The best under the tree

by Andy Bryenton

When those sleigh bells are jingling, it’s time to consider how to one-up Santa and source the best gifts for your own friends and family. Here are the hottest picks for 2019, alongside some ideas that are better than the mainstream!

For him — The hottest gift for the grown-up man this year may very well be a kind of cologne or a very expensive hot sauce. The hype for both Tobacco Vanille Cologne and Oprah’s pick, Truff white truffle chilli sauce, is astounding. However, the facts are that the man in your life would rather have something practical. This year that’s possibly a fishing drone from Splash Drones, which can shoot HD video or harvest a fresh dinner from the ocean, or for gamer dads, the latest Call of Duty: Modern Warfare on Playstation or Xbox. Oh, and don’t forget the DraftPour beer tap, which makes any can or bottle into pub-fresh beer on tap. Check it out on Amazon.

For her — The mass vote is all for meditation and mindfulness colouring-in books, cashmere clothing and the latest Apple ear-buds for crisp wireless music and sound.

However, there’s a better way to get awesome quality sound while looking good in summer — Bose sunglasses. Google these cool frames with a classic look and integrated wireless speakers by one of the world’s leaders in audio. For the online addict, check out the remix of the classic Polaroid instant camera, which has been developed in accompaniment with Instagram, or help her relax with a heating and cooling massage pillow.

There’s always diamonds, too, I am informed.

For the kids — The hottest toys this year seem to continue the trend of disposable ‘surprises’; vast eggs filled with plastic trinkets and other tat — that are sure to be forgotten by 11am on Christmas morning. Forget the trends, then, and go for the gusto. For the boys, radio-controlled cars are back with a vengeance. Check out the range from Monster Jam and those old classics, Tamiya for some serious off-road firepower.

Girls may not say they want the deluxe ultimate Arandelle castle set from Frozen II, but that’s because they might not have seen it yet.

Did we also mention that you can buy a life-sized replica of Iron Man’s infinity gauntlet that has lights and sounds? Dad might keep that one.

Otherwise, err on the side of Lego, or the new, more compact Nintendo Switch Lite.