The Ultimate Australian Christmas Gift Guide

Somewhere in the world right now an overly enthusiastic music publicist is preparing a press release to let you know that yes, Michael Buble has a new release coming, and those dulcet tones could only mean one thing: Christmas! The traditional gift-giving time of the year is but a few weeks away and those who celebrate the holiday are no doubt scrambling to finish their Xmas shopping before the hordes begin. We’re here to help, and have sorted through some of our favourite gift ideas available in Australia to hopefully spark some inspiration, whether it be a gift for a loved one, a secret santa or even someone you barely even know.

Gifts for Kids

barnardos
For anyone and everyone

Each year long-standing child protection charity Barnardos Australia head into the holiday season with their Gifts for Kids appeal, created with the sad reality in mind that many children around Australia won’t be waking up to find gifts under the tree on Christmas day. Each year the appeal successfully raises funds to deliver gifts to there children, who would otherwise go without; last year they were able to deliver over 17,000 gifts, and for this holiday season they are hoping to exceed that number.

For it’s 10th year, Barnardos Australia are bringing back Gifts for Kids to encourage donations – both online and physical – so they can meet, or better, their goal of 18,000 gift deliveries. To facilitate this, the charity has once again partnered with Simply Giving to create a website which provides the public with a number of options to support the appeal, including one which leads to an online toy store with pre-selected gifts categorised by age so you can choose which gifts you’d like to donate. It’s an accessible and seamless way to make a significant contribution to Christmas for disadvantaged children, where you can choose either a gift or gift cards to help contribute.

Online donations are being encouraged in order to cut down on logistical and administration costs, increasing the effectiveness of the overall amount raised which will benefit a greater number of vulnerable children. The company whose employees donate the most to the appeal will be rewarded with a morning tea curated by renowned cookie retailer Mrs Fields.

To donate to the appeal and for more information click through to the official Gifts for Kids website HERE.

Speak Out

speakoutgame
For board game enthusiasts with perfect teeth

Hasbro’s latest board game, Speak Out, has been causing quite the stir online. It’s being sold around the world for around $20 but according to this guy it’s been selling out fast, subsequently popping up on eBay with a $30-40 mark up. Basically you put one of five mouthpieces in (wash each thoroughly after use) and pick a card with a random sentence, drawing upon your powers of elocution to then convey the words to the other players, who will likely guess wrong because you’ll sound like you’re at the dentist. Khloe Kardashian recently played it on Ellen and Kevin Hart got everything horribly wrong, so you know it’s fun for the whole family. Add wine for extra fun.

Australians have been finding the game stocked at Toys R Us stores across the country. If you can’t find one anywhere, there’s a similar product with the very odd name of Gobby Game.

KitchenAid Mini Stand Mixer

kitchenaidmini
For the budding chef

In a recent visit to Sydney, renowned young chef Jonah Reider went on a little tour in partnership with KitchenAid, recreating his famed Pith dining concept (basically originated as a fine dining restaurant in his own dorm room) in a small Sydney apartment. The AU Review were there, and we witnessed first hand what this incredibly snazzy machine can do, since Jonah cooked all the dishes using just this. The KitchenAid Mini Stand Mixer is fairly new, kind of expensive but also super stylish and efficient, so plenty can be done with this dynamic power blender. It comes with 10 attachments and is simple to use so any budding chefs out there would benefit from having one of these sitting pretty in their kitchen.

You can check out a list of Australian stockists HERE. Prices range from around $640-700.

Video Games

Deadrising 4
For the gamer

There’s plenty to like about where major video games have been and where they are heading in the coming months. As tensions between the “big three” continue to flair, Nintendo prepare to release their Switch, Sony watch their Playstation 4 Pro fly off the shelves, and Xbox celebrate impressive sales, there’s been some stellar releases just in time for Christmas. Here are some that have been taking up our time lately.

PS4 and Xbox One

  • Final Fantasy XV | REVIEW
  • Dishonored 2 | REVIEW
  • Watch Dogs 2 | REVIEW
  • Forza Horizon 3 | REVIEW (Xbox One Exclusive)
  • Gears of War 4 | REVIEW (Xbox One Exclusive)
  • Titanfall 2 | REVIEW
  • Deadrising 4 | REVIEW (Xbox One Exclusive)

Note: Some of these games are also available for PC.

Nintendo

  • Pokemon Sun & Moon | REVIEW (Nintendo 3DS)
  • Paper Mario: Colour Splash | REVIEW (Wii U)
  • Yokai Watch 2 | REVIEW (Nintendo 3DS)
  • Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past | REVIEW (Nintendo 3DS)
  • Star Fox Zero | REVIEW (Wii U)
  • Pokken Tournament | REVIEW (Wii U)

The best places to grab any of these games are any EB Games or JB Hi Fi near you.

3SIXT VR Headset

vrheadset
For the tech obsessive

These VR Googles are nice, affordable and most importantly compatible with any 4.7-6″ smartphone that runs iOS, Android or Windows. The adaptability across models makes them ideal for those who are itching to experience VR on their smartphones, a tech which is set to pick up massively and will continue to do so in the years to come. They’ve been designed with comfort in mind with the inner-mask boasting soft leather like materials. A removable cover also allows smartphones to ventilate.

You can a pair from any News Link, Optus, Virgin or Telstra store around Australia for an RRP of $39.95

GoPro Hero5

groprohero5
For the POV superstar

GoPro’s new Hero5 is being described as “the most powerful and easy-to-use GoPro ever” with touted features including 4K video, voice control, an extremely user-friendly one-button functionality, touch display and waterproof design. These are big claims, but reviews have been glowing for the new model so you can be sure any budding action hero is going to have a field day with this one.

You can get a GoPro Hero5 from all major tech retailers for around $550.

Sunglasses (like actual good ones)

Maui Jim "Stillwater"
Maui Jim “Stillwater”

For cool peeps that hate glare

The market for sunglasses is big and vast in Australia; actually it’s often darn intimidating if you’re looking outside of that spinning rack thing at your local corner store, you know the one that peddles cheap-as-chips sunglasses that fall off your head easily and don’t actually work (yes, sunglasses have a function aside from looking good). There are plenty of great pairs out there, many of whom balance form and function perfectly so you can gift someone sunnies that are actually worth taking care of.

Our favourites lately are Sydney-born brand Oscar Wylee who offer prescription sunnies and keep their prices low (most pairs are around the $100 mark) by cutting out the middle man, while also donating one pair for every pair purchased to those in need of affordable eyecare. Then on the higher end you’ve got Hawaiian brand Maui Jim who boast some of the nicest eyewear in the world, with an enormous range. There’s also the very well known Ray Ban, some of their best being the sleek 50’s inspired Clubmasters for around the $230 mark.

Oscar Wylee have physical stores across Sydney and have just opened their first in Melbourne. You can grab Maui Jim at their official website linked to above or find them at any Sunglasses Hut store, same deal with Ray Ban.

Hatchimals

hatchanimal
For children and people who share Buzzfeed articles on Facebook

These toys are ridiculously popular right now, they sell for around $100 but are so damn hard to find that terrible people on eBay are now trying to peddle them for over double the price. We’ve got little idea where you can actually find one but if you do, consider yourself lucky and wrap it up first chance you get – those things are rare. They’re kind of the new Tamagotchis (remember those?)

So what even is a hatchimal? It’s basically an odd looking egg with a furry bird-like creature inside (it’s cute though). When you hold and rub the egg in a certain way the furball literally pecks its way out of the shell and makes strange baby noises. The bird is a moody little thing too, it’s eyes will glow various colours which mean different things and require different actions. A video on the Hatchimal can be found HERE.

R2-D2 Coffee Press

Photo: ThinkGeek
Photo: ThinkGeek

For the Star Wars geek

You’ll have to pre-order this one online from ThinkGeek but if you have a Star Wars and coffee enthusiast in your life then the wait is well worth it. This neat R2-D2 model is a 4-cup coffee press that’s been shaped as the iconic robot, allowing the owner to pour their way to a freshly brewed cuppa every morning and geek out over Star Wars merch at the same time. It’s a manual one so they’ll have to leave the capsules in the pantry, but I think they’ll be more than willing to compromise.

It’d work out to around AU$50, with pre-orders via ThinkGeek HERE

star-wars-black-red_combo

Should you want to sweeten things up so that Star Wars fan is happy year ’round you should also give a look at Havainanas Australia who just released a new Star Wars print ahead of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. A pair will set you back $34.99.

Jaybird Freedoms

jaybirdfreedom
For the gym junkie

These premium sport wireless headphones have been making some sizable waves in the market this year, with fitness aficionados snapping them up over the past few months. They use Freedom Wireless Bluetooth buds for seamless connection, some really nice sound (Soundguys gave them a respectable 8/10 overall) and a stylish look. A claim of 8 hours battery is also a nice reassurance, no one stays at the gym for longer than 8 hours a day, right?

You can find Jaybird Freedoms exclusively at any JB Hi-Fi or Apple store across the country for an RRP of $249.95