So there’s good news and there’s bad news. First the bad: It’s December 22nd and that means only TWO shopping days until Christmas. But now the good news: Don’t worry, all is not lost! Even though Amazon is probably not an option now, your town probably has a row of buildings that work like a physical Amazon. So-called “shops” have been around for centuries, and sell goods that you can take home immediately. So it is even faster than Amazon Prime.
So what can you buy? Here’s our pick of the the best cheap Christmas gifts you can buy in actual shops.
1) Ladybird Midlife Crisis Book
Relive your childhood through the melancholic lens of adulthood, with this new old-style Ladybird book. But rather than focus on juvenile concerns, it will instead take you through all you need to know about having a midlife crisis. So before you buy a sports car or drive to Dundee after eating an entire Toblerone, read the book to make sure you’re prepared. [£6.99 at Waterstones]
2) Selfie Stick
Perhaps your friend or family member has so far resisted the selfie stick phenomenon, but now is your opportunity to change all that. You can pick up a Bluetooth enabled stick for just £5.99, and provide them with a useful tool to have on their metaphorical utility belt next time they go on holiday. Be warned – excessive use will result in a punch in the face.[£5.99 at Argos]
3) Shower Bluetooth Speaker
Amazingly, you can now buy Bluetooth speakers for less than a tenner. And this one from Currys is both waterproof and runs on batteries. So now your friends can either rock out while getting ready in the morning, or wake themselves up by getting angry listening to the Today programme in the morning. Whatever they like. [£6.99 at Currys]
4) Boompods Battery
Give the gift of a little bit of extra battery this Christmas with the Boompods Powerpod. Both flat and made of rubber, it can take a pounding if left at the bottom of a bag until it is needed. It contains a 2300mAh battery that will give your phone the breath of life whether you need to make that urgent call or simply have piece of mind that you won’t be stranded without a means of communication. [£9.99 from Argos]
5) Private Eye Annual
Ah, the go to gift for someone you know who likes politics but you don’t want to buy anything they might find contentious. The Private Eye annual is the venerable organ’s annual collection of its best cartoons, jokes and funnies. [£9.99 from Waterstones]
6) Little Atoms Mag
If you know someone who is super clever, then chances are they will like the first issue of Little Atoms - a new magazine spin-off of the long-running radio show and slightly newer website. Covering issues as diverse as nuclear armageddon, pseudoscience and the Gatsby, it is beautifully presented and is a must read in literary circles. [£10 from Various]
7) Table Top Air Hockey Game
Want something fun to play on Christmas afternoon that won’t result in the same level of recriminations as a round of Monopoly? Then why not gift this miniature air hockey table to a younger relative, and then hog it for yourself once it has been unwrapped. [£9.99 as WH Smith]
8) My Doodles Crayon Stylus Pen
If you know someone who has a tablet and you don't want to splash out and buy them an iPad Pro, then this is the next big, best thing. For less than a tenner you can buy a stylus that works with a capacitive screen.
Because of the way you hold it, like a pen, rather than just dabbing with your finger, it enables new levels of precision and opens up a whole new world of drawing and painting apps that you could previously only finger paint with. Alternatively, a paper pad and a packet of felt tip pens should also do the trick. [£6.99 at Argos]
10) Google Play/iTunes/Amazon vouchers
Finally you could just admit defeat and join the 21st century, where pretty much everything that used to be considered good gift fodder - whether books, movies or software - is now delivered digitally. So why not simply pick up a voucher for whatever major app store your pal uses?
This way, they’re much more likely to buy something that they will actually appreciate, and yet you’re giving them something with ever so slightly more meaning than just cold, hard cash. And if you’ve left it this long to buy presents then really this is your own fault. [Various prices from all over the place]