The luxury gift guide: opulent gifts to impress this Christmas
After a Christmas present with a true 'wow' factor? We've scoured the market to find the most luxurious Christmas gifts available.
These gift ideas certainly aren't cheap. But hey, if you win the lottery, or feel like throwing financial caution to the wind to spoil a loved one, these presents are the best example of their kind that money can buy. (For the rest of us, we've provided a more realistic option underneath).
The Ultimate Fitness Watch: The Garmin Marq, from £1,399
There's a compelling argument for Garmin being the finest manufacturers of fitness watches on the market (we've been using new iterations for the past decade, and they've been consistently excellent).
So their decision to enter the realm of luxury watches aroused our curiosity. Can Garmin compete with Tag Heuers and Breitlings, while still maintaining those brilliant fitness tracking specs?
In short: yes. The Garmin Marq utilises high-grade watch materials (titanium casings, a dome sapphire crystal lens), has a far more stylish appearance than any standard fitness watch, and maintains the ever-evolving set of fitness tracking spec Garmin has mastered (GPS, heart rate monitor, built-in music storage, Garmin Pay, and much, much more).
There are five Garmin MARQs on the market: The Athlete, the Aviator, the Captain, the Driver, and the Expedition. Each is designed to fit the needs of a specific wearer. We recommend the Athlete as the ultimate fitness watch for runners.
Buy now: the Garmin Marq, from £1,399, Jura Watches
And the realistic option: Comfortable, funky, and great at tracking running stats, the Garmin Forerunner is a great buy at £99.
The Ultimate Whisky: The Macallan 30 Sherry oak Whisky, £4,999.99
The most expensive whisky in the world is a 1926 Macallan, auctioned last year for a record-breaking £1.5 million. While we're hunting luxury here, we want to remain in the realm of the plausible.
By comparison, then, the Macallan 30 year old Sherry oak whisky is a bargain for £4,999.99.
Established in 1824, the Macallan distillery has earned a reputation for excellence by combining the best of raw Scottish resources with Spanish produce. This single malt has been matured in Olorose sherry oak casks from Jerez, Spain undisturbed for 30 years. It's a delectably mature, dark dram, redolent of orange clove, nutmeg and wood smoke. It's all too easy to drink: smoother than Cary Grant wearing a tuxedo.
Buy now, Macallan 30 Sherry oak whiskey, £4,999.99, The Bottle Club.
And the realistic option: Consider the 30 year old's younger, zingier cousin. The Macallan Gold Double Cask Malt has cheeky hints of citrus and boiled sweets and costs less than a small vehicle at £46.99
The Ultimate Hot Chocolate Maker: Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser, £99.95
They'll never want a regular powder-made hot chocolate again. The Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser makes rich, thick, barista-quality hot chocolate at home in under 3 minutes. Just plug in the Velvetiser, insert chocolate flakes and the milk of your choice, and switch it on. You'll be supping a delectable drink in no time.
Buy now, £99.95, Hotel Chocolat
And the realistic option: nothing compares, we're afraid.
The Ultimate Handbag: Alexander McQueen The Tall Story black leather tote, £1,890
Certain fashionistas will insist that Chanel or Louis Vuitton make the most enduring luxury handbags, but the aesthetic of both is decidedly stuffy. That's fine if you want to look twenty years older, but if you want to look stylish across the seasons, Alexander McQueen is a much more interesting and chic choice.
It may be the legendary Scots' designers' label, but this bag is utterly Parisian in feel. Black leather with gold detailing, red leather interior, capacious in size, and guaranteed to look as effortlessly sexy today as it will in thirty years time.
Buy now, Alexander McQueen The Tall Story Black Leather Tote, £1,890, Harvey Nichols
And the realistic option: Black leather with gold trim, the Osprey Heidi Leather Shoulder Workbag is built to last, very good-looking, and a pleasing £79.
