Christmas 2021: Last-minute gifts for every budget

Last-minute gifts don’t have to be panic-bought useless tat; you want stuff that shows you care, with minimal effort. We’ve done the thinking for you, so sit back, click on, then wrap up, and bask in the appreciation and love you get for having presented a well chosen gift or three.

With that in mind, it’s never been easier to buy Irish, with a range of websites offering curated selections of all that’s cool, crafted and local. Check out fab things from irishdesignshop.com, while madelocal.ie, designireland.ie and tobeirish.ie have links to the individual sites of Irish makers. If you’re in or around Kilkenny, get inspiration at the National Design and Craft Gallery, where Made in Ireland showcases the work of Irish makers right through until January 30th, ndcg.ie.

Still stuck? Museum and gallery shops are also great ports of call for tasteful trinkets, and the upside is you can chill out from the Christmas rush at a nice exhibition while you’re there. Get started at Cork’s Glucksman, glucksmanshop.com, and find troves at the National Gallery, particularly great cards for diaries and calendars, shop.nationalgallery.ie

Ready. Set. SHOP.

Gifts for €10 or less

Flower power
Wildflower seed bombs got a bit of bad press this year, with imported varieties coming up with all sorts of blooms that aren’t exactly indigenous. And who wants to be responsible for the next Japanese knotweed? Guaranteed Irish organic wildflower seed bombs are where it’s at, and it’s good craic for kids (and grown-ups) come spring to see what emerges. Ten seed bombs, €10, at seedbomb.ie

Camp classic
You might have missed out on the campervan craze this summer, but with a nifty model set (€9.99) from Jiminy you can make your own retro ride. With 53 wooden parts and no glue needed, it’s ideal for ages eight to adulthood (but won’t bring the family on holiday, we’re afraid). jiminy.ie

Things to Do That Will Make Me Happy
An ideal notebook for all those 2022 resolutions and more, by Two Little Boys. And let’s face it, we all deserve a bit of happiness in the year ahead. €8.50 for this optimistic tome, chalkandeasel.ie

Sweet somethings
You can’t go wrong with a well packaged truffle. Perfect for non-committal gifting, when you want to show you care without seriously alarming the recipient with something more insightful. Also excellent for Christmas thank-yous. Butlers’ Hazelnut Truffles come in a powder-puff-style box, and at €10 they are seriously yum. butlerschocolates.com

Puzzle it out
A nicely non-alcoholic gift for the alcohol lover in your life, 200-piece jigsaw puzzles from Dealz come in whiskey, gin and cocktail versions, €4 each for hours of frustrating fun. Or try smaller challenges with 50-piece puzzles based on Swizzels sweets including Love Hearts, Refreshers and Drumsticks at €2.50, or even, and rather strangely, Kellogg’s Special K. dealz.ie

Gifts for €10 to €25

Magnificent mittens
These are like legwarmers – but for your wrists. The cashmere mix mittens with ribbon detail by Orla of Ireland don’t come with finger bits, but do add a surprising layer of warmth, and jazz up dull outfits instantly. €25, orlaofireland.ie

For the birds
Feed the birds, even from your fifth-floor apartment. Especially from your fifth-floor apartment. The Born in Sweden bird feeder attaches to your window by the awesome power of a suction pad. It’s also nicely transparent, so you can turn your view into Bird TV and start a nice relationship with your feathery neighbours. €25 at chalkandeasel.ie

The big dip
Celebrate the sea swimmer in your life with a serviceable enamel mug. Teaming up with Dalkey-based artist John Short, Outsider have this ode to Dryrobers everywhere. Robust enough to sit directly on a campfire, or just hold a vital post-dip hot chocolate, it’s €20 at outsider.ie. Short’s original artworks, including his Bathers series, are available at solomonfineart.ie

Still life
Add some animal magic to the garden with hares, rabbits and foxes by Peter Judd and Giles Smith, handmade in Ashford, Co Wicklow. What started as a little light lockdown distraction has now turned into a veritable menagerie, and you can order your own new additions to your garden before December 17th for Christmas. Cute little rabbit silhouettes are on sale for €25 (or splash out €35 on a lifesize hare). instagram.com/hareytoday

