Christmas is almost here, and given the year we’ve just had, it’s go hard or go home. This holiday season is – pending none of 2020’s indulgent curve-balls – going to have a lot riding on it. It’ll be like cannoning-balling into that perfectly temperature controller pool after trudging through the Sahara, and hearing those confected sleigh bells blasting through the streets is going to be nothing less than pure catharsis. Such a special occasion is going to need a stack of gifts to go with it, of course. Which is why we’ve pulled together some of our favourite products of the year for you to get across when you’re inevitably swearing bullets over what to buy.
There’s a lot out there, so we’ve narrowed it down for you across various categories, for various budgets. From Sony’s market-dominating headphones and Sonos’ beastly portable speaker; to an impressive health track from Withings and a workhorse of an air purifier from Philips; to the hard-to-choose between consoles of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X; to DJI’s most affordable drone yet and GoPro’s 5K stunner; to the immense LG CX series and Sonos’ exceptional new soundbar; to an impressive high-end phone from Oppo and Google’s surprisingly elegant mid-range stunner; to Dyson’s biggest power play yet and Amazon’s beautifully remodelled Echo series; to a jaw-dropping new manual coffee machine from DeLonghi and the biggest kitchen essential of 2020 (an Airfryer – what else?); to what just may be Icebreaker’s coolest jacket ever and some locally made swim trunks; to some of the year’s best coffee table books and a Christmas collection from one of the country’s finest chocolatiers.
No pair of truly wireless noise-cancelling headphones has come close to toppling Sony’s beastly XM4 this year. In just about every way the WH-1000XM4 represents a marked improvement upon the XM3, a pair which quickly became the defining headphones of 2018. If you know someone who wants to lock themselves into their own private listening session with rumbling lows, exceptional mids, and soaring highs, while at the same time owning complete control over some very nuanced (and impressively smart) active-noise cancelling tech, this is the pair you should be getting.
Sonos’ famously sleek and minimal design is as evident as ever with the company’s first ever portable wireless speaker, looking soft despite how ridiculously powerful it is. With the ability to function both as a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker, this beast of a performer offers a wide soundstage that’s brimming with personality and fine detail, so those road trips are going to sound mighty fine these holidays. Sonos recently launched the speaker in an attractive Lunar White colour, so now you’ve got the choice between full matte black or matte white.
Bose has finally gotten it right with the new generation of their wearable-audio Frames series. Though the sector is quite young, Bose has clearly put a lot into the Frames Tempo, appropriately pushing them as the high-performance sports headphone-sunglasses hybrid that sets the standard for wearable audio tech. They are sturdy, IPX4-rated and draw a lot of power from two specially designed Bose speakers which sound much better than the previous models. Plus, calls are reasonably clear with the advanced dual-microphone array, so its finally acceptable to take calls through your very stylish sports sunglasses.
$399 | bose.com.au
Jabra Elite Active 75t / Elite 85t
Know someone who’s constantly on the move? The Jabra Elite Active 75t earphones are sports-ready and built to last through all the sweat and heat of a hearty workout. Whether they’re running around the block a dozen times or hitting the gym, these buds will not only keep their motivation playlist sounding just right, but the exceptionally comfortable and secure fit will ensure they can jostle around without having to worry about them falling out. Moving up you’ve also got the Jabra Elite 85t, only slight more expensive but offering fully adjustable active noise cancelling as well as seamless Bluetooth connectivity with two devices at once. It’s all on you whether you need something that’s more exercise-friendly, or something that’ll power through for frequent travellers.
Sennheiser CX 400BT
Sennheiser has taken their exceptional Momentum 2 earphones from earlier this year and offered a less expensive version that’s just as capable. The CX 400BT is a pair of truly wireless headphones that, while having no active-noise cancelling, manage a sound signature that’s one of the most balanced and consistent on the market. If you know someone who’s looking for a good pair of earphones without breaking the bank, look no further.
JBL Party Box On-The-Go
Switch it up a bit and aim for the karaoke-lover in your life with the JBL Party Box On-The-Go. It’s a massive, immense speaker with 100-watts of punch for booming bass and balanced mids and highs. And what’s more is that the always party-minded JBL has decked this out with a customisable built-in light show that syncs with the music, while the included wireless microphone just begs for those tunes to be belted at the highest pitch, and there’s dual mic inputs so you plug in another. You can even load up a playlist on thumbdrive for the speaker, so having no Bluetooth isn’t a worry at all for those who like to quickly set-up a quick karaoke sesh wherever they go.
