Chris Croft's Personal Blog

June 14, 2010

Christmas present suggestions

Filed under: Gadgets, Random stuff - uncategorisable — chriscroft @ 10:53 am

Christmas present suggestions!


Do you / your partner secretly want to sleep with Alan Sugar, or George Clooney?  etc?
Get your own rap, made by the 21 year old music graduate son of a friend of mine – you provide a list of content and he makes a great rap for you! Email me for details of my contact if you want one. – hilarious website where you can get moth stickers to put over holes in your clothes made by moths, pillows which have arrows going through your head, You Are Here cushions, and man pants…

A4 photobook at – you upload a collection of digital photos and they automatically make them into a really nice hard cover book with the pictures different sizes and with different page layouts so it looks really artistic.

Coin shrinking money box
really cool – how does it work??

Sphelix – 80mm “thought ball” made of rubberised plastic – incredbily desireable and beautiful, everyone who sees it is fascinated by it and won’t put it down. £10 –

my minibook of happiness, or full size paperback “A little bit of everything” £6

croc slippers Hard to get in the right size, but great if you can. Comfy, furry, snug, and yet also waterproof if you need to nip outside to get more logs for the fire…

Your own design on a t-shirt, anything you like, pictures, words, graphics, photos etc –

Pandora charm bracelet – the latest thing in the world of posh jewellery :
design your own Not cheap, but very nice, and then your Christmas and birthday present problems are solved for ever as you can get one or more beads each time – they cost about £20 each.

Subscription to The Week – I love this magazine, which has all the news you need, each Friday. Has a summary of sport, what’s happening in each country, films, gossip and tabloids, science stories, etc No more Daily Mail!!

Bedside / daylight spectrum lights:
the ultimate is the PER3, which slowly comes on in the morning to wake you up gradually, and it does it with full spectrum light so you can lie there and get your dose of feel good pseudo-sunlight as you wake up. Good adjustable bedside light too.
It’s £127 from amazon and there’s a good demo movie at

I also like the Philips dawn simulator, which doesn’t have the full spectrum light but is a soft yellowish traditional light, but more cosy to read to at night, again it switches on slowly in the morning to wake you up gradually, and as it comes on it slowly turns up the volume of the radio or a jungle or wind chimes. Nice! £77

The cheapest way to get sunlight into your pineal gland during the winter, for the feel good feeling, is to get a full spectrum bulb for your desk and have it on as you use your computer – or even sit and stare at it if you have the time. I got my energy-saving biobulb for £13 from and I think it works. Hard to tell, I’m always a bit manic! Not the most romantic Christmas present, but kind of cool!

Magic tricks (Davenports at Charing Cross) and if you’re in Bournemouth – you can go into Mike’s shop and he’ll demonstrate tricks which you can then buy for £5-£15 Have a cuddly toy made out of your house/dog/flag/cartoon/kids / sketch of parents, etc (but price unknown)

amusing t-shirts:
bird clock £40 I got one as a joke and now I love it.

global warming mug –

power mat cordless charger – expensive though, as you have to get the receiver part for every device. For hardcore gadgeteers and iPhone-aholics only.

bluetooth keyboard for your phone (but not for iPhones) – folds out and then you can write emails etc really fast on a proper full size keyboard £60

digital photo frames generally – getting cheaper all the time. Not sure which one is the best.

tiny TV remote which fits on a keyring – can be used to turn the sound down or change channels on any TV, even secretly in the pub! (may not work if the pub TV is just a screen on a central feed) only £1.71

Frixion biro you can rub out

and finally, my list wouldn’t be compete without a headtorch; and I think the mighty Petzel Myo XP has finally been deposed by the Lenzer L7: ….. 3 watts of awesome power giving 140 lumens, in a unit that’s only 117g: even lighter than the Myo! Oooh, missus!

§ Remote controlled helicopters – these are down to £20, tiny, easy to fly (indoors!), and can land in the palm of your hand. Perfect for kids or adults.
§ Sat nav: has really come of age now. The easiest gadget to use, more useful than you could ever have dreamed, and now down to £100 (or less on ebay).
§ Wind-up LED torch: the LEDs use so little power that the winding action gives loads of power for very little effort: 30 mins from 30 seconds!
§ Pink toolkit – has the extra advantage that men probably won’t borrow your tools
§ Pink punch bag, comes with pink gloves too
§ Have your own rap made, or have one made for a friend – you supply some information about them and they’ll get a professionally done song, all about them, for about £35 – email me for contact details.
§ Black & Decker Alligator – safer than a chainsaw, and I love mine
§ A puppy
§ A Nintendo Wii – a bit pricey, but if you can justify one (maybe for the whole family?) I hear they are great – I still haven’t tried one!!
§ A puzzle game called hotspot, from the makers of rush hour, you get 50 puzzles where you to jump your alien to the finish square. Forget boring old Solitaire, everyone who I show this to is addicted to it. Great for £12

