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Christmas gift guide

Tinsel is on the supermarket shelves, nativity displays are appearing everywhere and carols are wafting through loudspeakers. Yes, Christmas is coming, and with the Santa due to harness up the reindeer in a few short weeks it’s time to start looking at our gift lists and wondering what on earth to buy for family and friends.

Of course you could go with the usual – socks, undies and gift cards. But if you’re after something a little more unusual, we’ve unearthed a treasure trove of delights to cover everyone, be it him, her or the kids.

Let’s start with the most difficult of all …



A Victa Bent Shaft Trimmer (VTB2225) offers affordable trimming with Victa quality, all powered by a full-crank 2-stroke motor. This trimmer features an easy starting mechanism and in-built clutch for durability and safety. It also has an advanced anti-vibration system for added comfort and reduced operator fatigue; ergonomic, multi-directional Easy Change™ handle design; not to mention Victa’s ‘Easy-Link’ self-aligning drive shaft.

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It’s not pleasant getting out of a warm car into the cold winter elements only to battle with wind and rain to pull up a manual garage door. Why persevere when in just a couple of hours, you can transform your existing manual door into an automated garage door that will open and close at the touch of a remote control button. Chamberlain has a range of DIY automated garage door openers that take less than two hours to install but offer a lifetime of convenience. No more getting out into the inclement weather to manually open or close the door. No more juggling the children, shopping and the garage door. After installing an automated garage door opener, and having the luxury of pressing one button from the comfort of your car, you’ll be thinking “why didn’t I do this sooner?”

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Bottle Pops talking bottle openers have a new range of Sports and Santa openers that make a perfect fun gift and at $14.95 a perfect Kris Kringle gift. Each design has up to 20 different entertaining sound files that are played once randomly per use. Best of all, a percentage of the purchase price for each Bottle Pop is donated to Cystic Fibrosis Australia to help fund research.

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Never ask “which is my glass” again thanks to the wine glass pen. This is a great way for everyone to keep track of their wine glass and makes parties fun. You simply write your name or fun message on your glass, the ink dries within a minute and it is smudge proof. Once the party is finished it is as simple as washing it off with a wet cloth. For $19.95 you get a pack of three pens in gold, silver and pink.

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The newly launched Master Distillers’ Collective Black Barrel – distilled 2005 – from Bundaberg Rum is something to bring out for guests during Christmas festivities or simply to sit on the bar to look impressive (but savour when no-one else is around). It has spent the past decade ageing in American White Oak and was finished in small, heavy charred barrels. The caramel and sweet raisin flavours are perfect to inject a little Christmas cheer this holiday period. Retailing at $139.99, MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 is sure to be a favourite with rum lovers and critics. The bottle has been stunningly crafted to reflect the premium nature of the liquid within.

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The food lover in your life will think all of their Christmases have come at once when they unwrap the Tooheys Cooking Handbook on December 25. The perfect gift for Australian men who love to roll up their sleeves and have a go at cooking, the Tooheys Cooking Handbook is chock-full of summer inspired recipes to be enjoyed at every occasion. It retails for $39.95.

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The Original Ice Ball is a fun and innovative way to keep your drinks cool this summer. The Ice Ball, which retails for $30, has been specifically designed to melt more slowly than ice cubes, meaning your drink won’t get watered down. They’re usually used for whisky but they make a cool addition to cocktails as well.

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Rock My Socks has a collection of 34 unique designs and gift boxes. They’re made from cotton and are a very popular gift for the men in your life as well as Kris Kringle presents. Socks sell for $15 a pair or a gift box of four pairs for $55

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So you think you’re manly enough to use The Bluebeards Revenge? A brave choice but be warned; their range of quality shaving products have not been designed for those partial to a spot of the old bum fluff or those who suffer from a severe bout of sense of humour failure. Guys, The Bluebeards Revenge is designed for Real Men. Products range from shaving essentials to hair and beard care. Products are available in The Shaver Shop.

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The Morgan Business Folio is handmade from quality leather. It is perfectly sized to store daily essentials such as a 13-inch laptop, papers, sunglasses, chargers and phone. It retails for $299.

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The Fisher & Paykel Wine Cabinet – 50 Bottle Dual Zone, retails for about $2199, and is the perfect gift for a wine enthusiast, with dual zones to cater for both white and red wine and their different temperatures.

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Drones are in right now. They’re new and exciting and as a result there are a lot of options out there. Hobby-grade drones can range from as little as $30 to as much as $2000, so it’s safe to assume there is an array of options to choose from. I-Drone has three models available for beginners: Air Hog Helix X4 Stunt ($65), UDI RC U839 ($30) and the SYMA X5C ($63). Of course, for the drone aficionado there’s always the top end of the scale DJI Inspire 1 Pro ($7799).

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Turn a chore into a workout with the Punch Laundry Bag! Rocky trained by punching frozen beef, now you can use your dirty laundry for your work out. Hang the bag in your wardrobe or the corner of your room, until you’re ready to take your laundry to the cleaners, literally! Retails for $44.95.

