Our Top 10 Christmas Gifts for 2015

They say too many options can easily overwhelm, and this truism is no more evident than when Christmas rolls around each year, and almost every business on and offline tries to convince you that they have the perfect gift. Unless you know exactly what those around you want or need, it’s hard to surprise them with something that completely satisfies, that’s why gift lists are so common nowadays. So to help you along we’ve compiled a list of 10 simple gift ideas made up of various music, art, food, lifestyle, and technology items that we have been particularly fond of this year.

MUSIC

1. Rockit Record Players

The team here at the AU are insatiable music nerds and we’re always sifting through the many ways to enjoy tunes that keep popping up every year. We’re quite partial to these beauties; Rockit Record Players offers a fine blend of vintage design and functionality across their range. Their GPO Attaché Case portable turntables have built-in twin speakers and a plug-and-play aesthetic, attractively designed to balance modernity with a commitment to old-school charm.

With all this talk of the vinyl industry growing stronger, and stronger, having one of these handy is a good idea for the music lover (that is, everyone). There’s even a USB stick with it so you can transfer your vinyl to digital. Additional features including three play speeds – 33, 45, and 78 – and RAC output which allows you to plug into external speakers for an even louder sound. Their range is available from the website linked to below, from $119.

Buy this one by itself or in a bundle with matching speaker and record case from rockitrecordplayers.com.au

2. UE Boom 2

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When Ultimate Ears came out with the UE Boom two years ago, the market for portable bluetooth speakers was still relatively young. If you look at today, you have plenty of options, but UE’s BOOM sequel, simply titled UE Boom 2, remains one of the best choices out there. First off, they’ve gone back and taken all the strengths of the original, super-sized it – but not excessively – and made the thing completely water-proof. What you have now is a product with a louder, cleaner sound, and double the wireless range of it’s predecessor. It’s also pretty neat in it’s design, looking slick around the house or as a never-leave-home-without-it adventure necessity. You can read our full review of the product HERE. More information can be found HERE. RRP is $249.95

UE Boom 2 can be purchased online at the website above or wherever good speakers are sold.

ART & LIFESTYLE

3. Purely Wall Clocks

Wall Clocks are less about telling the time these days – we’ve got plenty of ways to do that – and more about design. Australian company Purely Wall Clocks realise this, and they’ve made available a pretty diverse range of styled timepieces that pull on both contemporary and vintage trends. As a response to the digital world, the business has stuck to the elegance of a wall clock and curated what is now the largest range available in Australia.

You can check out all they have available HERE. We’re pretty sweet on their retro range.

4. Subscription Boxes

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Online marketplace Subscription Box launched earlier this year has already been killing it with their curated gift boxes from Australia and around the world. How it works is that you choose a box online from various categories including category, occasion, gift recipient, price, brand, what’s new and highest ratings, simply curating a gift package that looks good, offers variety, and will most definitely grab someones attention.

You can see the full list of boxes available at http://www.subscriptionbox.com.au

5. Adrenalin (Experience Gift Website)

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Experience gift website adrenalin.com.au are in the midst of their #GiveAdrenalin campaign, offering up giftcards on their website that people can use to purchase various experiences across Australia. The campaign was originally supposed to run for a few weeks last month but has proved so popular that they’ve extended it until Christmas, adding even more curated experiences to their comprehensive list.

The most popular gifts on their website include: V8 Race Car Experiences (from $99); Skydiving (From $299); Rally Driving (From $99); Hot Air Ballooning (From $230); Indoor Skydiving (From $89); Jet Pack Adventures (From $79pp); Helicopter Flights (From $69); European Supercar Experiences (From $89); Jet Boat Rides (From $42pp); and BridgeClimb Sydney (From $228).

The Gift Cards are available online or at Coles, Woolworths, and Big W stores. For more info head to www.adrenalin.com.au

DRINK

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6. Spirit Advent Calenders

Remember those calenders with little flaps for everyday, with each flap hiding a bite-sized chocolate? Yeah, you’re (probably) grown up now so chances are you’ll be needing something with a bit more bite to it for a gift. The Master of Malt have these sweet spirit advent calenders, like “The Ginvent Calender”, so you play on that nostalgia while drinking your way through a different Gin everyday. Of course, there’s also Vodka and Whisky calenders to choose from.

To check out these glorious creations click HERE

7. Our five favourites wines of 2015:

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  •  McWilliam’s Family Winemakers: Flagship Range – 2014 “1877” Hilltops Shiraz + 2013 “842” Tumbarumba Chardonnay

Just a few months ago, the famous McWilliam’s Wines added a Chardonnay and a Shiraz to their iconic Flagship Range, continuing the strong showing of the Hilltops and Tambarumba regions their wines are connected to.
the Hilltops and Tumbarumba regions. This is a good chance to show some of NSW’s finest with both the 2014 “1877” Hilltops Shiraz ($80) and the 2013 “842” Tumbarumba Chardonnay ($70) (the first white in the popular range) available alongside the rest of the series. More info on stockists can be found HERE

  • Evans & Tate Broadway: 2014 Chardonnay, Margaret River WA

It’s cheap, it’s rated very highly, and it comes from Margaret River. What more could you want. The 2014 Chardonnay ($19.90) from Evans & Tate is part of the new Broadway range and is a blend of grapes sourced throughout the renowned Margaret River. You’ll get some nice citrus and ripe pear from this one, pairing up well with any fruity Christmas cake. More info HERE.