§ Digital photo frames – still getting cheaper and better all the time, but now affordable – see amazon If you can I’d get one with a nice slow change rate between pictures, ideally up to half an hour or even several hours. Mine changes every 10 seconds which is a bit fast!
§ DVD boxed sets of things like Twenty Four (still the most exciting thing on TV ever), Thunderbirds (still classic) or perhaps Father Ted.
§ Two dance mats so you can compete all night.
§ And if you really want to push the boat out, how about a folding mountain bike or full sized road bike that folds so it fits into the back seat or boot of your car? With the Dahon Jack or Dahon Cadenza you can park and ride – all sorts of times when this could be useful. It takes literally 5 seconds to unfold or re-fold the bike. Not cheap, but very beautiful and great to ride
§ A year’s subscription to The Week. Better than a newspaper, and cheaper, and quicker.
§ and then there’s also matmos lights
§ I was only joking about the puppy.

Pilgrim Jewellery – this really is the best, I think. See google.

How about getting a second hand TIVO TV recorder from e-bay? Now they only cost about £50, and they are just like having Sky Plus – they record any programme you like, whenever it is on, and you can scroll through its memory and watch or delete whatever you like – you can also freeze time for up to 30 minutes if the doorbell or phone rings, and can go back up to 30 minutes if you want to see something again. You pay £10/month or £200 once off and then it gets updates every night on which programmes are coming up – I love it!

Or how about some Crocs – the latest shoes, made of rubber, that look really ugly, like cut off wellies, but are amazingly comfortable. Not warm, so they are summer shoes, brilliant for indoors, or the garden, or the beach. The “Cayman” is the classic one to get. Trust me and try some on before rejecting them.

Or, since it’s the winter and we can’t even IMAGINE the summer at the moment, how about a nice pair of Possum Fur slippers? Fantastically warm, hard wearing, and made from possums which are a pest in New Zealand where they have to be culled – they eat whole trees apparently… so you’re saving the environment too. No, I don’t get commission.

and then there’s also matmos lights:

I’m also pretty impressed by the Lenser LED head torch

And of course don’t forget the good old million candle power rechargeable torches, chargeable and bright but heavy,

The Sound Asleep Pillow £20
let your gradually diminishing ipod play list send you to sleep…

digital photo frames from about £30 upwards
getting more affordable this year, still not brilliant value, but pretty good

powermonkey £20
take it with you on trips and you can charge your phone or ipod or anything from it with no need for mains power or lots of wires and chargers
got me and my ipod to Everest base camp!

i-sound beanie hat with speakers inside £15

pants purse £7

game/puzzle “inverse” not tried it but looks beautiful and intriguing. £20

air guitar thing £11 “guitar rock star”
not tried but recommended on top gear – and it does look fun!
See demo

Condiment gun – squirt tomato sauce onto your chips – with a gun!
not sure how you clean it. Looks brilliantly childish! Could lead to trouble if combined with alcohol. Maybe you need to get two?

Airzooka much better and more fun that it looks. I’ve got one and I love it (the dog doesn’t). £10

For only £7 I like the look of the echo –bot
When it detects movement it plays back your pre-recorded message who whoever has walked into the room. Possibilities!

Moshi Mopods. Can’t explain. But I like them. £5.

Solar powered artificial plant. Not quite as environmentally friendly as a real plant, but not bad! £8

For kids I think etch-a-sketches are still hared to beat

For £20 I like the frame that you can put old LPs in (and change whenever you want)

For nerds the WiFi detecting t-shirt is pretty cool (OK yes, I do want one)

USB microscope – both cool and educational
£50 though

Possibly the stupidest but best gadget this year is a singing Tengu
£20. As they say, you’ll never feel lonely at your desk again! Not sure if it would be suitable for work…

**Non consumer Christmas ideas**
1. Clothes/ornaments/books etc from charity shops / recycling centres / second hand book shops / car boot sales / ebay second hand / your own stuff you don’t use any more (or as a last resort, fair trade or organic
new stuff!) – customised if you want, to make it more interesting!
2. Actions: giving blood, adventures (family walk / hike /bike ride etc), Promises e.g. cooking a dinner, IT support, housework or to fix up some shelves or teach someone a skill (i.e. DIY or computer related).
For coupon templates:
3. Baking: homemade cakes/sweets, spice mixes, home flavoured olive oil, homemade chutney and jam
4. Creative arts: poems, pictures/paintings, stories, quotes, fimo figures/sculptures, songs,
5. Techy: Compilation CDs, home videos, hand me down computer parts/tools etc, selection of relevant free software downloads on CD, film/series downloads (though maybe slightly illegal?) etc
6. Crafty: home made/painted pottery, home made writing paper/cards, candles, knitting, art, homemade candles/soap, patchwork, silk painting, home made cushions, candlesticks, sock pùppets, badges, mosaic stuff
7. Truly eco: plants, mini herb gardens, cactus (I think it’s OK for you to buy these!) etc
8. Memory lane: newspaper articles from someone’s youth (esp G&G), calendars (with everyone’s birthday on would be very useful!), photographs/albums

Wherever possible, wrapping should be recycled paper/newspaper if poss.
– or reusable bags with shredded newspaper filling.

