We hate to say it out loud, but Christmas is coming. Has it snuck up on you, too?
We’ll be writing a series of guides to help you get through the holidays relatively unscathed. Or, at least not in the dog box for being lame. Plus, you’ll be supporting locals – shop owners, restaurateurs, accommodation and more – which is definitely NOT lame!
If you’re one to put off gift-buying, this guide is for you. We’ll help you choose the perfect gift for Ms or Mr Picky, the kids, Nan, even the neighbour who takes your rubbish to the curb when you’re away on holidays. You can even send the link to this story to your favourite Santa or Mrs Claus if they need a bit of prompting.
Gifts for house-proud folks
Rotorua truly has some gorgeous shops with gorgeous treasures for the home, garden, children’s nursery, and more.
Combining their passion for interior design and houseplants, the team at Curiosity Blooms in Ngongotahā has curated a beautiful and eclectic selection of home and garden wares. You’ll find hints of European and industrial styles, lots of colour, one-off creations by New Zealand potters and designers, and even a taxidermist (hint: she’s one of the owners!). There’s a smidge of boutique clothing and accessories to check out, as well as colourful cushions, and of course right now, beautiful Christmas décor.
Houseplants are so in right now and always make a cheery thank-you gift for your helpful neighbour or devoted kindy teacher. Curiosity Blooms is hands-down the best place to go locally for lush flora at all price points. Grab a colourful pot, too, and you’re sorted.
If you’re looking for something decorative that’s out of the ordinary, check out Exotic Imports in the city centre, just a few doors up from The Wall on Hinemoa Street. Here you’ll find unique furniture, lighting, textiles and other décor items direct from Mexico, India and Morocco.
This is the perfect place to find something for the auntie or friend who’s a bit quirky and colourful, who’s totally into recycled, rustic, hand-painted and hand-crafted. These people are usually the kind who avoid having a home like anyone else, so these are the people who’d love an exotic prezzie, or a gift voucher if you have a hard time selecting.
Another beautiful shop is Grace & Glory | The Living Room Collective. Just walking into this place, with its retro- and vintage-inspired wares, lovely linen clothing, and DIY section, will reassure you you’re in the right spot to find something for the hard-to-buy-for person on your list. There’s loads to mix-and-match to create a beautiful centrepiece for the table, or a hamper of delicious bath and beauty products, including those for the menfolk.
For the jewellery lovers, you’ll have a hard time choosing between the latest designer-style pieces and those locally made using gorgeous vintage china, beads, crystals and the like.
There’s no doubt you locals know about Steiners, and there’s probably little we need to say about this shop known for its beautiful selection of anything and everything that relates to interior design. However, did you know their service is top notch? Head inside and let them know what you’re looking for. Or let them know you don’t know what you’re looking for. Simply describe what you need or the person you’re shopping for, and they’ll happily help you find that needle in a haystack. Or, um, a lush mohair throw in just the right shade of mauve to go with Mum’s sofa.
Gifts for creativesIf you love to support local artists and artisans, Heather Kremen from Amokura Glass comes to mind. Glass blower extraordinaire and hot glass studio owner and instructor Heather has been shaping molten glass for more than a decade. Her high-quality items like drinking glasses, vases and bowls and more are not only incredible to display and look at, but they’re functional pieces of art as well.
Pick out a set of wine glasses for your favourite oenophile. Or an intricately patterned platter for Nan. You can also purchase a glassblowing class for the crafty one in in your whānau. Got a loved one overseas? Heather will ship her goods internationally.
The gallery shop is open Friday to Monday. Visit during the working hours from 9:30 am to 3pm to see live glassblowing and talk to Heather about her craft.
Most people in Rotorua have been to one of the frequent Art in the Park events held by The Arts Village, or been to an exhibition or six. These events are great for showcasing up-and-coming as well as established local artists, and they’re great for sourcing original artworks.
Sign up to their e-newsletter, or follow them on Facebook or Instagram to keep informed of their upcoming events, including art classes for all ages.
Gifts for avid readers
If you’re like us and still love the feel of an actual book in one hand and a coffee in the other, then you’re probably already frequent shoppers of our two local book shops, McLeods Booksellers and Atlantis Books.
Speaking of going a bit old school, check out the Staff Picks written by HAND by McLeods’ staff reviewing the books. So helpful! Also helpful is the Cleod Crate, a book subscription box perfect for gifting Uncle Teddy whose eclectic mix of subject genres keeps everyone stumped.
Atlantis Books, on the other hand, cleverly stocks an epic selection of quality used books. They're open seven days a week – except Christmas, because even bibliophiles need a day off. If you’re looking to score points with your mother in law by finding a particular book or author she’s been hunting for, contact Atlantis through their Request a Book page on their website and they’ll channel their inner Santa and try to help you out.
Both of these bookshops offer a lovely vibe, so if you’re not a keen shopper, make the experience 1000% better by giving yourself enough time to make this an experience and browse thoughtfully. It’s nearly meditative!
Gifts for the littliesWhen the family gift exchange draw presents you with one of your nieces or nephews, you need to head to Monkey Kids. Pronto.
Proprietor Kimberley stock toys, games, adorable clothing and outerwear, and everything that educates, engages and ignites exploration. They’ll also ship nationwide (but get in early as the increased demand on couriers lately means there could be longer shipping times).
This is a seriously cute shop full of treasures for the little ones in your life. And if you don’t have any of your own, you might be tempted to change that. Consider yourself warned!