Dec 09

Christmas gifts: Practical gifts for the whole family

We all love getting Christmas gifts, but most of us also want practical gifts we can actually use!

Useful gifts can range from clothes, cash (or gift vouchers), underwear, socks, bed linen, towels, power tools, electric toothbrushes and kitchen utensils – there’s a massive list out there.

With the recession still going strong, people are looking to invest in durable, practical gifts particularly those that will improve their health or help them save money.

Here at Moneymagpie, we believe that it’s better to spend a bit more on one or two well-made, useful presents than on a novelty Homer Simpson mug that’ll end up in a charity shop come Boxing Day!  So here are some practical gift ideas:

Improve your health and save on dental bills

A good quality electric toothbrush can be expensive but it’s a justifiable investment. All toothbrushes by Oral B are proven to remove twice as much plaque as a manual brush, helping fend off decay and gum disease.

The Braun Oral B PC Triumph 5000 with SmartGuide times your brushing so you’ll get a proper cleaning session and avoid pricey trips to the dentist. Plus all their power brushes are half price during the run up to Christmas!

If you do have to go to the dentist, you can still save money. Visiting a student dentist is cheaper and they’re under close supervision. You can find out more about getting treatment from a student dentist in our article here.

You could also join a dental cash plan for around £10 a month and get a pay out when you visit the dentist. AXA, Healthsure and HSA all offer them. Have check ups at least once a year to avoid expensive problems in the future.

Make sure you know what benefits you’re entitled to! You can get free NHS dental treatment if you are pregnant, on low income, receiving certain benefits or if you have had a child in the last 12 months. These don’t cover everything but will certainly help – find out more about your entitlements here.

Christmas Gifts For women

For grandma, we’ve found a practical gift that will cut down her energy bills! This heater airer from Lakeland, £69.99, costs less than 3p an hour to run. It will replace the tumble dryer so she’ll save money on each wash, and even gently heat the room so she can save on heating for a few hours.

If you’re looking for something for your sister or daughter, the Lakeland electric cupcake maker, £34.99 bakes 6 cupcakes  in 10 minutes, so she won’t waste energy heating up the oven. She can beat some cupcake mixture at the beginning of the week, store in cake cases in the fridge, and bake whenever she feels like it.

For your aunt, try Rosemary Conley’s Facial Flex £46.99. It’s a simple mouth exerciser that works 30 muscle groups in the face, chin and neck and is a hell of a lot cheaper than forking out for a facelift or expensive anti-ageing creams (most of which don’t work anyway!)

For mum, check out this Microhottie microwave hot water bottle, £7.99. No refilling or emptying required, it saves energy and water as it heats up in minutes and stays warm for hours and it comes in a soft lambswool cover. Great for those cold winter nights!

Christmas Gifts for men

For Grandpa, how about this Radiator Booster, £24.95, featured on Dragon’s Den? It uses a small fan to draw heat from the radiator and distribute it into the room. It costs just 30p a year to run, but could save the average household between £70 and £140 a year.

If you’re looking for a sophisticated, well-made present for dad, how about these Polo Ralph Lauren Cotton Socks, £12 from John Lewis.  Or how about a DAB Radio for £45? It has a built in clock with 2 alarms and comes with a free 2 year guarantee.

An alternative for a teenage son/brother is this Proline mini fridge, £89.99. Any boy would appreciate having somewhere to store his leftover pizzas and chocolate. Plus it’s rated a low energy model so it uses less electricity.

Christmas Gifts for kids

Make the kids feel all grown up this Christmas with the VTech Kidizoom Twist Digital Camera, currently £10 off at £39.95. The camera not only allows them to use fun effects and borders, but also play games and take video clips. It comes in a protective case so they can run around and explore with it.

If you want a more girly alternative, you could also try this Hello Kitty Digital Camera, £24.95 from John Lewis.

If you think your child could be the next Jamie Oliver, why not get them started with this Young Chef’s Baking Set, £10.99? It comes with a rolling pin, measuring spoons, cake tin and more – everything a budding young baker could need.



For a money saving gift, try this Zoku ‘Quick Pop’ Maker, £38.29. It takes 7-9 minutes to make lollies as opposed to hours in the fridge, and requires no electricity whatsoever. As well as saving on your electricity bill, you’ll save on trips to the ice-cream van every summer and you can choose healthy flavours like strawberry yoghurt.

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Please note: This article was written in 2011 so items may be a different price or no longer available

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