The 12 Saves Of Christmas by The Human Chameleon
We asked Melbourne Designer and Festival Friend, The Human Chameleon (rarely referred to by her real name Kristine Walker) to choose her favourite Christmas gifts from Melbourne's best retailers, creators and makers.
Specialising in quirky hats, headpieces and kitsch accessories for fun individuals (and animals!), you may recognise her from ‘that hat’ photo in the newspaper (she graced the cover wearing nothing but a hat and heels) or perhaps you’ve spotted her prancing arounds Melbourne in all many of crazy costumes (and usually some type of crown).
Either way, The Human Chameleon loves to dressup and has gained a reputation for not only her creations, (designed and handmade right here in Melbourne) but also her signature style.
THE 12 SAVES OF CHRISTMAS
Christmas is called the silly season for a reason. It’s the time of year that most people are trying to cram in weeks’ worth of work before taking weeks’ worth of holiday which require weeks’ worth of shopping for presents. It’s the time of year that stress levels rise and as they do, so does the silliness to cope.
Every Christmas you find yourself struggling to remember everything you need to get done and everyone you need to buy for, and even if you do remember what needs to be done and what you want to buy… you just don’t have the time!
So how do you squeeze weeks’ worth of shopping into one last minute shopping trip? First you need to CALM DOWN! You’ve got this, you will be fine, you will get it done and your presents will be fabulous!
But ‘how’ you wonder while sweating furiously at the thought? Never fear… Mary Christmas is here! I’m going to save your bacon from those Christmas crackers with my 12 SAVES OF CHRISTMAS!
CHRISTMAS CRACKER #1 – SHOPPING CENTRE STRESSES
I hate Christmas crowds and the traffic is always a nightmare, there’s nowhere to park and I don’t have the time or patience to deal.
Breath, relax and avoid shopping centres by shopping along the high streets. Not only will you have space to move and breathe as you wander from shop to shop, you’ll discover a heap of new brands and goodies you didn’t even know existed!
St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North.
Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn.
Upper Heidelberg Rd, Ivanhoe.
High St, Northcote.
CHRISTMAS CRACKER #2 – THE FASHIONISTA
I’m buying for a fashion obsessed friends and I have no clue about fashion.
If they really are all up in fashion’s grill, then chances are they would be thrilled to receive some new wares from a fabulous local designer (and if they haven’t heard of them before even better)!
CHRISTMAS CRACKER #3 – ALTERNATIVE FASHIONS
I want to buy something fun that’s not your average t-shirt / dress.
Melbourne is spoilt for choice when it comes to quirky and alternative fashion labels. There’s everything from edgy high end to whimsical kitsch.
CHRISTMAS CRACKER #4 – GUY BUYS
I’m buying for a guy and I don’t want to get socks and jocks.
Socks and jocks are a safe choice that can be horribly boring so if you fancy something a little different, there’s some great men’s fashion in Melbourne for the fashion forward! If the idea of buying edgy clothing for him freaks him (or you) out, then perhaps stick to the socks…
CHRISTMAS CRACKER #5 – THE FUSSY FRIEND
I’m buying for the world’s fussiest person, they never like their gifts and I know they’re going to regift whatever I get them!
I could say buy them nothing because then they can’t re-gift it but instead… buy them something useful but disposable. Candles are a great example. Boring? Depends on the candle! You can buy some seriously delicious smelling candles, hand poured right here in Melbourne.
CHRISTMAS CRACKER #6 – THE CRAFTY FRIEND
I have a friend who designs / makes their own stuff. I don’t want to give them something that is mass produced, I want to give them something really thoughtful but I’m not creative.
I’m calling BS on that. Everyone is creative in their own way, whether it be making stuff or writing stuff. Why not try something super cheap and easy that can be tossed after a laugh if it’s totally hideous (as well as hilarious). Pet rocks are making a comeback. Weird? Yes… but also memorable!
DIY: pet rocks say ‘you rock my world because…’.
CHRISTMAS CRACKER #7 – A SPARKLY SOMETHING
I’ve been told to buy jewellery or accessories and have NO idea what to get!
Accessories can be a great idea because there’s so many to choose from but this can also make buying them difficult because you need to know the person’s style. It’s amazing how well you think you know someone, until you have to buy them the ‘perfect’ present. A quick Facebook stalk of their photos should give you an indication of what type of accessories they wear and what style they prefer.
CHRISTMAS CRACKER #8 – THE KNOW IT ALL
My friend has / knows everything!
They can hardly have / know it all but it doesn't hurt to subtly try telling them that there is more out there. Get them a random book of facts. I bet they don’t have it or know at least something in there (and it’s kinda a gift for you too because they will do the reading, and you will do the learning the next time they decide to launch into a ‘did you know…’)!
Op Shops: second-hand (but still charming) books for a gold coin
CHRISTMAS CRACKER #9 – THE POSTAL PRESSIE
I have to post gifts and want something special but lightweight, so the postage doesn’t cost more than the gift!
There’s some totally cute totes about town right now! Not only are they perfect for mailing but they come in a range of fab designs and will unlikely be re-gifted (everyone uses bags even if it’s just at the supermarket)!
CHRISTMAS CRACKER #10 – SHOPPING ON A BUDGET
I’m on a really tight budget. Like reeeeeeally tight!
There’s no shame in buying something cheap and cheerful from your local ‘junk store’ or op shop. Some of the coolest stuff I own is from bargain and second-hand stores. Ok sure there’s a lot of ‘crap’ that can be found out there but amongst it there’s some perfect gems! Don’t judge a gift by its packaging, buy a cute new gift box, add some tissue paper, wrap it with tinsel and et voilà!
Arthur Daley’s: surprisingly fun finds
Op Shops: don’t judge a gift by its packaging!
CHRISTMAS CRACKER #11 – ONE STOP SHOPPING
They’re all great ideas but I’m in no mood to wander up and down a high street or between boutiques, I want a wide variety of stuff all in the one place!
Well my friend if you really are that time poor (or lazy) then you need to head to the markets (if they’re on when you’re intending to shop). Designer markets give you a tiny taste of just how crafty Melbournians are. Not only will the wares generally be designed / handmade by the stall holders, they usually have seasonal pieces as well so you’re sure to get your Christmas fix.
Rose St Artist Market, Fitzroy.
Chapel St Bazaar, Prahran.
Shirt & Skirt Market, Abbotsford.
Kris Kringle Night, Northcote.
Makers Market, Ivanhoe.
Love, Evelyn Market, Fitzroy.
Twilight Market, St Kilda.
CHRISTMAS CRACKER #12 – THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
It’s midnight Christmas eve, I’ve only just read this and realised I have so many presents to buy and NO time left to shop. I’m REALLY freaking out!
If you’re really that stuck and have no other option, then you can at least look like you made the effort and hand make a gift voucher. ‘Lame’ I hear you say? When was the last time your bestie shouted you brunch and you thought it was ‘lame’? Does a ‘choose your own adventure’ gift really sound like an awful idea? If you just write ‘the next lunch is on me’ on a Christmas card, then yes it’s a totally lame gift but making an effort will make all the difference because the time taken to make it shows (or alludes) that it wasn't last minute.
DIY: a message in a jar says you that care more than you think it does.
PHEW! DOES THAT SAVE YOUR JINGLE BELLS?
Just remember, no matter who you are buying for or how much time or money you have, there’s a heap of delightful local finds just waiting to be found… you just have to know where to look!
Now go get shopping!
Big Melby Love,
Mary Christmas (aka The Human Chameleon)