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Here’s one for the scotch lovers. Daneson’s luxury flavoured toothpicks come in a variety of flavours – most popular is the Single Malt Scotch – a recipe with barrel aged Islay single malt scotch from a 200-year-old distillery is what makes the single malt Nº16 special. Unhurried, it imbues a subtle boozy peaty flavour when warmed in the mouth after several minutes. If you’re not a scotch drinker you will likely not pick up on the subtlety of Nº16 because it is literally soaked in premium single malt then kiln dried leaving behind flavors deep in the wood of the toothpick. A great Kris Kringle at $12.

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Syndicut collaborates with emerging designers to bring bold colour and fresh prints to a range of boxer shorts. Syndicut Trunks were created with obsessive attention to quality, comfort and unique prints.

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Sharkbanz are magnetic bands worn to deter sharks without harming them by interfering with their electroreceptors. The perfect Christmas Gift or tech accessory for surfers, ocean swimmers and beach goers across Australia. They retail for $149.

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Coins are traditionally thought to bring good luck if you find them in your pudding on Christmas Day. Simone Walsh’s sets of six solid silver coins are great for your Christmas pud. Each coin has a different vintage etching, giving them have a charm not seen in mass-produced seasonal offerings. In keeping with Simone’s own family traditions you’ll also receive a Depression-era Christmas pudding recipe, which has been handed down through generations. The recipe has some unique ingredients, such as tea. The coins also come with instructions on how to whip up Simone’s grandma’s brandy sauce for that extra bit of seasonal cheer. Carefully wrapped in a sturdy box that is tied with a festive red and white grosgrain ribbon, you can keep the coins safely tucked away for next year. They sell for $139.

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The Makers Mailer is a surprise parcel of gorgeous handmade items delivered to your door each month, direct from the studios of some of Australia’s best makers and crafts people. It’s $36 a month and you can sign up for as many months as you like.

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VS Sassoon has launched the Power of Pink; a limited edition range of styling tools designed to deliver on-trend salon styling at home while supporting the Breast Cancer Network Australia. The Style Express Retractable Cord 2000 watt hairdryer delivers the perfect blow dry and clever storage. Designed with a retractable cord that retracts at the touch of a button, ceramic ionic conditioning to reduce your frizzies and enhance shine, 6 control settings plus a cool shot to finish and set your style. It retails for $49.95.

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R.E.S Designs is a boutique online store selling beautiful personalised and hand painted gifts – wine glasses, champagne flutes, beer glasses, beer mugs to name a few.  They hand paint bespoke designs and can also print unique and funky gifts – photos, custom designs, children’s drawings or artwork.  Their unique printed gifts include coffee mugs, photo gifts, crystals, coasters, mouse pads, ladies’ wallets, tote bags, keyrings with more product lines being added regularly.

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Whatever Lids are reusable silicone lids that are the perfect substitute for cling wrap and foil, work brilliantly over pans for simmering, can be used as a baking lid for casseroles, a microwave splatter proof cover, heatproof pot holder and sink plug. Just place it on a smooth rimmed surface and push down for a perfect seal. A set of five costs $45.

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MG Naturals offers an innovative range of colour cosmetic products designed to improve skin appearance while promoting skin health and eliminating petrochemicals and toxins from the ingredient list. The range includes safe-to-use Beauty Balms, 100 per cent Titanium Dioxide free foundations and mineral powders and Organic Lip Glazes tinted using Australian Clay in place of artificial pigments. MG Naturals was founded by natural beauty devotee and mother Kailah Shannon.

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Logan & Mason’s latest range of stylish essentials for the bedroom have reached are taken to a whole new level with the injection of a little bit of luxe – we’re talking bedlinen embellishment in the form of embroidery, beading, sequins, pearls and taffeta. What better place to indulge our lust for luxe than the bedroom?

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Kalite’s Turkish pestemals are lightweight, absorbent and fast drying Turkish cotton pieces that can be used as sarongs, towels, table cloths, scarves, throws, picnic blankets or pram shades. Turkish cotton grows softer with age making a pestemal an item to treasure for many years. Beach towels start at $39.95.

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Summer Table is the perfect gift for your favourite cook. Providing the solution to the ‘what’s for dinner dilemma’ with fast, delicious and healthy meals the whole family will love. With the free app, just scan the recipes to create a shopping list on your phone with all the items sorted by supermarket aisle. Summer meal times will be a breeze. It retails for $34.95 from Sussan, Dymocks, independent bookstores and online at


Inspired by endless summer days spent in the tropics, Piyama evokes an enviable lifestyle of luxury living. The versatile range covers high quality sleepwear, loungewear and beachwear. Natural, soft flowing fabrics, featuring original textile print designs are hand-crafted into dreamy, feminine ensembles. Wearability and comfort are the cornerstone of the design process, which is complimented by the laid-back-luxe appeal intrinsic to piyama’s identity and soul. Prices start at about $25 for a sleep set and there are even boxers for the guys.

