Food, print and zoo subscriptions - the perfect last minute gift

Featuring animal adoption, monthly book and magazine subscriptions and early bird ticket offers

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Food, print and zoo subscriptions - the perfect last minute gift

It’s 8am on Christmas morning. All the stockings have been opened. Wrapping paper is strewn everywhere. Grandpa’s on his third sherry. But you have one trick left up your sleeve: a gift that will last all year or, at least, a few months into 2013.

Subscription gifts can be good ways of getting a long-term return on Christmas spirit, but they’re also an option if you’re reading this realising you’ve missed the final order dates from online shops – and times have changed since a magazine was the only kind of gift subscription you could go for.

Persephone is a chic publisher of books by lesser-known female writers, and though you can buy individually, they’ll also send a book a month (at £10 per month) to you or a lucky friend. Each revelatory edition carries the trademark, understated grey Persephone cover, with cream title label. Open them up to reveal vibrant and unusual patterned endpapers, carefully chosen to reflect the feel of each book.

You can choose in advance which book will be sent when – authors to pick from include Dorothy Whipple, Frances Hodgson Burnett and Noel Streatfeild. Potentially, you could map out your giftee’s entire reading habits for the year ahead, and introduce them to some new writers along the way.

For those who prefer to devour food rather than fiction, a monthly cheese delivery service, unapologetically named Pong, should please fromage-loving gourmandes. A regular foray into the cheesy unknown, with a different selection in every consignment, the arrangement is similar to the ‘veg box’ model. It’s a little pricey at £28 per month, but for real foodies a luxurious cheese-on-tap scenario might make it worth it.

If you’d rather give the postman a breather after all those Christmas cards, there are other ways to make your expression of festive cheer last. Annual membership of the Edinburgh Institut Français d’Ecosse is £30 and for that you get free book and DVD borrowing, reduced prices for Institut events (which include insightful lectures, film screenings and French music nights), plus discounts at other cosmopolitan organisations including the Cameo and L’Escargot restaurants.

You might also consider offering tickets for Glasgow Film Festival, with early bird discounts available until Sun 6 Jan. Plan ahead to see five films for £30, or 10 for £50, so film buffs can spend the afternoon of the 25th getting excited about all the new films they’ll enjoy in February instead of slumping, uninspired, in front of the Eastenders Christmas special.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh Zoo currently has a drive to attract more adopters for neglected residents, including the pygmy slow loris and colourful lilac-breasted roller, neither of which had any adopters at the time of writing. Or maybe you’ve a cousin who reminds you of the Andean Cock of the Rock? Membership options start at £40 and include fact sheets, certificates and magazines, plus the fun of visiting your selected creature throughout the year.

For that fan of illustration and graphic design in your life, the answer might be a subscription to Wrap magazine (£25 plus p&p for three 2013 issues, or £33.50 if you’d like the current issue too). Each edition is a celebration of illustration and creative culture, handily presented as five sheets of gorgeously designed wrapping paper. Issue six (pictured, below) looks to Scandinavia for inspiration, with ten artists exploring what a Nordic winter means to them, plus features on the Finnish textile brand Marimekko, Norwegian illustration-duo Darling Clementine and London café chain Nordic Bakery.

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