Christmas gifts of the day: Small appliances

Selection of small appliances | H is for Home

It used to be that small appliances were not at all welcome as Christmas presents. We’ve all heard the jokes about husbands buying their wives irons and vacuum cleaners. All that has changed. I for one would be more than happy with a robot vacuum cleaner; I’d immediately entrust it with picking up all the post-Christmas debris.

Equally, I’d be in heaven waking up to the smell of freshly baking bread and brewed coffee. These are smile appliances, not small appliances! 😉 

  1. iRobot roomba980 robot vacuum cleaner: £749.97, Appliances Direct
  2. De’Longhi Eletta Plus ECAM44.620.S bean to cup coffee machine – black / silver: £434, ao.com
  3. ART29601 7-bottle wine cooler: £189, MyAppliances
  4. Kenwood Premier Chef XL KMM715 stand mixer: £349.99, Currys
  5. Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Nutri Juicer – silver: £132, Amazon
  6. Cuisinart ICE30BCU ice cream maker, silver: £64.99, John Lewis
  7. SD-ZB2502BXC Breadmaker: £160.99, Panasonic

Christmas gifts of the day: Board games

Selection of board games | H is for Home

Christmas is a time for giving – but it’s also known as a time for partaking in a few board games with friends and family. Just take heed of these words of warning… don’t cheat, don’t get over-competitive and try not to fall out with each other – be nice… it’s Christmas! 🎄

  1. The Voting Game
    The Voting Game begins when the first question card is revealed. e.g., Who would survive the longest in a zombie apocalypse? Players then vote anonymously for the player that is best described by the question. Results are tallied and revealed to the group – laughter is guaranteed! Each player guesses who voted for them. Players get one guess for every vote they received. If they guess correctly, the truth is revealed. Example Question Cards: Who would have the hardest time talking their way out of an insane asylum? Who has the most common accent? Who spends more time at the pub than at work? Whose Google search history would you most like to see? 200 question cards and voting cards for up to 10 players (90 total cards).
  2. Trivial Pursuit family edition
    The Family Edition of this classic board game. Answer questions on six categories and earn wedges. The first to 6 wedges wins! With questions for kids and adults, you can pit your wits against the whole family. 2,400 question-and-answer cards.
  3. Forest Shadow Game
    Seven dwarves in peril. This is a dice game which should be played in the evening in a romantic or even spooky candle light setting. Dwarves have to pass through a wood, in which a mysterious moving light cast beautiful but also eerie shadows. In addition to the instructions, the game includes a double-sided game board, seven dwarves, a die, a small candle with a glass holder and a pusher for the light. The game is suitable for schoolchildren; younger brothers and sisters can also join in. An adult must participate due to the naked flame.
  4. Accentuate
    Accentuate boasts a simple yet cringe-inducing premise: repeat a given quotation aloud in a randomly selected accent and see if team mates can guess what it is. The worse the accent attempts are, the more hilarious the game becomes as players struggle to separate their Geordie from their German, their Scouse from their Spanish. Featuring 30 different accents from around the globe including a third from the UK, Accentuate players are under pressure to perform, with just thirty seconds to utter one of the 90 quotations in their allotted accent.
  5. Vintage Cluedo
    A murder mystery game for 3-6 players. The object of the game is to determine who murdered the game’s victim (“Dr. Black” in the UK version and “Mr. Boddy” in North American versions), where the crime took place, and which weapon was used. Each player assumes the role of one of the six suspects, and attempts to deduce the correct answer by strategically moving around a game board representing the rooms of a mansion and collecting clues about the circumstances of the murder from the other players.
  6. Monopoly Here and Now World special edition
    Own the world’s favourite cities in this Toys R Us exclusive Here and Now version of Monopoly! The jet-set game play will be epic as you race around the world to visit the world’s most exciting places and buy locations like the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower. Every time you add another stamp to your passport, you get closer to the globe-trotting win! Includes: 1 game board, 8 tokens, 4 passports (plastic), 42 passport stamps (plastic), 22 location stamps & 20 first class stamps, 14 Chance cards, 14 Here & Now cards, 1 money pack, 1 banker’s tray, 2 dice and game guide. The Here & Now version of the classic Monopoly game is world-class property-trading fun. Buy exotic locations and stamps for your passport.

