As you get older one of the things that becomes more and more apparent is the fact that Christmas isn’t half as good as it was when you were a kid. Just as my granddad once tutted at my wish for a Commodore 64 before launching into a two hour lecture about how all Santa ever left in his stocking was a tangerine and a bag of nuts, so I find myself getting increasingly misty-eyed and nostalgic for the simple days of He-Man toys, The Two Ronnies Christmas Special and my mum’s bizarre obsession with adding a pack of Eat Me Dates to the festive shopping list.
But even I have to admit a contemporary Christmas does have two or three advantages – the brilliant final episodes of The Office, festive jumpers… mint Baileys. And the biggest plus point of them all? Internet shopping, of course! Forget the lack of queues and convenient next day delivery options; the best thing about picking your presents online is the vast, mind-boggling choice that’s available to you. This is especially handy when you’re choosing gifts for a friend or loved one who would otherwise be impossible to buy for.
After all, why give fussy old Aunt Alice yet another boring bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates when you can twist the two thoughts into something a little more original with this Grow Your Own Chocolate Flowers Set?
So forget the last minute dash to the petrol station, and slide that unspectacular bottle of wine back on the shelf right now… stick some Slade on, take a seat and have a look at my favourite novelty gift ideas for Christmas. Not only are they each priced at £20 or less, but they’ll also give people the impression you’ve been carefully deliberating over what to get them since Bonfire Night…
“Dead or alive, you are coming for tea.”
Okay, so the biggest reason for me choosing this was so I could shoehorn in that pun, but there’s no denying how cool this mug would look sat in the staff canteen at OCP headquarters itself, never mind your resident Robocop fan’s kitchen.
Half Pint Glass
From those glass-is-half-full optimists who spend the entire festive season whistling Jingle Bells and swapping mulled wine recipes, to the sort of cynical, sneering glass-is-half-empty types who make a point of turning A Christmas Carol off a millisecond before Scrooge sees the light, this Half a Pint Glass is so daft it’s enough to get either of them smiling long before the alcohol does.
Smart Phone Induction Speaker
It’s time to chuck away the cables and do-away with the docks. This cool, clever portable speaker uses the ingenious process of induction to connect with smart phones… even Bluetooth becomes a thing of the past. All they’ll have to do is choose some tunes from their smartphone, sit it on the speaker, then wait for the beats to come bursting out. This one’s ideal for anyone who likes a bit of background music during Christmas dinner or the obligatory game of Trivial Pursuits that follows it.
Nope, it’s not a fishing rod or an over-engineered back scratcher, but the ingenious solution to a very modern day problem. Perfect for tourists and narcissists alike, the telescopic Selfie Stick ensures they’ll never again have to risk a separated shoulder as they stretch an arm to twice its normal length in order to fit everyone (as well as that awesome mountain behind them) in the frame. It’s easy to use, too – just plug in a phone, strike a pose and click that stick!
Pot Noodle Gift Set
You may have thought the Pot Noodle (probably the greatest labour-saving invention of the last hundred years) was beyond improvement. Think again. This bowl and chopstick set takes the classic convenience food and turns it into a gastronomic masterpiece worthy of even the swishiest Chinese restaurant. And because it comes complete with a chicken and mushroom Pot Noodle, the lucky recipient can forgo the leftover turkey on Boxing Day and get stuck into the legendary snack instead.
The Dual Arcadie instantly transforms those iconic symbols of 21st century technology (the iPod and iPod Touch) into an 80’s-style arcade machine that lets any fan of retro games dust off their fighter pilot uniform and rediscover the childhood joy of annihilating aliens (they won’t even have to fork out 20p every time they feel like having a blast!).
Dollar Bill Toilet Roll
Let that special someone indulge in the most vulgar display of wealth possible by using these incredibly realistic looking 100 dollar bills to… well, you know.
Loch Ness Salt, Pepper and Oil Set
Finally providing definitive proof of Nessie’s existence, this three-piece seasoning set will have everyone at the Christmas dinner table reaching for their smart phones instead of their crackers as they race to grab the first picture of the elusive beastie swimming towards the sprouts.
Belkin Chef Tablet Stand and Wand
The keen cook in your life will find it much easier to follow that yule log recipe on Youtube when they’ve got their tablet propped smartly up on the Belkin Chef stand. Boasting a sleek design that’s futuristic enough to get Heston Blumenthal himself writing to Santa, it also includes a matching wand to make sure there’s no danger of butter fingers ruining the screen.
Personalised Hot Sauce
So the mustard’s not hot enough, eh? Then put some real zing into a spice-lover’s Christmas cold cuts with this eye-watering, taste bud-numbing hot sauce that’s been livened up with the world’s hottest chilli pepper – the supremely evil-sounding naga bhut jolokia. And because you should never touch another man’s condiments, it can also be personalised with a name up to 12 letters, so everyone else in the house will know to keep their mitts off it!
If you happen to know someone who isn’t a Pot Noodle-eating, selfie-taking, beer-drinking Robocop fan, make sure you check out our great range of 3 for 2 Christmas gifts. Failing that, you could always just gift wrap them a tangerine and handful of walnuts instead…