The Devine Family Christmas Gift List
This list has been months in the making and I’m so excited to share with you exactly how we are shopping this Christmas. I hope it gives you some amazing ideas and inspires you to support local. It is important to note that this is not a ‘gift guide’ as such. NO ONE on this list has paid us money or gifted us anything in sponsorship and we didn’t tell them in advance that their names would appear here. This is an honest account of our personal spending. We have already bought from all of these people and can vouch for each.
Unfortunately, there were 3 small businesses who were on the list but had to be taken off it due to their service or a product not meeting our expectations. We were sad that some small businesses weren’t as amazing as we hoped but glad we made the mistake so you don’t have to.
(Skip this bit if you hate statistics: I can hear someone’s husband in the background complaining that big businesses need support, too. They will get plenty. This Christmas will be the greatest one on record since before Kevin 07 and his stimulus package to get us out of the last recession in 2008. Actually, the first quarter of this year alone was better than the previous Christmas quarter (and that’s really saying something.) Here’s the thing about small vs big business. Big retailers have more than 90% of the market share. In the June quarter of this year, they made 10% more than the previous Christmas. They are outstandingly fine. Just in case you need some ammo there - tell hubby to look up the bureau of statistics and see the graphs for himself. Here’s the truth: very few people in all of Australia KNOW about shopping small. If it isn’t a major online retailer or a shop in Westfield they don’t know it exists. Fewer people again can AFFORD to shop small. If you’re reading this right now it is because you are part of an exceptionally exceptional cohort of Aussies. Thanks in advance for your support.)
This year we are focusing our support on small businesses. We are personally choosing to pay full price for almost everything to increase our impact for those businesses and (because we too have limited resources) we came up with a set of criteria to help us decide how to spend our money most meaningfully.
Our criteria were as follows:
At least 1 business partner had to work full time in the business. (These people will be most affected by the loss of their income if the business were to close.)
It had to be one of our favorite businesses that we don’t want to live without.
They had to have EXCEPTIONAL customer service.
We acknowledge that there are many side hobby businesses that are equally worthy of support but this was just our criteria for this year.
For the person who has everything…
-Support a child through The Smith Family or make a one-off donation on their behalf (our gift to ourselves)
-SOBAH craft alochol-free beer. I LOVE this company and their messaging about a truly social drink not requiring alcohol is just brilliant. An indegenous owned and led company that focuses on rewriting the stigmas around non-alcoholic drinks and putting Indigenous artworks, culture, language and history. Revolutionary in every way and such a good drop.
-We Are Oi (Outside In) - every apparel item bought comes with an item donated - like directly handed to - someone living rough. They provide blankets and beanies and all sorts and our family get super cute, warm things to wear and get to feel all cute and warm on the inside too knowing their gift has also gifted essential warmth to someone on the street. A small UK company making a massive global difference. (We bought lots of beanies and jumpers for our family in the UK and had them sent direct.)
-Donate to Greenfleet Australia to offset a loved one’s carbon emissions for internet/driving/receiving parcels/web browsing or another activity. Present them with the proof of donation in a card. (Australian re-forestation group who only use 12% of proceeds for admin which is crazy minimal and therefore excellent bang-for-buck.) (We did this for our website and our deliveries for the year. We also did some personal offsetting for a couple of family members who have all-of-the-things except carbon neutrality.)
-Bon Maxie - I talk about her below but also SO much stuff here for people who have everything.
-Eco Patch for eco friendly household essentials that could make good stocking fillers, too. (Small family biz, supporter of other small businesses.) Maybe not the first place you would think to go for a gift but you could inexpensively put together a few nice eco essentials and you’d be onto a winner for sure. Practical. I love it. We bought toothbrushes for the boys and gave them one each ahead of time. I’ve never seen two children more excited about any gift. I’m thinking we should have bought them toothbrushes instead of a trampoline for their birthdays…they get more use out of the toothbrushes, too.
Gifts for Teachers/Educators or Co-workers (where you need lots but also want everyone to feel special…)
-Auburn Designs (gorgeous, high quality handmade earrings. Small family business. Sunshine Coast locals. Free post.) (We bought earrings for me/kindy teachers/friends/kris kringle. We bought a lot. They also have kids ones!)
-Look Folks/Sconnie and Jam (amazing art brooches including amazing options for teachers that they are sure not to already have, jewellery organisers, earrings, brooch organisers. Husband and wife creative team. Brisbane locals.) (We bought some brooches for our children’s kindy teachers.)
