumit house roast subscription
Give the gift of fresh coffee every morning with this subscription from Manumit, a Cardiff-based roastery. In our review of the best coffee subscription services, this one took the top spot thanks to not only being top notch coffee, but also because of the brand’s ethos and antislavery work.
“Manumit coffee is roasted, packaged and shipped by survivors of modern-day slavery and human trafficking,” notes our tester, adding that the brand “pays above the living wage and supports its employees to re-enter the workplace, plus the coffee profits are then ploughed back into local antislavery projects”. Another gift that gives back.
Buy now £7.20, Manumit
Seed Pantry grow club discovery box, 3 month subscription
Treat the green-fingered person in your life to a Seed Pantry grow club discovery box – each month your happy recipient will always be on top of what to do in their garden, along with gaining knowledge and expertise as they go.
Plus, it was crowned IndyBest buy in our guide to the best gardening subscription boxes, with our tester noting that there’s “always an exciting mix of flowers, fruit and veg on offer, all of which are delivered at the right time to start growing outdoors or in, meaning you don’t need to stress over what needs planting when”. A fun way to let someone discover new plants from around the world and keep up with the gardening trends. All you need to do is send the gift certificate via email.
Buy now £39.00, Seed Pantry
Looking for expert tips on how to create your festive feast? Read our guide to the chef-recommended kitchen essentials for cooking the perfect Christmas dinner