|With Christmas just around the corner, the streets are suddenly teaming with gaggles of manic-looking shoppers trying to find the perfect pressie for their loved ones. I haven't personally joined the ranks of the sweaty-faced masses yet (as tradition dictates, I'll be leaving my Christmas shop until the last possible moment) but I must admit, dashing from shop to shop under the twinkling street decorations, or enjoying a bit of home browsing with a glass of mulled wine, seems the perfect way to get in the festive mood.
And while it can be a bit of a panic attempting to guess what your incredibly particular sister might be partial to this year, there is something decidedly satisfying (not to mention downright heart-warming) about absolutely getting it right.
|Of course Christmas isn't all about presents, but they are an opportunity for us to show the people we love that we're not totally indifferent to them. So this year, instead of wading through the virtual labyrinth of Amazon or the crowded shops on the high street for those tried and tested goodies (Breaking Bad box set every time), why not give someone a great experience?
Tangible presents you can tear open under the tree on Christmas morning are great, but a night of musical theatre or fantastic stand-up comedy is something absolutely memorable and, more importantly, can be shared.
|For your regular theatregoing crowd, you may want to try something a little unconventional or, if you've got that lovable pretentious mate (if you don't think you have one - bad luck, it's you), give them something to talk about this Christmas with these daring adaptations of cinematic classics.
Based on Tim Burton's hugely successful cult classic Edward Scissorhands, this all-dance adaptation from Matthew Bourne is already winning rave reviews for its stunning take on an unconventional love story.
|This hilarious and heartfelt musical based on Pedro Almodóvars award-winning, trailblazing film is definitely one for the movie fanatics amongst you.
If that's not enough to tempt you, it also stars Olivier Award-winning actress Tamsin Greig and comes from the creators of current hit West End musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, so you know it's good.
|If you fancy something a little more contemporary, then Diversity's latest tour Up Close & Personal will probably do the job.
After winning Britain's Got Talent, this group of dancers have embarked on numerous sell-out tours, wowing audiences with their eye-catching routines which skilfully incorporate a variety of genres. Not to be missed.
|If you're allergic to theatre or dance, you could opt for a night of comedy. These days, comedy comes in all forms, appears in venues great and small, and tours pretty much everywhere in the UK. So whether you fancy a bit of cutting edge new stand-up, or want to see comedy's big guns, you're in luck. Kevin Bridges, Scotland's biggest export, has had a stratospheric rise to fame, hosting three separate shows for BBC1, embarking on an impressive 136-date tour, and smashing box-office records by selling a staggering 45,000 tickets on the first day for his 2012 tour, Kevin Bridges: The Story Continues, so this timely return with new show A Whole Different Story is not one to be missed.|
|In his new Yap, Yap Yap tour, BAFTA and British Comedy Award-winning Chatty Man, Alan Carr presents his bizarre and hilarious take on life.
Alternatively (this may be one for your parents, or for you, depending on whether you enjoy old-school music, or watching old people reliving their heyday), why not opt for one of the various tribute acts touring the nation for a hilarious sing-along night out?