No Money Christmas

No Money Christmas

Christmas Gift Guide for Cheapskates. Don't even think about opening that wallet.

Cover: Riley O' Shaughnessy

No money to throw down on baller gifts this year? You can still win respect and gratitude from your loved ones by having a truly legendary gift idea. Don't have a truly legendary gift idea? That's okay, we've got heaps of them. Read on, 'Rats!


Make it impossible for them to forget this year's Christmas present for the rest of their lives. Youtube has this handy video showing you how to turn a BIC Mechanical Pencil into a home-made tattoo gun in less than five minutes. Tell your family to form an orderly line and pull down their pants! 


Set someone up for their holiday viewing (and save yourself the pain of watching your Mum try and use Bit Torrent) by torrenting heaps of TV shows and movies and pre-loading them onto a hard drive. Go for a genre/director/actor's Pilerats best indie movies of 2014  and Dune Rats Essential Stoner films if you're stuck on ideas. Movie Insider's Best Reviewed Movies is worth a look, too.  Rename the hard drive to the person's name, maybe save a 'readmefirst' TextEdit note in there, something akin to a greeting card with a mention of what you've included on the drive. If you can manage $60 - $120 for an external hard drive with a couple of terabytes, you can really fill her 'up and make this a great present. But a $15, 16g USB will fit a few movies for sure too.


Remember when you were a kid and you didn’t have a car or money but you did have an imagination and a backyard (hopefully). And maybe you did homemade scavenger hunts with your buddies and went round with a plastic shopping bag and a list your friend made you, trying to find everything on your list 'one rock that looks like a moon' and 'something red'. Channel a much more grown up version – send a series of snapchats with a teasing clue on each snap leading to a location – send them on a bit of a wild goose hunt, until the snapchats finally leads to you at your house, in bed, wearing nothing but a ribbon. You ARE the present. Not to say that you're cheap...


Set up a Google Reader account and put together a list of sites and blogs you think the person would like. Or create a Youtube Account for someone - for a business-minded friend you could fill the account with talks and lectures, for a comedy loving friend fill it with loads of stand up routines, for a film loving friend put together a bunch of trailers or short films, or just load up an account full of funny clips and videos. As well as showing the person youre caring, this also demonstrates that you know them/their interests well too.


 Be a good friend and make a pass for a few hours of free sober chauffeuring. Put a time limit on it (pre-12pm for a party drop off) if you want, or be an even better friend and put no limit on it, so they can call you at an ungodly hour to be delivered home. Take them via the Macca's drive-through and throw a few bucks down on a burger for them and you've basically just won Christmas.


From the same people that brought you the Designated Driver Idea, comes the Lift to the Airport pass. Pretty self-explanatory. Always nice having a mate in the car to calm your nerves pre-trip, and welcome you home and have nice debrief chats post-trip. 


Take a leaf out of Kim Kardashian’s selfie book for Yeezus and download a free printable mini photo template calendar online, and chuck in twelve photos of yourself. Go to Office Works and print out the pages in colour then spiral bind it (like $1). Every month they turn the page, there you’ll be.  


Rolling Stone music journalist Rob Sheffield wrote a book years ago (that any music nerds out there should definitely read, it’s sad but incredible), called Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time. The book uses fifteen mix tapes to frame the story of his meeting and marrying Renée Crist, a fellow music writer and DJ, before her death in 2007. One of the great quotes from the book is this: “I know people for whom music is just background noise. They don’t listen to it. They just consume it. These people have never made a mix-tape for anyone. These people are not my friends. These people have no soul.” Show your soul, embrace your inner John Cusack in High Fidelity (AKA the greatest movie of all time) and make a tape that's perfect for the current situation of the person you're giving it to. A playlist is already pretty personal, but you can even double personalise that shit. "Songs for you to listen to in the bookshop when you're working there on Sundays". "Songs to listen to by the pool on your trip to Bali next month".Obviously if you can Photoshop you should create cover art too. Triple points if you can find the equipment to make an actual mixtape (or cheat with this). If it’s your partner, buy an earphone splitter (around $10) so you can listen to it at the same time CUTE.  


Nothing makes you a better friend than offering to take on someone else's stress. Find out something they've never gotten around to doing, due to lack of time, but have always intended to. Like, maybe there's a print they bought at an exhibition ages ago they've been meaning to get framed. Find it, steal it, frame it. Fix that broken shower shelf. Clean their fish tank. Hang that hook. Paint that wall.


If you’re totally broke right now but will get paid in the New Year, give the gift of an awesome date night in the future. Maybe write out the date schedule in a nice card. You could include a visit at the end of the date to their favourite shop and tell them to choose something. 


Your local tip is hiding a bounty full of incredible presents, that can look like stuff from real fancy stores with a small amount of elbow grease and a trip to Bunnings. Borrow a 4WD or ute off a friend, and drive there looking for potential. Could that retro '70s school chair with the splintery legs be transformed into a designer piece with a quick sandpaper and coat of varnish? Would that broken wardrobe mirror door look dope if you painted it a bright colour and leaned it up against a wall as a full length mirror? Could you buy a bunch of potplants (there’s always cheap plants at the tip) and plant them in different sized vessels (cups, bowls, vases) you can find at the tip for a balcony garden set up? The tip present is a sustainable way to do Christmas too - in Australian households around 30% of our GHG emissions come from products consume, so the more we buy (and the more we buy at Christmas), the more we contribute to climate change. So much good karma coming your way!


Put a medley of framed works together and make a gallery wall. Buy a sick art or design mag, or a zine with loads of imagery. Head to the opshops and buy a collection of frames, you can probably get 4 - 5 frames for less than $10 - choose varying sizes. Spray all frames with gloss white or gloss black spray paint. Cut up pics to match frame sizes. Lay out in formation, take a photo to show how they'd look good together, then wrap them all up. Offer to hang them as well if you can!

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