$550 | jbl.com.au
Wellness Tech & Grooming
As above, it’s redundant to go into detail about the importance of a proactive health tracking wearable these days. Most people know how far the tech has come, with the ability to identify potential issues, track sleep, and encourage action. The Withings ScanWatch is possibly the most comprehensive on the market, with a variety of sensors to scan vital parameters to detect heart health conditions and help improve overall fitness. An Sp02 sensor can give you a comprehensive blood oxygen reading within seconds; the sleep tracking is second to none and even features a professionally calibrated algorithm to monitor oxygen saturation, breathing frequency, and movement throughout the stages of sleep to identify possible issues like sleep apnea. Then you’ve got the typical fitness tracking features like a 3-axis accelerometer and 10 years of algorithm improvements, plus activity detection and a built-in GPS. It’s Withings’ most impressive product to date.
$529 | withings.com
Hydragun has entered as a new player on the growing market for percussive massage guns, and it’s one of the most affordable premium options out there. With six different speeds and six different attachment heads, the potential is great for those who need a portable deep-tissue massage and workout recovery tool that’s also able to improve circulation and help relieve stress before sleep.
Philips Air Purifier
Sure, COVID-19 has got more people paying closer attention to the air quality in their homes, but carefully monitoring and cleaning such an invisible entity has benefits far beyond the current ongoing pandemic and the reasonable concerns surrounding it. Poor air quality can have a significant, and insidious, impact on people living with asthma and allergies, and is often the cause of associated symptoms seeing as its where those people live and sleep. That’s all I’ll write on the importance of having a good quality air purifier for the modern home, because it should be obvious by now. Philips have been on a roll with their 2020 range of air purifiers, which peaks with the Series 3000i – an impressively quiet device that removes up to 99.97% of allergens and purifies rooms up to 104-square-metres.
$899 | philips.com.au
Bose Sleepbuds II
Bose may not have hit the target as hard with the first generation of their ambitious Bose Sleepbuds, but a renewed focus and finessed features has made the sequel an essential for those into their wellness tech. Working with the clean and intuitive Bose Sleep app, these exceptionally comfortable buds offer solid noise-masking technology with up to 10 hours on a single charge to last all night. These aren’t the type of buds you’ll be streaming Spotify from, rather they tap into a library of other 40 tried-and-tested soothing sounds and relaxation content like tranquilities and naturescapes to help you fall asleep easily, softly and effectively. They have been designed especially to stay in the ears even in the face of constant movement, and can even set gentle, progressive alarms to gradually wake people up while maintaining that sense of clean, restorative rest. If you know someone who has trouble sleeping – and in 2020, who doesn’t? – these are a fantastic idea.
$379 | bose.com.au
Braun Series 7 Beard Trimmer
Let’s face it, you do know someone who is in desperate need of an update to their grooming set-up. That old lonely shaver with blunt razors won’t do anymore, it’s time to force an upgrade upon them. Go for the Braun BT7240 beard trimmer & Hair clipper to give them something a lot more comprehensive than what they’re used to. It includes a precision dial for 39 length settings, lifetime sharp metal blades and Li-ion battery, washable trimmer head and comb. Who needs a barber?
$179 | shavershop.com.au
Although it may be hard to find a pre-order, if you can even get your hands on the promise of a PS5 in the coming months then we’re very sure you’ll be met with supreme gratitude. From the futuristic aesthetic to the nuanced haptics of the DualSense controller, Sony’s PlayStation 5 is a beast, and will only get stronger as more games continue to roll out for this thing. Even if you can’t wait, there’s already the PS Plus Collection with freebies like Last of Us Remastered and God of War, plus essentials like the huge remake of Demon’s Souls, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Say hello to 4K@60fps as the new standard.< $749 | sony.com.au | review
Xbox Series X
You absolutely cannot count Microsoft out of the consoles wars this generation. What they’ve done with the Xbox Series X is nothing short of spectacular, with a powerful 1TB SSD handling features like Quick Resume, and the undeniable value proposition of the Xbox Game Pass – the Netflix of gaming which has already swelled to over 100 titles available on launch. This is a gaming beast, and having such wide-ranging backwards compatibility will certainly be appreciated by avid gamers.
