“Hey, what would you like for Christmas?” my friends, partner and family asks me.
“Oh I dunno, just escape room stuff!” I reply.
So how on earth do you shop for that escape room fan in your life? Here’s my definitive guide to what’s new on the UK (and further afield!) market this year, everything and anything Christmas themed, and the down low on what your escape room playing friend really wants in their stocking*
*Santa if you’re reading this, you know what to do.
Escape Room Gifts
My first category is “Escape Room Gifts”, this covers just about anything that isn’t an actual, playable escape room! Advent Calendars, stocking fillers and more!
Escape Room Advent Calendar | £15 – £20
For the second year running, the Kickstarter smash hit is BACK with 2 Advent Calendar themes to choose from. Not a single number to be found, the correct door to open next is carefully hidden behind a clue in the previous door. Get it right and you’re in for a very satisfying Christmas morning!
Flatpak 2021 Calendar | Under £10
If you’re unfamiliar with Flatpak, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m just linking the hardware department of a Scandinavian furniture shop. The brilliant team behind Escapages have put together a puzzle calendar for 2021. Each month opens to a double-page, full colour glossy A4 landscape spread with product pictures and month to view calendar page. There 48 puzzles with hints included, find out what we thought when we ‘played’ it here.
P.S. The Escape Roomer readers can enjoy 10% with promocode ROOMER10OFF
Family Fun Box | £30 +
In response to the UK’s lockdown likely carrying on all the way through to Christmas, Escape Game has come up with a fabulous idea for the whole family to unwrap. Their ‘Festive Family Fun Box’ contains a box locked with a 6 digit padlock, a Christmas card packed with clues to unlock, and once in, a play at home game, a limited edition bauble, and a jigsaw! There’s also a mystery discount for a live game – a nice touch! It gives you something to look forward to in the new year.
Escape Game Achievements – A2 Scratch Off Poster | £10 – £15
Okay, I have seen SO MUCH buzz about this on various escape room forums about the A2 Scratch Off Poster. That’s why I’m so excited to put this on my list this year! Where the video game world meets the escape room world, this poster gives you a series of unlockable achievements… For the real world! The perfect gift for escape room veterans and ‘just getting started’ players alike!
Don’t Get Locked Gin! | £30 +
So this one is a little close to my heart *swigs another cocktail*. The fabulous folks at Don’t Get Locked In has been distilled at a local distillery and is the perfect accompaniment to their Gin & Panic distillery escape room. Supporting a local distillery, an escape room AND fuelling your friend’s gin habit? Yes please. Jokes aside, this is a LOVELY little gift and you can pick up a bottle here. PLUS if you purchase before the 18th of December, you’ll get a £10 voucher towards you next escape room with Don’t Get Locked In!
Wine Stopper Lock Puzzle | £30 +
Genius? Or fiendishly cruel? You decide. If a fancy bottle of wine is your go-to Christmas gift, why not take the experience up a notch buy encasing it in a wooden puzzle. Kubiya games also have a selection of mini games, boxes, and even one of these for beer bottles!
Scream Pretty Padlock Necklace | £30 +
This entry is inspired by an item of jewellery I own myself – its a little gold padlock necklace. A declaration of love, or a declaration of “I really enjoy escape rooms” it serves both purposes well. I’ve listed Scream Pretty, but plenty of local shops and Etsy sellers make similar, custom pieces.
Lock & Key Chocolate | £10 – £15
It’s not Christmas until you eat a large quantity of chocolate and pass out on the sofa in front of Home Alone 2. Give the gift of chocolate this year – there’s no puzzle in this delicious box, so your lucky recipient can tuck in immediately. The Chocolate Workshop also do a range of other chocolate sculptures. I bought my mum a pair of chocolate scissors one year. Why not?
Puzzles by Post
2020 has been a next level apocalyptic year – but even if you can’t travel to see your friends right now, you can still send them a letter! I’m super excited to be including this category in my gift list – it’s puzzles by post!
The concept is simple – your friend receives a mysterious envelope filled with puzzles to solve. When they do, they’ll get a code to log into a secret portal and find the message you’ve left for them! Write, record or snap something fun for your recipient to find. It’s something a little different for Christmas Day! Here are a few companies that do this really, really well:
Puzzle Post | £10 – £15
Post-a-Puzzle | £10 – £15
From the makers of Escape Rooms Cardiff here in the UK comes their very own Post-a-Puzzle service. This one is bright, fun and exciting – we played it last week!
