Credit-crunch gifts for less than £10

Early shopping for presents can save you a fortune. Barbara Chandler checks out where to go for inspiring choices
Now’s the time for a great Christmas gift offensive, and the first rule of combat is to shop early to save money, as last-minute panic buying is a big mistake.

Moreover, time to browse fuels the imagination. The second rule of combat is set a budget. Real design hounds can find good design under a tenner.

'Call by London's magnificent museums and galleries for shops filled with classy original ideas'

Start at the Hidden Art’s online shop at, with almost 100 cutting-edge designers.

Over in Oxo Tower, SE1, a plethora of eager studios includes W2 Products, which excels in witty sophisticated ceramics, with its own website plus numerous stockists (020 7922 1444; Already its Pantone mugs in 20 authentic colours, are icons.

A Soho shop at 47 Beak Street called Do sells witty porcelain tableware - for example a milk jug that mimics a carton, £8.50, and a pack-flat plywood fruit bowl, £7.50 (020 7494 9090;

Starburst hurricane lamp from Graham and Green
Starburst hurricane lamp, from £6.50, Graham and Green
Charming gifts from Plumo include Babushka keyrings, £5; a dear little pocket mirror, £6; exquisite angel soaps, £8 for a box of six; and padded hangers, £10 for two (0870 241 3590;

Graham and Green is big on sparkle and glamour, for example diamanté frames from £4.95 and bird-shaped mirrored hooks for £9.75. Shops are in Chiswick, Notting Hill, Primrose Hill, and King’s Road, SW3 ( Gift wrapping is also available.

For classy sweet treats, drop into Prestat, 14 Princes Arcade, Piccadilly, established in 1902. It sells handmade truffles from a 150-year-old recipe, passed down from the reign of Napoleon III, for £5.50 (020 7494 3327;

Hawkin’s Bazaar is your budget best friend, with a quirky catalogue of low-priced gifts and toys, with many old-style stocking-fillers. Search on the web by price categories, starting at 30p, up to £16. Then factor in age, gender and “mood” - fun, silly, useful or serious. The best-seller is the insulated cafetière mug for individual coffee brews (£7.99) and a mini hot-water bottle with a stripey woollen cover is £5.99. Its Christmas shop is at Unit 112, Centre Court Shopping Centre, Wimbledon, or visit 46 Ealing Broadway, W5 or branches in Bexleyheath, Croydon, Bluewater and Lakeside, Thurrock (0844 573 4000;

Pantone mugs from W2
Iconic pantone mugs come in a range of 20 colours, £8 each from W2 Products (
Happily, the high street has cracked the credit crunch - for example, with three-for-two gift offers at Boots and Superdrug.

Or find a branch of QS, and customise your presents. Buy black-and-white mugs for just £1 each, fill with sweeties/baubles and wrap in cellophane with ribbon and a handmade name tag. A gold vase is £2 - you could just add spray-painted gold twigs. And small white baskets lined with rosy fabric, costing from £3 to £7, would look good filled with herbal bath gel, chocolates or cosmetics. Branches of QS can be found in Streatham, New Malden, Epsom and Penge (0844 902 0020;

Egg soldiers by Reiko Kaneko, Hidden Art
Egg soldiers by Reiko Kaneko, £9.95 each, from
Wilkinson does stylish Wilko goods (such as cushions for a fiver, kitchen tool set, £5). Shop online, for even more choice. There are stores at Romford, West Ealing, Epsom, Wembley, Hounslow, Dartford and Gillingham (0800 032 9329;

Woolworths ups the ante with real granite pestle/mortar, £6, herb chopper, £10, and cocktail shaker, £10. The biggest Woolies stores are in Swiss Cottage and Brixton (01706 862 789;

Come Christmas, Ikea goes into low-price overdrive, and you can catch a free shuttle bus to Wembley’s branch from Stonebridge Park (Bakerloo line). Other stores are at Edmonton, Croydon and Lakeside, Thurrock ( Make a day of it with festive food, children’s play area, plus loads of cheap yet stylish wrappings.

Water bottles from the V&A shop
Arts and Crafts-style water bottles, £8 each from the V&A shop
Call by London’s magnificent museums and galleries for shops packed with classy original ideas. Make lots of time for the V&A and don’t buy all the gifts for yourself. Tatebanko Evening Snow is a kit for an ethereal “paper diorama”, inspired by the Japanese Edo artist Hiroshige, costing £6 (020 7942 2696; Tate Modern and the Royal Academy are great to visit, too. And the Science Museum is brilliant for children.

For good tools/gadgets, try Homebase, whose own brand has smart yellow handles. Additionally, find seasonal gifts, including a gingerbread mix with fancy Santa cutters. White ribbed towels cost from £1.99 to £6.99. Three herb pots, for growing basil, chives and coriander, cost £4.99 (0845 077 8888;

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