Christmas gifts

Ultimate Christmas gift guide

Ultimate Christmas gift guide

Last-minute shoppers, we got you. Here’s where to pick up some fabulous presents. By Hatty Willmoth

The festive season is well and truly upon us. The chances are, you’ve already teared up at the John Lewis advert, tucked into some preliminary mince pies and put up your tree by now. But have you bought all your Christmas presents? Is there a special someone on your list who deserves the world but for whom you’re all out of ideas as the merry deadline gets closer and closer?

Don’t fret. Here at Time & Leisure, we’ve compiled a list of sumptuous suggestions from independent local businesses in south west London and Surrey that is sure to fulfil your gifting needs.

  1. Bachmanns Chocolates

Ernst and Marilyn Bachmann founded Bachmanns Patisserie in 1989 and ever since, Swiss-trained chocolatier Ernst and his team have been building a reputation with world-renowned, multi-award-winning patisseries and chocolates, combining artisan traditional skills and the best ingredients money can buy.

All their chocolates are handmade on their premises in Thames Ditton and Weybridge, and you can choose between a vast selection of delectable treats, including copper-coated and praline-filled chocolate rocks, Champagne truffle sticks that use a whole bottle of Champagne in each batch, fruit truffles with real-fruit ganache, syrupy cherry griottes… The list goes on and on, and it’s all delicious.

  1. Bone Idyll Gin

Kingston’s Bone Idyll offers gin like no other. Its packaging is adorned with faux graffiti-ridden late-Georgian portraits, a clash of old and new, classic and iconoclastic, which is mirrored in their gin: a modern spirit distilled in the traditional way. There are three flavours on offer, so whether you’d like a Bone Dry, Blushing Pink or Barrel-Aged gin, all your alcoholic juniper-based wishes will be granted.

  1. Vallebona Grazing Box

Treat a loved one to real luxury this Christmas with one of Vallebona’s many exquisite hampers. Stefano and Naoko at Vallebona combine indulgent Italian and Japanese gourmet delicacies in carefully curated selections that will delight food-lovers.

Their grazing boxes range from Pranzetto, a laid-back Italian lunch of meats and cheeses; to Nomikai, a Japanese box with smoked swordfish, miso, seaweed chutney, and octopus in olive oil; or even Cenone di Natale, which provides everything six or eight people could need for a hassle-free Christmas feast in a box.

Alternatively, create a bespoke hamper of just your loved-one’s favourites from Vallebona’s mouth-watering pantry, complete with your own personal message.

  1. XO Chocolate

Do you have a friend who loves chocolate and cares about where it comes from? Someone interested in cocoa and conservation alike? You may want to introduce them to XO Chocolate this Christmas.

This ethically driven chocolaterie in south Wimbledon makes jaw-dropping chocolate bonbons in a range of eclectic bright colours and visual textures, each one handcrafted to perfection. XO Chocolate’s flavour combinations are inspired by cultures and cuisines from across the world, while its sales go towards supporting farming and conservation and its ingredients are ethically sourced and environmentally friendly. In short, you or your lucky giftee can enjoy luxurious chocolates with a happy conscience.

  1. Elys Urban Beauty

Elys Urban Beauty is perfect for last-minute pampering gifts. Part of the popular Wimbledon department store, which opened in 1876 as a small tailor, outfitter and drapery seller, Elys Urban Beauty is the place where the most innovative products from the world of beauty meet cutting-edge cosmetics, eco-friendly haircare and superior treatments. Pick up some top coveted cosmetics and skincare from iconic brands.

6. Brixton Cycles

If your loved-one is more of an outdoorsy type, why not invest in something from Brixton Cycles? Relentlessly hailed by hordes of five-stars reviewers as “the best cycle shop in London”, this is London’s oldest worker-owned bike co-op. Its fiercely loyal customer base raised £62,000 when the shop was threatened with demolition so it could move to a new place.

See Brixton Cycle’s own Christmas Gift Guide of stocking fillers and cycle-accoutrements, or invest in a whole new bike from its extensive range. For an extra treat, choose bespoke, custom-built wheels.

7. The Bottled Baking Co.

On a different note, might we suggest the delightful wares of The Bottled Baking Co.? This environmentally friendly company packages its satisfying layers of cake, cookie and brownie mix in reusable glass bottles, and plants a tree with every product sold – eating cake is now good for the planet! Ranges include Unicorn, Christmas and Brownie bakes, and there are even two mixes specially designed for Doggies.

8. Maileg

For your smaller gift-recipients, turn to Maileg. These charming Danish-designed toys have been created to inspire children through innocent imaginative play. From mice in matchbox beds to cats in pyjamas and rabbits at miniature tea parties, Maileg provides timeless toys to encourage the magic of story-making. Animals come with clothing, accessories and lifestyle items for your little-ones to collect. Check out Maileg’s Christmas ranges for some extra festive fun.

9. Lord of Misrule Gin

If you thought two gins would be enough for this listicle, you were sorely mistaken; let me introduce you to Hampton Court’s Lord of Misrule Gin. A limited release small-batch, hand-crafted English gin, this tipple is inspired by Tudor traditions of mischief and mayhem over the festive period. Every Christmas, Henry VIII and his nobles would appoint a servant to take up the role of Lord of Misrule, giving a lowly man complete authority over the raucous feasts, opulent masquerades and uproarious parties of the Tudor Court for 12 days.

Lord of Misrule gin is consequently a perfect mix of contradictions. It’s refreshingly warming and delicately bold, flavoured with such ingredients as quince, nutmeg, honey and mulberry to transport your tastebuds back to the heyday of Hampton Court Palace.

10. Sara Miller Candles

From taste we move to scent with the luxurious candles of Sara Miller, stocked by Wishlist. Inspired by travels around the world, this decadent collection includes heady blends with notes of yuzu, lotus blossom and oud. Their elegant packaging, in colourful boxes and embellished with gold designs, mean these candles make for charming ornaments while bringing sumptuous perfume to your home.

11. John Lewis Kingston

Lastly, why not shop the John Lewis catalogue in its Kingston Store this Christmas? It’s got a bit of everything on offer, so you’re sure to find something to suit. Give the gift of a good hair day everyday from a range of GHD and Dyson products, or invest in wellness with Neom, SKANDINAVISK, Theragun and more, or beauty with gifts from Chanel, Dior, YSL, Liz Earle, Bobbie Brown, Clarins… If they could do with a proper pamper, why not book your loved-ones in for a luxurious spa experience at John Lewis’s Clarins and Cavendish Spas? Perhaps treat the kids to some Lego, including John Lewis Exclusives to get a free gift with your purchase. If your special someone is a tad forgetful, treat them to some Apple AirTags so they can always keep track of their valuables.

And, if none of that will do, you can’t go wrong with a Gift Card. At John Lewis Kingston, they’ll include a personal style experience free of charge so you can upgrade your gift-card giving this Christmas.