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Bo Kaap, Cape Town, 8001

Jaime-Lee Gardner
072 171 1979

Louise Martin
073 335 4084

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Last-minute Xmas shopping

The horror! The horror!

By Jennifer Stern

, |

Last-minute Xmas shopping

The horror! The horror!

By Jennifer Stern

, |

3 min read

Not another … lovely scented soap, expensive fragrance, box of fattening (albeit yummy) chocolates, novelty keyring, hilarious stuffed toy, or hideous T-shirt tied into an inside joke. Things we buy because we feel obligated to give something. And, be honest, do you really want to face the Christmas shopping crowds this year?

Safe shopping

Christmas shopping can be pretty stressful at the best of times but, with the potential of noxious viruses floating around in the malls, this year it’s going to be worse. And that’s not even considering the economic knock many of us may have taken in the course of this annus horribilis. So, consider making a pact with your adult friends and family to forego presents, and be creative about those you do buy. Even more important, be safe. Here’s a guide to doing some serious Christmas shopping without leaving the house.

Give choice

Gift vouchers are always a good idea, even though some people consider them a bit of a cop-out. But they are always welcome, and they offer a level of flexibility that many other things do not.

  • An online shopping voucher offers a wide range of safe shopping. If you know pretty much what the recipient listed in their letter to Santa, you can buy a more focused voucher from Exclusive Books, Yuppiechef, @Home or Cape Union Mart.
  • And a voucher from good old Woolies gives a huge amount of flexibility – and sensitivity – and the opportunity to buy something indulgent or useful. Or even, if it’s been a particularly bad year for the recipient, groceries.

Give freedom of movement

If there is one thing we have learned to value this year, it’s the importance of getting out of the house, and we have learned to value the freedom of movement that we previously took for granted. So here are some nice ideas for giving the gift of freedom:

  • Go wild. A Wild Card gives you access to all the SANParks parks, and some of the provincial parks, for a whole year. If you live in Cape Town, consider an activity permit as well. Or choose a safari with Bush Breaks.
  • Wake up and smell the flowers. BotSoc membership gives you access to all the SA National Biodiversity botanical gardens for a whole year.
  • Something fishy. If you live near the coast (or visit often), it’s worth getting an annual membership of the Two Oceans Aquarium, Bayworld or uShaka Marine World. Especially if you have kids.
  • Experience choice. A voucher from Gift Experience offers a choice of experiences from wild adventures to indulgent pampering.

But what about the kids?

Granted, the little ones need some extra attention and fun at Christmas, and they kind of need something to unwrap, so you will need to do the usual kiddie Xmas shopping. But balance it out with a fun reality check. If you haven’t done it yet, you’re too late for this year, but make a note for next year to involve your child in putting together a Santa Shoebox. Not just to put the whole thing into perspective, but also because it is fun. Start planning now, by making a note to keep any really nice shoebox you acquire during the year. (I’m happy to say that shoeboxes are in great demand come October.)

And, if you have older children, you’ll know there are all kinds of electronic gadgets and frivolous things you can give, but consider something sensible. There’s lots to choose from. One option is – strange as it may sound – tyres. My late father always gave me a new set of tyres for Christmas. It was his way of saying: ‘I love you, and I want you to be safe.’

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