An alphabet of gift inspirations

Unless your nearest and dearest publish spreadsheets listing everything they’d like to find in their Christmas stocking and your kids write overly optimistic 300 page letters to Santa, you may need a little help finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Naturally, we’re here to help with our festive alphabet of gift inspirations…

A is for Alcohol

Alcohol is a welcome present, especially if it’s locally produced and relatively artisan. Avoid anything too niche or that’s only suitable for the festive season, no-one wants a Gingerbread Latte liqueur in April. Consider a selection of beers from local craft brewers, a Speyside Malt, or indulge in one of the many gins from Aberdeenshire producers. Try House of Elrick. Their artisan gins are limited to 600 bottles per run and the bottles are beautiful. They also offer a range of rums. 

Cocktail masterclasses can make a great gift. Try Orchid on Bon Accord Square. They also offer a monthly cocktail subscription service for £25, which gets four cocktails delivered. They also deliver large bottle of sharing cocktails, such as their Pornstar Martini and Porter’s Gin made in their own micro-distillery. 

If prefer wine, head for SugarBird Wines on Union Grove, where you’ll find an amazing selection including some great discoveries from South Africa. They offer free delivery in Aberdeen too. 

B is for Beauty

Now that everything’s spiraling in price, people tend to focus on the essentials, making beauty gifts feel like a luxury treat. Treatment packages or gift vouchers are often a good way to go as the recipient can then choose treatments to suit. The Lounge at Chapelton offers some superb Elemis facials and massage treatments as well as having a great reputation for colour and cuts. Up in Inverallochy, Treat Company has some excellent multi-treatment packages for mothers-to-be, as well as medical
grade facials, 3D Lipo, laser skin blemish reduction and so much more. 

With over 350 5-star reviews, King Street’s Bello Beauty is a great choice if you want a beauty gift from a central salon. Their two-hour Just Let Go package comes in at £85 and includes a full body revitalising scrub and multi-modal massage.  

How about a trip to one of the city’s top salons? Salon 70 is brilliant for creative colour, flattering cuts and styles for special occasions. Bloom Lifestyle is a great choice for the gift of a new style and some beauty treatments for someone special.  

C is for Confectionary & chocolate

If you want to keep it local, Loch Aurora do scrumptious home-made fudges and tablet as well as enticing pamper hampers. They’re a great choice for corporate gifting and can even create bespoke flavours to make your gift stand out. 

Cocoa Ooze produce luxury chocolate truffles that taste great and have beautiful packaging. One of their truffle making kits or workshops would make the sweetest gift, or spoil someone in the run up to Christmas with their advent calendar.

Rosemary Planet on Great Western Road is excellent for vegan sweets and there are also some amazing traditional confectioners like Giulianotti in Stonehaven, Humbug on Rosemount and Ellon’s Hey Sweetie!

D is for Dogs

Almost 90% of pet owners buy their pet a Christmas present, with the average spend being around £18. That’s a lot of money to spend on a soft toy that will be disembowelled in five minutes flat! Instead, head to Country Ways, where you’ll find a great selection of quality dog toys, jacket, bowls and leads. They also have a vast range of kit for horses. Also on Holburn Street, Decidedly Dogs has everything for even the most pampered of pooches. Perhaps a new winter coat or a toy from Planet Dog or Fluff & Tuff? 

E is for Events & experiences

Sometimes, experiences make better gifts, because the memories of a special day last a lifetime. Consider tickets to see a favourite band, or a show at the theatre. Check or to see what’s coming up next year. Sports packages are another option. Match day hospitality packages, tickets to a rugby international or a round of golf at Trump International can all offer a special day out and a lifetime of memories.

If you’re looking for a gift for the all-action type, then have a look at Lochter Activity Centre, which offers everything from archery to off-roading. HuskyHaven near Stonehaven offer the chance to work with a team of sled dogs on their trails or you could opt for giving some belly rubs on a kennel tour instead. 

F is for Foodie families

A meal out can be a great gift for the whole family and it’s a great zero-effort last minute gift too. Da Vinci Restaurant offers some amazing Italian and Tuscan specialities and also has an impressive vegan menu. Check out the menu and order a gift voucher online. 

