Welcome festive fans, to Red Letter Days’ Christmas Gift Guide – the Coca-Cola ad of the blog world, if you will. We’re approaching that time of year when the senses collide. When the soft-filter glow of fairy lights brightens the early nights, mulled spices pervade the air and sleigh bell-embellished songs jostle for the attention of shoppers in tinsel-draped stores. As the nights grow longer we retreat into the cosiness of our homes with our nearest and dearest.
Our iconic and ever-so-jolly red gift boxes look a treat under the tree, making them the final jigsaw piece of this wintry tableau. Designed to delight the recipient, they’re an invitation to start making #MerryMemories. So warm up a mince pie, dip into our Christmas present ideas and you’ll have the festive season sorted in two shakes of a reindeer’s tail.
Give in to the type of indulgence that comes round but once a year. Our gourmet gifts for men and women offer dedicated foodies the chance to savour quality fare from renowned culinary names in some of the most gorgeous venues in the country, or to try their hand at cooking themselves.
Fans of high cuisine and those with ambitious appetites will thank you for Three Courses & Cocktail for Two at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Co. City. We haven’t forgotten the vegans: send that eco-conscious friend for Vegan High Tea at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium where they can hang out with cats while tucking into a sweet spread. Our legendary afternoon teas make a thoughtful and elegant present for one or for couples. Consider the utterly fabulous Glam Rock Tea for Two at K West Hotel and Spa or take things to new heights with Afternoon Tea and View from The Shard with Champagne for Two.
Why not send a cookery obsessive to one of our renowned courses? They’ll be able to sharpen those kitchen skills at Waitrose King’s Cross Cookery School or with a North Indian Thali Cookery Course for Two at Jamie Oliver Cookery School.
And since this is the time of year, above any other, to indulge in a warming tipple, take a look at our superlative beverage activities, like this Spirit of Gin Tour and Tasting at East London Liquor Company or Beer Tasting Masterclass and Meal for Two at Brewhouse and Kitchen.
There simply isn’t a better feeling than being a kid waking up on Christmas Day. Help make this their most special year yet with these Christmas present ideas. Give them a chance to get hands-on in the kitchen with a Family Brunch and Pizza Making at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen. Encourage budding motorists with an unforgettable driving experience, such as Junior Triple Supercar Driving or 60-Minute Young Driver Lesson. Christmas gifts for kids don’t get much more leftfield than our Kids Spy Academy, where crafty kids aged between 10 and 16 can learn skills of survival, shooting, agility and bomb disposal. We’re big believers in gathering memories rather than ‘stuff’; get their imaginations fired up this year and give them an experience that will stay with them forever.
Our adrenaline-centric Christmas gift ideas will ensure that they see the New year in with pizazz. Imagine their face when they see that they’re going on a 12-Mile Helicopter Pleasure Flight for Two or for an Aerobatic Stunt Flying session. Adventurous types will adore taking to a roaring wind tunnel for an Introduction to Indoor Skydiving or getting kitted out with mates for Paintballing for Four. Have they been really, really good this year? Send them up, up, up and away with a Hot Air Balloon Ride Anytime for Two.
If you’re scratching your head about gifts for dad and for mum, think outside the box this year and gift them a super challenge: how about Bungee Jumping, a ride on The Slide at The ArcelorMittal Orbit for Two or a Titan Zip Wire Experience at Zip World.
For the guy or gal who knows there’s no earthly pleasure greater than flooring an accelerator pedal, take a look at our driving experience gifts. Designed to get the heart rate quickening, our range covers all kinds of covetable vehicles and iconic locations. Petrol heads can’t fail to be blown away by Motor Racing at Silverstone, while the Six Supercar Blast at Brands Hatch is bound to excite, offering a line-up that includes the Lamborghini Gallardo, Aston Martin DB9 and Ferrari 360. Our motor-centric gift ideas for men and women also include Motor Racing with Tiff Needell at Thruxton, an intoxicating Harley-Davidson Riding – Half Day, the exclusive three-wheeled extravaganza that is Piaggio Ape Racing and the magnificently chaotic Extreme Dodgems.
