Perhaps this year more than others, it’s important that we all support local businesses at Christmas time. Keeping our Christmas dollar in the region means economic viability for small businesses, maintains jobs, and ultimately leads to prosperity for all. Besides which, there are unique businesses here that provide bespoke gift options that might not have come to our notice. The following guides, for men, women, children and pets offer suggestions for tangible presents as well as experiences with your loved ones.
A good starting place is to think about your man’s interests or hobbies. If your man is into sport, there are several specialist sporting businesses in Hilltops that are worth investigating. For example, rugby jerseys are always appreciated by keen supporters, as is golf equipment for the golfer, and fishing gear for the angler.
If your man likes a good drop or two then he’s in luck in the Hilltops Region. The Region is known for its fine wines, so you might consider a cellar door tour so that he can pick out a few of his favourites. Our cellar door guide is at: https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/country-nsw/young-area/hilltops-wineries-and-cellar-doors
For the person who enjoys collectables, here are several excellent collectable/antique/second hand shops in the Hilltops Region that are well work exploring.
For the man who enjoys indulging his inner child there are several toy stores to investigate – Meccano and Lego never go out of style.
A skillfully executed portrait is also something to contemplate. This can be achieved by arranging a photoshoot with a photographer or else providing an artist with a photo.
Clothing can be a minefield, especially when buying for teenagers. Our advice for buying clothes for teenagers is “don’t do it!” because what you think is perfectly respectable and reasonable will no doubt be seen as dated and stifling to youngsters.
Men might cringe at the thought of receiving socks at Christmas time, but there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with socks as long as they are of high quality. For example, the renowned Humphry Law socks are made from Hilltops wool, and are always gratefully received.
Don’t forget to check out some of the bushcraft retailers in the Hilltops district that offer products as diverse as walking sticks to quality leather belts and hats.
In terms of providing your man with experiences, don’t forget that these can be as simple as going to the movies, having a date night out, or (gulp!) promising to iron shirts for a time. It can also be more elaborate in terms of arranging a short break away. If you are a townie, consider a farm stay, and if you are a farmer, consider organizing a ‘swap’ with friends from town.
Some of the more common hobbies shared by women in our region include following favourite rugby league or union teams. There are several businesses in towns that retail rugby shirts, jerseys, and paraphernalia so do check them out.
Cooking is a passion for many people, and we are fortunate to have specialist cookware stores in our region. Great gifts from stores such as this include specialist cookware sets (e.g., think paella pans, woks, copper-based saucepans), famous brand crockery, delightful cake storage containers, and elegant cutlery sets.
For the woman who enjoys creating art and craft, there are several excellent options for them. In terms of sourcing raw materials, don’t forget that vouchers from wool, fabric, and art supply stores are a great way to ensure that your loved one can select the materials that appeal to them and best meet their needs. For the teenage girl in your life think about updating their electronic equipment. These days transistor radios, record players, cassette players, cameras, and computers, for that matter, are all available on a modern phone. Find out what kind of ‘device’ your teenager currently has and talk to telephone retailer about an upgrade. If buying a new phone is out of budget, then think about buying them a new phone case – there are different colours and styles to suit every teenager’s taste.
Men, we’re going to let you in on a secret. Whatever you do, please halt when it comes to buying a generic beauty product pack containing perfumed talcum powder, soap, and bath salts. What might have been delightful in the 1950s and 60s is no longer the case! Find out the fragrance that the woman in your life enjoys and buy a product in the same line, for example if they like X-brand perfume, buy them X-brand hand cream or bubble bath. Also consider buying locally made beauty products, things like goatsmilk soap and honey moisturizer are always welcome. In terms of providing your woman with experiences, think pampering. Massages, beauty and nail salons, reflexology, and aromatherapy are all wonderful ways to say “thank you for all you do for me and the family. Here’s something just for you”. Consider arranging more than one session – think mid-January as well as early February after children return to school.
