LOOKING for that unique gift to satisfy the man or woman who has everything, while supporting local businesses and being environmentally friendly? Then perhaps it’s time to consider an antique Christmas.

While perhaps lacking the immediate ease of an Amazon gift list, choosing an antique present shows a far deeper level of thought and will certainly be more appreciated by the recipient than yet another pair of socks or a scented candle.

Where antiques are concerned, the possibilities are endless. Got a bookworm in the family? - then how about a first edition of their favourite novel, or an original book illustration? A keen cook? – maybe they’d like a cake stand, some silver servers or their own novelty nutmeg grater? Wanting to impress with jewellery? Buying antique means that not only will the piece be unique, but the quality of the stones and gold is likely to be better than high street pieces of the equivalent price, while musing designer pieces can also be snapped up at a fraction of the price.

As well as a plethora of potential Christmas gift ideas, auctions and antique shops can provide new ideas for festive decoration. Fine art ornaments or decorations make a change from the same old tinsel and plastic baubles, while your Christmas dinner table might benefit from a colourful Majolica tureen with a band of holly, a pair of Georgian silver candelabra or some Stuart Devlin napkin rings.

Looking for some after-dinner entertainment? If endless games of Trivial Pursuit send you to sleep and Pie Splat threatens to send your dry-cleaning bill soaring, then perhaps a game of table croquet would remind you of a sunnier season, while Jeu de Course, a French racing game, gives you ample opportunity to bet the silver shilling from the Christmas pudding.

Buyers new to the world of antiques should be cautious, however, and do their research before parting with their cash. Just as some online or high street retailers provide a better service than others, the same is also true of antique dealers and auction houses. Many dealers are members of BADA (British Antique Dealers’ Association), meaning that they are carefully vetted – like CheckaTrade for antiques – while auction houses are covered by the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers. If you are buying at auction then be sure to ask for a condition report and remember that a buyer’s premium (between 15% and 30%) is likely to apply on top of the price you bid. Any auction house worth their salt will be able to advise you on where to get antique jewellery cleaned, repaired or resized, and while it may mean that your Christmas shopping is a little longer in the planning this year, the resultant gifts are also bound to stay in the recipient’s memory for far longer.