Christmas gifts that won’t gather dust!

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The days of giving last minute throwaway gifts – just for the sake of ticking people off your Christmas list – are fast disappearing as we begin to understand the impact of our consumerist lifestyles on the planet.

Check out these unique ideas for presents that people will actually want and use, hopefully for many years to come …

Secrid wallet

Watch jaws drop when a Secrid wallet is whipped out in public. This is where fashion meets great design. These wallets don’t just look super cool, they’re also compact, will protect your credit cards from being ‘skimmed’ by hackers, AND they manage to fit everything you need into them, including many credit cards, bank notes, business cards and receipts. The real party trick though is the patented mechanism that slides all your cards out with one simple motion, ready for immediate use. It makes using the wallet a daily joy, and starts conversations wherever you go. Prices start from $119.

Produce bags

Now that we’re all getting into the groove of bringing our own shopping bags to the supermarket, help your friend or family member take it one step further with some lightweight, reusable and washable produce bags. Pop fruit and veggies in them at the shops, and place them straight in the fridge once home. We’ve found some environmentally friendly bags that are made from recycled PET plastic drink bottles, hold up to 2kg worth of groceries and don’t harbour bacteria compared to cotton alternatives. You can buy a set of eight online here.

Portable charger

We’ve all experienced the sinking feeling that comes with knowing your phone or laptop is about to run out of charge when you’re out and about. These days, with the rapid advances in technology, you can gift some digital peace of mind with a portable charger, small enough to be carried in a handbag. The lucky recipient will love knowing they’ll never be caught out when they need to make an emergency phone call. Available from many retailers such as Kmart and Target, with prices starting from just $5.

Elastic shoelaces

This gift can cover literally all age ranges – if someone wears shoes with laces, no matter if they’re 4, 34 or 84 years old, then they’ll soon fall in love with elastic laces! Available in a wide range of colours, fitting a pair of elastic laces mean you’ll never have to tie them or worry about tripping over an undone lace again. We’ve tried the Xpand Lacing System for ourselves and can confirm it’s a winner. It also works on all types of shoes – from kids shoes, to adults sneakers, and Timberlands to high-top boots.

Purse hook

This is a small but mighty gift that helps keep bags off dirty floors and safely near the owner (without having to keep it on a lap) when out and about in public. It temporarily secures a purse or handbag to a table, sink or armrest. There are scores of different varieties to choose from online here with prices starting from just $3 or you can find more expensive examples from the likes of Georg Jensen. Queen Elizabeth II is said to use an ‘S’ shaped purse hanger, so if it’s good enough for royalty, surely the rest of us should try it!

World Vision gift 

If you know a person who has everything or someone who insists they don’t want a gift, you can still put a huge smile on their faces this Christmas with a gift from World Vision that has the power to change or save lives. Examples are $10 for two chickens which can provide up to 1,000 eggs per year, $20 for comfort toys for children who have experienced conflict or natural disaster, $20 for a repellent-treated mosquito net to help prevent deadly mosquito-borne diseases, $40 for a dairy goat that can provide a family with 11,000 litres of milk, or $50 to help a woman start her own small business, plus many more vital options.

Bee and insect home

Any excuse for a trip to Bunnings, right? Well now you can do some Christmas shopping there, and help the planet at the same time with the purchase of a large bee and insect house for around $25. Made from responsibly sourced and eco-friendly timber, it will help attract bees, butterflies and beneficial insects so they can maintain their essential role in pollinating our gardens, transferring pollen from one flower to another, and fertilising plants so they start forming fruits and seeds (note: it’s not a honey hive). Oh and don’t forget to grab yourself a sausage on the way out of Bunnings!

Lonely Planet packing list

If you know someone who has caught the travel bug or is about to embark on their first adventures, this distinctive gift that’s just $9.99 could be exactly what they need! Covering city, beach, adventure, family and backpacking themes, this pad of 80 tear-off double-sided sheets helps ensure all the essentials are remembered when packing for a trip. With detailed categories including electronics, clothes, hygiene and travel documents, plus space to write your own items, this handy pad will unclutter the traveller’s mind and let them open it to the world.

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