Do we have the gift solution for those tricky relatives? By Ruth Spencer
She's never without an embroidery hoop in her tote or a crochet hook stuck in her messy bun. She's like MacGyver if MacGyver ever needed to macrame his way out of danger. What do you buy the person who can make anything?
The gift of belonging. Crafting can be a solitary occupation, yet the numbers of crafters are legion. Whether she's a sewciopath, quilty as sin, a hooker for life or believes in flour power, she has a tribe out there, furiously creating. Odd One Out's embroidered gang patches will help her find her people, or at the very least feel a bit cool and intimidating at Spotlight.
Sometimes, though, your crafter doesn't want company. All she wants is five minutes of unbroken concentration to round a heel or tie off a pom-pom. That's when she needs a sweary stamped bracelet, a gauntlet to ward off all interruptions without having to say a word. You'll glimpse its uncompromising gleam and quietly back out of the room, avoiding possible pincushion-related injury. The advertised model reads "f*** off I'm knitting", but it's custom made, so you can change out the craft or go full swear. Always go full swear.
Patches $12 each plus postage from oddoneout.felt.co.nz
Stamped Aluminium Cuff Bracelet $35 from Ply at felt.co.nz
Being a new parent is huge deal. They have to deal with crying, sleeplessness, hunger, vulnerability and neediness - and there's a baby too. Give gifts that solve problems and you'll be favourite aunt for life.
Babies love chewing things, including but not limited to fingers, books, toys and the plastic chair in the doctor's waiting room. Helles Teeth make safe, non-toxic silicone chewables inspired by Nordic mythology. Odin's Shimmering Bifrost Trilogy features Mjolnir, Thor's hammer in metallic black, Sleipnir, Odin's steed in metallic frost white and Jormungandr, the Midgard serpent in metallic red. Possible baby name inspiration included, obviously. The Midgard serpent is especially cool; it's a snake eating its own tail, which is how all new parents feel anyway.
Thor's hammer is welcome; banging, not so much. The last thing anyone needs is someone knocking on the door just as baby goes to sleep, and yet this is precisely the time people are sending them things by courier and dropping in unannounced to sneeze on the baby. Estilo's cute wooden sign, shaped to hang from the doorhandle just like a hotel's Do Not Disturb one, reads BABY ASLEEP PLEASE DON'T KNOCK. They do custom work too, if you'd like to add YOU IDIOT or whatever.
Odin's Shimmering Bifrost Trilogy $60 plus $5 shipping from etsy.com/nz/shop/hellesteeth
Baby Asleep Door Sign by Estilo New Zealand, $22 plus postage from twodoorsdown.co.nz
Let's face it, gamers have very specific needs. They know exactly what they like and they probably already have it. You're better off giving them money, but okay, let's try.
If your aim is crowbarring them away from playing Fortnite, try Fortnite Monopoly. A game you know dressed up as a game they know, the properties are locations on the Fortnite island and money is health points. You'll learn the in-game vocab so you'll have something in common again, and they'll play for at least a fortnight. Maybe. The perfect gift to tempt them to go on that Wi-Fi-free holiday at the bach.
If you can't tear them away, give blue sunnies. There's some evidence that blue lenses can cut visual stress, but considerably more evidence that they make you look futuristic in a retro kind of way. Think Tom Cruise in Top Gun, but playing a robot sent from the future to destroy Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Moana Road's reflective blue sunglasses look like an optional extra in a game, the kind you can only unlock by hard grind or googling a cheat code. IRL they have the advantage of covering tired eyes from marathon gaming sessions, and giving the outdoors, usually so dull, the blue-tinted glow of a screen.
Fortnite Monopoly $66 from nzgameshop.com
Moana Road Blue Sunnies from Creative and Brave, $39
She's ahead of the game and posting about it. Her followers rely on her to guide them to a more #beautifullife, but it's hard work being an #influencer! Help her with a gift that keeps on giving in the form of #likes and #follows.
