Christmas Gift Ideas for the Hard-to-Shop-For People in Your Life

Stress less over that "difficult" gift recipient with any of these top-notch gift ideas.
Sarah Templeton
Published on November 29, 2021

After a long year of back-to back lockdowns and increasingly busy work schedules, the thought of facing a month of Christmas shopping might have you throwing your hands in the air and deciding to give everyone sock bunnies a la Phoebe on Friends.

But even if your love language is gifts and you live for this time of year, pounding the malls looking for presents, you've probably got a couple of those "difficult" people to buy for in your life — we all do. Whether they have everything they want, they've recently undergone a life change, or you just want to find something particularly good to say 'thanks' for all they've done this year, you might be at a loss when you get to their name on the list in your Notes app.

To take some of the pressure off, we've found gifting inspiration for the well-deserving humans in your life of different persuasions; from the mate who's been cooking up a storm, that co-worker who lends more than their share of sympathetic ears, or your friends with babies who have different tastes than they used to. Check out these top notch present picks and add to cart.




Whether you were kept sustained by your flatmate's lasagne, or you have a kind neighbour who dropped off bread when the supermarket shelves were stripped, it's time to repay the favour to your foodie friend. Show appreciation for their efforts with one of these locally made Biroix Dutch Ovens. Designed here in Aotearoa by Queenstown-based Rachel Turner, this colourful cast iron cookware is a local answer to La Creuset.

If you want to send a hint to keep the sweet treats and hearty meals coming, perhaps gift a cookbook to strengthen their recipe repertoire. Hiakai — Modern Māori Cuisine by Monique Fiso celebrates the cooking skills of our indigenous people, or the most recent offering from Ottolenghi takes you on a journey through your kitchen cupboards, using humble ingredients to make inspired creations.

Biroix Dutch Oven — $259.00 RRP
Hiakai — Modern Māori Cuisine by Monique Fiso — $65.00 RRP
Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad — $39.00 RRP




Got a BFF coworker who moonlights as a therapist between the hours of 9-5? Say thank you for the long hours dissecting that weird email tone from your boss or offering an opinion on your sneaky online shopping — they've earned it. For the stressed out soul who you watch pound back three coffees a day, a gift set from locally owned matcha maker Thea is basically gifting them an extra five minutes of me-time in the afternoon.

Owned by Kiwi foodie cousins, these sets are aesthetically gorgeous and will look great on their desk, plus offer benefits like increased energy with less caffeine. Otherwise, support our local beauty studios who have been doing it rough over the long months of lockdown by gifting a voucher for a relaxing facial or massage, to truly melt away the stress of the festive season. The Facialist, Skinography and Skintopia are all our top picks.

Thea Premium Organic Matcha Powder (100g)— $59.00 RRP
The Facialist gift vouchers — prices start at $50.00
Skinography digital gift cards start from any price
Skintopia digital gift card — prices start at $50.00


Velvet Hearbeat


Whether they've staunchly stuck to their new lifestyle throughout the year or they're toying with the idea of a 2022 change up, support their ethical stance with gifts kind to the planet. No longer does vegan leather give the cheap, plasticky vibe of old — now quality, cruelty-free leather products dare you to spot the difference. For a splurge, our top pick is the Chloë Apple Leather Crossbody Bag from local designer Velvet Heartbeat. Named for fashion icon Chloë Sevigny, this bag is so soft you won't believe it's not butter (or leather).

If your pal has been forced to throw out all their skincare upon learning about it's dodgy animal-testing past, restock their supply with this approved skincare from Rage Against Chemicals, a business putting authentic ingredients first and vehemently against animal testing. Their products (for men and women) are made in New Zealand using certified organic and sustainably farmed ingredients like manuka, totara, and rosehip.

Chloë Apple Leather Crossbody Bag by Velvet Heartbeat— $252.00
Rage Against Chemicals — product prices start at $12.00


Father Rabbit.


Dad, brother, partner or son particularly hard to buy for? Don't resort to the classic socks and undies combo of years gone by — unless you know they really need them. If the male in your life has spent the back-to-back lockdowns working on their facial hair, treat them to a little luxury with a gift set from Lejonjon, a local company making high quality beard care products to take their face from scratchy to suave.

If all they really want is permission to hit the beach, boat or take off camping this summer, this chic Napoleon Goods chilly bin is much-needed addition to any lad's trip or group getaway: it promises to keep 18 standard bottles cold for up to 12 hours. That sounds like a recipe for a good time.

Lejonjon — Beard oils start at $29.00
Chilly bin by Napoleon Goods — $195.00 RRP




Sticking to an exercise routine is tough at the best of times. So if you know someone who's managed to get through back-to-back lockdowns without giving up on workouts altogether, they deserve a serious pat on the back. Or maybe a nice little present — like some quality new threads from Lululemon's holiday capsule collection, as they've probably run them ragged while pounding the pavement in lockdown.

If they've recently started a yoga routine to deal with the stress of the year, encourage them to keep it up with this yoga block, this meditation pillow from local brand Hyoumankind, or a new, non toxic and biodegradable yoga mat mat from ethical New Zealand company WE-AR yoga. Or maybe they're sick to death of their living room-come-studio: treat them to a change of scene with a pack of classes at a local studio, like the stunning Sala studio in Ponsonby, or with the Pilates dream-team at Core Collective in Auckland's CBD.

Lululemon yoga block — approx $30.00 RRP
WE-ARE classic yoga mat — $128.00
Hyoumankind go pillow - $229
Sala Studio seven-day unlimited trial — $40.00
Core Collective gift cards start from any price




Ah, the period when your formerly wild friends start having babies. It's very exciting but can make gift buying tricky as heck. After all, it's not like you can pick up a toddler a nice bottle of red and a spa voucher after work. We'd recommend any of the gorgeous, non-toxic toys from Herne Bay store Father Rabbit, like this Harvest Vegetable Set or this super cute Ana Banana teether.

If they are tiny explorers, help them look their best on the playground with these tiny but hugely cute Teva sandals, which can pretty much stand anything they'll throw at them. Otherwise, bypass for buying for the kid completely and instead get something for mum: we love these personalised Little Letter necklaces from Sophie, which can be customised with their little one's initials.

Harvest Vegetable toy set from Father Rabbit — $37.99
Ana Banana baby teether from Father Rabbit — $45.00
Teva sandals — Kids range starts at $43.00 (sale price)
Little Letter Necklaces from Sophie — $64.00

Published on November 29, 2021 by Sarah Templeton
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