Unique Christmas gift ideas

Some people love it and some people dread it; the once a year challenge of Christmas gift shopping. We dutifully make our list of friends and relatives and launch into the quest to find the perfect present for each of them. Those of us who enjoy the experience may even have our ‘gift radars’ on well before December, but then there are others who inevitably end up in the Christmas Eve rush, desperately trying to tick off every name.

Whatever your method, there are always a few names on the list that are perennially hard to buy for. We all have that eccentric uncle, brooding teenager or brother-in-law ‘who has everything’ on our lists and the inspiration just doesn’t seem to flow. To help relieve the stress on those present list stumbling blocks we thought we might put together some thought starters that can make it a little easier and perhaps even turn the challenge into an opportunity to get them a gift that will be both memorable and appreciated.

A gift doesn’t need to be an object
Have you ever considered an ‘experience-based’ gift? These can be ideal for younger members of the family or couples and can really give your gift that wow factor. An experience-based gift can tap into a person’s interests or give them a taste for an activity that they may never have thought of before. Cooking classes are becoming extremely popular and make an ideal gift for anyone who likes to dabble in the kitchen. The wine or food regions of the country will often offer cooking classes in connection with a restaurant or winery or you can source ideas from websites such as redballoon.com.au

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If you know the person likes to get active, maybe a gift pass for a gym or group exercise class, such as Yoga, Pilates or Zumba will be well received. There are other outdoor activity options too, such as a gift pass for an adventure park like treetopadventurepark.com.au or for those that like animals, consider a pass to a zoo or an animal park.

If the person is not so physically inclined, or perhaps enjoys a bit of culture, then passes to movies, theatre or a musical event could do the trick.

The “difficult teenager” category
It can be easy to buy for younger kids, but once they reach the teenage years and start to take on more independence and find their own interests, it can be a nightmare trying to think up something novel that will be appreciated. This is where it can be useful to ‘think like a teenager’ and head to the internet for inspiration. There are many websites stores that specialise in unusual themed gifts that tap into pop culture subjects such as movie franchises that will appeal to many teens and could gain you the title of ‘coolest parent or grandparent’. One such example is thinkgeek.com 

The good old days
Many of us will often hark back on the days of our youth as being the greatest time to be alive. Why not take advantage of that and find a gift that ties in to a particular period and can remind the recipient of the things they really identified with from their glory days. For example, someone who grew up in the 80s may have favourite TV shows or musical genre from that era that they loved. Web stores such as 80stees.com/collections offer some great ideas that are sure to be a hit. Or try shopping at local flea markets or garage sales, where you can often pick up records, prints or other memorabilia. A bit of creative packaging that emphasises the nostalgia theme can help make it a gift that really has some impact.

Personalise your present 
Personalisation is another angle you can take to make a splash. Look up your local retail embroiderers, engravers or specialty printers and have a useful object such as a towel, mug or jewellery personalised with the recipient’s name. There are gift personalisation websites too that can provide a monograms on things like diaries, leather goods, ornaments, wall prints, cushions and calendars. It’s a nice touch that can make the person feel special.
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Some last resort ideas
If all else fails, the local bookshop is always a great place to find inspiration, because most people love a good book and a wide range of tastes that can be catered for all in the one spot. History, music, art, fiction, biography, culture, technology and just about any other subject you can mention will be covered by a book, so it is a great fall back option if you are really stuck.

Another last resort idea could be a gift to charity. This is an increasingly popular option for the person who has everything and there are some really creative approaches that some charities are now taking to make gifting on behalf of someone else a lot more attractive. Your gift will have an impact on the recipient as well as for the charity being supported. A great example is unwrapped.oxfam.org.au