Welcome to Part 2 on tips for gift giving. As a reminder, here is out mantra for the perfect present:
a) something they wouldn’t normally buy for themselves
b) looks nice/appealing and makes them say “cool!”
c) practical or usable. This includes being one-size fits all for clothes/accessories
Today, we will be talking about group presents, in which you have the bonus of having a bigger budget (>$50) in order to get something really fantastic for your friend, especially for big milestones such as weddings or 21sts 😀
1. Polaroid Camera
This is a great present for anybody, especially those people who have everything (unless everything already includes one!). Ever since I got one for my birthday all those years ago, I have received exclamations of “COOL!!!” from everyone, old and young, male or female. The Polaroid brand ones can be quite pricey, but the Fuji Instax are quite affordable (the Instax Mini is <$100), especially if you go as a group present.
Practicalities: If possible, make sure to give them a pack of film to get them started!
2. Concert/Play Tickets
The perfect thing about tickets is a) if they weren’t planning to go, it’s a fun and usable surprise, or b) if they were planning to go, most people are limited by cost to cheaper C grade seats (at least I am, I don’t know about all you fat cats :P), in which case you can use your pooled money to upgrade them to some better seats!
a) research their favourite music beforehand
b) make sure they haven’t already got tickets
c) once you’ve ensured they don’t already have tickets, make sure to invite them to something so that they keep that night free (make it something lowkey like dinner so that they don’t get excited about something else)
d) recruit other friends who like the band to buy their own tickets to go with the person (made in one purchase so that they are seated together), or give the recipient two tickets for them and a friend.
3. Fun kitchen appliances
No, I don’t mean something like a kettle. I’m suggesting things like a) waffle maker, b) chocolate fondue fountain, c) ice-cream maker, etc. You know, like, those Sunbeam type products (although to be honest, I don’t know why one would need a specialised egg boiler?)
Practicalities: Do your research; scour Ozbargain and Choice or whatever websites are local to your country for reviews and best prices on different brands/models, because a) if it’s bad quality/poorly designed, it’s not going to be used often, and b) why break the bank if there are more cost-effective but good products out there?
4. Good Quality Headphones
Forget those cruddy (but cute) ones from Typo, get them something with decent sound quality. Look for reputable electronics brands like Sennheiser, Sony, Panasonic etc. Earbuds are more versatile since most people use them, but over ear headphones look cool and often have the bonus of sound cancelling.
Practicalities: Once again, the internet is your friend. Check some reviews; most will be too in depth on sound mechanics, but can give you a rough guide as to whether the headphones are actually ok. Also, if someone is travelling overseas, headphones are often stocked in duty free shops at the airports, so get them to pick it up for you!
5. Fancy wine/champagne.
This is a fun, grown-up present that is perfect for 21sts. A bottle of Moet&Chandon is classic and beautifully packaged, and even if your friend isn’t a known wine drinker, the fun of popping open a bottle and the fanciness is still appealing.
Practicalities: Wine can keep for a while, so keep an eye out for 2-for-1 specials and other discounts at your local liquor store.
6. Board Games
No, we’re not talking Monopoly or Scrabble. Welcome to the world of boutique board games, where things are pricey but fun as games challenge your minds and break your friendships. A fun gift that your whole friendship group can enjoy together, here are some of my recommendations:
1. Settlers of Catan (2-4 players; one of the most popular boutique board games, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find opponents)
2. 7 Wonders (2-7 players; will take a game or two to get the hang of, but has great replay value and rounds don’t last hours)
3. Saboteur (3-10 players; a card game that is quite quick to learn and involves acting/trickery as well as teamwork. A lot of fun and rowdiness)
Practicalities: Buy online! Most things are cheaper online than in store, but nothing more so than board games! The price discrepancy, oh the price discrepancy! Also, if you have time, put together a little playlist of themed music (we listen to Nujabes for Seven Wonders, and the Shogun Total War soundtrack for Asian themed games like Ninjato or Takenoko)
7. Record Player and Vinyls
Perfect for the musician, or the hipster, or the hipster-musician.
Practicalities: I know I say check for reviews/google stuff, but this is definitely one to do that for. Why invest in vinyls and a record player, if the record player had poor sound quality? Record Players and Vinyls can both be bought secondhand, but do some reading to make sure you are getting a quality product (e.g. checking for scratches and stuff)
What’s the best group present you’ve ever received/been involved in?