JBL Quantum One Gaming Headset
JBL’s high-end entry into the lofty world of shiny gaming headsets is a strong statement from the audio company. The top-tier JBL Quantum One headphones work across both consoles and PC, although they offer slightly more functionality for PC gamers. If you know someone who plans on spending their holidays going hard on the gaming side of things, get them this flashy set, which has customisable lights shows, a detachable mic, exceptional comfort, a USB mixer, and comprehensive on-board controls for singular speed. Fortnite players will love you.
Roccat ELO AIR RGB Gaming Headset
If you’re looking for an entry-level pair of gaming headphones for the hardcore PC gamer in your life, the Roccat Elo 7.1’s are hard to look past. The wireless surround set RGB headphones are designed with a lightweight profile for those longer sessions, with a 24-hour battery life, a self-adjusting fit for flexibility, exceptional 7.1 precision-tuned sound, a mode for “superhuman hearing” to boost critical in-game sounds, crystal clear voice chat, and an AIMO intelligent lighting engine for superior aesthetics in the dark.
$178 | roccat.org
WD_Black P50 SSD Game Drive
The next generation of consoles has arrived. But the thrill of new hardware wears off fast once storage fills up in the blink of an eye. Enter the WD_Black P50 SSD Game Drive, the answer to all storage shortages, whether that’s the Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5 or a high-end gaming PC. These bad boys come in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB varieties and run off USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 tech with a transfer speed of up to a whopping 20GB/s. There’s no messing around to get it working either – just plug it in, let your system format it, and it’s ready to go. Download games directly to the drive or users can transfer their favs and saves off the console for safe keeping.
$349 (based on 2TB model) | westerndigital.com
DJI Mini 2
Know someone who has always wanted to own a drone but always found them too prohibitively expensive? DJI has released their new Mini 2 drone just in time. The $949 is far less expensive than the more high-end Mavic expressions, and yet retains enough features to completely outperform expectations. Capable of 4K recording and RAW photos, the drone features a sturdy level 5 wind resistance and up to 10km (yes, 10km) of HD video transmission. There is simply no more accessible way to give the gift of drone photography while sticking to the most reliable brand in the business
$949 | dji.com
If you know someone who’s still relying on their phone to take all their photos, then give them a lesson on hardware by gifting them Sony’s new RX100M5. It’s a compact camera that absolutely packs in the company’s penchant for reliable photography. A Fast Hybrid auto-focus system has been refined to lock on to a subject in as little as three seconds, complemented by a powerful zoom, rapid continuous shooting, and recording up to 4K HDR.
$1,599 | sony.com.au
DJI Pocket 2
DJI has taken everything great about the ultra-portable, highly acclaimed DJI Osmo Pocket and tightened, refined and tinkered into one of the best lightweight cameras ever made. This is a vlogging machine, so is a no brainer for the content creator in your life, or just the type of person who is really getting into the idea of creating cool, creative videos. The stability is guaranteed with the 3-axis motor, which holds a 64MB camera capable of 4K recordings. Little tip: get the Creator’s Kit that comes with it – it’ll cost you a bit more, but come with a load of accessories to make content creation even better and more flexible.
$799 | dji.com
As far as action cameras go, there’s nothing as unique as the Opkix One right now. Although relatively unknown in a world of DJI and GoPro dominance, this nifty camera is actually a two camera system with each weighing no more than 12g. They are rectangular-shaped and can be affixed to surfaces like hats and even a finger (as a ring attachment) while recording 1080p video. If you know a content creator looking to add something super flexible to their set-up, this is it.
$500 | opkix.com.au
GoPro HERO9 Black
The famous action camera has seen a swift upgrade for the new-generation, this time with GoPro including a sensor that supports 5K at 30fps and a HyperSmooth 3.0 tech to really capture that still, seamless motion that is particularly useful for travel vloggers. And given 2021 should hopefully see an uptick in travel, that vlogger you know who’s always after new ways to make their videos pop will really appreciate this one.
$599 | gopro.com
LG CX OLED
LG’s acclaimed CX has gone down as the “it” TV of 2020. The OLED TV is a remarkable demonstration of LG’s prowess when it comes to producing this technology, sporting incredible picture quality with deep, inky blacks, the easy-to-navigate WebOS system, and the newly recalibrated Filmmaker Mode (along with other pre-sets) to really dip into cinema-quality production. Top that with the zippy and smooth Alpha 9 Gen3 AI Processor, support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, a comprehensive smart home experience with support for all the major players (including Apple HomeKit), and HDMI 2.1 specifications on all ports, making it the best gaming TV money can buy. Plus, LG has finally brought their 48-inch version to Australia, making OLED technology more accessible than ever. Other sizes range from 55-inch to 77-inch.
