That carbon-fibre Christmas tree. Those jelly baubles. The tinsel made of steam. Design decisions don't always go to plan, but they almost always get you noticed - and the festive season is the perfect time to give the gift of quirky kit.
Almost always placing function over form, this here is a collection of largely useless, fantastically designed prezzies.
SpreadThat Self-Heating Butter Knife (£20)
Science can do amazing things. Science allows us to hurtle through the air, crammed into metal tubes weighing many tons, without plummeting to the ground. Science also made this butter knife.
Using nothing but the warmth of your sweaty hands, give it 20 seconds and the titanium blade will go, well, like a hot knife through butter. Cheers, science!
Plumen 003 (From £150)
When it comes to lighting your home, don't settle for standard screw or bayonet cap bulbs.
Sure, Plumen’s 003 might cost a few quid, but this is one shiner you won't be hiding: it's two-in-one LED shines a spotlight straight down, while simultaneously emitting a candle-like glow to illuminate the rest of your room. It’s designed to last 10,000 hours, so even the most forgetful switch-flickers won't need a new one soon.
Dali Katch (£330)
It you’re a fan of stuff that’s nicely designed (who isn’t?), it’s pretty much impossible not to appreciate Dali’s Katch speaker.
Don’t let its battery power and Bluetooth connectivity put you off: this little beauty is much more than just a pretty face, with a 24-hour battery life and a powerful sound far beyond its diminutive dimensions. It’s even satisfyingly weighty without being cumbersome. What’s the catch? There isn’t one.
Griffin Breaksafe (£30)
One of Apple’s most underrated inventions is the MagSafe: the magnetic charger that’s saved thousands of MacBooks from crashing to a clumsy death, when someone trips over the power cable.
So, what does Apple? Get rid of it. Griffin’s BreakSafe cable adds that laptop-saving skill to anything that charges via USB-C. Better still, it keeps a design classic from getting chucked on the scrapheap.
Memobottle (From £21)
Things don’t always move quickly in the world of bottle design. We’ve been chugging from liquid containers of the same shape for a good few hundred years now, for example. But our lives have changed. We have iPads, Netflix and scotch egg bars. It’s high time that bottles changed, too.
The Memobottle has got the memo. Designed to slot into a laptop bag without bulging, it's the perfect container for the 21st century. This one’s A5 size, but there’s also an A6 one if you’re not feeling so thirsty.