Socks don’t count: 7 creative gift ideas under $25 by Emma Bickley
When December rolls around, our thoughts turn toward Christmas and – if we’re organised – getting our shopping done before the crowds set in. Not everyone on the list will be getting a Playstation or diamond earrings so, if you’re anything like me, you spend the most time walking around idly, looking for ‘something small’. This year I need about fifteen ‘something smalls’.
But it mustn’t seem small, you know what I mean? Having a budget means thinking outside the box a little; you want your recipient pleasantly surprised, not reaching for the nearest charity bin! The way I see it, there are two options: buy something fun or buy something genuinely useful. Maybe even both!
Lucky for all of you I spent a bit of time over at Marketplace Gungahlin last week and have come up with seven creative suggestions for gifts under $25.
A ‘Me Time’ pack
For a lot of us, adulting takes up a huge amount of time… and for anything left, there’s housework. Ugh. One of the best parts of my day is when I can steal a minute for a cuppa and a treat so, I thought, why not turn that into a gift?
Pick a few everyday indulgences you know they really like and bundle them together. Maybe add a small voucher, like a $20 face shave for the blokes from Kings Cut Barber Shop? You’re basically forcing them to take a relaxing break in their day, and at this time of year, who wouldn’t want that?
If you don’t know what a Frosty Mug is then, chances are you wouldn’t recognise a cassette tape or manual wind down car windows either. For children of the 80s and 90s, this is top class nostalgia. It’s a mug that you freeze, transforming it into a magical, instant slushie maker for any beverage. (Yes, including alcohol!) You’ll either bring back great memories or introduce someone to the hit of the summer. Either way, it’s a lot more fun than socks.
Insulated Drink Bottle or Cooler Bag
The other day I left my drink bottle on the front seat of my car, in direct sun for three hours. On my return, I opened it up and took a cool, refreshing drink of water – how? What is this sorcery? Layers and layers of… er… science! Insulated drink bottles used to be the domain of your dad’s road trip cooler bag but now they’re super cute and affordable. Coming in a bunch of different patterns, this is one gift you know they’ll use.
(And if dad’s bag is now looking more appealing, these cooler backpacks are cute and within budget for all those summer trips to the beach.)
Giving a board game as a gift isn’t the height of imagination but what IS surprising is just how much they have come down in price! I seem to recall board games sitting at around the $59.95 mark when I was a kid. These days you can pick one up for only $25! Sure, it might not have the daily useability of a drink bottle but tell me they won’t be the most popular family member* when they turn up on Christmas with TEST MATCH!
*The author of this blog is not responsible for any family feuds started on the basis of a board game session gone wrong.
Pot and plant
Ten years ago I would have put pot plants into the category of ‘boring and useless’ – how things have changed! The humble indoor plant is having a resurgence thanks to interior design magazines that are just overflowing with them! (Honestly, I like to get swept up in a trend but my house is starting to resemble a rainforest. Send help!) Combine with one of the many cute pots now available and you’ve got a cute addition to your colleague’s work desk – maybe add a note reminding them to water it?
Picture this: you’re visiting Hollywood, you step out of the shower and turn on the TV – Bradley Cooper is signing autographs in your hotel foyer! You look down at your ramshackle of a suitcase and burst into tears knowing you’ll never find an outfit in time. Enter, Packing Cubes. They’re THE hottest thing you’ll find in your suitcase since you brought home that chilli sauce from Mexico. Keep undies, socks, accessories separate and organised while on the go in perfectly packable, individual cubes. Hello Mr Cooper!
Preloved Video Game
You may not be able to afford the latest Xbox game new but, how about a preloved version? CEX offers high quality, second hand video games and consoles that have been checked prior to sale for your peace of mind. (Yes, there’s a warranty!) I don’t know my Call of Duty from my Minecraft so I’m always hopelessly out of my depth when buying ‘gaming stuff’ but the staff were great and helped me match a vague description of the person (boy, 13) to a gift – score!
Finally, if you do get desperate and start reaching for the socks as a last minute gift, at least go for these awesome Happy Feet ones for $19.95 from BOOK FACE that come in a range of cool prints including a unique set of Beatles themed ones!