Make believe
This pop-up play castle is cool because you can flat pack it away when it’s not providing endless amusement. It is the perfect backdrop for adventure games, and a home for all those mini action figures that otherwise risk being sucked up by the vacuum cleaner. Also comes in a fairytale palace version. €20 for ages four and up. shop.designist.ie

Gifts for €25 to €50

Circus skills
From juggling to dangling from silk scarves, 2022 could be the year to run away with the circus. For anyone itching to try something new, gift cards from Cork’s Circus Factory are where it’s at. Comfort zone? What comfort zone? One-on-one lessons start at €45 for an hour. Suits all ages. circusfactorycork.com

Vinyl find
Limited edition on clear vinyl? Surely a nerd’s dream gift, especially now that turntables are mandatory for those whose love of music is both pure and retro. This compilation disc from Windmill Lane including tunes from artists who’ve cut their records there, which means everyone from U2 to Elvis Costello, The Corrs to Wet Wet Wet, is on sale for €33 from windmilllanerecording.com

Lambswool scarf
Deliciously soft, with nice packaging, and hand-made in Donegal, McNutt’s lambswool scarves come in such a great range of colours, your only problem will be deciding which to go for. Maybe layering up is the answer. €39.50 for the scarf and add €2.50 for the natty box. mcnuttofdonegal.com 

Creepy craic
NCAD-trained textile graduate Sarah Lynskey designed The Creep sweater to inspire her kids not to be afraid of monsters in the night. Her new Banana Berry range is 100 per cent organic cotton, and they come slightly oversized for a relaxed fit. Suited for ages three to 10, from €45, plus a matching adult’s range if you’re one of those families who like to present a uniform front. bananaberrydesign.com

Swim robe
Irish made and handy for those chilly changes, Dee Robes come in a variety of trims and are sustainably made from bamboo fabric. Perfect for those who aren’t quite ready for the full-on Dryrobe experience, they’re also nice to sit on, for those beach picnics when the weather finally warms up again. €50 at deerobe.ie

Gifts for €50 to €100

Glass case
A smart solution, Rachel Murray’s stylish cases will keep glasses safe and scratch-free, so sunnies can come up gleaming right on cue. Exceptionally handy for one of those people who’s always searching for their specs. From €75 for a four-piece (glasses extra), rachelmurrayeyecare.ie

Budding builders
Nominated for a Toy “Oscar”, Arckit will be flying the flag for Ireland in New York come February, battling it out with the likes of Lego for a coveted Toy of the Year award (construction category). And if that’s not enough to tempt you to buy one of the company’s architectural design kits, Cavan architect Damien Murtagh’s sets are made in Wicklow and great for inspiring future designers. Ranges include Go Eco, Greenscape and Coastal, from €69.95. arckit.com

Secret ingredient
Ahh, that was what was missing – Paint and Prosecco is the brilliant idea that marries creativity with a little light lubricant. Their basic Paint at Home kit costs €45, and comes with canvases, 12 acrylic paints, brushes, a palette, a small easel and a packet of sweets. Scale up with the Cocktail Kit (adds cocktails to the box) for €60, or the Picnic Paint Kit, which includes one of those brilliant Flying Elephant pop-up picnic tables, for €95. Prosecco extra. paintandprosecco.ie, where you’ll also find online tutorials.

