The weather’s getting colder and the nights are drawing in, which means only one thing – Christmas is on its way. And Christmas means presents. But it’s not just about getting them – giving good presents is just as important.
So what to buy? If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Aunties. Uncles. Cousins you don’t even see once a year. And what about your nearest and dearest? You can live with letting down a long-lost relative, but gift your other half a stinker and you won’t live it down until Easter.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve rounded up the best gifts around, from the hottest smartphones and smartwatches, TV subscriptions, smart speakers, and even something to help pep up their morning. And with Black Friday fast approaching, lots of items are heavily discounted into the bargain.
So don’t leave it until Christmas Eve – sit back, fix yourself an eggnog, and sort your Black Friday gifts in minutes using our handy guide. You could even pick yourself up a little something while you’re at it.
We've rounded up some great gift ideas for your nearest and dearest, take a look at the following products and you might be able to get all your shopping done extra early this year.
The iPhone 14 isn’t a massive improvement over the iPhone 13. But considering that handset excelled in all areas, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You get a top-notch design, superb screen and awesome camera, along with Apple’s industry-leading iOS operating system.
And if you want more improvements over the previous range – like a faster processor and new ‘Dynamic Island’ to replace the screen notch – you could always opt for one of the iPhone 14 Pro models. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
If the recipient uses an Android phone, the Pixel Watch is a great gift. It brings all the usual features, like messaging and emails, right on your wrist, but also offers a full suite of Google apps.
So you'll be able to access Maps to help you get around, Wallet to let you pay for stuff, Assistant for voice-controlled smarts, Calendar for appointments and YouTube Music for tunes. And the health tracking comes courtesy of the experts at Fitbit. Throw in a bunch of stylish watch bands, and you’ve got the perfect Christmas present.
What do you buy for the home worker in your life? This laptop stand might not scream ‘Christmas joy’, but if it stops them hunching over the kitchen table and getting a crick in their neck, they will be forever grateful.
The Twelve South Curve Flex adjusts from two to 11 inches off your desk, meaning the top of your laptop can be in line with your eyes. That gives you the optimal posture for a healthier spine. It also provides a more flattering angle for video calls. Result.
This machine comes with 64 coffee pods from the baristas at Costa, so mum can get sipping straight out of the box. Its Intellibrew system uses the optimum amount of water at the ideal temperature, giving you the perfect drink, every time. And with one-touch operation, it couldn’t be simpler to use. Stick it on the kitchen counter, in the office, or anywhere you need your caffeine fix.
The new iPad has a bigger screen, thinner borders and new colour schemes, making it a vibrant, fast and useful addition to any household. Whether you’re playing games, browsing the web, catching up on emails or getting stuck into an e-book, the 10.9-inch screen is easy on the eye, and with a faster processor than last year’s model, apps will load in the blink of an eye.
There are better sounding smart speakers around, but none combine ease of use with decent sound quality and smart home skills quite like the Echo Dot. It’s smaller than the standard Echo, making it easier to move from room to room (and cheap enough to buy more than one). Yet still packs some sonic oomph. All major music streaming services are supported, and there’s a version with a digital clock built-in for a tenner extra. Money well spent.
Whatever your old man’s into – be it sports, action films, binge-worthy TV series or chin-strokingly highbrow movies – there’s a TV service for him. Sky offers one of the most comprehensive collections of channels, and is available now without a satellite dish courtesy of Sky Stream.
Fan of US series and films? Netflix has a burgeoning library, with plenty of original content you won’t find anywhere else. Amazon Prime Video too has a great slate of original shows and films, and it comes free with Prime membership (which gets you free delivery on thousands of products bought from Amazon.co.uk).
Apple TV+ might have less content than its rivals, but has a reputation for quality over quantity. And for family-friendly fare, Marvel and Star Wars, look no further than Disney+.
Was dad a gamer back before responsibility came crashing into his life? This mini console is a retro replica of the original Mega Drive 2, one of the best consoles of the 90s. It comes with 60 classic games built-in, a wired control pad and a USB port to plug in another for some two-player action. Just try not to zone out when he starts banging on about how they don’t make them like Altered Beast anymore.
Sony’s wireless noise-cancelling headphones are widely regarded as the best around without getting into silly money. Even better, they’re almost certain to be discounted for Black Friday, so you could well pick up a bargain. They’ve got features up the wazoo, including the ability to quiet the music and allow in outside noise as soon as they detect that you’re speaking – ideal for quick chats without having to take them off.
You don’t have to spend top dollar to get a great media experience on a phone. If you want proof, check out the Sony Xperia 10 IV. It features a 21:9 aspect ratio that’s better suited to films than the standard 16:9, as it does away with the letterbox effect (those black bars across the top and bottom of the screen that make it look like you’re watching through a letterbox). It’s 5G, has a big battery that lasts all day, and is hardy enough to withstand water and dust. The ideal companion for movie lovers on the move.
Nintendo proved that gaming can be for everyone. Its consoles are completely family-friendly, with cartoony graphics and intuitive gameplay. The Switch works as a regular console in the lounge, but you can also play on the go using the detachable screen and controller. Looking for a fun family game to play on Christmas morning? You can’t go wrong with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Just don’t forget to stop for Christmas lunch.
Check out our family games console guide
Disney. Marvel. Star Wars. National Geographic. The Simpsons. Pixar. Need we go on? As well as Disney’s back catalogue of classic films, you’ll get the latest series and movies like Lightyear, The Mandalorian, WandaVision, The Last Dragon and Luca. And when the kids are in bed, there’s always more adult fare like The Walking Dead and Prey to get your teeth into.