Gift ideas for the festive season.jpg

Gift ideas for the festive season

FOR SOME people choosing Christmas gifts for their loved ones is the highlight of the festive season, whereas for others it’s enough to drive them crazy! Here are some gift ideas for those of you who find yourselves in the latter category…

Resident contributor Paul McKay has decided to give his legion of fans what they want – his first ever book, just in time for Christmas. A Year in Monchique tells the story of a couple of London escapees getting to grips with life in rural Portugal. Buy your copy now!

With the opening of the new race track, what better way to give the man (or woman!) of your life a special treat than tickets to the A1 Grand Prix which takes place in April? It might seem a little early, but your Christmas gift will be all he (she) talks about until then! For more details, visit

Fans of autobiographies should take a look at the latest offering from Dawn French. Entitled Dear Fatty, French describes the journey that would eventually establish her as a perhaps unlikely, but genuine, national treasure.

Great gifts for toddlers are the Dance With Me Teletubbies. Suitable for 1-3 years, this educational fun toy encourages group play and children can have fun all day long with their favourite Dancing Teletubby. There are four available to buy: Po, Tinky Winky, Laa-Laa and Dipsy.

The latest unique ‘hand held’ craze is the Powerball, a self powered arm and wrist exerciser perfect for building arm and wrist strength. Described as being a finely engineered and precision crafted gyro consisting of a rapidly spinning rotor enclosed in a solid outer sphere, the Powerball is the ideal gift for the person that has everything! More information from

Most women are delighted to receive goodies for pampering and what better place to find such delights than The Body Shop? Full of products that haven’t been tested on animals, you’ll definitely find something she’ll love. On the other hand, there are some great items for men too.

i-buddy is a fantastic gift for anyone who uses Messenger to chat to their friends. i-buddy is a 3-inch, super cute messenger companion that connects to your computer using a USB cable. Especially designed for Windows Live Messenger users, i-buddy enhances the features and adds to the fun of communicating with your friends. i-buddy is a physical representation of your buddy and it can be programmed to recognize a particular ‘buddy’ account. It will respond to all messages and status events sent from your buddy. When you receive a message from someone on your computer using a messenger service like MSN, your i-buddy will detect the emoticons used in the message, and shows the feelings through movement and coloured lights.

If you’re buying gifts for friends and family in the UK, why not buy them something traditionally Algarvean? The region is full of pottery shops selling all manner of goods that can’t be bought in the UK. Not only are you buying something a little different, you’re also supporting the local economy!

The perfect gift for the special woman in your life is a voucher to one of the many spas to be found around the Algarve. What woman won’t be delighted by the prospect of a full day of pampering and surrounded by luxury? Even better, speak to her friend’s husbands and convince them to do the same – that way the lovely ladies can have a real girlie day out together and they’ll have YOU to thank for it!

Wrap up in style with a personalised embroidered bath robe, now available at Justwhite in Almancil. High quality robes in white (of course), navy or beige, choose from either towelling or waffle. These make a stylish Christmas present for anyone – whether it is the name, initials or nickname you choose for the gift, the receiver is sure to wear it with pride, for years to come.

One of the sweetest toys available this festive season is the Rescue Pets Swimming Dog. This cute dog has huge blue eyes and floppy ears. He’ll happily walk around, but as soon as you place him in water, he begins to swim. He comes with his very own pair of goggles, a towel and an adoption certificate. The Swimming Dog is one of the official Top 12 must-have toys for Christmas 2008.

This very silly but hilarious weapon of mass distraction combines a missile launcher with an integrated webcam, letting you fire remotely at your foe from anywhere in the world. Using Microsoft’s MSN instant messaging application, the launcher fires three foam missiles at a range of up to 15 feet and at a very fast rate. Available from

The perfect stocking filler comes in the form of the this Lego-inspired (but unofficial) offering. It comes with a key ring and breaks in half, and you don’t have to worry about losing the cap – just fix it to the top of the stick itself to build a mini memory tower. Cool! Available from

Gadgets galore

There are some fantastic websites selling all manner of hilarious gadgets for all ages, but here are some that are guaranteed to give you keep you entertained on Christmas morning:

Spider Catcher – especially for those afraid of creepy crawlies, this device enables spiders to be caught, within a comfortable distance, and not killed. Available from

Finger drums – an excellent and fun stress reliever. Available from

Talking Dashboard Homer – Perfect for Simpsons fans, this talking Homer sits on your dashboard he’ll yell various insults in response to your driving. Available from