Is she a #boho babe? Flower crowns are over. Why should she settle for queen when she can be a goddess? Crown her in clear quartz to lift her vibrations (and Insta followers) to the highest level, and pink tourmaline to soothe the tortured artist in her soul, especially when the haters have been in the comments again. Sea-washed and reiki-blessed, it's made for windswept mermaid hair and triumphant hashtags. #goddess #sparkle #shineoncrazydiamond
Or perhaps your influencer loves to be on top of trends. Cuthill's laser-cut vegetable-tanned leather cuff bracelet has the look of a tattoo, but unlike a tattoo can be taken off if it doesn't suit today's ambiance. Guaranteed to be cool far longer than that infinity symbol made of birds she was eyeing up at the tattoo parlour. Mandalas represent the universe, and if she falls in love with the secrets of the cosmos there's a stunning handbag to match. #reachforthelasers #tatouage #cuffme
Bohemian Goddess Crown $180 from Messy By Nature
Facebook Shop @lauramessybynature
Cuthill Mandala bracelet, $30 plus postage from Cuthill Leather
By Matt Suddain
Husband in jail for white-collar crimes
All he wanted was to provide you with the basics of life: food, clothes, jet-skis, a house or three. Is the fact he did it by laundering profits for a pay-day loans company so bad? Well, the judge said "Yes", which is why hubby is currently serving consecutive sentences at Spring Hills. Most of your stuff has been hauled away by the SFO and the IRD, to be auctioned to needy yet aspirational families.
But as the old saying goes, even crims deserve a Christmas. Money's tight, though, so you'll have to be as creative with gifts as he was with keeping books. Remember when he first started the business, and you and the kids made him Soap-on-a-Rope for Father's Day. He'd probably appreciate some soap with string attached to it right now.
Maybe a conjugal pillowcase with your face painted on one side, and the back of your head on the other.
Or maybe some elegantly framed evidence photos of all the great things he used to own.
This Christmas is all about thinking outside the box.
In many ways Nanna is the template millennial: she wears vintage, tells long stories about herself, knits pointlessly, and loves nothing better than making photo albums. Your late-boomer parents were busy setting up dot-com companies and finding a cure for the millennium bug, so it fell to your nanna to serve as primary babysitter for you and your siblings. It makes sense, then, that over the years she picked up a few of your characteristics.
She has no job, though she does have 38 hobbies, and at least a dozen social networking accounts. She Tumblrs her pottery classes, and captions family snaps, "Ain't nobody fresher than my squad." She couldn't be called "woke" as such - except in the sense that she spends most of the night literally awake. And who could love smashed avocado more than a woman with four of her original teeth?
Low-budget gift idea: Like any true millennial, Nanna's passionate about brunch, so why not invent a new meal just for her. Serve Christmas dinner at 11.15 am and call it "Bristmas brinner."
Mid-budget: She loves to Snapchat her friends with one hand while driving. Why not buy her an eye test so she can get her licence back.
High-budget: Get a locally famous artist to paint her portrait. Tell her it's an "oil-selfie."
Tween YouTuber niece who's already a millionaire
Ren's Reviews is now the 7th most popular toy de-packaging and analysis channel in the world. Revenue from her weekly musings have pushed her to 38th place on the Junior Rich List, one ahead of Elle Fanning, and 10 behind the kid who invented Fingerlings. Her mother was even able to quit her job as deputy store manager at Pagani Manukau just to run the operation. Ren's making bank like a Saudi, and toy conglomerates are hiffing loot at her like a desperate dad on a visitation weekend. So you know whatever you buy her for Christmas will be unboxed with millions watching, your offering scornfully assessed and cast on the pile with the other crap. It's a game you can't win.
If it's any consolation, the pressures of making hundreds of videos are starting to show. There's an emptiness behind Ren's eyes as she holds up yet another luridly coloured plushy and monotones her famous catch-phrase: "Know what? Rilly cool." It's almost like with every cheap, sweat-shop made toy she listlessly unpackages she's seeing another tiny part of her childhood vanish like wrapping paper in the wind. Who'd've thought the shallow pursuit of consumerist glory could merely steepen your path towards the abyss, one all the Grumblies and Pomsies in the world can't fill.
Low budget: Just an empty gift-box, painted black on the inside. etsy.com
Low-budget: Buy her a Cozmo. They're rilly cool.
Mid-budget: A Hatchimal that spawns a furry reaper holding a sign saying "Death comes for all."