Happy Mag’s 10/10 Holiday Gift Guide

Hitting a gift bullseye is the sweetest thing there is. This holiday season, we’ve got you sorted with 14 bang-on gifts ideas that anyone with a pulse will enjoy.

The great thing about working in a magazine is that you’re always on the lookout for some cool, cool shit. Whether it’s a dynamite drum machine, the next book the world should read, or a rockstar-ready outfit,  you can bet we’ve got a long list of gifts that’ll score you major props this season.

To help you out these holidays, we’ve narrowed the gifts down to six categories, with a few of our top suggestions in each, so you can hone in on the type of person you’re buying a gift for. Whether they’re a muso, a mum, or someone cutting deals in business-land (obviously not my native habitat), you’re bound to find something you love here.

Give the gift of reading

Hachette Gift Guide
Photo: Hachette

A good book is something you can really settle into, not the kind of gift that’s discarded the day after you get it. The right book is enriching in a way few experiences are; they’re a rare form of entertainment that can keep you hooked for weeks, or in the case of a series, years.

Hachette Australia have done a lot of the heavy lifting this year by composing their own 2020 gift guide, highlighting a few must-reads from their range. Books for kids such as Maxine Beneba Clarke’s When We Say Black Lives Matter are perfect for a growing mind, and biographies from Lenny Kravitz and Patron Saint Dolly Parton will tickle any music lover’s fancy.

If you read to be enraptured in a nail-biting story, John Grisham’s newly released thriller A Time For Mercy is sure press the right buttons. Check these out and more in Hachette’s 2020 Gift Guide below.


Give the gift of decoration

Dangerfield meow planter emotional throw

One positive aspect of 2020’s forced lockdowns was being given the time and headspace to reconsider the environment you spend the most time in – your home. Organisers, gym equipment, and indoor plants sold like hotcakes this year as people fine-tuned their living spaces to perfection.

Right now Dangerfield has your home decorations covered with two primo items – a spooky/cute Meow Planter for dressing up your ficus, plus an ‘Emotionally Exhausted’ Throw that’s a little too relatable.

Snag either one through the links below as either a gift, or a cheeky little present for yourself. And if it’s your body that needs decoration, not your home, check out Dangerfield’s full range of clothing on their website.


Give the gift of charity

Photo: Choose Love

For some people, the best gift is the knowledge that something, somewhere has been done to make the world a better place. In 2020 a number of charities offer gift options that will benefit people in need – those isolated from their homes, going hungry, or unable to access clean water.

Oxfam Unwrapped is a collection of customisable cards, where money spent will sponsor somebody in need. You can purchase a duck which produces eggs and ducklings to sell at a market, $20 worth of clean water, and much more. The cards are delivered to you, meaning you can also hand somebody a physical representation of what you’ve bought.

Choose Love is another website allowing you to purchase sponsored gifts for refugees, from emergency needs like shelter, food, and sleeping bags, to mental health support or education in the form of books or tools.


Give the gift of great sound

Teenage Engineering PO-133
Photo: Teenage Engineering

For musicians, sound engineers, or any hobbyist, a unique musical toy won’t only be fun, but it’ll provide some much-needed variation to their creative workflow. Today a score of boutique companies are pushing their R&D hard, meaning there’s always a dope new gadget on the market.

Our picks this year are the Genki Wave ring controller – a wearable ring that can control your DAW such as Ableton or Pro Tools, and the Pocket Operator Capcom Series – a pair of bite-sized samplers that come loaded with classic MegaMan or Street Fighter sounds, depending on which edition you buy.

For something a little less niche, a solid pair of studio monitors are an essential part of any home studio setup, and will also serve as a top-tier bookshelf speaker for anyone outside of the music business. We’ve already picked out 10 of the best monitors on the market – check them out below.


Give the gift of creation

Photo: The Hop + Grain

For those who like getting their hands dirty, a DIY gift can be a hoot. Like growing a plant, building or creating something yourself gives the item an individual, personalised quality that you can’t replicate with pre-made objects.

Continuing down the audio train, this year KORG brought out a tiny DIY synth kit called the NTS-1. Building it requires zero tools and zero soldering, meaning anyone can make it straight out of the box.

Another local institution, Stacks of Wax, provides everything you’ll need to start making your own candles – including soy wax, beeswax, wicks, and more. Check out their range and pick out a selection that has your gift recipient’s name all over it.

If you know someone who’s beer spending went up a few notches in 2020, a brewing kit might ease the financial damage while providing some tasty, tasty brews to boot. The Hop + Grain in Marrickville, Sydney has everything you’ll need, from Starter Kits to more advanced gear (if the hobby persists).


Give the gift of greenery

2020 taught us many things, including that it can actually be kinda nice having some greenery around the house. Like a good book, something that grows is a gift that becomes more than a gift – it’s something you start to build a connection with.

Everyone’s favourite warehouse Bunnings is where it’s at for plant lovers around Australia, but if you can, consider looking for a local nursery that you can support. At Happy Mag’s HQ that’s the Newtown Garden Market, but there’s sure to be an equivalent near you.

Indoor plants such as pothos, philodendrons, succulents, and aloe are all super easy to take care of and will spice up just about any space they’re integrated into.

For an extra wholesome, nature-oriented gift, a Bee Pollination Kit from Life Cykel will promote bee life in your area, and 10% of each purchase will go directly to Beemunity Research in order to battle declining bee populations worldwide.