Think of all the time in the shops that you’ll save, and how much more chilled out you’ll be!

Note: Careful with purchasing charity gifts like a “cow for a villiage in Ethiopia” – sometimes these gifts are not all they’re cracked up to be. What happens if everyone buys cows, when the village actually really needed the clean water gift instead?

*Photo gifts – Gifts include calendars,
photo diaries, coasters, mousemats, cushions, posters, clothing, tote
bags, badges and stickers

*Oxfam online second hand store:
— Great second hand book section, and you can search by price (5 quid and under). Loads of audio books too. Lots of board games – and some really cool vintage clothing! Big selection of DVDs and CDs too.
— Alternatively – ebay can be a good source of second hand CDs, DVDs etc.
–Also, amazon do most books with a new or used option – so you can find the difficult to find stuff on here, if you have something particular in mind.
–Another one that could be worth a look is Cash Converters – though charity shops preferred!

*Painting pottery
If you fancy getting creative, you could try a family trip on a Sunday to a pottery painting place (collecting ideas from magazines etc before hand is always a good idea).
–Paintaplate, 9, Moorburn Avenue, Giffnock, Glasgow, Lanarkshire G46
7AN Tel: 0141 569 5683
–or you could try (further afield – lomond shores, linlithgow etc – nice for a day out)

*Getting crafty:
Materials, from beads, basket making and macramé to origami, soap / candle making and leather crafts, can be bought on … 39?_npmv=3
Also, to make something more techy: … idZ2QQtZkm

*Buying eco as an alternative…:
Do a search in ebay on “eco” – you can drill down into the various
Also check out: … Category/5

A personalized OS map- perfect for that walker/ cyclist/ environmental campaigner in your life-
Think I might get one for my Dad…

Road-kill calendar
featuring a run-down of your favourite animals
– hilarious!
NOTE: No animal was deliberately maimed or killed in the production of this calendar.

Talking loo roll holder – they get a message from you when they pull off a piece of paper
I know it’s stupid, but I want one, so others may like it too

Milk jug that looks like a milk carton—milk-jug-2334-p.asp

OCD Chopping board Oooh, there are several people I could give this to
Air Fork One
for kids who don’t like eating

Educational mugs

Garden bird mugs – very nicely drawn watercolours, with the call of each bird £10 each

London cityscape tea light holder

Protect your laptop while hiding it – e.g. if a student house is broken into, they won’t find your macbook £30

Labyrinth card came – fun and interesting, all ages, I really like it

Mix anad match cutlery set – fun and artistic
classy in black and white:

a more fun cutlery set—Mix-and-Match?gclid=CMTewd3Tn6wCFUsZ4QodIjyY_A

Animal neck pillow for kids when travelling

A mini digital video camera that you can attach to your bike helmet, or collar of your dog and see where he goes off to when you’re not looking
(I haven’t researched whether this is the best price or quality of camera, but it does look good)

Coffee mug that looks just like a big camera lens, even has a lens cap lid

Snow grippers which slip onto the underneath of your shoes so you want walk on ice. If we get the winter we are being warned about, these could be a great safety bonus–Stretch-crampons/dp/B002ULFQ8I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320509689&sr=8-1

Also for the snow, the roll-out ice carpet – roll it out on top of the snow and you can safely get across the garden. I actually think it might be quite useful, especially for older people

For the traveller – Mini scales to check the weight of your suitcase – the fines can be large if you’re overweight, especially a problem when you’re coming home.

Toothbrush holder for 4 brushes that looks like a great big molar:

Touch screen stylus for iphone, ipad etc that looks like a giant pencil
Would allow you to write notes in meetings on your ipad without it looking as if you’re doing your emails, which unfortunately typing does, even if you’re not….

For us oldies when caught without glasses at the curry restaurant:

Three fragrant mini handbags for drawers or cupboards – really cute!

Singing bird clock – I got one of these as a joke, but in fact I love it. Everyone is amazed by it, and you know the time by the sound of the bird (e.g. The Midnight Owl)



  1. You suggest “Condiment gun – squirt tomato sauce onto your chips – with a gun!
    not sure how you clean it”

    The weapon is supplied with two removable squashable cartridges for the sauce, so should be very easy.

    Comment by Mark Plant — November 17, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

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