12 Days Of Christmas Gifts – Our Favourite Ever Presents

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The song is an absolute festive classic, but we got to thinking here at Virgin Balloon Flights: what would our favourite gifts be for the 12 Days Of Christmas?

Here are some of the best Christmas gift ideas our team has ever received or given to others over the years.


Probably the most memorable present I ever had for Christmas was my first ever mobile phone when I was a teenager.

It was a Nokia, a model that had just been released, and I remember thinking I was just the coolest kid ever because it had ‘Snake’ on it!

When you look at smartphones now and all the apps and games you can get, it’s bizarre to think just how excited we got over a small green and black screen with a small black line that ate apples to get a high score.

Another Christmas present from a few years ago that I’ll always remember was tickets to Michael McIntyre.

We saw him at the NEC in Birmingham, and he was hilarious. I think he’s such a funny comedian and it cracks me up the way he moves across the stage and just flops his hair around everywhere.

It was such a great gift as we’d not only had the excitement of opening it on Christmas Day, but then we had another great day at the actual gig itself, laughing our asses off together.


Certainly, one of the best gifts of recent years was a steam train ride, bought last Christmas for my son by a family friend.

It was for a family weekend train ride and lunch this summer on the Churnet Valley Railway in Staffordshire.

If the excitement for an almost seven-year-old boy going on a steam train wasn’t enough, it was also the first time we’d gone anywhere or done anything since the first lockdown began in March.

We had an awesome day as a family and both kids loved it.

While we’ve always really enjoyed spending time together and doing things as a family, the lockdown and everything else that happened this year made us appreciate those moments even more.

Another gift I’ve never forgotten, which I’m sure is the same for many people, was my first bike, which I got for Christmas when I was about seven.

It was a bright yellow BMX and to this day remember my dad teaching me how to ride it on Christmas Day on the street outside.

He did the usual ‘dad’ thing - running alongside while I pedalled and when I called back to check he was still holding onto the seat, he’d actually let go about 20 yards back and was just watching me cycle on my own.

It’s the memories of time spent with family that stay with you long after the gift itself has been and gone.


It wasn’t exactly a Christmas present, but one of the most memorable ‘Christmassy’ experiences I ever had was filming a festive hot air balloon ride video for work.

I’m in the marketing team and am incredibly fortunate to have had the chance to fly a few times, but this festive filming experience was brilliant.

Having been grounded by fog in the morning when we initially planned to film, we took to the skies on a gorgeous, crisp, and bright evening in mid-October.

We sang Christmas carols, told bad Christmas cracker jokes, and just had so much fun with the filming.

But what I remember most of all was just how beautiful an experience it was, floating over gorgeous Shropshire as sunset approached.

You could see for miles, and it really was just an incredible evening before we came in to land on the picturesque grounds of Weston Park. I’ll never forget it.

An actual present I’ve never forgotten was back as a kid, probably around Christmas 1990, when Santa brought me a Commodore 64 games computer.

The games were on cassette and took about an hour to load before you could start playing them.

And if you were unlucky, that would only be half the game and you’d then have to flip the tape over and let it load for another hour before you could play the second half!

I still have it, along with all the classic games – Treasure Island Dizzy, Ghostbusters, Bubble Bobble, Maniac Mansion, Pitstop II…

Pretty sure my old Sega Mega Drive is also kicking about somewhere.

I might get them set up and show my Roblox and Minecraft-obsessed nine-year-old what her mum used to have to play on when I was her age!

Sounds like the perfect way to spend some festive family time to me.


One of the most memorable gifts I remember for Christmas is something I bought for someone else.

Last year I got my mum two tickets to see Diana Ross in concert, on what is due to be her farewell tour.

My mum loves her and all Motown music, as that was very much her era growing up, so she was emotional when she opened them and it was amazing to see her so happy.

Of course, due to COVID-19, the tour has been postponed to next year but funnily enough, the re-scheduled date in June 2021 is my dad’s birthday.

My other half and I are complete opposites when it comes to gift buying – he likes actual ‘things’, something he can unwrap and use/wear there and then whereas I love something to do or an experience to enjoy.

And no matter how often we gave each other Christmas ideas, he’d always get me something completely the opposite – one year he bought me a toolbox! And while they’ve all still been lovely gifts that I appreciated, I am not the sort of person to ever need a toolbox.

Then one Christmas, he surprised me with an all-inclusive holiday to Menorca for the two of us, which was absolutely wonderful, completely unexpected, and just the most perfect gift he could have chosen.


If I remember back to Christmas as a kid, it wasn’t ever the ‘bigger’ main presents I remember but the little bits we would get in the stockings.

We would always have a Christmas stocking at the bottom of the bed for when we woke up, which we would then take into my mum and dad’s bedroom and open together before going downstairs.

It was just that excitement of waking up and that amazing feeling when you saw ‘Santa had been’ and then spending the day with your family, that’s what I remember as special about Christmas.

In the stocking, there would be little things like Fruit Pastels, maybe a bit of make-up, and pencils with our names on them, which we used to think were just amazing – Santa actually knew our names!

I can’t really remember any of the ‘bigger’ or ‘main’ presents we had but those little bits in the stockings have always stayed with me.

But there was one ‘big’ present I do remember from my teenage years though, which was a pair of blue and white roller boots.

I’d wanted some for absolutely ages and was over the moon when I opened them that Christmas.

I spent hours going up and down the block outside, as we lived in a cul-de-sac so I had lots of space with little traffic to practice.

Then as me and my mates got better, we’d roller boot off down to the local pub, where our dads would sometimes get together for a pint, and do all our tricks and cool turns in the car park.


I’m not great when it comes to remembering any Christmas presents, even those I know I really appreciated at the time.

A couple of gifts that do stand out in my mind though are the year I had various ‘cooking-related’ items bought for me.

It was my first Christmas in my first house and I got things like a soup maker and toasted sandwich grill – things I would never think to buy for myself but which I actually use a lot even now.

Another present I remember was a bit random, when my brother bought me two hamsters to keep my existing hamster Greg company, as he was getting on a bit in years.

I must have been about 20, so I wasn’t exactly a kid and while it’s obviously not usually a great idea to get any sort of pet for Christmas, I already had one hamster and they were basically two friends for him.

Greg was pretty awesome, to be honest – he lived about four years and used to pretty much just have the run of the house.

He’d even come when you called for him, running out of whichever nook or cranny he’d hidden himself in.

The two new hamsters, Smokes and Truffle, both got on great with Greg and definitely improved his twilight years.

What Christmas presents or experiences do you remember from years gone by?

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