Mystery Mail | Under £10
Mystery Mail is about as mysterious as it gets! With this, your recipient will receive a large envelope and very slick graphics. We’ve played School of Witchcraft and Catch Me if You Can and loved both! Rumour has it there’s a Christmas edition launching very soon!
Escape Mail | Under £10
This one’s a little different – there’s no message waiting for your friend at the end. But, as the whole game fits inside one very intriguing looking envelope, it deserves a place on this list. Mobile Escape are a Canadian based company with a seasonal puzzle game. You can sign your friend up for a subscription, or buy a one off (I’d recommend starting with episode 1!). We played Episode 1 and Episode 2 and cannot wait to play more.
I bet you didn’t expect to see this category here but yes! There are many escape room books out there. Here are a list of some (hopefully!) surprising books you may wish to consider for the escape room fan out there.
Journal 29 | £10 – £15
A classic! Ask any escape room fan out there, it deserves all the praise in the world too. Journal29 has over 63 riddles and puzzles contained within it’s pages, and each one is solved by inputting the answer into their website. You can write, draw, search, fold pages, combine different methods and try to get those riddles right. But did you know they also have a brand new book The Cypher Files out too? That’s Christmas morning sorted!
Sherlock Holmes Escape Room Puzzles | £10 – £15
This one gets a huge mention on this list because (at the time of writing) it’s just come out! I enjoyed playing James Hamer-Morton’s first book (The Escape Room Puzzle Book) so much, and the timing of the Sherlock Holmes Museum endorsed “sequel” could not come at a perfect time for Christmas. It’s a guaranteed big hit and with those warm, Victorian vibes, I personally cannot wait to crack this one open on Christmas Day.
Codex Seraphinianus | £30 +
Often called “the world’s strangest book”, this is an Encyclopedia of an imaginary world written in an imaginary language. True, there are no puzzles to be solved. But it’s gorgeous, mysterious and excites all my “I must try and decipher this” senses. Whilst you’re at it, you might want to purchase a copy of the Voynich Manuscript too.
What even is Christmas if not a time for getting together with your loved ones and playing silly games? Whether you’re a fan of board games or videogames, giving one as a gift is something you can enjoy too! Whenever I’m showing up at my parent’s house for Christmas, I’m bringing a game for us to play.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes | £10 – £15
All you need to play this one is a printer and a console (yes, your mobile phone counts!). In Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, one players is the ‘bomb disposal’ person, and the rest of the players have an elaborate defusal manual. Print ahead and pack this one in your overnight bag for Christmas, it’s an absolute crowd pleaser!
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective | £30 +
Okay, yes. I did just write a review and said “don’t play this drunk”, but I’m suggesting this one as a gift, not necessarily a party game over the mulled wine. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective games easily give the player over 20 hours of play time, and they’re packed with puzzles and cerebral challenges that even the great Sherlock himself would be challenged by. It’s a great gift for the price!
Decrypto | £15 – £20
This is it! This is the ultimate escape room style board game and I will die on this hill if anyone disagrees! Two teams go head to head to decipher the other team’s code. Fastest wins. It’s really that simple, but oh so much fun. If your escape room friend doesn’t already own this game, immediately buy it for them. They need it. In fact, I’ve just put 3 in my shopping basket now.
Mysterium | £30 +
I’ve never seen a board game get such glowing reviews from escape room fans, so you bet it’s on this year’s gift list! One player plays the role of the ghost, the others take the role of mediums, as you work together to reconstruct a murder. It’s exciting, engaging, and whats more a great game to play after Christmas dinner with those escape room fans in your life!
Just for Fun
Still stuck? How about this:
A Rubix Cube | £10 – £15
If you’ve read this far and haven’t already rushed off to buy your Christmas gifts – I can’t help you! But hey, this last item on the list might actually be the perfect stocking filler? And why not? It’s a classic since the 1970s. Why improve on perfection?
If you’re still in doubt – why not buy a voucher for their local escape room? The escape room industry has suffered A LOT in 2020, so supporting them with vouchers is more important than ever! Plus, your friend will enjoy having something to look forward to in 2021.
I haven’t got a list for this particular category, as it will completely depend on where your gift recipient lives in the world. But likely has it they’ve got their eyes on their next escape room just as soon as lockdown eases. Why not ask them where they’re headed and pick up a voucher for an experience?
Trust me on this one! It’s a win-win gift.
Did I miss something? Send me an email at email@example.com or @ me on Twitter and Instagram with your top gifts and I’ll add them in!
Please note, I get absolutely no financial gain from any of the links in this post! Just my opinion! No ulterior motive! 🙂
Mairi is the editor-in-chief of The Escape Roomer and writes about news, and reviews covering London and UK south.