$3,959 (based on 55-inch price) | lg.com
Sony X90H LED
If you’re looking for one of the best LED TVs out there than it’ll be hard to breeze past the Sony X90, part of the brands signature BRAVIA series and working under the label “Ready For PlayStation 5”. The gaming aspect is because this one is one of the few LEDs out there which has HDMI 2.1 enabled ports, and a very low input lag of 7.2ms. That translates to super smooth gaming that can reach up to 4K at 120 frames per second. The X-Wide Angle technology also makes it ideal for watching sports matches in big rooms, ensuring that no matter the viewing angle, the picture is going to look bright, clean and crisp. It’s one of the smartest choices for tight budgets.
$2,995 (based on 65-inch price) | sony.com.au
The Sonos Arc is now considered one of the best soundbars ever made, and it’s not really a surprise. With the reputable audio company finally deciding to catch up with competitors and make a Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbar, they’ve outclassed the competition with an incredibly seamless aesthetic, remarkable energy efficiency, and 11 transducers driven by class-D amplifiers, for ultra-wide 3D multi-directional sound and a refined theatre-like performance. Intelligent features include Speech Enhancement for crystal clear dialogue, and Night Sound to temper loud effects in content, like gunfights, theme music and explosions. Users will be able to customise their experience using these effects in tandem with the powerful acoustic-driven design that also allows for easy expansion with Sonos’ other new products. If someone is looking to built the best home cinema they can, the Sonos Arc is the perfect gift
$1,399 | sonos.com
Fire TV Stick Lite
Amazon have finally slimmed down their popular Fire Stick to a more affordable device that doesn’t compromise on performance, offering full-HD streaming, and HDR support with Alexa Voice Remote Lite. If you know someone trying to build a smart home, fling them this very affordable stocking stuffer so they can navigate all their streaming favs as well as take it on the road with them. All they need is a HDMI port.
$59 | amazon.com.au
Oppo Find X2 Series
The team at Oppo have surely made one of their loudest and most impressive statements to date, expanding upon the original Find X2 with the Pro, Lite and Neo models this year. That opens up this flagship series to more people, with the Pro representing the pinnacle, rightfully touted as one of the best Android phones money can buy right now. The superior camera system, zippy user experience, and remarkable display are all appreciated, but one of the stand-outs of this series is just how incredibly fast the battery charges – think 0 to 50% in just 15 minutes. That’s the Pro model of course, but the tech also trickles down to the more affordable Neo and entry-level Lite models. Pick a budget first and then dive on in.
Google Pixel 5
As the lightest 5G phone on the market, Google has made a bold but wise decision to tackle the mid-range with the $999 Pixel 5 – the new flagship and an immaculately designed smartphone. The Pixel series has always been plagued with battery issues, so its obvious Google has put a lot into the juicer here, which can you easily except a full day’s use from. Plus, that Pixel camera has learned a few wide-angle tricks, with improved AI to improve upon what is already the best post-processing AI in the game. If you know someone looking for a smaller format 5G phone, then this one here is the winner. And if you want something a bit bigger but just as capable, shave off a few hundreds bucks and go for the Google Pixel 4a 5G.
$999 | google.com
The just announced OM4 is DJI’s latest innovation when it comes to motorised smartphone gimble tech. And it takes everything that has made the previous gimbles class-leading, refining them with better software, more precise motors, and now a magnetised attachment system so dad doesn’t have to wait precious seconds wedging his smartphone into a clamp when he spots something worth filming. If dad is any type of creative and wants to fully harness the power of his smartphone’s camera system, then get him this gimble and send him on his way to Hollywood.
$239 | dji.com
Belkin BOOST Charge 10K Stand + Play
Everyone, especially those looking to get out on the road these holidays, needs a power bank. Sure, phone batteries have gotten more powerful this year, but it’s still much better (even for just peace of mind) to have a power bank on hand so you can top up on the go. If you know someone who could use this, look to Belkin’s BOOST CHARGE, which comes with a 10,000mAh battery offering up to 36 hours of extra battery life (depending on the smartphone). It’s thin and can fit into a pocket without looking bulky, plus can charge two devices at any one time. Though the real kicker here is a convenient, retractable stand to hold a device at the perfect viewing angle while it’s being charged.
