Christmas is approaching fast and with a flurry of gift shopping happening in the coming weeks we’ve compiled the best of our festive gift ideas into one helpful guide.
Best tech gifts and gadgets
Ciara O’Brien has her 12 top tech and gadget Christmas gift suggestions for all budgets.
Bodylite LED Reflective Vest (€28): Irish company Bodylite’s new reflective vest gives you an easy and reliable way to light up, with an LED-enabled vest that won’t cost the earth.
OneSonic BXS-HD1 True Wireless Stereo Headphones (€80): As far as budget-friendly earbuds go, Irish brand OneSonic are hard to beat. The BXS-HD1 open-fit earbuds not only offer great audio, but they won’t break the bank or, more importantly, end up unusable after three wears.
For more details read the full article here.
Gifts for book lovers, recommended by book lovers
From novels to music memoirs to biographies and more, seven of Ireland’s familiar faces recommend the books they’ve been enjoying this year.
Killian Sundermann, comedian: I developed a Marian Keyes addiction in 2020, which I continued into this year by reading Grown Ups, and I loved it.
Gavan Reilly, broadcaster:I really enjoyed Escape by Marie Le Conte, a semi-memoir about being part of a “digital native” generation that still remembers the time before the internet, and how it’s changed all of our personalities. On the political front Shane Ross’s biography, Mary Lou McDonald: A Republican Riddle tells more of the story about the Sinn Fein leader’s background and beliefs than you’re ever likely to have known before.
For more details and the full list of recommendations read article here.
Best sports books of the year
The Rodfather by Roddy Collins and Paul Howard (Penguin Sandycove, €20.99): There isn’t a funnier sports book this year – there might not be one for the next decade. The life and times of Roddy Collins: journeyman footballer, coulda-been-a-contender manager, plasterer, chancer, dreamer, messer
Kellie by Kellie Harrington and Roddy Doyle (Penguin Sandycove, €19.99): What a story this is. Harrington was a teenage tearaway from Dublin’s north inner-city, a gay, not especially sporty troublemaker who had to be sent away to live with an aunt in England to knock the edges off her. Roddy Doyle coaxes the journey from there to Olympic gold out of her with warmth, wit and tenderness.
For more sports book recommendations and to read the full article click here.
Jen Hogan’s small gifts
For something different, Jen Hogan has her take on small gifts for the loved ones in our lives who are impossible to buy for at Christmas from an Irish breakfast to a festive experience.
Irish breakfast: The O’Neill’s essential hamper packed with sausages, rashers, bacon, black and white puddings and more, it’s a breakfast feast, fit for a grandad – or any other person in your life who has all the jumpers they could possibly need.
Socks: These are not just any old socks. Polly & Andy socks are made from bamboo, keeping your feet cool in summer and warm in winter
For more details read Jen Hogan’s article here.
Low impact luxury gifts
Some elegant and stylish earth-kind gifts from hand-rolled incense to fine jewellery, these keepsakes are low-tox, local and sustainably made.
Bowls by Tom Manning, from €30 For a centuries-old keepsake, look to Tom Manning’s wooden bowls, hand-turned from wind-fallen trees in Wicklow.
Lazy Days Detoxifying Seaweed Bath, €26: This seaweed bath, harvested on the shores of Co Sligo, naturally rehydrates, moisturises and detoxifies for the ultimate winter reset.
Read more luxe low impact ideas from Jo Linehan here.
Irish Christmas craft gifts
Celebrate Irish craft with Christmas gifts for the home this festive season from artwork to furniture here.
Brighten up a room: Sarah McEvoy creates “bold, contemporary fused glass wall art” from her home studio in Kildare. Her pieces start at €100 and come in various sizes and colours.
A unique finish: Designed and handcrafted by Clair Jones, Lough Gur Pottery is inspired by ancient artefacts found in the area and is carved and painted using a technique called sgraffito, which makes for a tactile and unique finish. Prices range from €14 to €80.
For the full list of craft gift ideas read Arlene Harris’s article here.
Fionnuala Fallon’s A-Z of Christmas gardening gifts from rose bushes to quality secateurs, and handcream to greenhouses, here’s some ideas for the gardener in your life.
