From an illuminated Darth Vader canvas to a beautifully crafted edition of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, Top 10 Films shares some gift ideas to help you out this Christmas.
Christmas is upon us once again. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – how time flies! It doesn’t feel two minutes since we were decorating the Christmas tree last year. But, we’re here again and the pressures of Christmas shopping are growing as we move towards December 25th. Are you feeling inspired or do you think you’ll play it safe, getting loved ones the same sorts of gifts, just alternating colours!
For something a little different, Top 10 Films has a few ideas for you. None of the gift ideas featured here will break the bank, ranging in price from £2 to £100. We’ve picked an assortment of great gifts that will either satisfy movie-lovers craving that something special, or those families who want to enjoy a family night in front of the telly this Christmas.
With James Bond a hot topic this year with the release of Spectre, why not consider this wonderfully crafted special edition book from The Folio Society. Located in Holborn, The Folio Bookshop is a quaint nook in the heart of London (think Hugh Grant’s Will Thacker in Notting Hill) filled with beautifully illustrated, uniquely package editions of the world’s finest literature.
The Folio Society has been in existence since 1947, celebrating literature’s wide and diverse history, producing originally designed, imaginative editions of fine fiction and non-fiction writing. It is the Criterion of the book world. Every one of its editions are are considered an “individual object of value in its own right”, the only uniformity being the quality of every single book. That’s exampled in its latest book – a gorgeous presentation of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale.
Featuring illustrations from acclaimed artist Fay Dalton and an introduction by Booker-Prize winning author John Banville, the book comes encased in a cardboard pictorial slipcase and a minimalist hardback cover bound in blocked cloth. Find out more about the book or buy it now at the Folio Society’s website.
Star Wars for the Home
This presentation of Casino Royale would make a great stocking filler for anyone with an interest in James Bond and adventure novels, and would undoubtedly please any connoisseurs or collectors of classic or contemporary literature. However, if this gift is definitely for big kids, our next recommendation is as good a gift for little ones as it is for mums and dads. Released by British company Illuminated Canvas in time to celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a range of exclusive Star Wars art, officially licensed by Lucas Film.
The great thing about these canvases – they light up! Inspired by company founders Jez and Rhian Kicks’ search for a comforting night-light for their first child, Illuminated Canvas has gone from strength to strength over the last four years. Indeed, it has produced more than 10,000 canvases and received two national awards since then, achieving the Kicks’ ambition to create a completely unique product that, through it’s raised LED bulbs, can provide a unique piece of art and an independent light source at the same time.
Its new Star Wars range (which includes three character designs in two different styles – photographic and comic) is sure to bring the company a new and eager audience but it should be noted that Illuminated Canvas produce a range of fantastic designs and can even provide bespoke canvases entirely based on personal tastes and requirements.
Star Wars fans can choose between Darth Vader, Yoda and R2-D2 for their wall art. Canvases come in two sizes with two designs for each character based on photographic or comic-book styles.
Each product is made using 100% cotton stretched over a hardwood frame with LED fairy lights popped through the canvas to create a magical 3D effect. The frame can be hung on a wall or left free-standing, and uses 2 x AA batteries to power the lights.
Star Wars for the Kids
Now, Illuminated Canvas products certainly aren’t toys, so it’s time to turn our attention to the little ones with a look at some of the Star Wars-inspired toys coming out this year. Asda has jumped on the bandwagon with a range of movie-inspired stuff for kids including a range of action figures and some great LEGO Star Wars sets.
However, one of my favourite things at Christmas, if you’re lucky enough to get some time off work over the festive period, is to shut the cold and the rain outside and snuggle down to a good movie. Whether you’re on your own with a box of popcorn, sharing a glass of red wine with your partner, or huddling on the sofa with the kids, there are few things that beat a movie night in!
Pampering for Mum and Dad
I’ve discovered some great gifts to help you get the most out of your movie night. These gifts are all affordable options and would make great pre-Christmas presents, stocking fillers or small additional gifts on December 25th.
Firstly, Morrisons have got a range of great pampering products to relax mums and dads before the movie. I particularly liked the fruity bath caviars which add a relaxing fragrance to that important “tub time”. The assortment includes strawberry, vanilla, lemon, coconut and juicy fruit fragrances to choose from, with the options presented in a fun rack to add a little aesthetic appeal.
Morrisons also have a selection of body butters – perhaps something for mums, wives and girlfriends – with similarly fruity options available including coconut, strawberry and mango.