$85 | belkin.com
Dyson V11 Outsize
Know someone in the market for a new vacuum cleaner? If you want it to the best available right now then go for Dyson’s wildly popular V11 Outsize. The new cordless free vacuum is a true powerhouse, with Dyson’s signature high-end design and enough features (and attachment tools) to handle an entire house no matter the size.
The V11 Outsize has been re-engineered here, with a sense of “bigger is better”. That means a 150% larger bin, 25% bigger cleaning head and a click-in battery life of up to 120 minutes. Whichever lucky receiver you pick for this one will have no issue cleaning just about anything, with 40% more suction power when compared to the Dyson Cyclone V10, plus just about every tool for every situation you can think – we’re talking combination, crevice, mini motorised, soft dusting brush, stubborn dirt brush, extension hose, mattress tool, and flexi crevice tool. Dyson’s got cheaper options, but if you want to go hard for the best gift-giving credentials of Christmas 2020, pick this one.
Amazon Echo / Echo Dot With Clock
Amazon hasn’t had a meaningful switch up like this since the Echo range first launched all those years ago, introducing Alexa and getting people thinking about how to build a proper modern smart home. Now, the company has really put a lot into the new Echo generation, and not only with the eye-catching cylindrical design. The appropriately futuristic-looking device now has better sound with its 3-inch woofer, dual-firing tweeters and support for Dolby processing. Music sounds deeper and richer, with dynamic mids and deep bass. And then there’s the huge refresh to the way smart devices connect, with a built-in Zigbee receiver allowing the Echo toe connect with numerous smart home devices like lightbulbs and smart security systems. And if you want to go even lower in price, the Echo Dot with Clock is a worthwhile bedtime control panel for one’s smart home, perfect for musical alarms, timers, temperature and time checks.
$149 / $99 | amazon.com.au
Google Nest Hub Max
Controlling a smart home from just one spot (usually the kitchen, as far as this device goes) has never felt easier. If you know someone who is knee-deep in the Google ecosystem but needs a central wizard to tie it all together, get them the Google Nest Hub Max. Not only does it double as a security camera so users can keep an eye on things via their smartphone, but it seamlessly directs all connected devices, performs small tasks like setting timers and checking the weather quickly and easily, and has some surprisingly powerful speakers for when a quick Prince jam is in order while a pie is in the oven. It’s one of the best investments someone can make for their smart home. Make it for them.
$349 | store.google.com
Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera XL
At A$279, it’s never been more affordable for the home to add one of Arlo’s full HD 1080p security cameras to any set-up than with the Arlo Essential Spotlight Camera XL, rated for a battery life of 12 months. The brand has been remarkably busy this past year, expanding their range, which now sees a slimmer profile with this wireless, weatherproof camera that offers live streaming and recording in full detail both day and night. And thanks to that integrated spotlight, users will be able to see in colour at night as well. They’ve also got an non-XL version at a slightly cheaper cost, as well as the brand new Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell to get around. But we think the Essential Spotlight Camera XL is the perfect balance and one of the brand’s best products yet.
$229 | arlo.com
Arlo Essential Wire-Free Video Doorbell
Arlo’s been going hard with their Essential series lately, making smart home security tech more accessible and scalable for the modern household or office. Cameras are essential, but there’s no going past a good video doorbell for immediate monitoring of the area in front of a door, plus smart alerts whenever someone calls in. At a reasonable price, it comes with a 180-degree viewing angle with a 1:1 aspect ratio, direct-to-mobile video calling and two-way audio, motion detection and alert, and an angled mount for added flexibility, plus more features. If you know someone building up their smart home, this is a good gift to give them.
$329 | jbhifi.com.au
Know someone who is always having trouble with Wi-Fi dead zones? A mesh system will fix them right up. Get the super premium Amazon eero mesh system to help them extend coverage throughout their house, which has the added benefit of being able to handle multiple smart home devices at once and efficiently manage throughput so that all devices are at their best at all times.
$429 (for three-pack) | review
Buying stocking stuffers and less expensive gift is often harder than forking out the big bucks. Screw that novelty gift if you know someone building up a smart home, and simply help them out by diving into the CONNECT SmartHome Lighting Range. Downlights and light strips that are easy to install can now be controlled instantly via a connected device like a smartphone, inching their house that much closer to full automation. They’ll love you for the convenience.
