From booty-shakin’ pugs to hand-made vouchers, there’s something to cover every budget.
Yes, we know it’s far too early for this kind of carry-on. You’ve already got too much on your plate, dealing with the daily demands of, you know, trying to stay alive in a plague-filled world.
Sorry to add one more thing to your to-do list, but Christmas really is coming early this year. As one retailer warns: “October is the new December.” Shortages are on the way. Toys might run out. Tech stuff is limited. Ships are getting stranded, and stock is being delayed. You might have heard.
Some of you might want to bury yourself under a duvet. Others might want to get organised. We understand both of those reactions. For those who do want to get wrapping, we have some thoughts that might help…
This cool-as Kiwi chilly bin
Turn Christmas morning into a Wes Anderson movie with this retro chilly bin. Napoleon Goods has redesigned the classic Kiwi esky, giving it a much-needed morale boost with bright colours – lemon yellow is our fave – that makes it perfect for an Auckland-style summer picnic. These are lightweight, with stainless steel handles to ensure they survive many more festive seasons. Bonus: it fits 18 standard bottles of craft beer – with room for ice. ($130-$195,napoleongoods.co.nz)
A booty-shakin’ pug?
One of Trade Me’s top top toy sellers this Christmas is predicted to be Poppy, a “plush little pug with contagious energy”. Poppy’s popular because she comes with an unboxing experience: owners first get a pair of fairy wings to wear, then discover some of Poppy’s “magical” poop, before getting to their brand new toy. Kids these days, huh? ($44.99, Trade Me)
Emma Sofie’s made-to-order clothing
We’re thinking about your fusspot and slightly judgmental daughter here, or your way-cooler-than-you little sister. Emma Nielsen’s designs are sure to impress. Based in Tāmaki Makaurau, she hand-makes unique pieces to be worn and seen, even if that’s just at the supermarket. Emma does everything herself, from sourcing local fabrics to creating ruler-straight French seams, and will earn you the title of most stylish gift-giver yet. Get in early: her pieces are made to order. ($125-$299, instagram.com/emmasofie__)
This robot cleaning machine
An unspoken relationship rule is to never buy your partner a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. The Deebot T9+ might change that. Yes, it sounds like something out of a Terminator film, but this isn’t any old suck-up: it picks up all your crap, and you don’t have to touch it. Run via an app, the Deebot cleans your carpets, freshens your air, mops your lino floors and will leave your snoozing pet having a cat nap at the same time. You need never get your dusty old Dyson out of the cupboard again. ($1399, evovacs.com/nz)
DIY gift vouchers
Avoid online shopping and write your family and friends some personalised gift vouchers instead. They’re free, they’re intimate, and they’re fun. Some suggestions from The Spinoff team: “Redeem this voucher for one home-cooked dinner,” “Redeem this voucher for an automatic movie veto,” and, “Redeem this voucher and I’ll listen to a band I have previously ignored.” All you need is a pen and paper, some imagination and your own generosity.
A stylie summer speaker
Until recently, Kiwi tech fans weren’t able to get their hands on Apple’s HomePod smart speaker. That’s changed and the HomePod, a Siri-activated smart speaker, now comes in two versions, including this smaller, more compact edition that’s a perfect (generous) stocking stuffer. Hey Siri, can I have an orange one please? ($159, apple.com)
A tree that really does count
If you don’t want to put junk under the tree this Christmas, considering gifting the planting of a native tree. It’s good for the planet, good for our air, and good for your soul. ($10 each, Trees That Count)
Some decent music
If you want to put a few records under the tree, good luck. Like many other items, there’s massive demand and worldwide shortages for vinyl. Perhaps that’s a chance to buy something random and try something you normally wouldn’t try. But you don’t want to give an Eminem record to your young niece, or a Tool album to your accountant uncle. Instead, try to support local artists: The Beths, Hollie Smith and French For Rabbits are a good place to start. (Prices vary, Flyingout.co.nz)
A colourful puzzle box
Rubik’s Cubes fried many childhood brains. Go Cube wants to change that with an updated edition of the colourful puzzle box, building an app and teaching you how to solve it so fast you might even be able to compete with those speedy kids from that Netflix documentary. ($159, JB Hi-Fi)
A pile of books
Forced to shut during level four lockdowns, bookshops have done it tough this year. Whether or not books are essential is debatable – we firmly believe they are – but one thing’s for sure: online bookshops are doing a roaring trade now. Flying out the door is Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads, Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckooland, and, for the bigger spenders, pre-orders are being taken for Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen’s coffee table opus Renegades: Born in the USA.
A foodie’s dream machine
This stick mixer does it all: blending, crushing, chopping, whisking, grinding and dicing anything that gets in its way. With 17 attachments, Braun’s MultiQuick 9 blender is like a hand-held food processor. You might want to be careful wrapping that. ($299, braunhousehold.com)
This home dentistry kit
Who wants to play pretend dentists? Kids, apparently. This is another of Trade Me’s predicted hot Christmas sellers, a DIY Play-Doh dentistry set that lets kids fill cavities in a set of ghoulish fake teeth. What’s with that? Do kids need help? We need a team of therapists to work out what’s going on here. ($20, The Warehouse)
Any gaming console at all
If you can get your hands on a Playstation 5, Xbox Series X or Nintendo Switch right now, can you let us know how you did it? Scalpers are using bots to snap them up, then relist them and charge extravagant prices. It’s softened the launch of Playstation and Xbox’s gleaming new machines, so if you can wrap one up for someone, there’s bonus points for the effort you put in to get it.
– Additional reporting: Sam Brooks, Yawynne Yem