Morrisons’ Christmas range of products is quite diverse, featuring everything you need for that special day with an assortment of stockings, the all important chocolate money and even special turkey pate for dogs and cats so they don’t feel left out when you’re helping yourself to the last mince pie.
Speaking of food, Carluccio’s has a great Italian-inspired Christmas hamper available this year. Priced at £235 for the lot or available as separate items, the hamper contains everything from pasta and delicious sauces to dark chocolate coated candied clementine segments, milk hazelnut chocolates, chocolate coated walnut stuffed figs, star shaped rich butter sponge cake, Puglian almonds and Sicilian pistachios, and Amaretti biscuits.
If these don’t take your fancy how about Green and Black’s chocolate, a range of 19 different flavours including traditional favourites such as dark chocolate, white chocolate and salted caramel to more unique options like butterscotch, blood orange, burnt toffee and lemon.
Indulge in a Tipple…
This leads me to other indulgences. Indeed, my attention was taken by Casamigos, a brand new range of tequila developed by actor George Clooney and longtime friend, bar and restaurant mogul Rande Gerber. Casamigos was originally created out of the pair’s desire to enjoy the best-tasting, smoothest tequila and was always intended for personal use, to be shared with family and friends. Now it is available for everyone in three types: Blanco, Reposado and Añejo.
These small batch, ultra-premium tequilas are made from the finest hand-selected 100% Blue Weber agaves, grown in the rich red clay soil and cool climate of Mexico’s Jalisco Highlands for a minimum of seven years. After harvest, the agave piñas are roasted in traditional brick ovens for seventy-two hours before undergoing an extra-slow fermentation process over an additional eighty hours, nearly double the industry standard.
Casamigos’ Blanco rests for two months, whilst Casamigos Reposado and Casamigos Añejo are aged 7 and 14 months respectively in the finest premium American white oak barrels, which have been carefully reconditioned after being used to age the finest premium whiskey.
“Casamigos Blanco is crisp and clear, with subtle hints of vanilla and a smooth finish, Casamigos Reposado is smooth and clean with hints of caramel, and Casamigos Añejo is a perfect balance of sweetness from the Blue Weber agaves, layered with barrel oak and subtle hints of spice with a lingering smooth finish. All expressions are great served neat or on the rocks, and are the perfect base for premium cocktails,” says Gerber.
Relax with a Yankee CandleGerber and Clooney taste and approve every batch before it is bottle. “We worked on the creation of Casamigos Tequila with our master distiller in Jalisco, Mexico, for years and held many blind tastings until we knew we got it right. We’ve been drinking Casamigos with friends and family for over six years,” says Clooney. Casamigos is available in the United States, Bahamas, Canada, Hong Kong, and the UK and can be bought at Selfridges and Harvey Nichols this Christmas priced at £62.99 to £77.99.
Once the tequila’s flowing and the movie’s ready to go, the only thing now is a bit of scented candle light. Who better to call on for this than Yankee Candle whose Christmas range features such delightfully titled entries as “Cosy By The Fire”, “Snow In Love”, “Bundle Up” and “Berry Trifle”.
With tequila comes fun and games. If the kids are still awake, why not break out this brilliant disco ball Bluetooth speaker from ITek or if a more reserved musical interlude is required, try this stylish pair of Bluetooth speakers from August International.
Dance the Night Away
It’s also a great time for board games! Rascal Games has a new range of contemporary classics including Mr and Mrs – The Family Edition, based on the hit ITV1 show, and The Really Nasty Bankers Games for those that like to scheme and bluff their way to victory. Both games, including several others, are available for under £20 and targeted at the whole family.
Finally, when it comes to watching movies this Christmas, what do we recommend? Well, if it’s Christmas film recommendations look no further than this top 10 list while the big release at the cinema remains Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 17.
For those wanting to add a DVD or Blu-ray to those Christmas stockings how about these…
Mad Max: Fury Road (out now), recently voted the third best film of the year by Sight & Sound critics, will prove to be a popular stocking-filler for action film fans. Vacation (released Dec 14), a part-sequel, part-remake of National Lampoon’s Vacation will also prove to be a family favourite this Christmas.
Other perfect films for all the family this year include Adam Sandler’s Pixels and Simon Pegg in Absolutely Everything (both out Dec 7) as well as the latest Marvel adventure Ant-Man starring Paul Rudd and Reese Witherspoon in Hot Pursuit (out now).
More adult-orientated fare comes in the form of thriller The Gift, the Magic Mike sequel, and Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation.