Everyone knows someone who is notoriously difficult to shop for. If there’s something they really want, they already own it. Like the Little Mermaid, they have gadgets and gizmos a-plenty, and whozits and whatzits galore.

For every birthday or celebration, you’re left scratching your head. But at Christmas, you’re expected to come up with something, anything, for the biggest gift-giving day of the year.

If you’ve left it to the last minute to find something for these people who are inevitably in your life, you’ve come to the right place for guidance.

If buying them stuff simply isn’t an option, why not give them an experience they will never forget?

Whether it’s taking them to the theatre to see a show or dance production you know they’d love, treating them to a meal in a restaurant, or taking them out somewhere for the day – they’ll appreciate the effort, and the time they spend with you.

There are also many excursions and experiences available online, whether it’s for the foodie, explorer or adventurer in your life.

 Airbnb Experiences, for example, has been launched in Cape Town. Airbnb connects you to hosts offering a unique view of their city. Visit Robben Island with a prison warder, learn about Cape wines with a ‘Wine Guru’, go paddleboarding and picnic with the penguins, or learn about artists in Cape Town’s townships – just a few of the many options available.


The gift of giving back

The Relate Trust is known for making beaded and woven bracelets in support of charities. They recently launched a brand-new product, just in time for the holidays: limited-edition handmade beaded Christmas decorations. The Father Christmas, candy cane, star and Christmas tree decorations are available for R595 for stacks of ten from the Relate Trust website, while stocks last. The decorations are sold in support of Ikamva Labantu.

You can also buy stacks of Relate bracelets in support of many causes from their website. Or you can find individual bracelets at the counters of stores across South Africa, such as the woven Shine Literacy bracelet from Woolworths and the new Toy Kingdom bracelets in support of the Grace Factory, both available at selected stores nationwide.

By purchasing decorations or bracelets for your loved ones from Relate, you are also supporting the connected cause and contributing to job creation in South Africa.

The gift of adventure

Give them access to the most spectacular sites in South Africa with an entry card to South African National Parks (SanParks).

The SanParks Wild Card is available for individuals, couples, or families, and gives holders access to more than 80 national parks, reserves and resorts around South Africa. Various price points are available, depending on your chosen cluster of parks and reserves.

Membership is valid for a year from purchase, so you could treat your family for all of 2018, with the family membership covering a maximum of two adults and up to five children (anyone under the age of 18 years at the time of purchase).

For loved ones in Cape Town, the Table Mountain National Park ‘My Green Card’ (for SA residents of Cape Town only) gives them 12 free entries into Cape Point, Boulders Penguin Colony, Oudekraal and Silvermine, as well as to the braai and picnic areas at Tokai, Newlands and Perdekloof. The card is excellent value at R145, and multiple entrants are allowed on one card.

The gift of festive feasting

South African group travel tour operator Soul Traveller is hosting one-day immersive experiences at the beautiful Nirox Park in Johannesburg on 25 and 26 December.

Created for travellers in town for Afropunk Festival on 30 and 31 December, you and your loved one can dine with people from all around the world.

Enjoy a Christmas lunch “like no other” at the Pan-AfriKan Xmas Lunch – with “Afroflavours” such as Jollof Rice, Egusi, Zulububbly, Casava and more, for a unique take on Christmas Day lunch.

On Boxing Day, head back to the park for Soul Traveller’s Day of Goodwill luxury picnic to wind down from the Christmas festivities with chilled background music and good food.

Or, wherever you are, look for festive lunches, buffets, or picnics in your area and treat that special person to a dining experience they’ll never forget.

This article was first published in All4women on 19 December 2017.