Forget socks and jocks: Last-minute Christmas gifts they’ll really thank you for

Don't panic - we've got you covered with this list of thoughtful gift ideas for every budget

Our list includes a hatbox of champagne and a coffee subscription. Photograph: Getty

Our list includes a hatbox of champagne and a coffee subscription. Photograph: Getty


Feeling like you want to punch those smug creatures who got all their Christmas shopping done last August? That’s hardly the seasonal spirit. If the thought of rushing around town for a spot of last-minute panic shopping has you all in a sweat, fear not. We’ve done the heavy thinking for you, and compiled a wide range of great gift ideas to suit every budget, from dazzling jewellery to sustainable toys.


How Will Santa Find Us? by Shane O’Brien and Stephen Rogers
Featuring artwork from some of Ireland’s best-loved illustrators including Fatti Burke, Fuchsia McAree, Kevin Waldron and more, this is a beautiful and moving children’s book about a family becoming homeless just before Christmas. All profits go to Focus Ireland. Available from bookshops nationwide, €16.99

Aeneid Book VI, by Séamus Heaney
There is no greater gift than a book of poetry. Well, maybe a 1965 American Vintage Fender Stratocaster with matching headstock is better, but poetry is up there. If you really want to push the boat out, this stunning collector’s edition of Heaney’s last great project is a present to treasure. Ulysses Rare Books, Dublin 2, €250

Cat Sense, by John Bradshaw
If you know someone who owns a cat, they should be required by law to read this book. Both a fascinating history of the housecat and a thoroughly insightful exploration their behaviour, it shows just how little we understand these mysterious creatures. Hodges Figgis, Dublin 2, €12

Breaking Ground: Architecture by Women, by Jane Hall
A beautiful coffee-table book celebrating the incredible architecture designed by women from the early 20th century to the present. Featuring over 200 architects and buildings, it includes Irish icons Eileen Gray and Grafton Architects. Dubray Books, €40.50

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes
There are children at this very moment who are living their lives entirely oblivious to the existence of Calvin and Hobbes. This is an abomination. The Essential Calvin and Hobbes is the perfect introduction; as the title suggests it is, in fact, essential. Eason, €21

Toys and stocking fillers

Settlers of Catan
Take that battered old Monopoly board and throw it out the window. There is a whole host of new family arguments waiting to be discovered with this addictive game of empire-building and trading. Quite possibly the best board game of all time. Cogs the Brain Shop, Dublin 2, €47.95

30 Seconds
An Irish-made board game, 30 Seconds is a mix between Articulate and charades. This is what Christmas is all about: your sloshed uncle screaming at you because you couldn’t guess Tony Cascarino from his mangled description. Smyths and most other toy stores, €24.99

Wooden bunny stacking puzzle
A wonderfully tactile and beautifully designed stacking puzzle made from sustainably harvested wood and non-toxic varnish. About as guilt-free as Christmas shopping gets. Barn, Dublin 2, €26

Cup and ball game
Do you ever feel we’ve lost our way when it comes to Christmas? That it’s all gotten a bit much? Bring back some austere Victorian simplicity to proceedings with the old cup and ball game. Art & Hobby, €3.99

A fairy-tale print
Tales for Tadpoles, on Drury Street in Dublin 2, is a go-to spot for new-parent gifts. Their collection of beautiful prints from fairy tales, nursery rhymes and classic books make the perfect decoration for any nursery or bedroom. Tales for Tadpoles, Dublin 2, €10-60

More great gifts

Chinese bonsai tree
This is not just the gift of a tiny, ancient-looking tree; it is the gift of serenity. Every little snip-snip of these miniature leaves will help calm even the most over-worked stress-head. The Bonsai Shop, Dublin 2, €39

Avoca’s yellow herringbone throw
Inspired by autumnal mountain gorse and woven from 100 per cent Donegal wool, this is a luxurious throw to give to the cosy connoisseur in your life. Avoca, €179.95

Book light by Gingko
Oh, what a beautiful book. Wait a second…this isn’t a book at all, it’s a lamp. Casting a lovely ambient light, this rechargeable LED light is the ideal present for a book lover who also loves lamps shaped like books. Designist, Dublin 2,€79

Airfield annual pass
Airfield Estate
in Dundrum, Dublin 14, is an absolute godsend for young families. A working farm with lots of animals to see, it is the perfect place to get your recommended daily allowance of nature in Dublin. An annual pass (€130) is the gift that keeps on giving.