The Esslemont on Union Street is a superb choice for a foodie family gift, combining an interesting cocktail menu with innovative tapas and dad-sized family favourites. Fish lovers would appreciate an outing to Silver Darling at the harbour, which has the reputation for the best seafood in the North East. If your tastes run to the more relaxed when it comes to a family feast, then No.10 on Queen’s Terrace offers tradition with a twist, with dishes that use the best local seasonal produce. They’re good for veggie, vegan and gluten-free options too. All three offer gift vouchers.

G is for Grannies & Grandpas

Joli Gifts on Queen’s Road has some great throws that are idea for snuggling up on sofas, as well as beautiful candle holders, plant pots, woolly hats and scarves and photo frames that would all make cosy gifts for grandparents. Grandpas might appreciate one of Joli’s hipflasks from Lund, particularly if you add a bottle of something to fill it. 

The Owl at Number Two on Mid Stocket Road is one of those charming little shops filled with delightful gifts that you won’t find elsewhere. It’s particularly good on local and Scottish makers, so it’s great for people who are difficult to buy for or if you’re looking for stocking fillers. 

H is for Hampers

Hampers make great gifts and are easy to do. Check out any of the discount or craft stores for a wicker basket or wooden crate and choose your theme. Marshall’sFarm Shop on the A96 near Kintore is a great choice as it combines local produce with a delightful deli selection, baked goods and their own butchery. Marshall’s also has The Still, which stocks over 150 whiskies alongside Scottish gins and local ales. 

Marshalls is also a stockist of Sooki Coo Candles. You can also buy online. They’d make a great scented candle hamper – perhaps some wax melts and a burner, or some room mists for a friend who appreciates a bit of pampering? 

Rosemount’s Gourmet Cheese Co offer delectable hampers for £30, or you can assemble your own assortment of artisan cheeses and accompaniments. Perhaps one of their gift vouchers is a safer option if
there’s a chance you may feel the need to nibble before your hamper reaches the intended recipient? 

Places like JK Fine Foods, Mains of Drum and any of the city’s specialist suppliers like Eastern European or Asian supermarkets are brilliant for interesting ways to fill your hamper. 

I is for Self-gifting

Sometimes, the best way is simply to go with self-gifting. An investment in your future self, if you like. Self-gifting ideas might include signing up for a course, improving your smile at The Orthodontic Clinic or Abercrombie Dental, restoring your glow with treatments from Inverurie’s Clinetix, or NY Skin Clinic in Aberdeen. If you really want a whole new you, then Alpha Clinic’s range of surgical and non-surgical procedures may be the ultimate in Christmas self-gifting. 

J is for Jewellery

Who doesn’t love a bit of bling, especially if it’s been made for them? Lava in Peterculter are amongst Scotland’s best designer-makers. They can design a bespoke piece, remodel using existing precious stones or metal and have a great range of instore designs too. 

Sandy Menzies is the perfect choice if you want to create a unique piece of jewellery for someone special, combing old-school craftsmanship with high-tech computer design. 

K is for Kids

Aboyne’s Daisy Tree Boutique is the perfect place to shop for little ones. As well as some beautiful organic cotton clothing and cute designs from top babywear designers, they have some amazing toys. We particularly like their selection of wooden and educational toys which are all well-made. If you’re buying a more expensive gift, they have charming tricycles and rocking animals from Nattou. 

L is for Life-enhancing

Some gifts need a little discussion before you buy, but if someone on your list wants to improve their health and fitness, then you could fund some sessions with award-winning personal trainer Steve Doige-Harrison of
SDH Fitness, or pick up a gift voucher for Stonehaven’s Bio Wellness Clinic which offers a host of health and beauty treatments. 

How about a voucher for ABWR Wellness and Reflexology at Chapelton? Owner Shona will work her magic leaving the lucky recipient feeling incredibly relaxed and healthier. She also offers corporate packages for workplace wellbeing. 

Westhill’s Step & Stone Health offers a host of health wellbeing modalities including podiatry, physiotherapy, massage and reflexology, so your gift recipient can choose what suits. 

