Boxing clever: The gift guide for the hard to buy for

With so much casual online browsing and drop-shipping empires, everyone can indulge their every whim at the swipe of a finger. Photo/Getty

Weary of trying to think of what to buy for Christmas? Tired of ye olde mall vouchers and socks? Ruth Spencer’s guide to festive gifts is the list you never knew you needed.

Is there someone in your life who’s hard to buy for? Of course, there is. With so much casual online browsing and drop-shipping empires, everyone can indulge their every whim at the swipe of a finger. Gift-giving is now incredibly hard – we’ve seen all the novelty fidget toys, downloaded the latest bestselling novels on to the Kindle and banned Christmas cake from our Keto households. But as the angel said to the shepherds, fear not! We have 10 gift suggestions to tickle the most jaded recipient.

Tarot Cards

They’ll never see it coming – well, not without a pack of these. Now that the trend of poker nights has waned, it’s time for a higher-stakes deck of cards. Gambling with the Infinite offers a new thrill. Will you meet a tall, dark stranger? Certainly, you will, he’s the courier driver you see multiple times a week and you really should know his name by now. Travel over water? It’s New Zealand in summer, good luck not traveling through water. How into money? Only if someone snaps up your Unwanted Gift TradeMe listings. But the mystery! The magic! Santa could never.

Cocktail hour

If they’re the kind of person who has everything, chances are their palates are weary. When they’re barely toying with their lotus hearts and lark’s eggs, tempt their Epicurean souls with something unique. And the best part is, you already have the perfect gift stashed away. At the back of what you call your bar cabinet but it’s really the hard-to-reach bit under the sink behind the potatoes, is that unopened bottle of novelty booze you bought on holiday. Although you only drink pinot noir, in a fit of sun-soaked madness you know you did it: you bought a sticky mango creme in a ceramic tiki from Rarotonga; an enormous wax-sealed bottle of improbable coconut spirit from Norfolk Island; “banana” rum; whatever Nocello is. If you carefully wrapped it in your underpants to get it safely home in your suitcase, it’s now perfect for a friend who could use a new taste sensation.

Subscription Podcasts

Buy the terminally head-phoned a membership to their favorite podcast. They’ll get access to special perks, like being able to see a video of the podcasters lying on their couches in pajamas recording the very podcast they’ve just listened to. Priceless! They’ll receive some kind of fan tat exclusive merch, like an incredibly specific catchphrase T-shirt, which is like a band shirt for people who aren’t really into bands. If the DJ played amateur true-crime conspiracy theories down at the club though, they’d be first in line. Ha, what a ludicrous concep…oh wait, that’s called a live podcast and tickets are included in the subscription. Pajamas ahoy!

A podcast subscription could be a great gift for the hard to buy for.  Photo/Getty
A podcast subscription could be a great gift for the hard to buy for. Photo/Getty

Escape Room

The only way you can say “Here’s your gift – now get out!” on Christmas Day and not cause a family accident. It’s a perfect gift for someone you don’t want to see for a few hours. Create your own home-made escape room by putting together exciting clues and hiding the keys. A fun Christmas surprise for your guests to wake up to – there’s nothing like the exhilarating sense of urgency created by having to solve a cryptogram to get to the loo.

Singing Lessons

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy can be an absolute chainsaw on the nerves, and ’tis the season when everyone, regardless of ability, is encouraged to have a bash at singing. Despite the fact the bar is set pretty high by the Bublés and the Mariahs, everyone seems to think they can troll the ancient Yuletide etc with impunity. No. Get your carollers up to speed with singing lessons. It’s the gift of their own voice and the fond hope of some improvement the next time we all tackle the Glorias in Excelsis Deo.


Art is subjective, and therefore hard to choose for another person. But art also has a subtle cachet. An original piece can feel glamorous and expensive, even if you don’t like it. Support local artists and tick off your gift list at an exhibition in your suburb. From the expression in the artist’s eyes as the red sticker is pressed next to their canvas, you’ll have the warm glow of knowing at least someone is grateful to you this Christmas. For a less expensive option, try the op shops, where amateur art is plentiful and cheap. Couldn’t possibly say why.

A Boudoir Photoshoot

Their body might not be the best it’s ever been, but chances are it’s the best it’s going to be from now on. Capture the last vestiges of beauty with soft lighting, elegant lingerie and a photographer who knows how to bend them into shapes they’ve never seen in the changing room mirror. Get their hair and makeup done by a professional, or at least someone who makes videos for TikTok. Don’t spring for the A2 enlargement package though, there’s always a chance they’ll hang it in the lounge.

Dog DNA Test

It's time to test their doggo's DNA, to see where their pooch got its waggly tail and overall goodboi-ness.  Photo/Getty
It’s time to test their doggo’s DNA, to see where their pooch got its waggly tail and overall goodboi-ness. Photo/Getty

They’ve searched for Viking traces in their own ancestry and secretly hoped their uploaded DNA would help solve a cold case. Now it’s time to test their doggo’s DNA, to see where their pooch got its waggly tail and overall goodboi-ness. Poodle or just a huntaway with a perm? Your lucky gift recipient will get the excitement of collecting their dog’s drool in a little vial instead of on the sofa cushions – a change is as good as a holiday! Once they’ve filled the test tube with dribble, they can send it off to be someone else’s problem at what is possibly the world’s newest worst job. An actual place called Embark Labs will test the slobber bottle then let you know just who has been lifting their leg on the family tree. Hopefully the DNA doesn’t reveal little Fido to be a serial killer, because he’s not about to tell you where he buried the bones.


An influx of new stuff at Christmas can make us all feel a bit desperate. Where do you even store a waffle iron? Will it fit inside last year’s rice cooker, or is this the juicer situation all over again? If their house is starting to look like the “Before” shots on Hoarders, give them the gift of ruthlessness. A personal organizer service will shame them out of their garbage pile and streamline their lives. Does it spark joy to the world? Out it goes. If you can’t afford a professional organiser, just offer to turn up one afternoon and point out everything in their house you don’t like.

Take Inspiration From Others

What does someone who has everything buy for themselves? Twitter? A spaceship! A tax haven island? The chance to launch a car into orbit? That’s right, when people are given endless wealth and the choice of anything in the world, simplicity and serenity take a backseat to absolute screaming nonsense. So, find the most idiotic, grandiose thing you can get hold of within your budget, stick a bow on it and chuck it under the tree. Or just don’t try at all. If they’ve got the gall to be hard to buy for, you might as well be hard to receive from.


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