A is for apple trees, a specialty of Clare-based Irish Seed Savers, whose range of potted heritage Irish varieties is available from its shop in Scariff, while bare-root trees are available to order via its website (irishseedsavers.ie , from €27).
Z is for Zamioculcas zamifolia, commonly known as the ZZ plant, the oh-so-fashionable indoor plant known for its ability to survive long periods of benign neglect (plantlife.ie, €16.99).
Read Fionnuala Fallon’s full list of all the gardening gifts in-between here.
New Irish whiskeys that would make great Christmas presents
John Wilson recommends whiskey offerings from Dingle Distillery, Wayward Irish Spirits, Lakeview and Teelings.
Irish Distillers has released Redbreast Birdcage 12-year-old, a limited edition of their 12-year-old single pot still whiskey, which comes in a metal bird feeder.
Wayward Irish Spirits based on the shores of Lough Leane in Killarney have released a mere 300 bottles of Lakeview single pot still whiskey, their first “estate” whiskey, made from barley grown on the farm
For more recommendations read his full list here.
Must-have kitchen utensils: what chefs recommend
For those who love spending time baking and cooking here’s a stellar list of kitchen gifts , as recommended by those really in the know.
Kwanghi Chan: Bamboo steamers date back around 5,000 years in Chinese cooking, you can use them every day and they are super affordable.
Shane Smith: The first piece of equipment I always recommend is a digital kitchen weighing scales. You don’t have to spend a fortune on one as the majority are quite inexpensive these days.
Read the full list of recommendations here.
Chocolate heaven: Sweet festive treats from Ireland’s leading chocolatiers
Chocolate is an almost universal and always welcome gift. From moreish truffles and saccharine pralines to decadent drinking cocoas, here is our guide to Christmas chocolates.
Hazel Mountain Chocolate: From its workshop in the heart of the Burren, Hazel Mountain Chocolate’s salted caramel hand-painted truffles make for the perfect festive offering – if you can bear to part with the goods.
Grá chocolates: As the name suggests, Grá chocolates are made with love. Chocolatier Gráinne Mullins painstakingly hand paints each and every praline and truffle to create one-of-a-kind pieces of edible art.
You can read the full list of chocolates here.
Eco-friendly Christmas presents for guilt-free gifting
Catherine Cleary recommends the best books, products, cards and other sustainable gifts from Irish producers which won’t break the planet.
An Irish Atlantic Rainforest by Eoghan Daltun’s lets you explore his wonderful rewilding project on the Beara Peninsula without leaving your armchair.
Kindfolk is changing the game on children’s clothes is where sustainable outfits for Christmas can be bought from Orla O’Connell’s stock of beautiful pre-owned clothes. Everyone can look their best without adding another consignment of clothes to the universe of fashion cast-offs.
For Catherine Cleary’s full article on eco-friendly gifts click here.
100 Irish online shops
If none of the ideas so far have filled your Christmas stockings, Conor Pope has recommended the best Irish 100 shops for toys, treats, homeware, clothes, jewellery and other presents.
Lottie and Finn Dolls are a world away from most of the dolls you see on toy shop shelves. For starters the company is based in Letterkenny, Co Donegal and it focuses on body-positive dolls doing smart things so you can expect none of the “don’t ask me, I’m just a girl” fast fashion nonsense you might find elsewhere.
Man of Aran Fudge was one of the earliest products reviewed on the Pricewatch page of this paper. It got five stars then and would get five today too – there is Bailey’s Fudge, salted caramel, chocolate, honeycomb, and that’s just for starters. Free shipping on orders over €50.
Read the full list of 100 shops here.
Charities that need our help in the run-up to Christmas
And finally, it can be a tough time of year for many, but there is an array of charities working to ensure that those most in need are not forgotten. Jen Hogan outlines how to support charities that help others this Christmas.
SVP has launched Essentielle – “a faux boutique to tackle real poverty” which flips the narrative on what luxury really means. They’re asking people to consider donating to help those living in poverty who face many impossible choices this Christmas.
Boyle Family Resource Centre: As part of its fundraising efforts, it is asking people to sponsor a turkey for Christmas dinner this year, at a cost of €16, and make a family dinner extra special.
Read the full article on charity appeals here.