Best Christmas gift ideas 2023
Avoid any seasonal stress and last-minute online shopping with our ultimate Christmas gift list. It's full of ideas that are perfect for the student budget.
We've sifted through the weird and wonderful to uncover some of the most-wished-for and best-value Christmas gift ideas for your nearest and dearest.
Whether you're after stocking fillers or main gifts, this list can help you find the perfect present. Most of these can be found both online and on the high street – but we'd recommend ordering them from the comfort of your sofa to avoid the mayhem of Christmas shopping.
Try not to leave it until 24th December. If you do, you could end up paying a last-minute Christmas dash price premium!
Cheap and thoughtful Christmas presents
Here are the best Christmas presents to buy for your friends and family this year:
Hive offers a 10% student discount, so it's worth looking there for books to get as Christmas gifts. It supports independent bookstores and has a huge range of texts for sale.
You could have a look at top titles, including:
- Rebecca Yarros's Iron Flame
- Toshikazu Kawaguchi's Before the Coffee Gets Cold
- Sarah Winman's 'Still Life' by Sarah Winman
- Matthew Perry's Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing
- Mike Berners-Lee's How Bad Are Bananas?
Another good option is Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. Our Head of Editorial, Laura Brown, recommends this one. Here's her review:
If anyone ever asks me for book recommendations, 'Piranesi' is more often than not the one I will say.
It's such an incredible book. It's immensely clever, and reading it feels like unpicking a puzzle as the main character's reality gradually becomes clear.
I would say though, that like with buying any book as a gift, it can be hard to know if the person you're getting it for has already read it. Add a gift receipt and you can't go wrong!
Waterstones also offers a 10% student discount. You could check its website to see if any books stand out as ideal presents.
How about buying a sustainable Christmas gift?
Often, eco-friendly gifts are locally sourced, sustainably produced, and consumable or long-lasting or reusable. As such, these types of gifts usually have little or no negative impact on the planet, while still being super thoughtful.
Here are some eco-friendly gift ideas:
We have even more ideas in our guide to the best eco-friendly gift ideas.
Looking for cheap perfume? There are some very reasonably priced women's perfumes out there, including:
If you're looking for men's aftershave and cologne, we've found some with great reviews and even better prices:
After such a busy year, an experience day will likely go down very well. There's something for everyone. We found some awesome experiences, including:
Virgin Experience Days probably offers the biggest selection of experiences.
However, if you've already got a specific idea in mind, check out Groupon's experience day offers. They'll often have great deals on gifts that would cost a lot more if you bought them elsewhere.
Beauty and skincare gifts
Can't afford to take your loved one to the spa? Take the spa to them!On a tight budget? Try these Secret Santa gift ideas, all £5 or less.
Kitchenware and gadgets are among the very best Christmas gift ideas for culinary experts and rookies alike.
Not sure what to get? You can't go wrong with the following:
Read our top kitchen gadgets for some more inspiration.
Life's easier with gadgets. Fact.
So why not give someone a Christmas gift in the form of a portable phone charger? Or, if your budget's a little higher, an Amazon Echo Dot? Or, how about a Tile Mate to stop them from losing their keys again?
The beauty of gadgets is that there's pretty much something for everything (and everyone). But if you're a little stuck for ideas, our list of the best gadgets should help.
Premium tea, coffee and hot chocolate
Is there anything more Christmassy than sitting down in front of whichever classic family movie is on TV that afternoon, accompanied by a mug of whatever hot drink takes your fancy?
Nobody does premium tea, coffee and hot chocolate quite as well as Whittard of Chelsea. So whatever your friend or family member prefers, Whittard will have you sorted. Our favourite gift sets include:
And the good news keeps on coming: Whittard offers a 10% student discount.
Buying for your vegan friend or family member? If you want to show them that you've really thought about their gift, you could get them something that's 100% free of animal produce and cruelty.
Here are some great options:
Remember that Boots offers a 10% student discount as well.
Beer and wine gift sets
If you're looking for Christmas presents for a beer-lover in your life, you won't need to look much further than these beer gift sets. Most of them cost around a tenner!
But if chocolates are out of the equation for whatever reason, this M&S wine and nibbles set is equally as appetising.
Spirits gift sets
Sticking with the boozy presents (this is the last one, promise), Tesco's selection of spirits gift sets is very impressive. They can cater to just about any taste:
Alternatively, you can put together a DIY cocktail kit with a mini-sized version of their favourite drink, a jar and a mixer. That really is the perfect homemade Christmas gift.Make sure you order in time for Christmas delivery by checking our last order dates for all the major retailers.
Even if the person you're buying for already has a streaming subscription, you can still get them a gift voucher to act as credit. Who wouldn't want a few months (or even a year's worth) of free Netflix?
If you're looking for the best games to get for Christmas, you can't go wrong with these:
- EA Sports FC 24 (the new name for the FIFA series) (PS5 and Xbox Series X)
- Call of Duty Modern Warfare III (PS5 and Xbox Series X)
- Marvel's Spider-Man 2 (PS5).
There are plenty of more family-friendly games that are guaranteed to go down as a treat, too:
Have a look at CDKeys to see if they have any good deals on the top video games.
And again, if you're still struggling for ideas, check out Amazon's 'most wished for' games.
There's a magazine out there for every hobby or interest imaginable.
But, we'll do our best to help you and avoid straying into the more niche end of the market here. Here are some that are reasonably priced and come with a discount compared to buying each copy individually:
However, if none of these are quite what you're after, isubscribe has lots more offers to check out.
Thoughtful decorations and homeware
Homeware and decorations are usually within a student's budget. Plus, they make for super thoughtful Christmas gift ideas:
Card and board games
If nothing else, the fact that the whole family's together at Christmas should pretty much guarantee that a card or board game gets used straight away.
One game that's great to play with big groups is Herd Mentality. This would be a good one to get for someone you live with so you could play it together as a house.
Another good shout is the Taskmaster board game.
And Laura Brown recommends P for Pizza:
I was recently introduced to P for Pizza by some friends and it is such a fun game.
It's a simple game so it's very easy to learn the rules, but it still makes you think while playing it. Also, it's very fast-paced and can be a real laugh, so it's ideal.
Especially if you know someone who likes word games, I would recommend it as a Christmas gift for them!
Plant a tree
If you want to give something a little less materialistic, you can choose the gift of long-lasting climate action.
A good way to do this is by planting a tree with the National Trust.
Unusual and fun gifts
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without some unusual gifts.
Just make sure you know what the person you're buying for likes, so they'll end up using it. Remember not to buy gifts for the sake of it, otherwise, they are likely to go to waste.
If you're stuck for gift ideas, why not consider one of these:
- Hair scrunchies with a zipper to hide your keys or AirPods
- Sunrise alarm clock
- Bucket list scatch-off poster.
Cash or charity donation
Remember that you don't have to buy material things as a Christmas present.
There are lots of other options to choose from! Giving someone cash is a perfect eco-friendly gift idea. This way, you'll be sure it won't end up in the bin or that it will be left unused.
If you think cash isn't personal enough, you could also donate to a charity on someone's behalf. For example:
- Oxfam offers gift cards that are related to eco issues. For example, they can help farmers facing climate change or provide beekeeping training for farmers.
- 4ocean's bracelets are made from recycled plastic and glass. Plus, for every bracelet sold, the company removes five pounds of trash from oceans, rivers and coastlines.
- Donate to The Climate Coalition.
Got more pressies to buy than you have money in the bank? Have a look at our list of presents you can cheaply make yourself.