Museum and gallery gift shops have come a long way since the bad old days when all they sold were rainbow rubbers and giant pencils – they're now Christmas shopping destinations in their own right. Just look at the Design Museum shop, packed with waiting-to-be-presents for people who value form at least as much as function, it’s almost as big as the museum itself. In fact, they're so good that waiting until the end of a show to hit the shop is an exercise in patience.
But we say fuck social norms – not all of them of course – be as impatient as you like and shop whenever the hell you want to. Plus, once you’ve bought everything worthy of stocking-stuffing, you get to reward yourself with an exhibition. We've trawled through the shops to bring you the best gifts. You're welcome.
Fact: literally no one on Earth knows how to play dominoes anymore. No one. But don’t let that stop you from buying this perfectly neat set decorated by the brilliant Turner Prize-nominated fourth-plinth-thumber David Shrigley. If you give them as a gift, whoever receives them will be bowled over. Yes, that’s the best domino joke we can think of.
Domino set, £40. shop.tate.org.uk
There’s only one thing better than a coat of arms, and that’s an arm of coats, but that’s impossible. So this will have a to do – a gorgeous cushion designed by everyone’s favourite transvestite potter, Grayson Perry. He’s got a show coming up at the Serpentine next year, so pop this under your head when you sleep and subliminally absorb what the hell it’s all about. That’s how all the art critics do it.
Coat of Arms cushion, £140. shop.tate.org.uk
Urgh, is there anything more boring than paintings on canvas? URGH, BORING. RIGHT? Totally. So sack all that crap off and go for this awesome art jacket covered in designs pop art pioneer Peter Blake. You’ll look totally poppin’. Get it? Because pop art. No, YOU think of a better joke.
ICA Art Jak, £70. www.ica.org.uk
Bob and Roberta Smith
Are you scared of commitment? Are you avoiding moving in with your partner? Do you refuse to grow up? Are you a giant adult baby? Then boy do we have the gift for you. This temporary tattoo by the incendiary Bob & Roberta Smith is the perfect way to look like a total rebel without having to actually make a life-long decision. The dream.
Temporary tattoo, £3. shop.whitechapelgallery.org
True artists don’t dream of showing their work in fancy exhibitions or having it hang on the walls of famous museums – what all great artists REALLY want is to see their creations turned into tea towels. Louise Bourgeois, if she was still alive, could die happy if she’d seen this. Do it for Louise.
Cat tea towel, £35. shop.tate.org.uk
Brilliant photographer Malick Sidibé’s joyous work captures a post-independence Mali in the 1960s, which just so happens to have been a supremely sartorial time. Buy this beautiful book of his photography for fashion obsessed friends, or scruff-bags as a festive hint – ‘cos nothing says Christmas like passive aggression.
It’s too funky in here, £18. www.somersethouseshop.com
There are few things quite as punk as a cotton tote bag, so this Christmas help your most radical relatives really stick it to the man and avoid that 5p carrier bag charge like a boss. Even the great (but not late) Patti Smith has got one. Probably. Maybe.
'Punk and chips' tote bag, £4. www.ica.org.uk
Very few people have a record player in their homes now so if you’re going to give vinyl for Christmas make sure it’s something with a great sleeve that’ll look pretty on a shelf. And what could be nicer than an Eggleston photograph? Plus what better way to celebrate the birth of the world’s most famous Jewish man than with The Silver Jews?
'Silver Jews: Tanglewood Numbers' vinyl LP, £25. npgshop.org.uk
This calendar by Italian modernist designer Enzo Mari is based on railway signs, which probably means if you give it to someone you’re condoning their future lateness by days, weeks even. So keep it for yourself and blame your calendar for you being late to work. It’s what Enzo wants you to do.
Timor black calendar, £100. designmuseumshop.com
We all know not to judge a book by its cover, unless that book is the ‘BNP’s Guide to Britishness’ or something of that ilk because you 100 percent know it’ll be both badly written and unpleasant. But you can totally judge a one of these books by their covers because they’re blank inside.
Guy Bourdin notebook set, £5. www.somersethouseshop.com
By Eddy Frankel and Miriam BoutebaShare the story