Our Christmas Gift Guide

Words: Gemma Dawkins

Public service announcement: we are now officially less than 4 weeks away from Christmas. For the organised reader who did all their Christmas shopping in the recent Black Friday frenzy, please return to your meditation ritual and also send us one of your elves. For the other 99 per cent of you (ok, fine – us), don’t panic! We have selflessly compiled a swoon-worthy compendium of gifts that are perfect for anyone, especially if they are us.

In the spirit of Christmas, we’ve made this gift guide as lazy as possible. All of these pressies can be purchased virtually and delivered right to your door or inbox, saving you the inconvenience of having to put on pants. Merry Christmas, indeed.

We’ll start with the obvious:

  1. Give the gift of barre

No, we’re not biased. Your uncle Bob would LOVE this! In all seriousness, we all know that silly season can majorly derail even the most religious of workout schedules. Between the office party hangover, the last minute shopping expeditions, and the ill advised attempt to ‘harvest’ a Christmas tree from your local park – it’s all too common to let your health and fitness priorities slide down the to-do list. Or off it, even. The irony is that amongst all the chaos, carving out time to move your body actually helps to keep your stress levels down and your endorphins up. Plus, staying active during silly season means you won’t have to re-start your exercise mojo come January.

Barre Body offers gift cards for those who live near a studio, or you could purchase a Barre Body Online membership for the further afield loved one.


2. Shout someone dinner (without leaving the house)

This is one for the time-poor, the new parents, or the brother who thinks that a large meatlovers from Domino’s is a great source of protein. The Dinner Ladies do what a lot of meal delivery services do – assemble your food and bring it to you. The difference? Well, there’s a couple. Firstly, the food is delicious. We’re talking tagines, sang choi bau, sambal – no bland chicken and veg ‘health food’ here. Secondly, the Dinner Ladies do food the old fashioned way, down to hand-rolling their own shortcrust pastry. They put it best themselves: “none of our dinners contain anything your grandmother wouldn’t have recognised (provided she was a well-travelled and adventurous grandmother who knew her tamarind from her turmeric)”. Grab a gift voucher here.


3. Fancy a little learnin’?

Knowledge is power. For the person on your santa list who seemingly has everything, an ‘experience’ gift can be a unique hit. Tickets to a workshop or event are memorable and often mean your gift keeps giving long after the Christmas tree chocolates have melted. Steer clear of generic gifting websites like Redballoon (nope, no one wants a glamour photo shoot with complimentary blue eyeshadow). Instead, look local. Sydney’s Cornersmith runs workshops on everything from brewing Kombucha to Christmas pickling. In Melbourne and Brisbane, Work-Shop have you covered from Kokedama (look it up) to improving your online dating profile for Summer – seriously! For the self-starter, hit up the Collective Hub Masterclasses for a running start to 2018.


4. The classic

Contentious though this may be, we don’t think candles are a dud gift. The very opposite, in fact. Hear us out. Most scented candles are made of paraffin wax, which pollutes the air with known carcinogens (the same ones that are found in diesel fuel fumes!) They often also contain heavy metals, and artificial scents and colours, all of which release harmful chemicals into the air when burned. Yep, a sweet little candle can be a toxic bomb. We suddenly understand why beautiful, natural soy candles are so much more exxy than the K-mart kind. Our pick is the incredibly luxe SOH range. Hand-poured from sustainably-sourced soy wax and using natural fragrances that smell divine, we recommend the Petiole scent. You can purchase them at Barre Body Brisbane, or online.


5. A status update

Handbags and wallets are a regular on the Christmas list, and it’s easy to see why. They’re special, indulgent, and you don’t have to dodge any minefields when choosing a size. Instead of the big-name brands, though, this year we’re all about Status Anxiety. Clean, minimalist designs ensure they’ll last through trends – which is good, since they’re made of gorgeous premium leather that will take a battering. Speaking of leather, these pieces are all made to strict ethical standards – they’re food bi-products and come from predominantly premium Italian, French and New Zealand tanneries. We dare you to have a feel of the incredible soft grain and not take one home with you. Shop their Instagram here.


6. Like a pig in MUD

What to do when you’re trying to minimise your toxic load, but also know that dry shampoo is life? Enter MUD – short for My Ultimate Detox. Think 100% natural dry shampoo, clay masks, and even edible mud. Why, you ask? We’re delighted you did! MUD’s founders suffered from digestive and gut health issues which led to them investigating their now-key ingredient, Bentonite Clay. This clay naturally attracts and binds to the positive charge in toxins, helping your body to eliminate them quickly. Indulgence for the health-conscious? Add to cart!


7. The anti-Bridget Jones

In a world where your watch monitors your heart rate, your phone measures your sleep cycles and a sock can tell you if your baby is breathing – really – it’s no wonder we’re struggling to switch off. Saint Belford want you to slow down to stay well, and we’re on board. Turn off the Google calendar notifications and invest in their 2018 ‘lifestyle curator’ (psst – it’s a fancy hardcopy diary). With places for you to schedule in wellness activities, menus, missions and more, the beautifully minimal design is elegant and calm. Like you, when you start putting pen to paper instead of switching between five apps.


8. The cool rashie (not an oxymoron)

No, this is not a joke gift for the office Kris Kringle. The very clever clogs at The Acqua Brand have taken Breton stripes and Saint Tropez style and applied it to sun-safe swimwear – and the result is so much better than it sounds. Our pick is the UPF50+ La Mer rashguard, best worn with a baguette and a boater hat. Hold the zinc.

If all this has you counting your lucky stars that you even have the luxury of participating in silly season – us too. We’re hosting a special Christmas class this year with all proceeds going to charity, so keep an eye out for the details coming soon. We also recommend paying it forward. Each year, Barre Body donates to our two chosen charities, One Girl and UN Women. If you’re not sure where to start, give UNICEF a visit for some fabulous ways you can contribute to real change this Christmas.