Your Ultimate Gift Guide

What to buy for the guy you just met, the woman you've known all your life and everyone else

There's a lot of talk about post-consumerism and how people nowadays want experiences, not stuff. If that's you, cool; you do you, boo. However, most of us aren't that way inclined and still want something more tactile than an Insta photo (hashtag #vanlife). And while we may not know your family and friends, we do know gifting, and so setting aside the schmaltz we've got into the spirit of the season with a practical list that allows you to spread good style to all.

gift guide

Scroll down for gifting ideas that take care of every person in your life. Lucky you.

Gifts for the guy you're vibing

You haven't even met his parents yet, most communication is a late night "U up?" text, he's on and off with his ex and while both of you are loathing a "So what are we and where's this going?" conversation, you still want to get him something. Now is not the time to pour out your heart or break the bank. In fact, your gift should be as coolly uncommitted and fun as everything else you do. A backpack for his baggage? A phone accessory to stop him from ghosting you? Fresh socks and jocks because you don't want to see his dirty laundry? A pair of sunglasses or a cap for the shade?

Gifts for mom

She brought you into the world and for that you owe her the world. Because moms are selfless, always putting everyone else before them, this is the perfect opportunity to splash out on the type of things she'd never consider buying herself. A luxury perfume to keep her smelling as sweet as she is, a designer watch because she always has time for everyone, or a hamper of beauty products to help her stay as beautiful on the outside as she is within.

Gifts for dad

While you're in a situationship with a dude in some heavy arrested development and who'll probably forever be stuck in his 20s, the man you use to benchmark all others could lighten up a bit. Dads love a gadget, so why not get him something to blast his dad rock from in the form of a Bluetooth speaker or, depending on whether mom shares the same taste in music, wireless headphones? Worried about your dad's ballooning gut and heart health? Get him to commit to getting in shape with a fitness tracker. Otherwise any other gadget or tech device that he can bring out at the braai and brag to his friends about will do.

Secret Santa gifts

While you're tempted to do what you did last year – slip a blue buffalo into an envelope with an obscure handwritten note – this year the limit has increased by R50 and you're inspired to find something quirky that will make your gift that much more memorable. This is always as much about getting a few laughs when the giftee opens their package as it is the spirit of giving, so if you pull the office grump then gift them the loudest pair of Happy Socks you can find. The office pen thief? A pen holder for their stash. That weird guy in IT who starts every day with a Monster energy drink and shamelessly eats KFC at his desk? A yoga mat and gym towel combo. Otherwise just filter by price and see what practical gifts fit your budget.

Gifting your bestie

You know this person better than anyone, how she's already pre-brought tickets to Pantone Sundays, is "interested' in attending Afropunk (on Facebook at least) and for the most part has the same day plan for her holiday as you do: brunch, best friends, drinks and dates. Cute accessories that will help her to build killer outfits will go a long way in helping her make the most of her wardrobe (and stop her from always asking to borrow from yours).

Gifts for your little bro

He's the same weirdo he's always been, only now "knowing computers" is cool and while he hasn't stopped collecting obscure anime figurines it's starting to look like the app idea he's working on is about to take off. A small investment now could yield high returns once he sells to Naspers. Save him from himself with some style updates that will allow him to dress the part for his first round of investor meetings. That's smart button-ups, chinos and work-appropriate sneakers. Or just add to the trackpants and hoodie collection that he lives in when embedded in marathon coding sessions.

Gifting your home

If you're in a long-term relationship and have been living with your partner for a while now, you'll know that gifting sometimes stops being a case of surprise-and-delight and becomes an opportunity to purchase practical home updates. Those who aren't cohabiting may balk at this, but true love is being excited about picking out new linens, bedspreads, towels, cushions and other home decor together. If you're the type to invite everyone over to yours and plan on being hosts with the most, upgrade your glassware, shot glasses, servers and more for memorable home entertaining.

Gifting yourself

It may be years since you posted a letter addressed to Mr. Claus in the North Pole, but you'll still get a kick out of making a wishlist. If you don't ask you won't get, so create your wishlist, share it and let your friends and family decide on whether you've been naughty or nice. Life hack: build as broad a list as possible, priced high to low, so that whoever you share your wishlist with will find something that suits their pocket. Another tip you can have for free – you have to include a pink flamingo float, an Instax camera, designer sunglasses, a luxury fragrance, a big-ticket item such as the Marshall speaker (it could happen?) and then all of the shoes.

Gifts for the person you haven't a clue about

Ever receive a gift that leaves you with a forced smile and having to say "thank you" for something you'd rather not have received in the first place? Even worse, have you gifted a gift that got this sort of response? Stop shopping anxiety typical of the season with a gift card, the perfect thing for ensuring that giftees receive exactly what the want.