With less than two weeks left until Christmas Day, it's that time of the year when the present buying process becomes a little bit more panicked.
There's plenty of safe & easy Christmas presents that often do the job: electronics, books, DVDs, toys for the kids etc... Lots to be said for such gifts, and they could be exactly what the recipient wants.
However, if you're looking to do something a little different and personal, here's a few suggestions.
Handy at woodwork? A confident painter? Have any sort of creative skill? Then making something for a friend or family member is always a great option. As well as being very affordable, a homemade gift is something considerate and thoughtful that most people will truly appreciate. Even if it is nowhere near professional quality, the effort will mean a lot more than any expensive but impersonal present.
Picture by J.D. Pooley AP/Press Association Images
Is there anything better than waking up on Christmas morning to a generous helping of a favourite snack, cake or treat? Nope.
A photo album
People have never taken more photos of each other, but there's undoubtedly something about social media sharing that makes them seem less... tangible. It helps explain why photo albums have been making a comeback - new technology has led to a number of companies - including Apple and Photobox - being able to pull together people's digital photo collections to create a permanent record. Just don't overfill it with selfies...
A charitable donation in the receiver's name
This can be a very welcome present if you're looking for something considerate but without buying into the shopping & consumerism madness of Christmas. A charitable donation will mean a whole lot to the charity chosen, and of course the people whose work the non-profit benefits. Many people will have a charity or cause they feel particularly attached to, so this is a gift that can have real meaning and value.
A weekend away
Picture by Anthony Devlin PA Archive/PA Images
The great thing about booking a weekend away for someone - or even a voucher to that effect - is that it's a present that also gives something to look forward beyond Christmas Day. In the dark months of January and February, a couple of days of relaxation and comfort - either close to home or a little further afield - can be exactly what's needed. A break a bit later in the year will always be appreciated too. For kids & teenagers, even a guaranteed day off for parents can do the same trick with less expense.
A meal out
Because what everybody really wants after a food & drink-stuffed Christmas season is another feast to look forward to!
Theatre & concert tickets
Again, this is something to look forward to rather than just that brief buzz after unwrapping. An easy one to personalise too if you put a little bit of thought into it.
Another gift that lasts beyond Christmas itself. For the entertainment-obsessed, an annual Netflix, Spotify or game console annual subscription is a very practical gift indeed. Magazine & newspaper subscriptions are still very much a thing. If you're a feeling a bit more generous, subscription boxes - like the beauty sets from Glossybox - will be a more regular gift for the recipient.