Still struggling to buy those pressies this year? Fear not - here's some ideas...
Manchester Three Rivers: Award-Winning Gin Experience Tour
Anyone who has done this experience will know that for any gin lover – it’s the perfect gift. Not only do you get to learn how the stuff is made, see it being made and hear about it being made, you also get to make your own unique blend – taking home a huge bottle all for yourself (preferably to drink alone while crying – like all gin should be). The beauty of this prize? The recipient can’t go alone – so you get to go too!
If you’ve got a mate or family member who loves a drink, first of all – buy them a bottle of Buckfast to open up on Christmas Day please. Nothing beats the sheer excitement of cracking into a bottle of Bucky at 10am in the morning – safe in the knowledge that nobody is going to judge you this time. Secondly, buy them a cocktail masterclass somewhere – so they can take that desire for booze and do something useful with it. There’s many to try in the city, my personal favourites being the brilliant Science & Industry and the one at Sandinista.
Now personally – if anyone bought me coffee for Christmas, it would immediately be cancelled. I’d push down the tree, kick the cat up the arse, throw buck’s fizz all in my mum’s face and then sulk for the rest of the day. But if you have someone in your family who actually likes coffee – you can’t go wrong with local roasters Ancoats Coffee for a present. They’ll be buzzing for the rest of the year (as well as have that horrible coffee breath that teachers had at school).
Didsbury Christmas Gin
Another pick for the gin lover in your life – although this one is a little bit different than just your normal run-of-the-mill Mother’s Ruin. Didsbury Gin have created a Christmas Pudding gin which is not only perfect for drowning your sorrows over this festive period – it’s the perfect gift for that person in your life who likes to combine Christmas into everything.
Pizza Masterclass at Crazy Pedro’s
Crazy Pedro’s have taken the traditional idea of a drinks masterclass and given it the perfect makeover – with pizza. The perfect gift for anyone who loves pizza (which is everyone!) – you go down to Pedro’s on an afternoon, learn how to make pizza bases, fill them with whatever weird and wonderful toppings you like and then cook and eat them. Oh and you can get smashed while doing it. They also sell some pretty cool merch too!
Hey Little Cupcake
What do you get the person who has everything? Food of course! Available from stores in both Spinningfields and the Trafford Centre, Hey Little Cupcake are Manchester’s very own baking marvels, and their range of Christmas cupcakes is brilliant. Check out all of the designs here.
Spanish Goodies at Lunya
Deansgate’s very own Spanish deli is the perfect place to pick up a gift for any foodies in your life – this place has everything. They stock some of the best gins in the world, they have loads of that Jamon meat knocking about, as well as pretty much anything else you’d find in a rustic Spanish supermarket in the suburbs of Madrid. Of special note (personally) would be their cured meats, as well as their Gin & Tonic Turron which is not only delicious – it’s strong as shit.
Manchester Second Helping Cookbook
Perfect for that person in your life who enjoys slaving over a hot stove, or perhaps can’t cook for shit and you’re looking to give them a push in the right direction. This Cookbook features recipes from many of the city’s restaurants and venues, basically telling you how you can cook their food at home. There’s some crackers in here including a massive section on the Street Food traders at Hatch, The Refuge, Zouk and a personal favourite – the Old School BBQ Bus in Oldham.
Clobber from Oi Polloi
If you’re struggling to buy something for the coolest male member of your family – head on over to Oi Polloi, put your wallet on the counter and let them swap those little pictures of the Queen for some of the most exclusive and stylish clobber in the city. You might end up spending an absolute fortune, but you’ll make that certain someone very happy indeed.
Manchester Bee Co.
Anita has been creating Manchester Bee goods since before everyone else decided to get involved, and so her stuff is definitely the best you can find in the city. It all started with the Manchester Worker Bee prints, tea towels and totes but she’s diversified into everything from pin badges, socks, mugs and cards. There’s something for everyone (and every budget) and you’ll be supporting a local family business at the same time.
Art from Richard Goodall Gallery
Located right in the NQ, this gallery is home to a vast range of brilliant prints from both home-grown artists as well as from further afield. Their window proudly displays many movie-related posters, all of which are brilliant, and a little peek inside will uncover even more, as well as unique concert posters, Stanley Chow prints and plenty more. Buy someone a print and they will think of you every time they walk in the room – what a lovely thought.
Oklahoma Fawn Lamp
There’s literally something for everyone in Oklahoma – whether you love tat, weird shit or actual things that will look good in your house – this place has it all. You could probably spend a full day walking around this place looking for something for your mates or family, but save yourself the hassle – just buy them this Fawn Lamp and everyone will be happy. It’s the best thing in the world by far.
Virtual Hideout / Breakout
Buying presents for anyone younger than you can be extremely difficult – especially because it’s so difficult to keep up to date with what’s ‘cool’ and what’s not these days. Sure, you could just buy them a SNES Mini and have it done with, but at £70 you’re not fucking Richie Rich. Much cheaper and just as enjoyable would be a record token for them to go visit Breakout or Virtual Hideout with their mates – they can all have a laugh, get sweaty and then have some pop and crisps afterwards.
The Crystal Maze Live Experience
You can’t get better in terms of ‘experiences’ in Manchester than the Crystal Maze. Basically, they’ve spent a shit-ton of till on replicating the classic 90’s game show and then they let you run around it solving puzzles and making a tit of yourself. It is tremendous fun and actually really rather difficult. You can’t help but have a brilliant time here, so it makes the perfect present this Christmas – especially if you want to ‘bond’ with that person.
Luxury Shearling leather jacket from Blake Headley
There’s nothing worse than being cold and wet in the winter. It’s the one thing I dread whenever I’m on holiday, on the plane back, passing through some massive clouds into the gloom and doom of Manchester weather. This is why it’s important to secure yourself a top-quality winter coat that’s going to last longer than all of your relationships put together. Step forward Blake Headley – who make quite possibly the best sheepskin jackets known to man. You can even get them for someone’s kid too!
Give a truly personal gift this Christmas as Selfridges offer a unique (and brilliant) engraving service in store. You can get the engraver dude to engrave all manner of presents with whatever you desire, including jewellery, accessories and even fragrances. I went down last week to get some lovely Thameen aftershave engraved – if that’s not the best present for your dad – I don’t know what is! Well, except a Mercedes.
Harvey Nichols Hampers
One of the most extravagant things anyone can receive at Christmas, a hamper is perfect for that person who is so fussy that they actually physically make you angry when you’re traipsing around the shops trying to find them something. There’re loads of places you can get hold of hampers, but the most impressive ones are surely at Harvey Nichols – whose Food Market is so impressive that you can fill the wicker box with a dazzling array of food and drink from all over the globe. Brilliant.