Seriously. I would like to know where in the blazes does time go? This year has just WIZZED by in blur and BOOM. It’s Christmas again. We’re really down to the pointy end my friends, 8 days to go! I thought I’d dust off the old last minute gift guide after a bit of a lull in 2012. What with the moving house, changing jobs, moving cities, planning a wedding kerfuffle of the last year and a half I didn’t get around to it last year but there’s no time like the er.. present to get cracking!
People like my Dad are notoriously hard to buy for, he’s got everything he needs and if he doesn’t he’s just about to buy it… in a particular colour and style. Last year my brother and I considered buying him a massive stick of butter.. because he loves butter and we were desperate… Why not expand on that theme, if you’ve got someone like my Dad in your life why not give them the gift of something delicious that can be shared with their nearest and dearest over the festive period? I’m pretty passionate about local produce, the recommendations below are mainly for Sydney but use this post as inspiration to find your own local suppliers. If you’re really stuck let me know and I’ll fossick up some ideas for you.
- Artisan cheeses – include some quince paste, grapes and crackers
- A fresh pasta pack including some bottle sauces – here in Sydney I can recommend Pasta Emilia (their Truffle Cream is mindblowing)
- A kilo of prawns – include some fresh lemons and some delicious homemade seafood sauce
- A tray of mangoes – Who doesn’t love mangoes? Come sit next to me, I’ll have yours! Mangoes are so amazing that all you need is a bright bow to set those babies off!
- A beautiful leg of ham – include some locally made chutneys, pickles or mustards
- A beautiful loaf of locally baked bread with a couple of jams and a fancy butter from somewhere like Pepe Saya
- A Masterchef inspired mystery box! A few years ago I gave Mick a bamboo steamer crammed with a rice mat, rice paddle, sushi rice, sushi seasoning, a tube of wasabi, and a packet of pickled ginger
Most of these items need to be refrigerated so you can use a cooler bag which they can then reuse for picnics. You do need to be a little organised when giving food gifts; double check for any food allergies, find out when they’re home over the holidays (dead easy if you’re spending it with them) and make sure you’re not doubling up. No one needs that MUCH ham.
Now, I’m not talking about a gift voucher for JB Hifi or Westfield (though these are extremely handy for those that are far away) but vouchers for experiences in the local area. Do a little research and find out what they love, you can give them something they can enjoy in their own time which is also easy to post or email to them.
- Learn to cook at the Sydney Fish Markets, Canberra’s 3 Seeds Cooking School or Salt, Meat, Cheese in Alexandria
- Home Barista training from Vargabar Espresso in Newtown
- A gift voucher for Young Henry’s brewery in Newtown – or bundle up some of their beers and ciders for a sampler pack
- A gift voucher for the local outdoor cinema in your area – here in Sydney you can get great couples packages for the Sunset Cinema at North Sydney which include backrests, delicious Maggie Beer grazing hampers and a couple of drinks. Awesome! The vouchers for this package is posted out and you’ve really only got a day to order for guaranteed delivery – otherwise look for the General Admission, Movie Buff, Family Pass, Star Class vouchers which are delivered via email
- Pampering – Think your Mum needs a new do? Your bestie needs a little time out from her kids? Why not search for a local provider to give them the gift of pampering and relaxation this Christmas. Esstudio Galleria in Chippendale currently has some brilliant packages starting at $50 and the recipient can choose what combo they would like to indulge in. If you’re gifting it to someone with kids include a handmade voucher for your superb babysitting skillz
- Let them choose their gift with a gift card for Hardtofind.com.au. I love this site, we were blessed enough to receive a gift card as a wedding gift and now my only issue is what to splurge on! There’s something for everyone on there. Luxe jewellery from Mischka Boutique, personalised art for kid’s rooms and even seeds to plant in their garden from Sow ‘n’ sow
I’d also like to give a wee plug to a brand spanking new kid’s clothing label called Little Emperor. The current Summer collection has been designed in a range of fresh and vibrant prints and has been made for boys, girls but mostly made for fun! Little Emperor are passionate about the environment and aim to create clothes that live on long after their wearer has grown out of them.
If you’d like to read our earlier gift guides you can access them on the links below, some of the information is a little out of date but there’s still plenty of inspiration to be had!
Merry Christmas friends, wherever you are and whatever you celebrate I hope that you take this time to have plenty of laughs with your loved ones; eat mangoes, drink egg-nog, make snowmen, swim in the surf and get ready for 2014! (Please do not attempt to do all those things at once, maybe just a 2 or 3 this season…)