From $10 | connectsmarthome.com.au
DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro
DeLonghi’s new coffee machine is so ridiculously powerful and efficient that it’s not even funny. The La Specialista Maestro improves upon its predecessor in every single way, allowing that diehard coffee lover in your life meticulous control over every aspect of their coffee. From dynamic pre infusion technology to six automatic one-touch recipes, recipes have been worked in close collaboration between Australian and Italian teams to craft a machine in absolute service of Australian tastes and preferences. This manual machine has been rethought with more convenience and is accessible enough to guide users through the overwhelming process even if they don’t have experience making coffee without relying on capsules. It’s as close to magic in the home as they’re going to get, allowing them to get the best out of any beans and refine their at-home barista skills to squeeze out consistently great coffee.
$1,999 | delonghi.com
Lavazza x SMEG A Modo Mio
Anyone familiar with Italian manufacturer Smeg should already recognise the distinctive, eye-catching design of the new Lavazza Australia capsule coffee machine. Specifically, that’s the Modo Mio, a collaboration between the two brands, bringing Smeg’s popular minimalist design to a kitchen essential. And given a coffee machine is often the first thing we reach for in the morning, having such an attractive kit sitting pretty in the kitchen is an exciting prospect. The Modo Mio is available in Smeg’s most popular colours, those being Cream, Black and Red. And it’s got Lavazza’s coffee wizardry sitting behind it, pairing the brand’s entire A Modo Mio capsule range with Smeg’s retro-loving 50’s inspired aesthetic.
$349 | lavazza.com.au
Philips AirFryer XXL
All you’d need to do is type ‘Airfryer’ in on Google to see how ridiculously popular this kitchen essential has become. For those unfamiliar, the massively convenient gadget has become the new ‘must have’ for at-home chefs, especially health conscious ones given the fundamental use of being able to achieve the crisp of deep-frying without the excess oil. Go with the Philips Airfryer XXL if you’re looking for one with a considerable amount of power, and enough capacity to fit an entire chicken. The easy-to-use device is driven by Twin TurboStar technology which circulates high-powered hot air to cook food, while Fat Removal Twin tech extracts and captures fat so you end up with your favourites and up to 90% less fat. You’ll also save big on oil.
$499 | philips.com.au
Icebreaker Men’s Cool-Lite Merino Jacket
With a rather unique look, the Cool-Lite Merino Jacket is part of Icebreaker’s limited edition Natural City Collection and absolutely one of the more innovative jackets out right now. Made from soft merino wool on the outside, and lined with Icebreaker’s signature Cool-Lite fabric – a blend of merino and Tencel for better breathability and moisture-wicking – the Cool-Lite offers a durable travel outer layer that’s easy to pack and will turn more than a few heads.
$550 | icebreaker.com
Know someone who could use some new wheels for Christmas? French scooter brand Globber has come to the party with scooters for big people. Given the uptick in popularity for scooters in recent years, we’re banking on this one being a pretty popular gift for Aussies looking for a bit of extra push to their daily communte, given the quality build with an adjustable handle bar height. That one will set you back $280, while there’s also the Globbe One K E-Motion 15, an electric scooter that can reach up to 18km/h and a mechanical rear brake bolstered by an E-ABS braking system.
$280 / $600 | globber.com.au
Ledlenser iF4R Music Area Light
Ledlenser have taken their immensely bright, rugged iF4R Area Light and added a powerful built-in Bluetooth speaker, presenting an unexpected hybrid that’s perfect for camping and outdoor activity at night. With hardwearing control buttons and an LED charge indicator, the device has five levels of brightness that can reach up to 2,500 lumens. Users can expect 15 hours of rechargeable battery life from this beast of an outdoor companion so if you know anyone planning on camping through the holidays, this is just the thing for them.
$349.95 | ledlenser.com.au
Icebreaker Merino Briar Hooded Jacket
Icebreaker already have a solid reputation for sporting considered aesthetics along with their rugged, relentlessly practical layers. If you know someone planning on hiking around Australia these holidays, or just someone in dire need of a durable jacket that’ll last them a very long time, go for the Merino Briar Hooded Jacket. It’s a casual men’s merino wool travel jacket with a durable nylon shell, shrugging off light elements and offering a relaxed fit for constant travel.
