Friday, 26 November 2010

Buys - Top 10 Christmas Gift Ideas!

A ton of press releases on gift ideas have come our way, from practical to just plain frivolous. It has been a near impossible task trying to categorise them by price and function so instead I picked my top 10 favourites. If you have not thought of something that you want for yourself, loved one, close friend or boss then hopefully this list gives you some nice ideas: 


GIFT #1 - Tickets to Perth, Western Australia for the family. Available at: Singapore Airlines Family Playtime or visit the Best of Perth Travel Deals. It may be somewhat of a warm weather welcome with Winter in reverse seasons in Australia but you can't deny the charms of this laid back city with its great outlying countryside, good wine, great food and just a lovely atmosphere that makes a retreat there so much more relaxing than spending it in bustling built up Hong Kong (at least for me). Highlight events include the East Perth Picnic in the Park, IGA Christmas Carol Pageant and the Christmas Nativity Event at Forrest Place in the City. Check event listings and dates out here.

GIFT #2 - You really do not want a gift that you can't use so I thought the 'Ta Da' Gift  was a pretty good idea. The TA DA Gift (available only in Hong Kong) is essentially a gift experience that is pegged to how much you want to spend - think HK$500 onwards. Beautifully packaged in a high quality glossy gift box, it has a gift card with a phone number to a concierge service where you can arrange to redeem the gift. 

Select from 6 different categories  of gifts for eg. a Zen gift is all about the spa, pampering and relaxation, a Life gift includes gifts like a Thai boxing class or Horseback riding experience,  a Delicious gift is all about gourmet goodies, an Excite gift spells kayaking, war games and the likes, an Escape gift lets the lucky recipient take a break from the norm, and gain a whole new perspective on Hong Kong via an outdoor camping trip or a sailing trip to an off shore island. And of course if budget is no issue, the Ultimate gift offers the crème de la crème of experiences and can go up to HK$15,000. All in all, there are over 200 different choices of activities and things to do, give and receive. See: The Ta Da List!

GIFT #3 - Holidays are the time for catching up on beauty sleep and my bedroom could use this cool gadget called the i.relax ZEN Aroma Diffuser available at all Oregon Scientific stores, SOGO and SEIBU in Hong Kong. You simply plug in your ipod or mp3 player and you get soothing music, mood effects via a a soft glowing night light and a diffuser that gives off different light fragrances, all coming together for a good night's sleep. Product details here! 

GIFT #4 - As an Apple advocate, I have to say I would not mind unwrapping this one from under the tree. We hear that iLife '11 is out as its the new OSX Lion

iLife '11 gives Mac users even better ways to create and share photos, movies and music. There are more slideshow templates, a chance for you to make Hollywood style movie trailers, a faster and better People Finder to locate your cast for your photo and video projects along with new templates for you to custom make your own books and cards. Available at HK$488 as an upgrade for existing users. See: Apple Store

If you liked the Snow Leopard OSX then the Lion promises to be mighty and will give you a better and louder roar. Inspired by many of the iPad's software innovations such as offering new ways to discover, install and automatically update desktop apps. It also introduces Launchpad, a new home for all of your Mac apps; system-wide support for full screen apps; and Mission Control, which unifies Exposé®, Dashboard, Spaces® and full screen apps into an innovative new view of everything running on your Mac, and allows you to instantly navigate anywhere.  Shipping next Summer, start getting into the queue! 

GIFT #5 - In the market for a phone? Vertu and BlackBerry have both launched new ones. The newest BlackBerry Bold 9780 smartphone is the first  smartphone to come with the new BlackBerry 6 operating system, that has a rich new user interface, a fast and powerful WebKit-based browser, broadly improved communications plus multimedia capabilities, and an incredibly useful Universal Search feature. It is also equipped with a high quality 5MP camera with 512 MB Flash memory and an expandable memory card slot that supports up to 32 GB of additional storage. Additional features of BlackBerry 6 include expanded messaging capabilities, a dedicated YouTube app, simplification of the management of social networking and RSS feeds (Social Feeds), and integrated access to BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. 

