Some loved ones just won’t be happy with a bottle of perfume and a selection box. These deep and meaningful types are the people who will make you really try and when you finally push a True Detective boxset in their general direction they’ll say thank you, but then in a later conversation innocently name-drop Wim Wenders or Marina Abramovic to remind you that you didn’t listen hard enough. Here’s our tips for what to get the culture vultures you can’t seem to tick off the gift list.
For your friend who gets French new wave
Sometimes the best thing about being a dilettante is broadcasting the fact. Your pal who loudly tweeted about podcast sensation Serial two moons ago will appreciate this Bella Freud number, which honours the beat generation’s uncrowned king Allen Ginsberg. The only downside to receiving such a knit? Some guy who didn’t finish On The Road is going to pester your friend in a smoking area St. Stephen’s night. These things happen.
For the longlist bookworm
Listen, not every person is going to unwrap a copy of Dan Brown’s Inferno and go “This is exactly what I need for when Dad forgets he’s already watched Some Like it Hot yesterday and refuses to change the channel and I need to escape to a relative-free nook with a book and some hastily assembled hot whiskey.” The trouble with book buying these days is that with e-readers you don’t know if you’re double-buying. While there are arguments against owning one copy of Piketty’s Capital, having two in the house is just a Christmas tragedy. From the forces behind The Gentlewoman and Penguin, The Happy Reader is a new magazine with a literary concept that will have you ordering a subscription before we finish this paragraph. Take an interview with a famous book fanatic, a series of articles that explore a classic novel from angles as myriad as fashion and food, and some graphic design magic, and say hello to the type of gift that will keep on giving. Well, for four seasons at least. And you only have to pay the cost of postage so this gift is ideal for the stretched thin among us. The first issue of this clever clogs quarterly features Downton’s Dan Stevens on cover feature duties and sees Wilkie Collins’ Victorian thriller The Woman in White under the microscope. For details on how to order a copy see penguinclassics.co.uk
For the fashion girl who loves facts/flats
Hannah Rochell’s debut book En Brogue comes with the subheading “Love Fashion. Love Shoes. Hate Heels” and we think that might be our new Instagram bio as of now. Based on a blog of the same name, En Brogue marries quirkily illustrations with some snazzy street-style snaps to tell the stories of all the shoes that don’t require sacrificing comfort. Between derbys, oxfords and all the breeds of loafers, this book promises a wealth of knowledge and some ideas for what to wear when traipsing through galleries on lunch breaks. Amazon.co.uk
For the armchair critic
The Gate Theatre offers gift certificates with some pretty flexible ts and cs – all denominations are accepted and there is no expiry date. With 86 years of stellar productions in the history books and occasional appearances from Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson on stage, these vouchers are sure to appease the types who think real life 3D is so much better than watching another spaceship crash through awkward plastic lenses. This winter Wuthering Heights, above, is the show to see. gatetheatre.ie
Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun