JoJo’s Gift Giving Guide

It can be so tricky to think of just the right gift to give loved ones at Christmas and not blow the budget. I thought I’d put together some of my past ideas to inspire some of your own ideas. Mostly I have gift ideas for sisters/girlfriends because that’s the bulk of my gifts. I have 4 sisters and lots of girlfriends I buy for. But I’ve added a few ideas for some other groups you may buy for too.

My grandparents are in their nineties. They don’t need things (well not things that make nice gifts). Every time we go to their house, my Grandma is trying to offload some Tupperware, china or trinkets of some kind. There’s little point in giving them more ‘things’. I generally get my grandparents something that either they can do together, or I can take them to do. They love it. I’ve taken them for High Tea or a concert/theatre in the past. I’ve also given them Gold Class Tickets (because they go to the movies at New Years with their best friends).  Sometimes that involves pre-purchasing vouchers or tickets. Other times it’s as simple as typing up a ‘certificate’ and printing it out- paying for the activity on the day.

High Tea

I generally spend a bit more on my sisters than I do my friends, but I go with the same general themes. I tend to get them products that I love so they can try them too. That might be makeup, skincare, jewellery, essential oils or clothes. Things that people might not just buy themselves but if they love them as much as me after trying them, they might start. Some things that I have gotten friends/family in the past are:

Go-To products- Zoe Foster Blake is amazing! I actually started out with her Amazinger Face book (which I have given to girlfriends as a gift before) and it led me to a few brands of skin care which I love, including her own. Some good friend gift items include Transformazing sheet masks, Lips or Pinky Nudey Lips or Super Handy. For a closer friend I might go with Face-Hero, Exceptionoil or the Face Case silk pillow case. For a sister I’d probably grab a set of some kind.

Tarte products- Tarte is pretty much my main make up these days. Tarte is cruelty free, dermatologically tested, vegan, gluten free, soy free and hypoallergenic. It’s also formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, triclosan, and sodium lauryl sulphate. And it’s just beautiful and the first makeup I felt gave me lovely coverage without a horrible cakey face (particularly a few years ago when I was having some skin issues and needed more coverage). I was recommended Tarte by my best friend and also Zoe Foster Blake recommends the Maracuja Oil Creaseless Concealer (as do I). So, I have tried to share my love with some of my friends by giving them fun presents. I’d recommend anything, but they always have cute little sets that let people try deluxe sizes of a few products. And it’s really affordable. At the moment some of my go to gifts would be the Jetset in a Jiffy Intro Set, Passport to Paradise Collectors Set, Flawless Foursome Lip Sculptor Set, Partners in Crime Colour Collection, Lip & Cheek GLOW Colour Collection, Busy Girl Essentials Intro Set and the  Here Today, Gone to Maui Colour Collection (this includes a Chrome Paint Shadow Pot which I’d recommend on its own too).

Mox Shoes- I have most of the office and several girlfriends wearing these now. They are so fabulous! They are shoes made from rubber so are just as comfortable as thongs are in the summer time, although I think they are more comfortable because they aren’t flopping around on your feet. They are light, breathable and oh so comfortable (did I say comfortable?). You can get them wet down at the beach on your lunch break and still go back to the office no problem. I even had a pair stashed under the table at my sister’s wedding so I could slip off my heels and dance the night away.  They come in many different colours.

L’Occitane- L’Occitane make my favourite hand creams. Last year I actually purchased one of their advent calendars, took everything out and grouped the products to make little gift bags. It was a hit, very affordable and anything left over I kept as a present to myself.

Bath and Body Works- There are 2 Bath and Body Works stores in Melbourne, one at the airport and the other at Chadstone. I used to make a trip over to the USA every 2 years, to visit friends but a bonus was that I got to stock up on Bath and Body Works stuff. It smells just incredible. Now I make a trip to Chadstone every year when their Christmas range is released. This year I also had orders to fill for friends, because I’ve gotten them hooked too. All their products are lovely but at Christmas time the novelty of giving someone candy cane scented body lotion is just too much to resist.

Essential Oils- A great gift is some essential oils. You could team it with a nice diffuser or last year I gave my sister a necklace that you can drop oils onto and she can wear the fragrance. Essential oils have such incredible benefits beyond just smelling good. I use them to help with insomnia, pain, hormone imbalance, cleaning, skin care, gardening, headaches, nausea, cuts and scrapes… the list is endless. I personally use a lot of Doterra oils, but also use some Young Living, I found the diffuser necklace on Etsy.

Some honourable mentions are Mario Badescu Facial Sprays. You can get them in 2 sizes and the smaller sizes make a great little gift or stocking filler. I use the Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater every day to set my makeup. I also love the Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea, particularly if I’ve had a little sun. The newest one I have is Aloe, Chamomile and Lavender (which could also be used post sun with the calming Chamomile and Lavender), but I’ve been keeping this one by my bed and spritzing pre-lights out. You can get Mario Badescu at MECCA (and larger Myer stores that carry MECCA). Also, a great gift is OPI nail polish. Whenever they release a new collection, they release a mini set. They are adorable and perfect for a gift. And you get 4 or 5 colours to try instead of 1 that is too big to ever get through.

For a group of my friends, we also do a lot of homemade gifts. I have made cookie dough and put it in cute little containers. I have also made Gingerbread sugar scrub. If you usually get one of these gifts from me cover your eyes- this year I’m making fudge from Danielle Walkers Against All Grain: Celebrations cookbook. I’ve had other friends make me gingerbread houses, lip butter, bath salts, Christmas decorations and candles. It’s really lovely to both make and receive homemade gifts. Last year for some of the more senior of my gift recipients I also made relish and chutney.

Guys (Dad/Brother/Boyfriend/Friend):
Guys I find really hard to buy for. My dad is near impossible because he’s very set in what he likes and doesn’t really deviate from that. There’s only so many bottles of Brut, blue shirts and British comedy box sets you can get him. I’ve tried to get him things we can do together like tickets to the James Bond Exhibition at the Museum a few years ago.  He also loves passion fruit so I have given him passion fruit trees too.
For Guys, I’ve also gone with concert tickets, old records from vintage stores (for a music buff friend), a national geographic subscription (or you could go with the New Yorker or a sports magazine if that’s what they were into). Most of the guys in my life seem to be a little on the nerdy side. Not really nerdy, but I think guys just like to know how things work. So, something that has been a bit of a hit is a subscription to Curiosity Stream which is like Netflix but with thousands of documentaries. I also find that boys often don’t buy things they need. My ex-boyfriend would show up at my house for the weekend with clothes in a shopping bag. So, I bought a really nice ‘Weekender bag’ from Iconic that he loved. I think it’s ok to get boys things they need but wouldn’t buy themselves but a nicer version than what they’d get themselves if they did.

My sisters range from in their 30’s down to 12 years old so I have some teenagers on my list. While Tarte makeup is a pretty good option for teenagers (my sister was obsessed with false lashes for a while so a set that contained some falsies, like the Dash of Lash Eye Set or Fierce in a Flash Discovery Set, was my default for her). I also don’t mind a fun set of PJs for a teenager. Or a day out like to a show, movie or a shopping trip. I have recently discovered and their amazing range of handcrafted ‘indulgence products’ like wax melts, candles and bath and body products when a dear friend gifted me some. You could grab these for a girlfriend or sister too, but they are such fun themed products that they make a fabulous gift for a teenager. This company is run from a Queensland woman’s home, she started creating as an outlet after escaping Family Violence. Now that’s the type of business I want to support. Not only that, it’s called Maple and Wattle because of their love of all things Canadian and Australian- seeing as I’m an Aussie girl with a Canadian bestie it sounds pretty perfect to me.

Little People (when you’re not their parent):
I have several kids that I buy for at Christmas time. Kids really don’t need more stuff, particularly at Christmas, they get so much already. I’m not their primary gift giver so, at Christmas I try to steer away from toys and get things that help them learn or they can do. Some things that I typically buy for my little friends are books or T-Shirts (last year they all had fun puns on them- like for my 3-year-old friend who loves cars and trucks it said ‘I like big trucks and I cannot lie’ with a big yellow truck- he loved it. For my 4-year-old buddy who loves bacon it was a ‘Powered by Bacon’ shirt). I also will get crafts and games that can be done with siblings, parents or friends. The gift really is quality time, but it looks like a fun activity (and it is) when they unwrap it.

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I like Big Trucks

I just realised I didn’t give any suggestions for my Mum, but she’s actually super easy to buy for- pretty things for the house, things for the garden, jewellery- she’s probably the easiest person to buy for.

I also love buying from Oxfam, either from their beautiful ethical store for unique gifts or their useful gifts (where you purchase things like a cow for a family in Africa on the recipient’s behalf). There’s a store at Chadstone or you can purchase online.

I also like handmade, local and unique so I generally check out some little markets before Christmas for some inspiration.

Note: this is not sponsored in any way, shape or form. Just love these products.

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