It’s been another one of those longest fastest years in living memory. Perhaps like many of us, you’ve been too preoccupied with new variant, booster shot queues, travel restrictions and changing rules to sort your Christmas list. Never fear, I’ve put together a quick and dirty guide to some excellent last minute gift ideas.
I’ve also got a fabulous giveaway offer — scroll down and click through for more about how to win an Optima Pizza Express Napoli oven worth £169!
Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Whole Family
1. Books, Books, Books
You can never go wrong with a book. Once again, I’m following the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod and gifting my family members a book and a chocolate treat to enjoy on Christmas Eve. If you need ideas, check out my Reading Lists* on Bookshop.org or these book guides: 50 Kids Books on Race and Diversity, Parenting Books for People Who don’t read Parenting Books and my 21 Best Books of 2021.
Of course, I’d highly recommend my own book Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World for yourself, a friend, a teacher’s gift, a book club member, or that racist uncle.
2. Support a Black Owned Business
In 2020, the campaign Black Pound Day was launched to boost Black businesses and entrepreneurs. But you don’t have to wait until the first Saturday of the month to show your support. Why not pick up a product from a Black owned business for Christmas — it’s a gift that gives back. Find top last minute gift ideas via my directory of UK Black businesses.
3. Family Friendly Board Games
We love playing board games and they make excellent last minute gift ideas. Try classics like Monopoly, Scrabble or Backgammon or a snazzy pack of cards for hours of fun. The boys and I are big fans of Exploding Kittens and Throw Throw Burrito and for grownups, I’ve heard great things about Cards Against Humanity (there’s a kid friendly version too).
4. Give the Gift of Theatre
There are some absolutely magical Christmas shows for families in London and beyond, although we’re depressingly on the precipice of what looks like another lockdown. You can still share the gift of theatre with someone by booking advance tickets or buying a gift card or voucher. And you’ll be helping out folk who work in the creative arts industry too.
Visit my guide to the best London theatre shows for inspiration.
5. Give the Gift of Education
Who doesn’t want to start the new year with a bit more knowledge? School your loved ones with an online course in anything from creative writing to filmmaking to painting. The Masterclass series features people at the top of their game breaking down their craft for newbies.
6. Gift a TV Box Set
I’m an unapologetic TV-holic. Some of the best times I’ve had with my husband and/or kids this year (or any year, frankly) have been in front of the telly. Share your love of the small screen with a collection of vintage TV or cartoon classics, or a binge-worthy box set or Netflix subscription. I’ve listed our top 30 television series to watch with the kids (or grownups only).
7. Subscriptions: Gifts that Keep on Giving
Subscription gifts are cool because you can buy them as last minute gift ideas, in the knowledge that they’ll keep putting a smile on their receiver’s face. The mister gets a regular beer subscription and recently, I’ve also gifted him with a plant subscription. Buy subscriptions for cheese, comic books, puzzles, magazines, music streaming, Disney+, coffee, meat, bacon, books, vinyl, socks… whatever takes their fancy.
8. DIY Gifts
Often the best gifts are handmade and you don’t have to be a DIY expert to create something memorable. Your baby or child’s handprints on a canvas. A hand-decorated tin filled with homemade cookies. A wall print of favourite places, significant dates, special songs or locations. A custom photo book. DIY bath bombs or salt/sugar foot scrubs. A mix tape… or its modern equivalent e.g. a Spotify playlist.
9. Pampering and Self-Care
After the last couple of years, we could all do with some extra TLC. Pampering and self-care gift ideas can range from something as simple as a scented candle, a bath bomb or a satin eye mask to more lavish bath and beauty sets, personalised fragrances, or a spa trip voucher. If you need deep tissue massage, I highly recommend the Theragun that I got last Christmas.
10. Gift a Family Day Trip
Flights cancelled? Destination red-listed? Or maybe you just couldn’t face the stress of PCR tests, Omicron surges and the ghastly spectre of quarantine hotels. We’re stuck at home this year too and, as cases rise, possibly on lockdown. There’s still time to gift your family a day out either somewhere outside London or in our fair Capital.
Buy tickets for ice skating spots, winter wonderlands, festive markets and more in my guide to Christmas in London.
WIN an Optima Pizza Express Napoli Oven worth £169
Fancy making wood-fired pizza in your own kitchen? We reviewed the Optima Pizza Express Napoli Oven, a fabulous piece of kit that makes authentic wood-fired style pizza in minutes. Simply whip up your homemade pizza dough (or use a store-bought fresh or frozen) and within 3-5 minutes cooking time, you’ll have delicious pizza with that smokey wood-fired taste. It’s also great for calzones, flatbreads and more. To enter this giveaway, simply follow the instructions in the form below (refresh the page if the form doesn’t load) and read my full review HERE. There are 8 ways to enter and each entry counts separately. Best of luck!
NB: UK entries only. The prize is non refundable and non exchangeable. No cash alternative will be offered. For Babes about Town competition T&Cs please see our Disclosure page.Optima Pizza Express Napoli Giveaway £169