N64 console
Reel in the years with a retro console. Picture it: Christmas morning, four-player Goldeneye on the Facility level with the Golden Gun, and no Oddjob. For 35-year-old guys with beards: heaven. The R.A.G.E, Dublin 2, €79.95

Abstract jug from Brookwood Pottery
Brookwood Pottery’s new Abstract range is beautifully simple and contemporary, with a splash of quirk. The Abstract Jugs cost €40-€60; the range also includes cups and mugs, vases, bowls and egg cups. Owner Elaine Fallon’s studio shop in Santry, Dublin 9 is a lovely place to visit; it not only stocks her own ceramics, but a selection of homewares from other talented Irish makers, too (and it’s open until 4pm on Christmas Eve for all your last-minute “forgot-auntie-Sue” purchases). Brookwood Pottery, Dublin 9

Earrings by Scribble and Stone (Industry, €75)
Scribble & Stone ear-rings

Ear-rings by Scribble & Stone
These elegant 14ct gold-fill ear-rings from Jenny Kiernan’s Irish jewellery label Scribble & Stone will have the stylish lady in your life gushing with glee. Industry & Co, Dublin 2, €75

Tasty treats

New-season olive oil
Give us a bottle of good olive oil over a wine or spirit any day – especially if it’s new-season extra-virgin single estate. Chef and food entrepreneur Sarah Merrigan became a fan of Andalusia’s excellent olive oils when she was working in Barcelona. She now runs a business importing them to Ireland. Sarah & Olive ( offers a handpicked selection of high-quality olive oils, with detailed tasting notes. As well as online, you can buy them at Designist, in Dublin 2, and at the Honest2Goodness food market in Glasnevin, Dublin 11, on Saturdays.

Lino Olivieri has just returned to Dublin with the new-season olive oil he makes at his ancestral family farm in Puglia. He reports that after a difficult harvest last year, 2019 is “a very good year for quality and quantity”. You can buy his excellent oil online at

Selection of olive oils from Sarah and Olive
Selection of olive oils from Sarah and Olive

La Maison du Biscuit tuiles
, in Donnybrook, Dublin 4, is a trove of edible gifts, both sweet and savoury, and all available to purchase online. This festive box of milk and dark chocolate tuiles, made with Spanish almonds, is part of the range from La Maison du Biscuit in Normandy. €10 for 170g

Clever Batch by Susan Jane White
Clever Batch is Irish author Susan Jane White’s third cookbook, and it’s a beauty, filled with inspirational tips on how to eat well, with less stress. The recipes are neither vegan nor vegetarian exclusively – small amount of high-quality meat and poultry pop up occasionally – but they promote good health and well being, without chaining anyone to the kitchen sink. Just the thing to stow away for January inspiration. Available at bookshops nationwide, €24.99

The Bollinger hatbox
The Bollinger hatbox

A bottle of Champagne makes a lovely gift, but keeping it a surprise is a challenge on the wrapping-front. That’s where this Bollinger hatbox comes in. The bottle and two glasses fit snugly in the circular presentation case. One of many gifts for the wine lover from The Corkscrew, on Chatham Street in Dublin 2., €125

A tasty experience
It’s too late now to order online in time for delivery before Christmas, but a few clicks of your mouse could still save the day. Try a subscription, such as a Monthly Blend box from Cloud Picker Coffee, from €55. Or give a tasty experience, with a voucher from Good Food Ireland, which will open the doors to everything from an indulgent getaway, to a chocolate masterclass, meeting friendly goats in Cork, or horsing around at Ireland’s only blackcurrant and horse breeding farm, in Co Wexford. Blackcurrant horses? Who knew.

Orange & Bitters candle
Orange & Bitters candle

Orange & Bitters candle
Fragranced candles can be a bit of a no-no around food, but the Orange & Bitters one from Aldi (€4.99) is perfect for kitchens or dining rooms. The fragrance is fruit and botanical based, and although strong enough to permeate a sizeable space, it won’t interfere with what you are eating and drinking. As a plus, the two wicks and the wax burn evenly.

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