M is for Mums & Dads

You’ll find Gifted on Countesswells Road and it’s a tiny treasure-trove. Mums would love their mix and match bags and straps from Elie Beaumont, while Dads might appreciate a bottle opener from Just Slate, or some new glassware. There’s something for every member of the family including a good selection of Orange Tree Toys for little ones and a great choice of Christmas cards and advent calendars. 

N is for Neighbours

Kellochbank on the A96 is a brilliant one-stop shop for gifting. You’ll find a food hall packed with Scottish delicacies, clothing, toiletries, homeware, garden and outdoor gift and something for everyone on your list. 

Charles Michie the Chemist has branches across the city and shire. The Union Street store is a great source of small gifts for neighbours and friends, many of which are made in Scotland or the UK. They also stock Steiff’s teddies and stuffed animals. 

O is for Other halves

The Platform in Macduff is a good choice if you fancy an out of town shopping trip. They have clothing for the whole family and a brilliant gift department. You’ll also find excellent furniture and homewares if you want to gift have a shared gift. Not to mention they have some very good coffee and cakes. 

Of course, sharing a gift with your other half is an option. How about an original piece of art? Ballater Gallery stocks work from many leading Scottish and British Artists, from landscapes to abstracts, so you’re bound to find something you’ll both love for a very long time. 

P is for Practical presents

Many people prefer getting practical presents which they will actually use, such as homewares and hobby equipment. Ask first to avoid duplication or buying the wrong things. Banchory’s Hush Living has a superb selection of decorative accessories including cosy sheepskins, planters and trays. There are also quirky signs and some very cheeky bum vases!

Kynoch and Robertson on Rosemount Place stock an amazing range of paints, wallcoverings and fabrics and curtains from top designers. They even have a department that offers painters and decorators, so perhaps a room makeover would make a good gift for downsizing parents or someone moving into their first home? 

Mains of Drum are great for gifts for outdoor gardeners. Perhaps a selection of seeds for next year’s veg plot or flower border, a fruit tree, a new spade or gardening gloves? They also have toys, clothing homewares and a food hall, so it’s a good choice if you’d like to get all your gifts in one place. 

Ben Reid Garden Centre on Countesswells Road specialises in growing varieties guaranteed to thrive in our challenging North East climate, which makes them a great choice for anyone with a passion for gardening. The family-run firm has been around since the 18th century and they grow over 60,000 plants onsite each year, so they know a thing or two and are always happy to provide some pointers. Go with a gift voucher if you can’t decide. 

Q is for Quirky & unusual gifts

Tipsy House make gorgeous scented candles from cut down wine and spirits bottles. They’ll even made a custom candle if you have a bottle from a special occasion like a wedding or a retirement gift, to prolong the memories of a special day. You’ll find their candles, diffusers and prints in some of the gift shops mentioned in our gift guide. Or you can order from their website. 

R is for Relatives

Cults–based Sonya Angus is a bit of a godsend when it comes to gifts. Her boutique carries gifts, homewares and fashion and it’s almost impossible not to find something that suits. She’s also great at helping you find what works you’re shopping for yourself.

Heartfelt Aromas create small batches of their luxury candles and wax melts in Aberdeen. They are made using sustainably sourced luxury vegan soy wax flakes, blended with premium fragrance oils, and the care taken really shows in their packaging and presentation. They do a lovely travel candle set, or will even create a gift box for you. Order on their website. 

S is for Sisters & friends

Buying for sisters and close friends is all about finding something they’ll love, but wouldn’t necessarily splash out on for themselves. No. 18 Gifts & Cards on Chapel Street has a charming selection of cards and gifts. Check out their pompom hats, jewellery, prints and scarves. Perfect for stocking fillers and thoughtful gifts. 

If you really want to spoil someone, then Aesthetic Beauty Inverurie is the perfect choice. Martina Mackay’s DermaPen and Plasma Fibroblast treatments verge on anti-aging witchcraft. Actually, it may be advisable to book some treatments for yourself too. Who wants their sister looking better than they do? 

Also on Chapel Street, Tiger Lily Boutique is the go to place if you’re looking to find fashionable gifts. You’ll find everything from laid back jumpers and joggers to school-run staples and spectacular party dresses. Everything is funky, fun and well-priced. 