Beauty buzz
Brilliant for discovering fresh Irish beauty products, Ethos Beauty and Wellness is a new subscription service, delivering monthly surprises from brands including Modern Botany, Nunaia, Oxmantown Skincare, Ayu Cosmetics, Nima Brush, Ella & Jo Cosmetics, Kinvara Skincare, Green Angel, Dublin Herbalists, Bellamianta and more. €65 for a one-time gift purchase, or make it monthly at the same rate. You also get full-size products, not those annoyingly fiddly samples. ethosbeauty.ie

Glass act
Hand-made in Co Waterford, Eamonn Terry’s Criostal na Rinne range takes its inspiration from the Irish landscape – from the mountains to the sea. A fresh take on cut glass, Terry may have trained at Waterford Crystal, but he takes his work to new, and dare we say it, cutting-edge contemporary places. All with a timeless sense of design. The Cló tumbler comes in at €85, which leaves enough in the “under €100” kitty to perhaps add something to go in it. criostal.com

Gifts for splurging on

Noise-cancelling headphones
Let family harmony reign, as suddenly work or homework can be done in peace. Ideal for those tense working-from-home situations, or if your loved one loves thrash metal while you’re more a sweet symphony type of person. Beats Studio3 Wireless Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling Headphones in shadow grey are on sale for €289, currys.ie

Cosy-up coat
Light as air and warm as anything – and super chic too – the Beaumont Bi-Stretch Puffa Coat adds instant winter elegance, and comes in black or tasteful muted green. Hard to choose? Sure why not get both. €329 at serenaboutiques.com

For the dogs
A dog’s bed that’s also a side table? Genius, though perhaps better for a nice cup of tea, rather than any precariously slim champagne-filled glasses. Hand-made in Ireland, including a donation to animal welfare, Mellow’s Meadow takes its name from Fergus Walsh and Jenny Schutz’s beloved dog. The Bord & Leaba is on sale for €795 – or check out the Cruinn cat bed from €155, mellowsmeadow.ie

Timeless piece
Crann Bog Oak Watches made from upcycled Galway bog oak have to be an instant timeless classic. Surely €209 doesn’t seem too much for 3,000-year-old wood, which should be good for a few more years at least. crann.co

Festive bling

Delicious, yet nevertheless tasteful bling from Louise Kennedy’s collection of glittering lovelies. There’s all manner of sparkles to choose from, starting at €95 for a small sapphire or ruby bee, but how’s about these Andrea yellow Swarovski and citrine drop earrings for €695? (louisekennedy.com)

Still not splurge-y enough for you? Head for BTs, obvs. There you’ll find the Serpenti Viper 18kt rose gold bracelet, which comes set with lovely little (and not so little) diamonds, and comes in at €9,000. 

You’ll also find the Octo Finissimo Automatic watch, which is water-resistant to 100m, automatically winds, and even tells the time. A snip at €12,300. All at the Bulgari pop-up shop, brownthomas.com

Not just stocking filler

We were feeling proud of ourselves for being a no-sock zone, but then we realised that there are an awful lot of very cool socks out there. So what if you’re a Christmas cliche? Warm toes are warm toes. We love the witty ones, and the range of GAA county colours, from irishsocksociety.com, from €9. And in that vein, we can’t quite get enough of the Irish landmark socks from sockcoop.com – featuring sites from Dublin’s Poolbeg chimneys to the Giant’s Causeway. As the company says, they’re “a little piece of Ireland for your sole”, for €9.95.

And while we’re at it, the whole country will be getting super smelly as a slew of scented candles change hands. Flaming highlights include the vegan-friendly soy candles by Mowtini, with €2 off your next purchase when you return your tin, €15 via etsy.com. You can never go wrong with Kinsale-based La Bougie: elegantly packed, and ultra delicious, their Mission Fig candle is the classic, but Honeysuckle and Sea Salt is pretty yum too, €25 at labougie.com. The same can be said for Galway’s Cloon Keen, where the scents just get better and better, and now come with fabulous backstories to make your livingroom seem more interesting, €42 at cloonkeen.com.

Rathbornes, Ireland’s oldest candle-makers, have an extravaganza of a gift set: Dublin Tea Rose, Oud and Patchouli candle and diffuser in a fancy box, for €90 at rathbornes1488.com. And at Max Benjamin, if you buy their three-wick White Christmas candle (also vegan friendly), 10 per cent of the €40 price goes to Make-A-Wish Ireland, supporting children who could really do with some nice things happening at this time of year, maxbenjamin.com