Pamper Your Pets this Christmas

Dogs are a man’s best friend and a woman’s truest love. They share the bed at night, get unconditional love and kisses and are –ironically – never put in the doghouse when they make mistakes or forget to bring in the washing.

We don't mean this pampered...

We don’t mean this pampered…

With that in mind, it is surprising, and a little disappointing, that most pets don’t get a visit from Santa each year.

The owner is always a pet’s priority. All they want to do is make the people around them happy but we’re often so caught up in our own hectic life to really give them the same devotion in return.

I propose that this Christmas, everyone gets their pets (or your parents’/friends pets if you don’t have one) a gift. And I don’t mean one measly pigs ear or a single packet of Shmackos. I’m talking a hamper full of little treats to remind them that, no matter how busy you get, they’re always on your mind.

My suggestions for Pooch Pampering Hampers:

A New Bed – Your dog would love a fancy new bed just as much as you would. Something soft and warm to snuggle into at night would make them very happy.

Dental Chews – This little stocking-filler is both delicious and good for your dog’s health.

Bone – head to your local butcher and buy your dog a bone. They love to gnaw on bones and the marrow is an excellent treat. Not ideal for inside dogs though!

Natural Smoked Pigs Ears – As they are not for every day consumption, pigs ears make a really nice treat for your dog every now and then.

Squeaky Toys – Despite the noise being seriously irritating, your dog will love them. Just remind yourself of how happy they are every time you feel like throwing the rubber chicken out the window!

Another Dog – If you’ve got the space and the love, a companion for your Pooch is a wonderful idea. Giving them another dog to play with while you’re out means they won’t get lonely and they’ll always have someone to play with!

And while I’m not a cat person, I understand that some of you have an inexplicable adoration of the things, so here is a is a list of what you get your feline friends:

A crown – All cats seem to think they are rulers of all that they see. A crown will just act as a reminder to you and your family that you in fact belong to them, and you’d better not forget it.

A Robe – Because royalty looks stupid in a crown and no clothes.

Catnip – as well as being royalty, your Cat is also likely to be involved in a stealth Mafia operation. Drugs are like currency to these people.

A new brush – Royals like to be pampered by their slaves. Yes…that means you

So while you’re out doing your last minute Christmas shopping your family, don’t forget to consider the animal members of the clan as well!

– by Blaire Gillies

Unthoughtful Gifts for Christmas

It’s real simple, when you’re so close to someone that you decide to buy them a Christmas present, don’t half-ass it. This is a little list of what you shouldn’t get people if you actually give a hoot about them. By all means, if you hate them, use this as a shopping guide, or just buy whatever cheap crap Kmart has on its first display shelves.


And they're always the daggy, long, white type.

And they’re always the daggy, long, white type.

How cute, little Johnny got his dad some snuggly socks for his cold Christmas feet, dad must be so touched by his generous offering. No Johnny, he’s not. Your dad hates you, and I hate you. Every time he puts on those socks he’s going to think of what an awful child you are. Anything, absolutely anything would be better than socks. What’s that Johnny? You drew a cute picture of yourself and dad? Good, frame that shit and give it to daddy, and next time you think of buying socks make sure that they’re for your feet only.

Exception: Buying this gift as a joke for a friend with no feet.


Wow! With all this soap I won't be so smelly anymore!

Wow! With all this soap I won’t be so smelly anymore!

It doesn’t matter what shape it comes in: bird, fish, tiny love hearts – it’s all shit. Keep in mind that people are typically very good with their hygiene, and they will use their own preferred brands rather than the two dollar, coffee-scented, cat-shaped soap you thought really reflected this person’s interests. Guess what – Personal hygiene is everyones interest, or at least it should be.

Exception: Buying this gift for a smelly, inanimate object.


Mmm.. Smells like Coles brand.

Mmm.. Smells like Coles brand.