Bellino on Thistle Street has some great gift choices including clothes from Marble Scotland, Pomodoro, Joseph Ribkoff and ultra-cosy boots, slippers and accessories from UGG. The sale section is always worth checking out if you’re looking to buy on a budget. 

@hamishmunro, opposite Bloom Lifestyle Salon on the corner of Thistle Street and Rose Street has a covetable range of kimonos and dressing gowns from One Hundred Stars that would please most women. If you can’t make your mind up, buy a gift voucher and let the recipient go mad in their January sale!

You could give the gift of great hair with Linton & Mac on Netherkirkgate. They’re geniuses when it comes to creating the perfect cut and colour, and have a great reputation for their hair extension work. They even offer an express styling menu which is idea for nights out. 

Ellon’s CatWalkers is a treasure house of fashion and accessories with sizes from 8-24 and flattering pieces, designed for relaxed, stylish dressing. They’re always happy to help you full an outfit together and stock Robell, Barbara Lebek and Marble.

T is for Toys & Games

If you’re looking for an independent toy shop, try Strachans in Inverurie, or head to ToyTown in the Trinity Centre which is good for LEGO sets in particular. Balmedie’s Indi + Will is great for charming kid’s toys, with delightfully quirky soft toys from Maileg and Jellycat, toys and games from Little Dutch and lots of lovely picture books. 

U is for Undergarments

If you’re planning on buying lingerie for a little festive frolicking, then Katsize Lingerie in Inverurie is your best option. Not only does owner Tamara stock the widest selection of styles and sizes, she had the gift of being able to find the perfect fit every time. 

V is for Vintage

Not every gift needs to be brand new. Buying vintage can offer better quality, something unique and it’s also sustainable. McCall’s on Bridge Street have an amazing selection of vintage jewellery, including some Tiffany pieces and gorgeous Edwardian styles. They also sell beautiful lab-grown diamonds and you can even design your own ring if a Christmas engagement is on the cards. 

W is for Watches

Watches remain a great gift choice, with quality never going out of style. Finnies the Jeweller on George Street have the widest selection of leading brands, stocking over 1200 ladies and gents models from Omega, IWC, Cartier and Chanel, to designer labels like Boss and Gucci. They also have a vintage selection as well as jewellery and gifts. 

X is for X-rated

If you really want to spoil your other half, how about a weekend away? Better yet, how about a luxurious weekend away that doesn’t involve all the hassle of endlessly delayed flights or relying on trains – there’s very little romance in a replacement bus service. Instead, consider The Marcliffe Hotel and Spa. Great food, amazing beds, 24 hour room service and a host of pampering treatments available in the spa. You can even order sticky toffee pudding for breakfast in bed.

If you’d rather be romantic in town, then give Malmaison a go. They often have special packages that combine dinner and a stay and the rooms are darkly decadent with huge beds and baths. 

If you fancy something truly romantic, but a bit further afield, opt for Fingal, Edinburgh’s luxury yacht which is moored right next to Britannia. After a little shipboard passion, maybe squeeze in a trip to do a little shopping at Multrees Walk, where you’ll find Scotland’s best selection of luxury retailers including Harvey Nichols and Louis Vuitton. 

Y is for Young adults & teenagers

You know you’re almost certain to buy the wrong thing, so set a realistic budget – no ponies or iPhone 14s – and ask carefully about brands, or opt for cash or vouchers. Remember to buy some small things to wrap up too. 

If you have a fashion-lover to buy for, then it’d be difficult to go wrong with a visit to LoLo + Co on Netherkirkgate. Mother and daughter team Lauren and Rose have the gift of choosing pieces that work for women of all ages. 

Z is for Zzzz

Last up, but not least, why not give the gift of relaxation and mental wellbeing. Guarantee a good night’s sleep with a gift voucher for yoga classes at Calm  and Cool on Chapel Street, or pop into their studio shop for wellbeing gifts. For deep relaxation, buy a session or two at Urban Wellness Float and the recipient of your gift can simply soak their stress away. Or pop into Earthstore at Urban Wellness Hub for a host of gifts to make them feel good, with an impressive selection of crystals, essential oils, card decks and esoteric gifts. 

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