Another great experience is a road trip in our area. Think about visiting smaller towns. Walk around the Galong Monastery and its grounds. Spend time reflecting on the lovely old churches at Bribbaree, venture out to Koorawatha Falls and admire the stunning geology, check out Monteagle’s rustic maze and country garden, marvel at the striking granite tors around Frogmore, and check out the quaint main street at Rye Park. We really do live in a beautiful, historic region.
When buying gifts for children it’s very tempting to consider buying them gifts to build their strengths in read’in, writin’ and ‘rithmatic, but Christmas is not the time to be buying presents that highlight personal deficits. Trust us, there is no joy to be had in receiving a “Fun Maths” book on Christmas day, and nor does it have the desired effect – just the opposite! So, consider the heart and soul of your child and seek gifts that honour who they are, not who you want them to be.
For the child who enjoys playing sport, consider purchasing new sporting equipment for them. A new cricket bat, skateboard, or bicycle are always treasured on Christmas day, and if the budget is an issue, buy second-hand. For the child who enjoys arts and crafts, our toy stores as well as arts and crafts stores can provide assistance. If your child is older, consider one of the ‘diamond dots’ kits so they can produce a lovely sparkly work of art. Don’t also forget that some of the old-fashioned toys that we used to have, such as pom-pom making kits or “Knitting Nancy’s” are still popular with children. If your child is a budding seamstress, consider purchasing a small sewing box and filling it with sewing treasures and some ‘fat quarters’.
For the budding builder, model airplane sets, Meccano sets, and Lego are hard to beat. For our bookworms, a new book featuring their favourite author is a brilliant option. We have some amazing bookstores in our region that feature contemporary and second-hand books, so do check them out.
For the child who enjoys cooking, consider assembling a set of baking equipment for them from one of our specialist cookware stores. If the budget won’t stretch that far, go to Vinnies or the Salvation Army to see the range of baking ware on offer. You are sure to be pleasantly surprised at what you will find.
For most of us the joy of Christmas is all about giving gifts to children, but in these helter-skelter days, the most precious gift is spending time with your child – giving them your full attention; being present. Switch off your mobile device and put it away. Here’s some suggestions for spending time with your kids:
A guide for pets? Yes, pets! Our furry friends are part of our families and we reckon they deserve a great Christmas too.
Now, pets come in all varieties, shapes, and sizes, so here goes: For your canine friends, consider some crazy Christmas outfits. You know the ones – reindeer antler headbands, Santa hats, elf outfits. They will hate having these outfits on, but if you are lucky, you’ll get a great photo or two. A nice juicy uncooked bone on Christmas day will keep your friend occupied in the back yard during Christmas lunch. It is the best present ever for Fido.
For your feline friends, a Santa hat is just not going to cut it, but a tasteful, discrete Christmas themed bow tie just might be tolerated. Your cat is likely to be attacking your Christmas tree, so consider buying them a new scratching post to distract them. A new wind up or electronic mouse-type toy is bound to please your cat.
For your feathered friends you are going to need to find the smallest Santa hat ever. Check out Christmas-themed Barbie costume sets in toy stores – it’s your only hope. Make a wee Christmas stocking out of felt and attach it to your bird’s cage. Fill it with their favourite grain, and don’t forget to take a photo – especially if they attack their Christmas lunch while wearing the Barbie hat. For rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and mice, an extra serve of lettuce or cheese is all that’s required on Christmas day. As for birds, you might want to make them a Christmas stocking to house their favourite food, but as there’s a strong likelihood they’ll eat the stocking too, we don’t recommend it. Reptiles. Reptiles. Oh goodness me…..
Turning now to providing your pet with experiences. The best thing ever for pets is spending time with you (this is certainly the case with mammalian pets, but as we’ve no herpatology experience, we can’t speak for reptiles). If you have children in your life, supervise them with your pet. Christmas Day is an exciting time and your pet will pick up on the vibe. They will either regress in age (i.e., get silly) or else get nervous. Adapt your approach accordingly and make sure children are always kept safe.
Dear readers, in summary, the very best Christmas gift you can ever give your loved ones is spending time together sharing experiences, talking over the old days, and making new memories. Let’s make Christmas 2020 the best one yet.
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