Because you're too old to still be gifting free hug coupons and macaroni photo frames. Because last year your family staged an intervention about you slipping a fiver in everyone's Christmas cards like an estranged uncle. Because your "just being there" isn't enough of a present anymore. Not everyone is a great gifter, in fact, good gift giving is somewhat of an art – and we're going to help you perfect it. Here, friends, are 10 of Auckland's finest spots to find gifts of such high caliber that you'll enjoy the 'Best Relative of 2015' title this Christmas.
You know those super clean people on Instagram who have white waffle duvet covers with no chocolate stains and white clothing that has definitely been ironed and basically everything in their lives is just this blinding white with enough of a hint of gold or copper to let you know they're not just living in one of those padded white rooms in an asylum? Father Rabbit stores feel like the materialisation of those people. You walk in and wish that you had washed your hair more recently. And while the products in store might be unsuitable for your grubby self, they're fun to buy for cleaner relatives, and you get to pretend you're hygienic for a while. Tableware, linens, vases and candles, you'll find every homeware under the sun as well as a few other bits and pieces like baby shoes and bathroom products.
20 Normanby Road, Mount Eden & 232 Jervois Road, Herne Bay
For the eccentric yet classy mother or aunt in your life, shop at Madder & Rouge. Mums and aunts love all that stuff that you can't justify buying for yourself. Cushions, fancy light shades, ornaments, vases, you know the stuff. Unnecessary things that are nice to have when you own a home and plan on staying there. The Newmarket store is crazy colourful, with their products influenced by all corners of the globe. Morroccan inspired prints, French sourced ceramics and classical English linens, pick the theme of your rellie's house and shop away.
Iko Iko is a dangerous place to shop, because once to step foot in the door you'll get sucked into the Iko Iko black hole that is every bit as infinite as the YouTube cat video vortex. But if you have a day to kill and have an extravagant adult or a kid to shop for, this could be a winner. From llama phone cases to flamingo candles, gummy bear nightlights to Star Wars origami kits, everything is novelty, fun, and sure to win a smile from the receiver.
For the foreign relative you've got coming over for their first Kiwi Christmas, head to The Vault where the New Zealand spirit and culture shows through in the majority of their products. Native birds, tiki patterns and even a surfboard-clad Holden station wagon-shaped jewellery box, if you're in the market for something Kiwi, you'll find it here.
If you decided to forego the advent calendar this year and therefore had no reason to keep track of the days until Christmas, and suddenly it is Christmastime and you have bought no presents whatsoever, you can probably get everything you need at Askew and still receive hearty accolades for your efforts. A Mecca of the miscellaneous, you can get everything from giant inflatable swans to Triumph & Disaster face scrubs, the ever popular Blunt umbrellas to animal and allergy friendly make-up to these adorable dachshund book ends. Askew is one of those places you'd want to be based in the case of a zombie apocalypse because you'd never fall short of entertainment.
Fun Fact: if you type the word 'askew' into Google the search page tilts. As in. Askew. Ha.
Avoid awkward gifting double-ups by buying your loved ones' one-off prezzies from The Market NZ. A hidden haven, down a set of stairs off Ponsonby Road, made up of items created local by locals, The Market is all about making it easier on small-scale artists to continue their crafts by using their store as a selling platform. Menswear, womenswear and homeware, you'll find it all here.
If you have decided to scout out The Market, you'll pass through Bioattic on your way, and you'll probably get distracted by the terrariums because who wouldn’t? It's a pretty specific store, with a whole lot of tiny fish tank-like bowls filled with tiny plants. I got one for Mum last year and her first question was "what is the point?" and I said "there isn’t really a point just enjoy it for what it is" and now it is her favourite thing ever and I'm daughter of the year. Moral of the story, people like miniature foliage in bowls.
How better to fast-track your Christmas shopping than by trawling through a market, where you’ll find 30 different stalls offering items from every aspect of the gifting spectrum under one roof? Popping up at Ponsonby Central, find art, jewellery, craft and clothing all made and sold by local creatives. Make the most of being in Ponsonby's hub by BYO shopping snacks from one of the many vendors, and stop off for a well-deserved post-shopping bevvie at one of numerous bars in the surrounding area as a reward.
If you're a responsible human being with your ducks in a well-aligned row and enough pocket change to fund another (albeit considerably smaller) mouth, and if you were already considering a pet, then why not adopt from the SPCA rather than buying direct from a breeder? There are two really cute bunnies called Winston and Panda and an orange cat called Marmalade and a Heading Dog called Badger and even a chicken called Edgar, all of whom I want in my life but can't adopt for too-many-animal reasons. But you could. Go on, save a furry life.