There is no doubt that you can't afford to lose a Vertu and their new Constellation Quest smartphone offers unparalleled luxury services and business tools with prices starting at S$9,900 onwards for the Brushed Stainless Steel with Black Leather (available early 2011) to the Yellow Gold, Sapphire keys version with Black leather at S$35,000. With the price tag comes a 24/7 Concierge service and an exclusive email account. 

GIFT #6 - For that home party, present the host with a special collectible. Two  come to mind - the first is Mumm on Ice a.k.a G.H.Mumm Cordon Rouge, a special edition champagne launched for the holiday season that comes with a carrier tote that transforms into an ice bucket. Available in Hong Kong on 1 December at Wellcome and Jason's Market Place at HK$348. 

The next is Jacob Creek's new Sparkling Rose Moscato. I am a huge fan of muscat grapes and sweet wines, especially white. Yes, call me a peasant but I say that there is nothing lovelier than to sip icy cold moscato when you are chillin'. This one makes a good girlfriend gift not only because of looks but also quality and it has won a host of awards at the Australian wine shows. A value for money gift, available mid December from only HK$99 to HK$109 at selected outlets and retailers. Both drinks also available at selected outlets in Singapore, Beijing and Shanghai in the same period.  

GIFT #7 - I am tired of my boring old black luggage. So this release caught my eye. You are guaranteed to see your bright and bold coloured luggage come down that conveyor belt at the airport if you get any of these eye catching buys from  American Tourister this season. 

Two models, soft case Westlake (in 7 colours) and hard case F'Lite are being launched. Fully tested, these babies have passed the Drop, Jerk, Lock, Wheel and Tumble Test so whats there not to like? 

GIFT #8 - Impress that client or the boss with a trusty hamper. For lavish think H One and Sevva in Hong Kong, Cova in both Singapore and HK and The Link Home in Singapore. They have mastered the art of wowing the Taipan. 

At HK$988, this Appagamento hamper basket from H One comprising Pear Balsamic Vinegar, Black Truffle with Cheese Fonaue, Aged Parma Ham, homemade goodies including Chocolate Truffles, Cookies and Christmas Stollen, amongst others and a bottle of Prosecco, Zeta di Zardetto 2007  is not as expensive as I would have expected. Hampers go up to HK$8,888. Orders at (852) 2805 0638.  H one is at Shop 4008, Podium Level 4, ifc mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong.

At Cova in Singapore and Hong Kong, look out for 3 new cake designs, the Dolce Penguino (S$52 for 1 kg), the Chocolate and Cherries Logcake (S$48 for 1 kg) and the delightful Santa's Car (S$58 for 1kg) made from chocolate sponge mixed with butterscotch and gianduia cream.  Hampers abound at Cova where you can choose from 4 different prepacked designs or custom make your own. Prices start at only S$98. Call +65 6733 0777. 

7 beautifully packaged Hampers await at Sevva, mainly tableware gifts including French handcrafted silver and gold cutlery, napkin rings, exotic sugars, teas and honeys. Call +852 2537 1388 or go to Sevva

At The Link Home in Singapore, get your lovely ornaments custom packed into an elegant gift or choose from any of their exquisitely packaged hampers and gifts. 

GIFT #9 is the trusty Coffret Set. The prettiest by far this year are the ones from Crabtree and Evelyn. My favourites were the Vanity Cases (From S$85) and Hat Boxes (from S$95). The queues in Hong Kong rival the ones in LV and Chanel - just for a chance to get a whiff of the lovely smells coming from inside the store. 

GIFT #10 - And finally ... If you have not already bought the all in one latest Nespresso Latissima that we earlier recommended then this is definitely THE time! And to top it off three new limited edition flavours join the ever growing cache of gourmet tastes. Gift a few tubes of Vanilla Variation with its rich and velvety aromas of vanilla and the mellow flavour of the Livanto Grand Cru,  Caramel Variation, that evokes the creaminess of soft toffee and Almond Variation, a melt-in-the-mouth blend that evokes the mellow taste of Amaretti biscuits.

- Elaine


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