  • Calabria Family Wines: The Iconic Grand Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz 2012

Really want to treat someone to a premium red wine experience? The very highly regarded Calabria Family Wines have just released their The Iconic Grand Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz 2012 ($175) and it’s been a pretty big deal in the Australian wine industry so far. The fruit for the Iconic was carefully hand-harvested by owner and winemaker Bill Calabria, contributing the the luxurious, smooth taste that typifies Barossa shiraz. You’ll get a bouquet of cinnamon, red liquorice, and blackcurrant from this with a palate of brambly forest fruits and white chocolate. If you’re looking for a really good red to gift someone then it’s hard to go past this one. You can get a bottle online HERE or where all good wine is stocked.

  • McWilliam’s Family Winemakers: Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon 2007

Our second entry from McWilliam’s on this list, the Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon 2007 ($44.99) is an award-winning has been rated very highly by critics. This is one to pick up for those that enjoy a rich palate of toasty lemon that is well connected with the famed Hunter area. You can pick one up HERE

  • Bird In Hand D&B: ‘Pour Les Amour’ Sparkling 2015

Part of Bird in Hand’s limited release signature range, this newly released sparkling comes from Adelaide Hills with 100% local grown grapes used to create a dry, delicate style sparkling Pinot Noir ($40) with characters of strawberries, cream, and red apple. The vibrant look and feel of the bottle mirrors the palate, so it’s perfect for those that want their festive season to be a bit livelier. Grab this one from Bird in Hand’s new website HERE.

TECH

8. Sky Walkers

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The age of the Hover Board is finally here! And it’s about time too. Just recently the world celebrated Back to the Future day, and since then these Sky Walkers have been popping up all over the place. The high tech hover boards have only recently arrived in Australia, and unsurprisingly they are being tipped as one of the top Christmas gifts for any age. The Sky Walkers range features the intro board at 6.5″, or you can go for the larger version at 8″. There’s even a kids version at 4.5″. They come in 9 different colours and designs.

A single charge will get you about 20km on one of these bad boys – they only take around 2-3 hours to recharge – at a max speed of 15-20kp/h. The self-balancing gyro that makes them so easy to use is active from the moment you step on, so all you have to do to move forward is simply lean in a forward direction; to slow down, stop, or go backwards, you just lean back, and to turn you just lean left or right.

You can check them out HERE

9. Video Games

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One of the most common Christmas gifts for teenagers and young adults has been videos games for many, many years and that trend isn’t looking to change anytime soon. Especially when games are as strong as they have ever been with the new-gen really kicking it up in terms of quality for 2015. Some of our favourite games this year have included Until Dawn (review HERE); Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (review HERE); Fallout 4 (review HERE); Guitar Hero Live (Review HERE); Lego Dimensions (review HERE); and Minecraft: Story Mode (review HERE). You can always pre-order Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for someone as well.

EVENTS

10. 2016 Events

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Of course, Christmas is also a time for people to plan ahead and with many tickets for next year’s biggest events already on sale, now is a pretty good time to lock it in for a friend of relative who has been aching to get along to one of the following. Our top 3 picks for big events in early 2016, for which tickets are already on sale, are:

  • Byron Bay Bluesfest

The organisers of Byron Bay Bluesfest haven’t been lax about their 27th anniversary next year. Just last week they made the big announcement that none other than neo-soul legend D’Angelo will be joining a line-up that already boasts Kendrick Lamar, Brian Wilson, and Tom Jones among many, many others. Tickets are pretty expensive if you want to go all five days so this a good chance to help someone out and give them the full experience. Full line-up details are HERE.

  • Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

When March rolls out so does Handa Opera, and it’s always a pretty big spectacle in Sydney. Next year’s season has the unrivaled location host Puccini’s epic fantasy Trunadot. It will run from 24th March to 24th April with tickets starting at $70. Tickets and details can be found at: opera.org.au/gift

  • St Jermone’s Laneway Festival 2016

Laneway has grown to become one of Australia’s biggest touring festivals, and certainly one of the few that can present a snapshot of where the music industry is at right now and what the current trends in contemporary tunes are. Big name acts like Flume, Grimes and Chvrches are featured on the music program, as are rapidly rising sensations like GoldLink, Vince Staples and Thundercat. Stalwart Aussies also include The Smith Street Band and Hermitude. For more info click HERE.