$399 | icebreaker.com
ECCO Melvin Casual Belt
Crafted from a subtle pebbled leather, the ECCO Melvin is a casual belt from one of the most reliable and innovative outdoor brands there is. The polished silver buckle helps with the elegant, mature look, which is perfectly suited for daily wear. If you know someone who’s in need of a classic belt but refuses anything less than top quality, this is a good one to go for.
$120 | ecco.com
Moana Canvas Pack 22L
A good backpack never goes astray come Christmas time, especially when the Australian holidays means hiking around and seeing this gorgeous country. If you know someone heading off on a trip, grab them the Moana Canvas Pack (either the 22L or 18L). Its fabric contains polyester made from recovered plastics, built with long-lasting toughness and durability in mind for those long climbs. With a roll top closure, it’s a formidable and well thought out organisation system, with easy access to any load.
$190 (based on 22L) | kathmandu.com
Merrell Moab 2 Hiking Shoes
It’s hard to choose a good pair of hiking boots. The Merrell Moab 2’s from Kathmandu makes that choice anxiety a bit easier, offering a reliable pair that isn’t garish or bulky. That is, hikers will actually want to wear this pair of well-balanced GORE-TEX shoes which feature streamlined tones and have been designed in complete worship of the outdoors. With a removeable, contoured insole and a hell air cushion for stability, it’ll be hard to top this perfect balance of price and quality.
$260 | kathmandu.com
Bondi Joe Swim Trunks
It’s easy to go excessive when looking for a pair of eye-catching swim trunks, but luckily local brand Bondi Joe has been rather elegant with the floral and patterned designs for their above-knee swimmers. If you know someone who’s in need of a good pair of trunks, these day-to-night designs that double as comfortable casual shorts should absolutely be on your radar. Designed lining-free for all-day comfort, and made from a quick-drying fabric of 100% recycled material, they are hard to look past. We recommend the simple Cutler style, with a striking blue geometric pattern.
$100 | bondijoe.com
Flower: Exploring The World In Bloom
There’s nothing like a good coffee table book to imbue the living room with a substantial pop of colour. If you know someone who’s been going hard with home renovations lately but may have neglected this small but meaningful part of smart design, grab them Flower: Exploring The World In Bloom by the ever-discerning editors at Phaidon. This 352-page hardback is a comprehensive, visually stunning survey curated lovingly to highlight the beauty and appeal of flowers throughout art, history and culture. It’s the latest addition to Phaidon’s bestselling Explorer Series, which aims to take readers across continents and cultures to discover the endless ways artists and image-makers have employed floral motifs throughout history.
$80 | phaidon.com
Spirited by Adrienne Stillman
Know someone obsessed with classic cocktails? If you didn’t before this year, you sure do now. 2020 has birthed many a home bartender, and rather than watch them pitifully scanning the internet for clashing schools of thought, get them this. Spirited by Adrienne Stillman is an exahustive collection of the world’s most classic – and many lesser known – cocktails from around the world, exploring cultures through their favourite concoctions and celebrating the art of mixology with a worldly knowledge. Recipes are given, so is stunning photography to help your mate aim for perfection each and every time. Across 432 pages, this hardback highlights cocktail recipes from the past 500 years, across 60 countries with equal attention given to timeless tipples and regional specialities. The real benefit here is that after your mate studies it, they’ll be able to make these many recipes for you.
$70 | phaidon.com
Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to End by Magnus Nilsson
A high-concept coffee table book that’s absolutely perfect for those that appreciate deep insights into food culture. Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to End is a top-tier chef’s fascinating and insightful tribute to his unique restaurant in remote Sweden. A restaurant that no longer exists, but one that has made an indelible impact on the culinary world. This gorgeously illustrated book tells of how the unlikely restaurant rose from obscurity to become a world-class destination, and why it eventually closed down. You wouldn’t expect it, but everything from creative theory to family is discussed, alongside over 100 recipes from Magnus’ time at Fäviken. No one who fancies themselves a foodie should be caught without this sitting on their coffee table.
$90 | phaidon.com
Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art
Breathing is something we do all day – every single second, every single day. And yet many of us don’t breathe properly; many of us haven’t even begun to look deeper into just how much breathing can control our minds and abilities. Journalist James Nestor puts together this incredible insightful, potentially life-changing book on his rich studies digging around ancient burial sites, visiting secret Soviet facilities and New Jersey choir schools, and tracking the smoggy streets of Sao Paulo. His goal was to tap into different cultures and schools of thought to explore the science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya and Tummo. Just about anyone is going to be interested in this book, so get a few copies and use them as stocking-stuffers. It has far more potential to have a lasting impact than just about any product or device you can buy.
