The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide to buying presents for (difficult) relatives

ultimate christmas gift guide for buying for difficult relatives family members presents
We've all been there before: that last minute panic when you realise that the dreaded family Christmas gathering is fast approaching, and you haven't even started thinking about gifts yet. Have no fear, Carmen's here! (Sidenote: I've been waiting all my life for an opportunity to say that.)

If you're after some easy gifts that are sure to please any Asian (read: difficult) family member, then take a peek at what I bought my awesome relatives this year.


1. The Asian Mother

Ah yes. The most difficult of them all. As my cousin once said of Asian mothers, "She doesn't really care what you got her because it won't be good enough anyway - but whatever happens, what you give her must be better than what you bought everyone else."

What I bought: Mandarin Oriental Time Ritual Spa Treatment (HK$2,150 / US$277 + 10% service charge). Two hours of complete pampering with her choice of customised treatments (e.g. facial, massage etc). 

Why: This two hour treatment is completely customisable to her preferences. If she's feeling particularly muscle-weary, she can have a longer massage and a shorter facial - or if she wants her skin to glow, she can choose a facial and body scrub, followed by a quick back and shoulder massage. The perfect gift for mothers who are difficult to choose for, but want (and deserve) the best!

mandarin oriental spa hong kong landmark central

2. The We-Already-Have-Everything Uncle and Aunt

They already have everything. Seriously.

What I bought: A giant hamper from Dalloyau full of champagne, duck foie gras, raspberry jam, chocolate, fig chutney, tea, macarons, and cute macaron candles (HK$2,868 / US$370).

Why: The hamper doesn't contain perishables (like Christmas cake, which is in many hampers - apparently macarons can last three months in the freezer), meaning they can enjoy these goodies after they come back from their Christmas holiday away. Plus, it's so pretty!

dalloyau hong kong christmas hamper
3. The Banker Cousin

I say "banker", you say "w...". Yeah. We all know what you were going to say. Fortunately for me, that's far from the truth with this cousin.

What I bought: The book, "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt" by Michael Lewis (HK$204 / US$26).

Why: Although he's not a banker wanker, he likes reading about them. And this book looks awesome (the best gifts are the ones you can borrow!). Esteemed author Malcolm Gladwell (who I highly respect) said, "'I read Michael Lewis for the same reasons I watch Tiger Woods. I'll never play like that. But it's good to be reminded every now and again what genius looks like." That says a lot.
michael lewis flash boys book novel
4. The Banker Cousin's Banker Girlfriend

My generation of cousins are all either bankers, lawyers, or doctors (boo, yay!, boo). So really, adding one more of us to the mix is hardly a surprise.

What I bought: Mac liquid eyeliner (HK$175 / US$23).

Why: An absolute essential for all girls. I tested it on my hand at the store and had trouble washing it off in the shower that night, so it really does seem water proof! Insider tip: The Mac girls at Lane Crawford IFC are really helpful - and they helped me packaged their products so prettily in these boxes (below) for free, so be sure to pay them a visit!

lane crawford christmas gift boxes wrapping 2014 red5. The Foodie Cousin

We all know one of them. One of those irritating guys who can eat everything under the sun (and probably the sun itself) and not put on an ounce of weight.

What I bought (or am planning on buying): Macarons from LadurĂ©e (HK$260 / US$33 for 8).

Why: I lined up for ages in Paris to pick up a few of these renowned macarons - and they were worth the wait! Fortunately the line in The Landmark seems a bit more reasonable.

laduree macarons

6. The College Kid Cousin

One word: booze.

What I bought: Patron XO Cafe Tequila (HK$800 / US$103*).

Why: Tequila is apparently the only spirit that acts as an "upper" (i.e. stimulant) rather than a depressant (although I have read this is a complete myth). In any case, this college kid is going to have some pretty happy times ahead (well, until the hangover the next day!).

* PS. His present is worth more because it's also a belated 21st birthday present.

cafe patron tequila xo martini olive

7. The Dog

I have a theory that my rescue dog is actually a pig in dog fur.

What I bought: As I mentioned last week, I was gifted with a giant hamper my pig dog from the lovely people at Whiskers N Paws because I do some freelance writing for them - so I'm passing that off as my present!

Why: It's the biggest hamper I've ever seen (including hampers for humans!) and is filled with toys, snacks, tinned food, and pretty much everything my pig dog could ever dream of.

So, what are you guys buying your relatives this Christmas?

whiskers n paws hong kong christmas hamper toys foodxx Carmen

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