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SwimFin is a unique, self-adjusting swimming aid suitable for all sizes and abilities and for anyone aged 2 and above. It can be used on all four swimming strokes and can help children learn to swim faster. SwimFin’s safe and fun design gives kids the confidence they need in the water. SwimFin is endorsed in Australia and New Zealand by Libby Trickett, four time Olympic gold medallist. In addition, The Wiggles are supporting SwimFin this summer, with a series of videos promoting water safety and a catchy song “Swim Like a Fish”. They sell for $45.

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Nigh’ Nigh’ Sleepy Head nurtures little people into relaxation and deep sleep. It includes a lyric and instrumental 47 minute sleep CD and sleeping polar bear wearing PJ’s (perfect for good night cuddles). It retails for $49.90.

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GeoMag is the ultimate open-ended creative construction toy for kids this festive season. Combine two highly regarded, educational, tried and true play concepts magnets and construction toys, and you will see your kids at their creative best. It is the ultimate open-ended creative construction toy enhanced by the magic and intrigue of magnets, ensuring that the educational benefits that kids learn during play are ones that will stick! Prices start at $20.

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Ballerina & Me doll was lovingly created to enliven playtime with sparkle and inspiration. She’s a doll like no other. She’s here today and she’s ready to play! Ballerina & Me doll is a child life-size dancing doll. Fasten her elastic dancing straps to any little girl’s hands and feet and watch the magic happen. She’ll pirouette and prance all day long. With music, love and a sprinkle of imagination, she’ll dance her way straight into your heart. Much more than a dancing partner, Ballerina & Me is a play companion – a my-size, anytime special someone for role plays, dress-ups and togetherness. Dress her up; dress her down … her tutu and headband are removable.

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Smiggle’s ultimate goal is to inspire and develop the creative spirits of its customers by delivering original, fun and affordable stationery. Smiggle products are all about great design and innovation, bold colour, quirky graphics, great value and, most of all, giving its fans the tools they need to have fun.

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Toys inspired by Star Wars and Jurassic World are expected to join some tried and true favourites like Monopoly, My Little Pony and Nerf products, all available from Hasbro. Throw in Furreal Friends and transformers and there’s bound to be something to please all the kids.

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Sengled provides smart lighting for your home—combining energy-efficient LED with Wi-Fi, cameras, and Bluetooth stereo speakers. They’re dimmable, networked, and controlled by a free iOS/Android app on your phone or tablet.

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The Buzz Group is working with New Holland Publishers on two exciting, to-be released coffee-table books Art Deco Airports & Retro Paris. Art Deco Airports delves into the design and role of the world’s first airports in the 1920s and 1930s. With original images, comprehensive and dandy illustration by international aviation artist Rosie Louise and text by author Terry Moyle, the book explores the relationship between airports, aviation and Art Deco. With profiles on 33 different airports in Great Britain, Europe and the United States, Art Deco Airports provides both specialist and armchair passengers with a window on an exotic lost world. Retro Paris invites you to take a walk back in time with a collection of evocative photographs taken in one of the great cities of the world. Drawing on the collection of historical images from the Mary Evans Picture Library, Retro Paris is a testimony to the elegance and history of Parisian culture, whether it be admiring the majestic cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, or savouring the infamous Moulin Rouge in the City of Love, It depicts the development of the city and the life of its people from the late 19th through 20th century.

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The HistioGraph is a world history timeline poster that depicts the rise and fall of people, nations and cultures from 1500BCE to the present day. The poster measures 130cm x 65cm and folds down to A4 size to fit neatly inside its stylish presentation folder. It retails for $19.95 including delivery.

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Fun Cups are great for the great outdoors. These squishable and unbreakable reusable cups are perfect for any camping or beach trip. You can even take them into events where glass is not permitted. A set of four costs $45.

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EnviroTrend products make the perfect gift – affordable, fun & practical! They’re also eco-friendly (use the bags to reduce plastic bag waste), designer (original, fun and stylish, making it cool to be green), practical (perfect for shopping, sport, travel and leisure) and compact (small, easy to stuff and store, lightweight and durable.) They have backpacks, bags, raincoats, jackets, candles and chiller packs.

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The BUGG Pizza Stone Set from Beefeater heats up hot to make delicious crisp base in a snip. It’s a high quality stone set which is designed to be used when making pizzas. This pizza stone set is perfect for providing high compatibility with the Beefeater Bugg BBQ Amber or Graphite barbecues. It is user-friendly and it is ideal for any pizza enthusiasts to create perfect pizzas each and every time. The Pizza Oven Accessories are tough, durable, and they are designed to make a great cooking experience even better. The BUGG Pizza Stone Set includes paddle, pizza stone and cutting wheel and retails for $39.95.

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Phyllis Stylianou

Phyllis Stylianou is a journalist with 35 years’ experience as a reporter, sub-editor and editor. Writing is the great love of her life (after her family) – as is renovating old homes and building new ones (which she’s embarking on again!) So writing about everything to do with building, renovating and gardening is her passion.

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.