$26 | booktopia
Black Star Pastry’s Cherry Christmas Tree Cake
Trust Black Star Pastry to excel when it comes to theatrical cakes, presenting a unique edible gift for the sweet-tooth in your life. They’ve just released a limited-edition 35cm-tall Cherry Christmas Tree Cake, shaped like a snow-dusted Christmas tree with layers of festive flavours like lemon & yoghurt sponge, citrus marmalade, praline crunch, cherry compote, tea jelly, and a cherry mousse, standing on a base of puffed rice, candied orange and milk chocolate crunch. It’s BSP, what else would you expect? To deal the spectacular deal, the tree is then cased in a light, white chocolate and vanilla mousse to resemble snow, and adorned with a few edible decorations. The cake serves 10-15 people and is only available at a few of BSP’s largest stores. For Sydney, that’s Newtown, Moore Park and Rosebery, and for Melbourne that’s the St Kilda shopfront. Collection is either 23rd and 24th December and orders must be placed two days prior to pick up, and prior to 4pm 22nd December.
$150 | blackstarpastry.com.au.
Koko Black Christmas Chocolates
Those reliable chocolatiers at Koko Black have made a few Christmas treats to get across this season, and they are perfect for those little supplementary edible presents we all like to get. From a build-your-own milk chocolate star, and a chocolate advent calendar, to our favourite – Koko’s Edible Ornaments. The ornaments are five cubes of different flavoured Christmas Dotties to hang from a tree, so if you know someone that’s in the middle of setting up their Xmas bush, give them a hand with this.
$39 | kokoblack.com
Banksia Bakehouse – Sydney Only
Live in Sydney? Head on over to the fresh-faced Banksia Bakehouse and get a box of their Christmas specials ahead of the big day. Following on from their special S’Mores croissant, which was introduced just the other month and has been more than ever-present on social media, the bakers have turned their creative minds towards Xmas classics. Specifically, that’s a rethink of the classic mince pie and pavlova. Swing by their Grosvenor Place store before they close for the holidays (on 23rd Dec) and get a box of their Mince Pie croissants – filled with orange peel, sultanas and cranberries with decorated butter shortbread stars and icing sugar – and Pavlova croissants. Yes, you read that right – pavlova croissants. It’s a mango coconut curd filling in flaky pastry, with a topping of mango coconut curd, desiccated coconut, fresh strawberries and meringue kisses.
Sydney’s legendary Single O coffee roasters are back at it again with their Sugarplum Coffee as part of a new “Brew You 2020” collection. Each year this Surry Hills cafe brings out a new edition, and the 2020 version may single-handedly make up for what a slog this year has been. If you know someone with a manual coffee machine who welcomes any and all beans, hop them up with this experimental brew, which promises notes of plum, nutmeg, sugar, spice and rum.
$20 for 250g bag | singleo.com
Pomelo Online Christmas Collection
Meal delivery may seem a bit lacking in creativity when it comes to Christmas shopping, but you’d be surprised at just how useful it can. Especially when the service has curated a Christmas selection as rich and varied as this one. If you know someone who could use a little extra hands, and a great deal of time-saving prep, then head to Pomelo + Online. The self-described luxury meal delivery service has a special Christmas section this year, with desserts like the $18 spiced bread and cherry semifreddo, and packs like the $299 seafood Christmas Pack which is designed to feed 8-10 people with produce like stuffed roasted salmon fillet, spencer gulf king prawns, beetroot and pumpkin salad, steamed seasonal greens, mixed vegetable crumb, and that aforementioned spiced bread and cherry semifreddo dessert.
From $18 | pomeloonline.com.au
Established over 200 years ago, Collins is renowned for its innovative and top quality designs in diaries, notebooks and stationeries. With a range of new visual elements implemented over the years such as finance tracking, daily reflections and gratitude sections, the brand delivers each individual a life-planner at hand. From their Serendipity Diary made from ethically sourced materials, to Family Planners, Notebooks, Daily Planners, Stationary and plenty more, Collins is the perfect budget gift for organisation and planning for the New Year ahead.
$26 | collinsdebden.com.au