Christmas gifts & stocking fillers
Avoid a not so merry meltdown and last minute present panic with our definitive Christmas gift guide. With top tips from our experts on what to buy for food lovers, wine enthusiasts, chocoholics, cheese connoisseurs and beauty buffs, getting it right this Christmas has never been easier. Don’t forget the finishing touches with our shabby chic wooden gifts crates. Complete with paper shred, gift tag and string, you can mix and match all your chosen favourites and build your very own gift hamper for the perfect personalised gift.
Stuck for a gift idea for the food lover in your life? You don’t have to trawl around for ingredients from far-flung places says Gordon McDermott, Executive Chef at Waitrose Cookery School
I absolutely love foodie gifts at Christmas and as a chef I can't help pulling a few food gems together for my family and friends. You don’t have to trawl the aisles for ingredients from far-flung places, keep it simple by building your hamper around a recipe or cookbook. Pair our wonderful ceramic honey pot with some delicious heather honey, a ripe and tangy camembert, a pack of rosemary to flavour and a cheese knife. All your lucky recipient needs to do is bake and serve with a glass of port. Or pick a flavoured chocolate, add a Tala spatula, a pyrex mixing bowl and a copy of Will Torrents chocolate cookbook. For the well travelled foodie you could give some wonderful confit duck paired with a speciality chutney and a bottle of full flavoured red. They can then cook, serve and indulge at their own leisure.
Christmas is perfect time to spoil your loved ones with chocolate says Harvest Editor Katie Bishop
There's plenty of fabulous chocolate to choose from this Christmas, perfect for gifts or for enjoying all by yourself! As a bit of a chocoholic myself, quality is critical and I like to know about where my chocolate has come from and who has made it. That's why I will be adding a few Madécasse bars to my hamper, they taste delicious and are ethically sourced. When i'm cooking with chocolate I make sure I use a 80% cocoa bar which will give a robust, intense flavour. It will be especially useful in savoury recipes, such as a Boxing Day turkey molé - you need just a little piece to make the sauce rich and delicious. To make your hamper extra special try adding a few unusual flavours - I will be experimenting with the salted almond flavour, they sound delicious!
Create a showstopping gift for the keen baker in your life with festive sprinkles and easy activity kits says Silvana Franco, Recipe Cards Editor
Christmas is a brilliant time of year for baking! The Christmas Gingerbread Activity Kit is great for keeping junior cooks busy and for baking basics, our Cooks Homebaking range includes Fudge, Honeycomb and Butterscotch Pieces which are perfect for stirring into homemade muffins and cakes. And for a touch of festive magic, sprinkle a little shimmering Stardust and Edible Gold Stars over iced cakes and biscuits for a sparkling finish.
Buying a gift for a wine lover can seem daunting, but we’re here to help says Anne Jones, Waitrose Wine Expert
Choosing a classic Bordeaux or Burgundy can be fraught with difficulty. Instead, buy something a little different, such as a rich red from Bulgaria, Georgia or the Lebanon, where there's some top quality wine at great value. For whites, steer away from Chablis and Fumé and try Albariño, Gewürztraminer or Grüner Veltliner. Another great idea is English sparkling wine. You can't go wrong with something from the recipients local area, or our top tip is the Camel Valley fizz from Cornwall. To make the gift extra special, don't forget to add a personal message, or send a neck label, so that they remember the giver as well as the gift!
When it comes to cheese, Cheddar or Comté are reliable favourites and a good starting point says Carla Smith, Waitrose Dairy Expert
Cheese makes a great gift for food lovers and is always well received, especially at this time of year, so why not try creating a hamper with a British or Continental theme? There is so much choice but Cheddar or Comté are reliable favourites and a good starting point. For the more adventurous, our Waitrose Berthaut's Epoisses is a gloriously pungent cheese. Produced in a small village in Burgundy, the rind is repeatedly washed in Marc de Bourgogne giving it a rich fruity tang. If you're looking for something different, our Godminster Organic Vintage Cheddar Hearts make a novel gift and look great in a hamper. To personalise your gift further why not give a cheese from the recipients local area. You could also include a jar of your favourite chutney, a box of artisan biscuits or a bottle of beer to complement the cheese.
Beauty editor Jo Fairley reveals her top beauty gift ideas...don't forget the hand cream...
Bath treats and bodycare are the "safest" beauty gifts. Skincare subliminally says "Your skin isn't quite what it could be..." (unless she's specifically asked for that anti-ageing cream!), but a bath oil or soak says: "Relax and take care of yourself".'
If the gift is for someone with small children, add a 'gift voucher' for babysitting duties while they enjoy their pampering session. The other can't-fail beauty gift choice is hand cream. In a perfect world we'd all have a tube of hand cream beside every set of taps in our lives, to remind us to use it. So you can't really have too many.
Cookery School Gift certificates
A cookery course at the Waitrose Cookery School is a great gift for any foodie or for anyone who would like to learn. It’s about rolling up your sleeves, getting stuck in and enjoying the fruits (meats and vegetables) of your labour.
Our certificates are now available in a number of different values. They are valid for a year from the date of purchase, and can be put towards any course. Whichever course you choose, you’ll find flavours and fun by the ladle-load.