Now this one is a bit tricky because a genuinely good candle will be used and will last long, and picking a scent that is personalised to your loved one is a nice touch. A general rule would be, if you’re getting someone candles (which is a pretty lazy present, but I’ll forgive you), get it from a boutique candle store. Make sure it’s a good brand, because much like soap, if you get it from any dollars and cents store in one of those value bundle gift packs, this person will regift it and give it back to you next year, you heartless monster.

Exception: Buying this present for a person with a phobia of running out of candles.

Self-help Books

Thanks, but I like my reasonably terrible life the way it is.

Thanks, but I like my reasonably terrible life the way it is.

It seems dumb, but I really do have to spell this one out: If you get this for someone their going to think that you assume they need some sort of help in their tragic life. This gift isn’t so much unthoughtful but just downright rude. Maybe if someone has expressed an interest in starting a hobby or learning more about x, then you can get them a book about x. When it’s something like Understanding Men, or Microwave Dinners for One, then it’s very unlikely you’ll be getting a present back.

Exception: If this gift is for yourself and it’s titled: How to not be a dick on Christmas.

Beauty Bundles

Such beauty... so cheap.

Such beauty… so cheap.

Geez, if you’re getting into this territory you’ve just given up. We all know that these packages of makeup or nail polish are the first things we come into contact with while Christmas shopping. They’re obviously cheap, impersonal and surprisingly rubbish – The nail polish comes off within an hour and the makeup is the consistency of chalk. Shame on you if you’ve ever purchased this for a loved-one you genuinely love.

Exception: Buying this gift for any child under the age of eight with a strong passion for budget beauty.

Anything Christmas-themed

No no no!

No no no!

Christmas is for one day – one day out of three hundred and sixty five. This gift will be useful for maybe the week surrounding Christmas, but after that it will be considered pointless. It’s especially bad if you get it on Christmas day or later, because it’s something you won’t get to/have to use until another year has gone by, and by that time you would have thrown it out anyway. For the love of Santa, don’t get anyone a Santa.

Exception: If you’re an elf who gets paid in Christmas ornaments.

Perfume / Aftershave

*Heavy coughing and spluttering*

*Heavy coughing and spluttering*

It doesn’t matter if you get the cheap shit from the chemist or the classy celebrity-labelled brands from David Jones – in the end it’s just cliché smelly stuff, and I don’t even know how that became a go-to gift. A perfume or aftershave is so personal, and people are very picky when it comes to their scent. You will either receive the brand you’ve always worn, which just means this person has been in your bathroom (not that they know you well), or you’ll get one that has about an eighty percent chance of making you ill. It seems nice, maybe because it’s a top-notch brand and this person has spent a butt-load of money on it, but the amount of dollars spent doesn’t make it a good and thoughtful present.

Exception: Buying this gift for someone who only has the sense of smell.

I’m not going to say this is the absolute definitive list, Even on top of the exceptions I’ve thought of there are many more. I just think more people should know that it’s really evident when no thought has been put into a present, and it causes awkward and unpleasant feelings in a relationship. It’s not always the case, but its possible that if you get someone an amazing and thoughtful present they will return the favour.

by Josefina Huq

‘Tis The Season To Be…Frugal?

It’s the age old question we all face at Christmas: What do we do with all the shit gifts? In fact, I think it started with the baby Jesus who woke up on Boxing Day and said “WTF is Myrrh?”


Despite knowing we’re never going to use the lifetime supply of handcreams given to us by various colleagues and Grandmothers over the years, we all feel a certain sense of obligation to keep them. In every household there is a drawer filled with unwanted mugs, tea cosies, soaps and candles that have never left the wrapper. Every year the pile grows and we’re forced to find more and more places to stash the miscellaneous items we would rather do without.

Unless you’re me. I’m a big fan of the four ‘Rs’: reduce, reuse, recycle, regift- especially at Christmas.

