Christmas Gift Ideas for 2023

by Ben Roughton

Use our outdoors-themed Christmas guide to help you find something special for a hiker, runner or cyclist in your life.

It’s that time of year again! Christmas is on the horizon, and if you’re anything like me, you’re struggling to find a perfect gift for the hiking friend or family member in your life. The thought is what counts, but practicality is a bonus — and below are some suggestions for filling a stocking with gifts that should bring smiles and start conversations this festive period.

The cover of the UK edition of Mapominoes, a great Christmas gift idea for map-lovers, shows the company branding superimposed over the Union Flag.

Mapominoes UK

Mapominoes. It's like dominoes... but with maps!

There are several variants of this map-themed match-‘em-up game, but the UK version offers cross-country fun by linking counties together.

The best thing is that you need no special knowledge of British geography, so you can pick up and play.

Strumpshaw, Tincleton & Giggleswick's Great British Folklore & Superstition map

I listed a novelty ST&G map in my "map lovers" Christmas gift guide a few years ago, and after collecting more of their splendid maps, I have a new favourite.

The Folklore map, with a shiny black cover, held outside in a grassy field.
A close-up of the Folklore map, showing local superstitions.

The folklore and superstition map is rife with British mythology, legends and other obscurities from these interesting isles, from the well-known (King Arthur, Beast of Bodmin, Nessie) to lesser-known creatures, monsters and tales that haunt the land.

A phone in a black waterproof phone pouch is immersed in water.

Hoomil Waterproof Phone Pouch

Some mobile phones these days are water-resistant, but very few are actually waterPROOF.

Just in case your Boxing Day walk is a bit on the soggy side, Hoomil's secure pouch not only keeps your device dry, but you can still use the touch screen. The perfect gift for anyone who has ever ended a walk by resting their phone in a box of rice!

Quechua SH500 Warm Hiking Socks

Clothing is such a difficult thing to buy as a gift. Some folk flat-out refuse to consider it an option. Play it safe (and affordable) with a gift that always goes down well with us outdoorsy folk: the humble pair of socks!

A row of grey and yellow Quechua SH500 Warm Hiking Socks, perfect for Christmas.

The bane of many a childhood Christmas, but a success for the hiker or runner keen to look after their feet. The Quechua SH500 Warm hiking socks were recently championed by BBC Countryfile magazine as some of the best. With merino wool and knitted vents, they’re made for cold weather — a perfect and affordable seasonal gift.

Oddballs Underwear

Text graphic reading Christmas at Oddballs.
Bear with me on this one. Comfortable socks are one thing for a walk, run or cycle ride... but comfortable undies must also take priority when enjoying the outdoors. If you are confident gifting such to someone who won't mind the sentiment, Oddballs don't just make comfy undies with jazzy designs, but they also support charities (originally founded to raise testicular cancer awareness).

I recommend the cow design for ultimate outdoorsy charm. Moo-rry Christmas!

Doiy Pizza Cutter

Buy a bike and cut the carbs? Don't mind if I do!

A pizza cutter in the shape of a bicycle is used to cut a slice of pizza.

Grasmere Gingerbread's distinctive blue-and-white stamp of authenticity.

Grasmere Gingerbread

I learned of this local treat on my Coast to Coast walk: Grasmere Gingerbread is a Victorian bakery selling a delicious, treacle-y gingerbread that works as excellent hiking fuel.

While I'd certainly recommend poking your head into the almost 170-year-old bakery if you visit Grasmere, I would also recommend having gingerbread delivered and gifted as a present this Christmas.

Tip: warm your gingerbread in the microwave and add a scoop of ice cream.

Bakewell Tart

The story goes that the famous dessert was created in the 19th century when a cook at one of the inns in Bakewell misunderstood a jam tart recipe and... the rest is history.

These are very different to the Bakewell tarts you find in the supermarket. Have them posted from one of the bakeries that claim to hold the original recipe.

A bakewell pudding in the post-a-pudding packaging of The Bakewell Pudding Shop, ready to be shipped out for Christmas.

Tip: warm your pudding up and serve with custard. 

Outdoor Active gift subscription

Having the entire UK on your phone in 1:25,000 scale!? We might know someone who still considers that witchcraft. Though they may prefer to use paper maps on their adventures (like the good old days) there is no doubt that plotting and planning on your phone or device is so convenient and (if you’re a bit map-mad like me) highly enjoyable.

A screenshot of the Outdoor Active app showing the map in standard format.
A screenshot of the upgrade screen of the Outdoor Active app, showing the change to Ordnance Survey mapping.
A screenshot of an Outdoor Active community challenge.

Outdoor Active is just one of several apps that allow you to view OS maps for the entire UK, but this one comes with a community that shares routes too. You may know someone in your life eager to adopt this new-fangled technology, so why not spoil them with a subscription?

Contours Holidays gift voucher

For that special someone in your life, why not treat them to a gift voucher towards their next Contours holiday? For UK customers, a physical voucher is sent in the post, so you have something to include in a stocking or Christmas card, ready for the big day.

Gift vouchers can be credited with any amount, starting at £10.00.

A family (and dog) sit in alcoves at a Roman fort they visited on their Hadrian's Wall Path walking holiday with Contours.
Two hikers sit on either side of a statue seated on a bench on their Contours Holiday.
Two walkers enjoy a sunny day out on the South West Coast Path with Contours Holidays, an experience you could discount for a friend or family member with a Contours gift voucher.

Merry Christmas from everyone at Contours Holidays, and a Happy New Year too!

Originally published 23/11/23

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