The Ultimate Skincare Gift: La Mer The Soothing Hydration Collection, £340
In the 1950s, physicist Max Huber sought to create a product to heal burns he had endured in a lab accident. After 12 years, he created the 'miracle broth' - a form of fermented sea kelp that is now the basis ingredient in all skincare within the range he subsequently invented, La Mer.
These days, La Mer is credited with launching the notion of luxury skincare and is beloved by celebrities. The Soothing Hydration Collection is a four-piece set featuring a selection of La Mer's best-loved treatments.
If you're wondering - yes, they are really good. They cosset and sooth the skin wonderfully. If you know anyone unfortunate enough to be enduring chemotherapy, La Mer moisturiser is fantastic at providing hydration and succour to dry, inflamed, agitated skin.
Buy now, The Soothing Hydration Collection, £340, Selfridges
And the realistic option: It is a truth universally acknowledged that French beauty brands offer the most effective products at a reasonable price. Clarins Refresh and Hydrate Collection will plump and calm your skin beautifully, all for £47.
The Ultimate Bluetooth Speaker System: Ruark R7 Mk3 Wireless All-In-One Music System, £2,295
We are confounded. Overwhelmed. What a speaker system: cabinet, amplifier and drive unit in one. All this, and it looks so pleasingly 70s in style - that gorgeous walnut veneer means it will look handsome anywhere in your home.
The Ruark R7 is a kind of magic. It turns your television into a home cinema. Bluetooth ensures you can play music from anywhere in the house. The sound is gorgeous - bespoke stereo speaker units mean the high and low frequency components are combined into a single point source driver.
It's set up for total connectivity, too - you can connect your record player to it, and it plays (if you have them) CDs.
Buy now, Ruark R7 Mk3 Wireless All-In-One Music System, £2,295, Electric Shop
And the realistic option: We're going to level with you here. There's nothing remotely close to this that you can buy for cheap. Though if you want a great bluetooth speaker, the Sonos Beam is discretely stylish and sounds terrific, for £399
The Ultimate Smart Television: LG OLED88ZX9LA 88" Smart 8K HDR OLED TV, £19,999
Have you missed the cinema in 2020? This will banish all longing for the picture house from your mind.
LG are manufacturers of the best smart televisions on the market, and this particular incarnation is their pièce de résistance.
At 88 inches (that's over seven feet) it's large enough to immerse yourself in. As you'd hope, it's souped-up with the best specs you could hope for in a smart TV - Dolby Atmos, state-of-the-art processing, HDMI 2.1 connects, a webOS smart platform, AI assistance - and it free-stands on the floor and is as thin as a pancake that's just been steam-rollered.
It's a deliciously dramatic viewing experience - you'll be blown away by the sharpness of the image and crispness of the sound. You'll never want to head out to the cinema again.
Buy now, LG OLED88ZX9LA 88", £19,999, Currys.
And the realistic option: Our tech reviewer was very charmed by the LG OLED55BX6LB 55" Smart 4K Ultra HD OLED TV, which has an impressively clear picture, great processing skills, and looks lush, for the far more obtainable £1,098.
The Ultimate Food and Drink Hamper: The Harrodian Christmas Hamper, £2,500
How often can you purchase a gift that serves as an emergency food supply in case of nuclear apocalypse?
The Harrods Christmas Hamper is almost comical in its excess, but it also contains literally every best item from their legendary food hall. From store cupboard favourites like preserves, oils and biscuits, to foie gras, caviar, Cropwell Bishop cheese, by way of fine aged single malt whisky, sparkling wines, bold reds, and thence to the pleasures of fine creamery fudge and hand-crafted chocolates. If it's a food stuff you dream of eating, it's here in its finest iteration, and great abundance.
Buy now, The Harrodian Christmas Hamper, £2,500, Harrods
And the realistic option: Our expert has already rounded-up the best Christmas hampers on the market (that you don't have to donate a vital organ to obtain) here