If December’s numbing chilliness is more pain-in-the-bum than magical harbinger of Christmas, you’ll love our sumptuous spa days. Give a deserving loved one the chance to fold themselves into warm bubbles and let their muscles unknot. Pick the Arabian Harmony Spa Break for Two at Dolphin Square, recipient of a Good Spa Guide rating of five bubbles (as well as other awards) or opt for top-drawer treats with a Luxury Spa Treat with Lobster and Champagne for Two at The Athenaeum. Know of a family member who could do with a five-star spa retreat to the sublime Sussex countryside? Gift them a One Night Spa Escape with Dinner for Two at Alexander House. For glamour pusses, the Benefit Makeover with Champagne and Gift Card for Two is a chance to learn some industry makeup secrets while sipping on champagne. Then there’s the Spa Retreat with Afternoon Tea for Two at The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa, a Grade I-listed landmark boasting luxurious treatments, state-of-the-art spa facilities and an exquisite spread of handmade pastries and tasty treats.
While some of us eagerly check the weather forecast for the promise of snow, others can’t wait to flee the chill of December. For the travel fiend, our short breaks always make successful Christmas presents. Escape to achingly idyllic surroundings with a Treehouse Experience for Two in Snowdonia National Park or whisk them off to an elegant Victorian country house with our Boutique Escape for Two at Rothay Garden Hotel in Cumbria. Treat them to 4-star luxury in North Yorkshire with a Boutique Escape for Two at The Churchill Hotel or pack them off for a charming Country House Escape for Two at Cotswold House Hotel and Spa. Our One Night Stay with Breakfast for Two at The May Fair Hotel offers a superior king room and a central London location.
May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmasses be furry. For the animal-enthusiast in your life, we suggest a truly unforgettable encounter such as Giles Clark’s Big Cats Afternoon Tea and Tour for Two in Kent. Budding zookeepers will leap at the chance to become Keeper for a Day at ZSL London Zoo, where they’ll prepare food and muck out for the fussy/feathery/scaly residents. Then there’s our Weekday Big Cat Encounter, designed for the feline fan. Meeting the Meerkats for Two, Oxfordshire is one of our most popular activities and a wonderful chance to get up close to these inquisitive little ‘uns. For all the twitchers out there, the Bird of Prey Falconry Experience allows guests to handle majestic hawks, falcons and other birds under the guidance of an expert. And for something truly out of the ballpark, why not give them a chance to create a clone of their pet, thanks to a Create Your Own 3D Pet Experience. Last but not least, we have a Weekend Cheetah Encounter at The Big Cat Sanctuary which introduces nature fans to the 50 resident felines and even lets them feed them by hand.
Cultural Kris Kringles
Stuck on what to buy for the culture vulture in your life? The film buff / the city type / the one who likes things done a little differently? Gifts for him or gifts for her: we’ve got you covered. Combine a classic film with a glass of bubbly and array of decadent treats at Afternoon Tea Cinema Club for Two at Malmaison or swap out the cakes for sliders at Gourmet Cinema Club for Two at Malmaison. Keen thespians will adore our Pre-Theatre Dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill and Dreamgirls Tickets for Two, which ensure top price seats to one of the West End’s most dazzling musicals. On the other hand, you could leave the choice of show up to them by gifting a Meal at Gordon Ramsay’s Heddon Street Kitchen and Top Price Theatre for Two: after a decadent three-course dinner or lunch, they can settle into seats to The Play That Goes Wrong, Thriller Live, Wicked or many other show-stoppers. Or, make somebody’s year when you wave them off on the Belmond British Pullman Murder Mystery Lunch Trip for Two, where they will dine on a five-course feast and enjoy first-class service from liveried stewards.
Still not found that perfect gift? Take a look at some of our other Gift Guides for inspiration.
Images by Red Letter Days.