Hey! Did you know it’s the month that Christmas falls in?? Of course you did, Christmas madness is EVERYWHERE!
We’ve already had the major Santa Parade here in Auckland, and our last First Thursdays for the year, AND the annual Christmas craft-fest that is Auckland Fair… And we’ve only just done a full week of December! Phewff!
So if you’re feeling the pressure and like you’re behind on gift-planning, don’t fear, I’ve got a feel-good, keep-it-local list of suggestions for you. There’s a bounty of great people doing great things, right in your neighbourhood!
ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL
Pretty girls like pretty things, and Retro Resins has been creating the prettiest lil vintage-inspired jewellery, while Rosie Squish has been busy creating cute jewellery and accessories straight from a mermaid’s dream; any pieces by these ladies would make great stocking stuffers, imo! Or maybe your lady in question is ALL about her hair, and if so, The Beauty School Dropouts are putting together wonderful lil packs of styling product and pins, as recommended and used by the stylish BSD ladies themselves! Or maybe make-up is more her jam, making one of the many pretty shades of all-natural lipsticks by Karen Murrell a perfect pick.
ALL THINGS DELICIOUS
Whether you’re after sweet or savoury, or something in-between, there are PLENTY of epic local options that would make great gifts. In the sweet camp we have all of our local chocolate artisans like Devonport Chocolates, Bennetts of Mangawhai, and Wellington Chocolate Factory, then there’s darling little cupcakes from places like Bluebell’s Cakery, Petal, and Delish Cupcakes, and if you pick it up on the way, I’d never say no to ice-cream from Kapiti, Kohu Road or Killinchy Gold! Or if you’re sweet enough already, what about a set of hot sauces by Lucky Taco or Culley’s, or a popcorn-taster pack of addictive New Zealand Kettle Corn and new-kid-on-the-block Serious Popcorn? Or if you’re feeling fancy, what about a dinner/drinks shout at one of the great local restaurants in your area, where local chefs and mixologists stretch their creative might for your tasting pleasure? My Auckland picks for summer would be Mexico, Bedford’s Soda & Liquor, or Blue Breeze Inn.
ALL THINGS MUSIC
We all know New Zealand cultivates international-level musicians, we all have our faves. How about a copy of that favourite on vinyl for Christmas?? Country songstress Tami Neilson has two out to pick from, Sal Valentine and The Babyshakes have out a killer party LP which is a must-have, and while not on vinyl, the Thee Rum Coves album is winner for rockin’ summer tunes! Or perhaps tickets to a great summer show, like the Laneway Festival.
ALL THINGS CREATIVE
Giving art is a gift that keeps on giving, and with a country of talented artists with a whole host of different styles, you’re sure to find something for every special someone in your life. From the cutie pinups by Amy Trouble, to the endearing monsters by Malangeo, from positive vibes from Maiko Nagao, to colourful Kiwiana by Glenn Jones. Art is a great way to add refreshed joy to any living space, and can be added to someone’s life in many forms; be it prints for the wall, new calendar for the kitchen, greeting cards, coffee table books or even clothing and accessories.
ALL THINGS SHARED
While I’ve managed to show you many different ways you can put your Christmas budget into local pockets, the festive season isn’t just about surprises and unwrapping things. It’s about taking the time to dote on those you love, sharing laughter and meals, and enjoying each other at your most relaxed and joyful. The breaking of bread with those who you are close to is a multi-generational ritual that can bring together people of all manner of life-journeys, in a space of harmony and community. If you’re not feeling the consumer-side of Christmas, make plans to share meals with as many people as possible this festive season. Whether it’s a pot-luck deal, trying out that new bar or restaurant, returning to an old fave, or hosting something grand at yours’, enjoy your time preparing or picking the food, and smile into the faces across the table from you. Simpler joy is hard to find.
Or hey, if you’d like to reach a little further and share with people outside of your social circle, there are lots of groups and charities set up to help those who otherwise go without. You could donate food, toys, money or even your time, to help make someone else’s Christmas a little bit more special than it would be otherwise. My picks are the Women’s Refuge, children’s charities Variety and Foster Hope, and the Auckland City Mission.
Support your locals, enjoy each other, and share joy this festive season!