If ever there's been a time to put aside the man/woman/child breakdown of gift-giving, it's surely Christmas 2015. After a year spent contemplating gender fluidity, superhero marketing and man buns, it makes sense to celebrate the season by just giving beautiful things to beautiful people and enjoying the resulting beauty explosion.
Need some help pulling that off? Try putting a bow on one of our suggestions — they're only the best, most innovative and most lust-worthy products we've seen this year.
FOR THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE WHO DO EVERYTHING WITH STYLE
The Beach People roundie
Oh, you didn't get the memo? Beach towels are round now. Round, oversized, luxurious and very giftable. Freed from being a mere drying implement, the roundie is a picnic rug, beach blanket and ultimate Instagram prop. There's a few of these around but our faves come from Australian company The Beach People, where they retail for $110.
O Six Hundred flat pack kayak
For the one you truly love, there's this $2200 Australian-designed kayak that you assemble from flat pack, much like your Ikea bookcase. Unlike your Ikea bookcase, it's also tough and light (10kg, so any solo voyager can lift it above their head), perfect for taking out on Sydney Harbour whenever the mood may strike. Get it from Sorry Thanks I Love You.
ChaBottle from Life of Cha
For your friend who loves to tote their own tea or infused water (love you lemon, cucumber and mint), or who seems like they might want to start, there's the ChaBottle. Its 2-in-1 infuser can be used for tea, coffee and fruit drinks. $50 from Life of Cha.
When you need a gift that says, "your pants contain the world", there's Stonemen briefs. With graphic prints including mountainscapes, skylines and the universe, they're the most epic smalls around. Also available in women's styles, with prices starting at $40 from Etsy.
Forbes & Ike salt basin and pepper mill
The kitchen benchtop has rarely known such beauty as this Melbourne-crafted pepper grinder. It's hand-poured concrete, New Zealand beech timber and brass, and it's a flinch-worthy $250 from Sorry Thanks I Love You.
Sunnylife watermelon beach ball
All anyone will see is your giftee blithely throwing around a half watermelon with apparent superhero strength. Only you will know the inflatable truth. For this privilege, you're looking at just $18.95 from Sunnylife.
FOR THOSE WHO LOVE GADGETS WITH ALL THE ZEAL OF A CHILD
The gadget junkie in your life is likely to be all over Chromecast for TV. But do they have the dongle equivalent for audio? Possibly not. Chromecast Audio was released this October and allows you to stream music over Wi-Fi to any speaker in your house. So nice, and just $49 from Google.
BB-8 droid by Sphero
Just. Look. At. Him. Who wouldn't want to pull the wrapping off this little face on December 25 (aka eight days after The Force Awakens comes out)? Playable through a variety of apps and programmed to "patrol autonomously" when left on its own, the miniature BB-8 is the fun toy/baby robot/substitute pet perfect for all ages. Look at him in action here and buy for US$150 ($205) from Sphero.
The Keyboard Waffle Iron
You know life is good when you come down to breakfast and are greeted with this syrupy sight. And, since the Keyboard Waffle Iron includes both keyboard and kitchen gadget elements, the tech lover in your life is sure to appreciate this. US$85 ($116) from thekeyboardwaffleiron.com.
Moto 360 smartwatch
The smartwatch is the wearable of the moment, and it'll be on a whole lot more wrists after Christmas. Different strokes for different folks, but the Moto 360 is a good option when you weigh up nice styling vs old functionality (telling the time) vs new functionality (notifications, battery life etc). Prices start at US$299 ($408) at Motorola.
For the person who has everything, get them one little button that lets them do three things faster. Flic can be programmed to play music, make calls, snooze an alarm, turn on lights, share a location, order pizza and a bunch more stuff, all at a light touch. An addictive bit of life-hacking, it's US$34 ($46) from flic.io.
FOR THE CULTURE LOVERS WITH AN IMPRESSIVELY CONSTANT FINGER ON THE PULSE
The Gramovox Floating Record Player
Marry me, Gramovox floating record player. That's what your giftee will say upon opening this package, containing the turntable that took Kickstarter by storm earlier this year. It's the perfect fusion of state-of-the-art technology and aesthetics, and it's US$400 ($555) in walnut or maple from the Gramovox website.
Whimsical Miranda July pillowcases
Words and phrases on home decor can be hit and miss, but when those words and phrases are filmmaker/artist/writer/All About Women speaker Miranda July's, they're all hit. These wistful pillowcases make the perfect addition to any literati's bedding. $105 from Third Drawer Down.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari with Eric Klinenberg
Odds are at least one of your circle is obsessed with Aziz Ansari's insightful Netflix series, Master of None. What they might not have heard of is Modern Romance, the well-reviewed screed on relationship trends he's whipped up with sociologist Eric Klinenberg. Get it in hardcover for $39.75 from Booktopia.
Twilight concert tickets
The pretty, pretty sights of Twilight of Taronga and Melbourne Zoo Twilights return in 2016 with the likes of Courtney Barnett, Violent Femmes and Jose Gonzalez. Give a loved one the gift of beautiful music, starlit picnics and baby animals. Tickets from $50 at Twilight at Taronga and Melbourne Zoo.
FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE FAMILY, FRIENDS AND FOOD ARE THE MEANING OF LIFE
A personally tailored spirit by Archie Rose
Sydney's distillery bar Archie Rose impressed us a dozen times over this year — and one of those times was with their brilliant idea of a tailored spirits range. That means you can pick up to 3–5 botanicals (think: river mint, dorrigo pepperleaf, blood lime) and the name on the label. Prices are $84 for vodka, $89 for gin or (*gulp*) $2000+ for whisky. So we hope your friend likes white spirits. It's all happening on the Archie Rose website.
Yet another, perhaps more conventional (but never unwanted) thing to customise. With Chocolab chocolate, you can chuck in confectionary like Nerds, spices like chilli, fruit like freeze-dried acai, biscuits, nuts — almost any foodstuffs your giftee has at some point professed a fondness for. Prices start at $6.75 at ChocoLab.
Give your friend the gift of cooking you dinner with this epic book compiling recipes and stories from chefs like Neil Perry, Dan Hong, Kylie Kwong and Anna Polyviou. Diverse as it is, the book also includes this country's legendary farmers and producers — as well as Australia’s original cookbook queen, Margaret Fulton. Get it discounted to $42.50 at Booktopia.
A subscription to wine-by-the-glass tasting service Secret Bottle
By delivering their wines by the glass (in sleek screw-top vials), Secret Bottle lets its subscribers experience a wide range of Australian varietals and get to know what they like. Sign your giftee up as a founding member and they'll get a bunch of bonus gifts along with their subscription, which starts at $24.95/month from Secret Bottle.
Sprout coloured pencils
Honour your giftee's love of adult colouring in and fresh produce with these pencils that grow into herbs. They just plant them once they've worn down to stubs. €16.95 ($23) from Sprout World.