10 CREATIVE GIFT IDEAS FOR CHRISTMAS
Christmas and the holidays are the season for giving. There is no perfect present and while cliché, it truly is the thought that counts. For the person who has it all, time & effort will leave a lasting memory.
Here we have 10 gift ideas that will bring a smile even to the pickiest person.
1. Wine AND blanket
Good wine is such a classic Christmas gift. And when wrapped with a blanket – absolutely sublime.
Take 2 bottles of wine and a nice blanket (may we suggest IKEA or any local fabric shop), wrap your blanket around the bottles of wine as shown below and finish by tying the blanket around the top along with a personal note!
The best part – after the wine is gone, they will still have a blanket to keep them warm the rest of winter!
2. Chocolate Covered Pineapple Wine
Chocolate? Pineapple? Wine? All 3? Definitely memorable and a centerpiece, this present will be the star of the night for its’ quirkiness and creativity.
3. Pocket book made from a deck of cards
A really fun present that is also memorable. Buy a deck of cards and a set of rings (from taobao again of course). Punch holes into the cards and string the cards together with the rings. And for the fun bit, glue small pieces of paper over the cards and go crazy with your messages! Sweet or funny, the sky is the limit with this gift!
4. Gift in a walnut shell
Have you ever seen and wondered about Chinese people playing with walnuts in their palms or heard about very expensive walnuts that the Chinese have collected through the multiple dynasties? These walnuts are called Wén wán nuts. “Wén wán” means cultural plaything. These are different from the ones you buy in supermarkets or small local shops. “Wén wán” nuts are expensive walnuts and while we may not be able to find them so easily, we can incorporate the idea of Wén wán in this gift idea.
Find some unshelled walnuts and crack one into half. Dye the inside of the walnut shell any color you like (Christmas colors maybe) and place a layer of well-cut inner lining (paper or cotton are great options) and a small trinket (ring, necklace or bracelet perhaps) between these layers. Close the shell and complete the gift with a beautiful ribbon.
5. Herb infused olive oil
And another one for those who look to cook (you still have just about enough time for this one!). Start with the best ingredients you can find or afford. Wash all the ingredients going into your oil and let them dry as much as possible – preferably overnight. Next, find a bottle that has a good seal. IKEA has some great ones. (We love IKEA if you couldn’t tell already) Wash and dry your bottle thoroughly. It is really important the bottle and herbs are as dry as possible as there can be bacteria in the water that will ruin your oil!
Bruise your herbs gently to start to expose their oils and put them in your olive oil jar. Spices can be lightly toasted and crushed in a mortar and pestle. Fruits like chili peppers or lemons can be sliced thinly.
Cover the ingredients with olive oil, seal the bottle, and let it sit in a cool, dark place for 1-2 weeks before using it. The oil will slowly infuse over this time. Strain out the solids and re-bottle the oil once the flavor is to your liking.
6. Hot Chocolate Care Package
Who doesn’t love a night in with a cup of hot chocolate during winter. Bless your friends with the ingredients to create that perfect night in.
Baskets and jars can be found in local neighborhood shops, IKEA or on Taobao (what can you not find on Taobao really). Ingredients can be found in Carrefour, small imported shops around the neighborhood (avocado lady!) or CitySuper (we love their chocolate selection).
7. The Happy Jar
Christmas is all about spreading positive vibes and lifting one another up and this is a gift that will keep on giving. We all know that Shanghai can be tough sometimes and a thoughtful personal note is always much needed.
All you need is lots of paper that are cut in the same size, a beautiful jar (may we suggest IKEA and Taobao again), glue, a pair of scissors, pen and words from your heart.
8. A Bathroom Set
Recycle your wai mai (take out) boxes by filling it with bathrobes, aromatic soaps and towels. Finish it off with some sprigs of flowers or herbs and you will have a lovely present that is ecofriendly and practical!
Anfu lu is a great place to go that is a one stop shop for small unique trinkets to fill your box with.
9. Cozy Slippers
The perfect present for Shanghai’s winter – Chinese slippers! Add a little more by stuffing it with a pair of Christmas socks, foot cream or lined local pyjamas to get your loved ones through this wet and cold winter!
10. Nut Butters
For the domestic god/goddesses, nut butters are a great gift for the holidays. And if people are allergic to nuts, seed butters are also a great option.
In as little as 15 minutes, you can turn a few handfuls of nuts into creamy, smooth, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth goodness in your own kitchen. Plus you can customize a nut butter every which way to create flavors specific to the person you are gifting the nut butter too.
Roast the nuts in the oven (or even a toaster oven), blend them in a food processor or blender till smooth, and add in sea salt, agave, coffee, caramel, cocoa nibs or anything really to make a delightful unique healthy Christmas gift. Some great recipes here and here!