Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? I’ve been doing a bit of browsing, and I’ve found some unusual Christmas gifts. As well as a lot of old classics, of course. Here’s my round-up of Christmas presents 2019, for the adventurous at heart. Whether you’re looking for gifts for Dad, the best Christmas gifts for youngsters, or cool presents for that special someone, you’ll find something here.
This feature contains affiliate links, and some gifted items.
The best luggage for adventurous families
If you’re looking for a durable, stylish daybag or travel bag, top of the list shoud be these backpacks by Swedish brand, Gaston Luga.
The Scandinavian rucksacks are designed to last, with good-quality fastenings and strong, durable canvas. D and I can fit our 15” laptops into the padded laptop sleeves, with bags of space left over. You can read our Gaston Luga review here.
These Pråper backpacks are the largest bags Gaston Luga sell, but there are six other styles, from A5-size up. In pink, grey, burgundy, black….. if you fancy picking one up, do use my discount code PIDGEONPAIR for 15% off (yes, there IS a ‘d’ in that code 😊). Look out for special offers – at the moment Gaston Luga are giving away an Årlig travel bag with every rucksack.
The nice people at Fruitcase only use recycled materials when they make their colourful, juicy suitcases, and for every case bought they plant a tree in a Better Globe plantation in Africa. These watermelon and orange cases have a sturdy, hard shell – and you’re hardly going to miss them on the luggage carousel! They’re small enough to carry on to lots of flights. The insides are lovely and colourful, too. When you open the cases you see pink watermelon, or orange segments – with all the pips!
There are lots of other flavours coming soon, like pineapple, mango and strawberry.
This Christmas, for every watch sold Danish watch company Nordgreen are gifting customers a free extra strap, and donating a meal to a homeless person. The Copenhagen-based company works with Jakob Wagner, one of Scandinavia’s most heavily awarded designers, to create thoughtful, modern products. They offer a truly beautiful selection of watches, with exquisite details. The ‘Green’ part of their name symbolises their commitment to sustainability. They use recyclable packaging, partner with sustainable manufacturers, and offer a choice of vegan leather for their watch straps.
Gifts for people on the move
This Tesalate sand-free towel is very handy for slipping into bags when you’re heading to the beach, to a picnic, or even just to sit and relax in a park. Tesalate towels are made with sand-repelling materials. No more pesky grains of sand embedded in the deep pile! I love their vibrant colours – they come in lots of funky, eye-catching designs. This one is a Bohemian ‘towel for two’. It’s 160cm x 160cm, so the size is really generous. I’m sure we could fit the whole family onto it for a picnic! But it folds up small, into the handy travel bag. It feels really soft to the touch, and is barely thicker than a bedsheet. But because it’s made using AbsorbLite™ fabric, this towel for two can absorb over two litres of water. It dries in half the time of a regular towel, too.
Ion8 sent us one of their funky new leakproof 500ml flasks to try. It would make a nice gift for someone who’s on the move all day, as it keeps liquid hot for 12 hours, or cold for 24 hours. The double steel walls stop condensation from forming on the flask, so there’s no worry about things getting damp inside your bag. We love our green flask, but you can also buy the Ion8 in cerise, aqua, pink or taupe.
If you wanted a more colourful version, for a romantic or someone who loves pink, this Ion8 leakproof water bottle‘s cute. It’s not thermal, like the flask is, but it’s PBA free and is suitable for hot drinks as well as cold.
Gifts for active kids and adults
This Sportsman Recovery Kit is one of a range of items on sale from Atlantic Folk. They include elegant barware like whiskey cooling stones, a hangover kit, and a gift set for ‘The Middle aged Man in Lycra‘. Sound like anyone you know?
We love these retro-style Rio Roller skates from Skate Hut. They’re designed for slightly older kids, and come in UK sizes 1-5. The boots are made from PVC leather, and if you’re looking for vegan Christmas gifts, look no further. These boots were manufactured without the use of any animal products or by-products.
“We love Dobble” seemed to be the resounding response when I posted about this Asmodee game on Facebook. The game features a set of cards, printed with a range of brightly coloured pictures, in a lightweight tin. Only one picture is the same on any two cards. To play, you just have to shout out when you spot a matching picture. Simple….but genius, eh? The tin is a nice size for stockings, too. Dobble is aimed at children over six, but as one of my Facebook friends said, “I’ll happily play Dobble with my three year old”.
Also from Asmodee’s Fun Fast Games range, Bananagrams is a set of letter tiles that you can carry round in a handy banana-shaped travel pouch. Players take 21 letters, and try to make interconnecting words out of them – which end up looking a bit like a crossword puzzle. The player who uses all their letters up first, and isn’t successfully challenged because of any ‘rotten banana’ non-words, wins.
To read about more of the best travel games for kids, check out our guide.
Christmas gifts of men’s clothing
We love this Helvellyn Illustrated t-shirt, designed by artist Rachel Gaw and inspired by the Cumbrian mountain of the same name. Accompanying it is a cute junior version of the same artist’s Scafell Pike t-shirt. You can find these and other mountain-inspired Christmas gifts for men and women at Go Your Own Way, a new retailer of art, apparel, jewellery and accessories based in the Lake District.
These Jack and Jones Walbany boots from Jacamo are aimed at men who like to look good when striding out. D tested them out, and said the padded collar at the top made them extra comfortable. I like the way they have two distinct looks. One, with shorter trousers, is more rugged. But if the trousers are rolled down, the boots take on a more formal appearance. So they wouldn’t look out of place, even if your day involved activities as diverse as a ramble in a forest followed by a pint in a gastropub.
The best mattress for a good night’s sleep
If you want to really treat the special adventurer in your life, gifting them a good night’s sleep after all their adventuring is possibly the best present they could wish for. That’s how I feel about beds, anyway. Travelling is exciting, and it helps me feel alive….. but arriving home, to a nice, cosy bed is almost as good as seeing new places.
This Harry faux leather divan bed set includes a semi orthopaedic mattress, with a one-inch layer of memory foam on top. So you get the benefit of an orthopaedic mattress and the comfort of a memory foam. Can’t argue with that!
To buy a leather divan bed, click here.
Cheap Christmas gifts for fun-loving families
Zimpli Kids have some produced some lovely fun substances that are completely baron-free. Gelli Baff and Slime Baff transform water into goo or slime.
Snoball Play transforms water into realistic snow that you can mould into snowballs. Just check out this video to see it in action:
The newest kit from Zimpli kids is their Chocolate Emoji Maker. It’s made from 100% delicious Belgian chocolate, and it allows you to make your very own chocolate emoji bar!
Toys to remind you of travels
Sylvanian Families are an enduring classic. They make great imaginative play toys that can help relive a holiday, or a fun family experience. Sylvanian Families sent us a Delicious Restaurant set from their new Town range. It’s decked out a little like a Parisian restaurant, and reminds us of a day trip we took to Paris with Grandma, back in the spring of 2018.
Our set came with a little story book that described how Freya from the Chocolate Rabbit family celebrated her birthday in her dad Coco’s restaurant. There was even a birthday cake, and all the teeny-tiny tableware you’d expect from Sylvanian Families.
If you’d rather something different to a restaurant, there are other items in the Town range, including a Gelato Shop (to relive a trip to Italy?), or a Ride Along Tram (San Francisco?). You can read about the Town series Elegant Town Manor here.
We’ll be adding to this gift guide as items catch our eye over the festive season, so do check back.
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