Christmas gifts of the day: Christmas spirit

Selection of alcohol that would make good Christmas presents | H is for Home

Almost everyone (disclaimer… over the age of 18!) would appreciate unwrapping a gift of Christmas spirit of some description.

We all have our different poisons. I’m not a whisky (or whiskey) drinker – I’ve never been able to even smell the stuff – nor do I much care for brandy (except for in an Alexander or Christmas pudding). However this Christmas, I’d happily sit in front of the fire and quaff a bottle of Chocoholic stout or glass of port. Justin, on the other hand, does dip into whisky world – and loves an old fashioned glass of Maker’s Mark with one ice cube. Our minds and tastes meet at a full-bodied red wine – a fruity shiraz maybe… or cold, dry, crisp bubbly of any type – champagne, prosecco, cava – perhaps all three – it’s Christmas after all!

Here’s a selection of tasty tipples that might take your fancy.

  1. Two Birds Christmas spiced vodka – 70cl: £32.95
  2. Dalwhinnie Winters Gold: £37.90
  3. Grahams 30 year old tawny port: £64.79
  4. Babycham sparkling perry 20cl & glass gift pack: £7.99
  5. Slingsby rhubarb gin: £39.99
  6. Saltaire Triple Chocoholic stout: £2.75
  7. 30 year old whisky gift set – 5 x 3cl: £150.00

Christmas gifts of the day: Gifts of Charity

Gifts of charity | H is for Home

Often, when I think about the commercialisation of Christmas, I step back and reflect on all the people who are worse off than us at this time of the year – particularly the homeless, the poor or sick.

There are a few things that can be done at Christmas to try to redress the balance. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or food bank perhaps, visit the lonely at home or in hospital, donate blood… or give the gift of charity.

There are so many charities out there doing good things for people here and abroad – adults and children – helping them have a better Christmas and a better life.

  • Save the Children
    Whether you buy a food basket or a football, each Save the Children ‘Wishlist’ gift helps change the lives of children across the world.
    £7-£158
  • UNICEF
    UNICEF ‘Inspired Gifts’ are real, life-saving and life-changing supplies that they deliver to children and communities around the world.
    £6-£21,590
  • Centrepoint
    Centrepoint is a charity with hostels in London, Bradford and Sunderland, and partnerships all over the UK. They aim to give homeless young people a future and they want to end youth homelessness.
    From toiletries to a bed, a gift can help save the life of a homeless young person this Christmas.
    £5-£2,000
  • Good Gifts
    The Good Gifts Catalogue was born in 2002, a refreshing alternative to conventional unwanted presents. They were guided by 2 commitments: first, that every Good Gift was always wanted. And second when you buy a Good Gift, your money buys the actual gift.
    £5-£5,250
  • World Vision
    Every one of World Vision’s ‘Must Have Gifts’ is an item specifically requested by communities to create better futures for their children.
    £5-£1,900
  • Crisis
    Crisis – Buy a gift and help someone who’s homeless this Christmas

Christmas gifts of the day: Christmas gift hampers

Christmas gift hampers | H is for Home

A huge part of the Christmas season is all the tasty food & drink that we don’t often see or consume at other times of the year. The special-occasions Champagne and port, mince pies, Christmas pudding and cake and tins of chocolate assortments. You’d rarely go wrong presenting a Christmas gift hamper as a present.

There are hampers available to suit every pocket. From the modest £30+ ‘Christmas Carol’ comprising a bottle of Shiraz, yoghurt coated nuts, Belgian chocolates and savoury biscuits to the blow-the-budget Fortnum’s golden wicker basket of goodies that’s almost big enough to be considered a family Christmas dinner in itself!

  1. A Merry Christmas hamper – £425, Fortnum & Mason
  2. 12 Days of Christmas hamper – £50.34, Christmas Hamper
  3. The Ultimate Great British Selection hamper: £155, Whisk Hampers
  4. Winter Spice hamper: £65, John Lewis
  5. Port & cheese hamper: £45, Clearwater Hampers
  6. The Christmas Carol: £32.50 Hamper Gifts
  7. Christmas Gift hamper: £81.95, iHampers

Christmas gifts of the day: Foodie books

Newly published foodie books | H is for Home

Here’s the first of our 2016 Christmas Countdown gift guides. We’ve researched newly published foodie books and made a short-list of ones that any epicurean would gladly unwrap on Christmas morning!