Both summer and December are officially here, and as well as enjoying yourself at the sudden deluge of Christmas parties, lunches, brunches and ‘drinks’, you also need to buy Christmas presents.
Shopping for family and friends is a project on its own, even though you usually have an idea of what they want. But what do you do about that office Secret Santa that you were roped into? What do you get Tim from Accounting, who you’ve never spoken to except to ask for your group certificate?
Here are some tips on how to set yourself up as the ultimate Secret Santa giver. Buying awesome gifts is one of my few true talents, so look forward to kudos and goodwill this silly season.
First of all, a quick tip for organisers who may be running late on the planning front: take the hassle out of the Secret Santa draw by using an online gift exchange program such as DrawNames or Elfster. Participants sign up via email, and you can set parametres, such as spending limits or ‘Person A can’t draw Person B’. Best of all, you enter a wish list that your SS can view anonymously, so you will never get spicy carrot salad dressing as a gift, which happened to me two Christmases ago. True story.
Scour the Gift Guides
Assuming you don’t have a wish list to refer to and no ideas are springing to mind, you’re going to need some inspiration. Store catalogues will be chokkers with gift ideas and gift sets, and some retailers have an online set up that is pure browsing pleasure.
A few of my favourites:
– Typo: Because everyone loves cute stationery. I like the way they have stuff catagorised by ‘Gifts Under $10/ $20/ $30’.
– If you’ve got a bigger budget, David Jones have split their gift suggestions up into ‘For Him, For Her, and For Home’, just to name a few.
– JB Hi-Fi is my go-to guide when shopping for guys I don’t know well, and they have handy categories such as ‘Gifts for the Video Gamers’, ‘Gifts for the Movie & Music Buff’, and ‘Gifts for the Fitness Fanatic’.
– Who DOESN’T love Bunnings? A desk-friendly plant in a super cute pot can be a real winner in the Kris Kringle stakes, but their comprehensive gift guide is bursting with other suggestions.
– Mecca’s gift guide is called ‘A Wonderland of Gifts’. Um, you had me at hello. I just spent 15 minutes browsing the ‘Beauty Junkie Must-Haves’ gift list, and was interested to see a ‘Gifts for Him’ section.
Coffee gift cards
Everyone loves – or needs – coffee. A gift voucher for your local office coffee shop will win you big brownie points for thoughtfulness.
One of my colleagues once received three packets of Tim Tams as her SS present, which may be delicious but is a bit of a cop out. If you’re going to get chocolate, go gourmet. The Noosa Chocolate Factory has a flagship store on Adelaide Street in Brisbane, and they know what they’re doing. The Rocky Road is famous for good reason, but my favourites are the Black Cherry, Brisbane Honey, and Salted Caramel.
Expensive hand cream
If you are looking to get your (female) boss something classy without breaking the bank, then posh hand cream could be a winner. There aren’t many of us who would regularly go out and drop $30 on a hand cream, but the smell, sensation and status of using it every day softens the hands and the heart. I love Aesop’s Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm $31. Bonus alert – free gift-wrapping and lots of samples!
A well-considered book
This is a good one for men or women – consider a book that would be relevant to their profession, and go in search of the most reputable/ cutest one.
Last year I received 642 Tiny Things To Write About, a book of writing prompts that I absolutely love owning.
The designer in your office will be thrilled with the thought-provoking graphic design discourse Unflattening, and as for Tim the accountant? Why not give him a try with David McCandless’ Information is Beautiful.
Memoirs from industry big wigs such as Cheryl Sandberg and Richard Branson are readily available, and there are a trillion books along the vein of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that are published every year.
My most valuable advice: don’t let the SS budget limit you if it comes to a matter of a few bucks.
Don’t get carried away and buy the chick from product a Kate Spade handbag, but don’t get hung up on sticking to the budget. If you buy something satisfactory for below the budget price, use the rest of the allocation to buy a bonus stocking stuffer.
Choosing and giving presents is one of my favourite things to do, and the look on someone’s face when they open a thoughtful, generous gift will give you a wholesome thrill that will leave you glowing all the way through to the New Year.
Emma Lee is a Brisbane native but lives to travel. She is also a big fan of food, good books and browsing at markets.
Since graduating from Griffith University with a Communications Degree, Emma has put her writing skills to good use in jobs ranging from Media Rep for a rugby team to Marketing Manager for a Japanese ski resort.
Emma dreams of publishing a novel one day and wants to live in a luxury camper van that never stays in one place for longer than a week.