-Bon Maxie - Orbit Key rings with gadgety goodness (small family business, Brisbane locals, free shipping with minimum spend and reward program.) These key rings protect everything else from your keys, don’t need sharp nails to get keys off and on and they have cool gadgety tool/bluetooth tracker extras that my dad lives for. (We bought it all for dad.)
-Lathe and Chisel - Handmade pens from Australian timbers (not just those fancy fountain pens - good useable ballpoints, too.) This is the kindest, most passionate business couple. We have been buying their pens for years. (Got one for my Godson this year.)
-Make their favourite food just for them that they don’t have to share (for us its lemon meringue tart for my dad - its a family recipe and his absolute fave. I make two - one for him, one for everyone else to share.)
-SOBAH (the second time it has made this list - it is that good) craft alochol-free beer. I LOVE this company and their messaging about a truly social drink not requiring alcohol is just brilliant. An indegenous owned and led company that focuses on rewriting the stigmas around non-alcoholic drinks and putting Indigenous artworks, culture, language and history. Revolutionary in every way and such a good drop.
-Dangerous Females charity t-shirts. (Printed by a small Brisbane family business and doing massive good for women in DV situations. It’s a win win win win - for you feeling good, the recipient feeling good, the small Aussie biz doing the printing and the victims being helped.) Mum, if you’re reading this list…your surprise is ruined.
Little Finch - a classic example of an amazing photographer who has yet to put her prices up to reflect the standard of experience, images and customer service she provides. We had the best afternoon taking baby announcement and family photos. You should book in before she is no longer Brisbane’s best kept secret. We booked a session because hubby always felt guilty that we had newborn photos of Sacha but not of Shiloh - we just couldn’t afford it at the time…so now we have some family happy snaps! You could buy a voucher for someone or for a whole BRANCH of your family in one hit.
-Coolabah Collective - the silly season shirt/tank is a must for everyone in the family
-ChooknDuck - I’m getting the pink Christmas skirt (that she makes but through the Coolabah Collective) to wear avec the silly season tank in white. Kirraleigh is a paragon of perfect customer service and her products are so thoughtfully designed and made - this skirt won’t itch my delicate baby-bump-skin and will stretch to fit me no matter how many courses I devour on Christmas Day
They go live 18/10/2020: https://coolabahcollective.com/ but follow on insta for their designs @coolabahcollective
-Gather and Moss for Ethically Made cotton Christmas pjs for the boys. Wish they made them in my size. (Some designs do come in adult sizes but not the Christmas print this year FYI) I have met the beautiful Kate who IS this biz - she is frank, down to earth, wild at heart and so incredibly clever and ethically-driven. She is so worthy of support. Her new collection comes out on 25/10/2020. (I’m getting some soft PJs for the boys.)
For Kids (not makers but small biz nonetheless)....
-ChildrenoftheWild Australia. Amber’s biz has been hit hard by Covid but she curates the most amazing range of educational/wild/openended/imaginative play toys. We’ve purchased magnetic tiles for Master 4 but I also have my eye on some wooden spinning tops (I used to love them as a kid!)
-Knock on Wood Toys for some colourful wooden building blocks for Master 1 and some puzzles for both boys. I found so many of the European toy brands here that I loved as a child. Things I didn’t know we could get in Australia and please know I’m all about Australian most of the time...but I did grow up with French toys because....half French and the nostalgia of combing this shop was just too strong a pull for me! (Australian Run and Owned boutique in Brisbane.)
-Peppa Penny - We live right around the road from this little shop so I did go in there to buy some little gifts for our children’s closest friends.
Kris Kringle / That’s all nice Clairebear but I want to shop The New Devine Gift Bundles like your friends get…
Good call. We have bundles for 1-4 people. Although we also recommend card packs and our existing tea towel bundles for amazing gifts - the extremely limited edition 30% off gift bundles are now loaded here…(but you’ll want to be quick before they sell out.)
In fairness, for full disclosure we aren’t perfect....
I’m supplementing this list for my children with French picture books from Abbey’s Bookshop in Melbourne (small business that imports proper French books.) As well as some Purebaby clothes - I just love the quality and fit on my boys. Not a small business I know but it is my little love affair.
Santa has also sourced 2 toys for the children from Myer and Target. We go for the ‘want, need, wear, read’ rule for gifts for the children and unfortunately their ‘want’ list didn’t include things from small biz...