Christmas gift ideas for around the home
Left it 'til the last minute? Sam Wylie-Harris rounds up some star buys for £20 or less
IT'S beginning to look a lot like... Or is it? With Santa's sleigh fast approaching and time running out, you'd better get your skates on if there are still a few gaps under the tree, on the tree itself or indeed anywhere else around your home.
Here's our pick of ideas for house-proud types...
MASTER OF WINE
Even the most experienced taster will appreciate this quirky mug, which would make a stylish addition to a monochrome scheme, and could even come in handy during a Dry January.
:: Wine Tasting Rabbit Mug, £14, Ham (www.hammade.com)
Not only are these striking matches delicately perfumed – with a blend of iris, jasmine, rose and leather – but their extra long length means they can reach even the shortest candle in a china vessel.
:: Cire Trudon Madeleine Scented Matches, £15, Selfridges (www.selfridges.com)
POST A THOUGHT
We may live in the text and email era, but nothing beats a hand-written note. This decadent set contains 10 gold foiled correspondence cards and matching envelopes.
:: Telephone Correspondence Set, £14.99, Chase And Wonder (www.chaseandwonder.com)
Break the ice and get the conversation flowing with this illuminated bar sign, which should inspire cocktail hounds to create some festive party drinks.
:: Party Illuminations Bar Sign, £16.50, Talking Tables (www.talkingtables.co.uk)
SANTA'S LITTLE HELPER
As most hosts will agree, the worst part of entertaining is the washing up. Avoid kitchen sink dramas by serving the Christmas pud or selection of cheeses on one of these fun festive plates.
:: Botanical Christmas Paper Plates, £4.50 for pack of 12, Talking Tables (www.talkingtables.co.uk)
Coffee connoisseurs will appreciate this stove-top percolator, which makes the best espresso (up to six cups), the old-fashioned way.
:: Wild & Wolf Gentleman's Hardware Coffee Percolator, £19.95, Bloomsbury (www.bloomsburystore.com)
TIMED TO PERFECTION
Prep like a pro, plan your menu and prevent any mishaps with this handy little timer – a sober saviour if you've started on the Buck's Fizz before seasoning the turkey and cooking all the trimmings.
:: Alessi Kitchen Timer – Red, £19.95, Trouva (www.trouva.com)
CENTRE OF ATTENTION
Chic and contemporary, this clear vase has lasting appeal, and just a sprig or two of fresh flowers will look blooming marvellous.
:: LSA Festive Flower Table Bouquet Vase, £20, Houseology (www.houseology.com)
We all love to drink with our eyes, and these these keenly priced wine goblets will make a glass of pinot grigio, or cabernet sauvignon, taste even better!
:: Nordal Diamond White Wine Glass, £5.50 each; Diamond Red Wine Glass, £7 each, Amara (www.amara.com)
Sometimes a sweet Christmas tree decoration is all it takes to bring a smile to the face. This little fellow will hang just as well on a wreath or garland.
:: Snow-filled Penguin Christmas Decoration, £8, Natural History Museum Shop (www.nhmshop.co.uk)
When it comes to cracking open a bottle of wine, this stylish stopper will keep the fizz from going flat, the white from losing its freshness and the red plush until the following day.
:: Just Slate Stags Head Bottle Stopper, £10, Houseology (www.houseology.com)
Top and tail those vegetables, keep your counter clean and tune in to a hint of quirky, retro style all in one hit, with this funky glass board.
:: Joseph Joseph Tomato Vinyl Record Worktop Saver 30cm, £15, Selfridges (Available online only; www.selfridges.com)
Keeping moths at bay has never been so beautiful. Protect those beloved woollens with these lightly fragranced hanging hearts, which can be spritzed with a refresh spray from time to time to enhance the scent.
:: Cedar Rose Hanging Hearts, £16 for set of four, The White Company (www.thewhitecompany.com)
Evoke the festive aroma of cinnamon, orange, cloves and spice, with this gorgeous mineral wax candle that promises 28 hours' burn.
:: Winter Signature Candle, £20, The White Company (www.thewhitecompany.com)
A fun gift that's practical and present-able, humour her anger and you could be forgiven for not drying up the glasses.
:: Red Queen Tea Towel, £12, Mrs Moore's Vintage Store (www.mrs-moores-vintage-store.co.uk).