REDUCE- When it comes to Christmas, there are two old sayings to consider; ‘Less is more’ and ‘it’s the thought that counts.’ Wrapping tons and tons of presents in thousands of layers of bubble wrap and tissue paper is fun until you stop to think about how full landfill gets when everyone throws it out on December 26th.
I understand the excitement people get over giving gifts to the people they love, but I’m a huge advocate for gifts like sponsoring a Koala or buying a goat for a family in Africa. Gifts like this make everyone feel good and ensures that we don’t entirely destroy the planet before the next holiday season.

REUSE- Giftbags were a wonderful invention. Aside from being more environmentally friendly, gift bags eliminate the hassle of trying to wrap awkwardly shaped gifts like teapots and tennis racquets. Stick it in a bag and Bob’s your uncle.

RECYCLE- My Gran, bless her, takes half an hour to unwrap a present. She unties the bows, taking care to smooth them out so the satin doesn’t crumple and then moves on to the stickytape which she removes in slow motion to avoid tearing the paper which she then irons, folds up and uses the next year to wrap other people’s gifts in. As a kid I was a huge advocate for the whole ‘ripping into it like a madman’ thing but as a starving, unemployed uni student, I am suddenly a huge fan of saving paper so I don’t have to waste $2.99 on a roll of dancing Santas.

And finally, REGIFTING, an art form with more tactical rules than a game of Dungeons and Dragons.

  1. Keep a list of all the presents you don’t want and who gave them to you. The last thing you want to do is give crazy Aunt Betty the yaks wool socks she gave you the year before in exactly the same gift bag.
  2. Product packaging must be intact. You can’t regift a perfume if you’ve already opened it to take a whiff and decided that perhaps ‘Au de Gasoline’ wasn’t for you.
  3. Sometimes, if you think it’s shit, it probably is. Handcreams from the supermarket and $2 Shop makeup and candles are top of the regifting list. Nobody wants them, but we don’t want to waste them so we’re forced to decide between throwing them in the cupboard with Nan’s hankies or regifting them. My advice? Kris Kringle. I’m fairly sure that was a tradition started by an absolute genius who had a whole lot of shit to get rid of.
  4. Never regift with the original gift-givers’ community. If the ugly yellow teatowels came from a work colleague NEVER regift them to another work friend. The original giver is bound to find out and you will be shunned, Mean Girls style, until you quit your job and move overseas. To avoid an expensive international relocation, make two piles in the regifting cupboard. Label one as work and the other family/other. Each year, give the gifts from your family members to your work mates and the gifts from your colleagues to your Great Auntie Edna and the neighbours. Unless your work life and home life cross over, in which case you’re fucked.
  5. One -of -a -kind items may as well have a house- arrest bracelet on. If that little beacon beeps anywhere but your place, the gift-giver, their family, the Australian Government and possibly the CIA and the ICC will find out and torture you. Handmade/commissioned/specialty items are the hardest to regift. By their very nature, unique items always get noticed and you can’t run the risk of your neighbour’s best friend’s sister’s dog walker commenting on it and sending word back to the person who gave it to you. You’re best to keep the ugly paintings in the garage for someone else to deal with when you sell the place.
  6. Your reaction has to match the gift. Don’t open a shitty present and immediately start a one man melodrama. Gushing about how beautiful a scarf is and thanking someone eighty-five times in sixty-three seconds isn’t subtle. They know you hate it, you know you hate it and everyone else in the room is wondering which one of them you’ll be giving it to in twelve months time. A simple ‘Oh isn’t that interesting’ or ‘Gee, that’s different’ is all you need. Non-committal, semi-honest and reasonably painless. Done. Move on.

So before you rush out to do all your last-minute Christmas shopping this December, have a look through your cupboards and see what you’ve got stashed away from last year and go from there.  Remind yourself that regifting is not heartless or inconsiderate, it’s sensible, economical and environmentally friendly to boot!

– by Blaire Gillies