As if it isn’t obvious enough already, Christmas is coming. Which means that you have to buy presents (and also put on a smile whilst receiving them). Sure, biscuits will work just fine again, but why make this annual tradition even more, well, tiresome? And for those family members/mates/awkward secret Santa giftees with specific culture-related tastes, a pair of socks doesn’t quite pass muster.
Hit refresh on those socks. Don’t buy the biscuits, for goodness sake. Aunt Margaret deserves more than that. If the panic is gradually setting in, then look no further. We’ve sourced 12 gifts – ‘cos there’s 12 days of Christmas right? – that should please the most discerning tastes so you can spend less time scouring the internet, and more time drinking pints down at the market. After all, isn’t that what Christmas is for?
A Year of the Pig calendar
Ah, a failsafe option for Christmas. After all, until climate change decides to take revenge on our neglectful habits, the New Year is happening. This means that – particularly for the disorganised among us – we should need a calendar reminding us that there’s yet another round of 365 days. Instead of buying a generic one, pick up this fashionable astrological calendar based on star signs and the Chinese zodiac, which will celebrate the year of the pig in 2019.
This creature is the last of all zodiac animals because, according to one myth, the Jade Emperor said this dowdy, pink-hued animal would be ordered depending on when it arrived to the party. Apparently, the pig overslept. Another myth claims the wolf tore down its house. Either way, the pig arrived last to the party so if this sounds like your mate, it’s the perfect gift. Buy it here.
Haim's Haimukkah long sleeve
Haim, the stylish advocates of 70s kitsch, have released a decidedly un-kitsch sweater in celebration of Hanukkah. The minimal long-sleeved sweatshirt comes decorated with a stylised red, blue and yellow graphic of the Star of David, alongside a list of seasonably appropriate items such as maccabees, candles, lights and latkes – everything you need to get your Haimukkah celebration going. Not only is this a great purchase in its own right, it has also been created for a good cause, with a portion of proceeds going towards the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The perfect gift for any Haim super-fans amongst your friendship group. Hurry though, Hanukkah is over soon.
Liam Hodges' Blobby socks
For many of us, there’s a relative who we buy socks for each year. This one’s for Uncle Eric. Surprise him this Christmas. And no, we’re not joking. 2018 has seen Mr Blobby become relevant once again as, last month, it was reported that the clownish figure ran riot and caused chaos down at ITV’s showroom. Turns out, he wanted some air time on Loose Women to get some thoughts on the calamitous affair of Brexit off his yellow-spotted chest. It was, ultimately, 2018 as we know it.
Don’t just get any Mr Blobby merch though, impress Uncle Eric with a pair by London-based designer Liam Hodges, who draws inspiration from subcultures and cartoons. Make Uncle Eric cool again.
Boot Boyz Biz' Group 19 sweater
Chicago bootleggers Boot Boyz Biz create some of the best music-related designs in the game, drawing from an archive of internet ephemera and cultural references to produce graphic-heavy garments. Designs in the past have nodded towards Nick Cave, Jenny Holzer, Ana Mendieta and Ursula K Le Guin. Their recent drop, Group 19, features this sweater described as a “puzzling together” of Björk, Grace Jones and Yellow Magic Orchestra. If your friend only converses through cultural references, show them you care for what they’re talking about by purchasing this jumper. It comes complete with a poster, too.
Kacey Musgraves' cigarette rolling papers
Christmas is stressful. If it’s a season in which your cowboy friend will be ducking out of family Brexit conversations for some space to light up, here’s how you can upgrade them.
Caterina Bianchini's See You at the Dance book
Earlier this year, London-based graphic designer Caterina Bianchini designed a run of five posters for Crack Magazine. A collaboration with Room for Rebellion, the designs drummed up awareness for the Repeal the 8th campaign (the ultimately successful campaign which called on Ireland to abandon its draconian anti-abortion laws). She cropped up in the magazine in the November issue, too, with a Yoko Ono spread. What makes her stylistically unique is her use of pastel colours with warped typography and hand-drawn details, producing visuals that are simultaneously playful and bold. For those who pay attention to design in relation to club culture, Caterina Bianchini should no doubt be a designer on your radar. Buy her catalogue of work here.
Run the Jewels' Count to Xmas sweatshirt
As December is the only month in which it’s socially acceptable to wear an ugly jumper (for the rest of the year, what are you doing?), make the most of it with Run the Jewels’ annual Christmas drop. Here’s your moment to shine: turn up to your workplace’s Christmas Jumper Day with one that’s a cut above the rest.
An Ariana Grande prayer candle
In case you didn’t get the memo: God is a woman, and her name is Ari. Whether you need help getting over your ex or just want the secret to glorious hair, Grande can most likely provide counsel. If reaching for that Ari retweet on Twitter hasn’t gotten you anywhere this year, here’s a 100% handmade prayer candle instead. Illuminate your darkest hour and tap into our deity’s high-femme forces. But also: spread the good faith and buy this as a present to those in your life who are in need of spiritual guidance.
Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Roland V-Synth
This would certainly be a unique gift – one that no one else will have. Recently, the famed Japanese composer put a Roland V-Synth from his personal collection up for a silent auction, with proceeds going towards The Southern Poverty Law Centre. It’s been pre-owned by the artist since 2003, and has a fader knob missing, to which Sakamoto has scrawled ‘Sorry!’ next to it. If you’re buying for a Ryuichi Sakamoto fan, here’s your chance to truly impress them. It’s valued at $3000, so make a bid for it here.
Migos' tour costume
A Turbo Island cap
In case you’re not familiar with Turbo Island, they’re a Bristol collective of illustrators creating tees for music geeks. Get your nerdy friend a present they can wear all year round – to the rave, after a badly gone wrong haircut – and which they’ll actually appreciate.
A Crack Magazine annual subscription
If you’re reading this, you may be an avid reader of Crack Magazine already, or think we have excellent taste in presents. Or maybe Google led you down a rabbit hole you didn’t want to enter and now you’re here. Either way, perhaps you’ve locked what a great 2018 we’ve had, with cover stars like Aphex Twin, SOPHIE, Kali Uchis and now IDLES. Get the next 12 issues of Crack Magazine delivered to someone’s door each month, or alternatively, buy them an A1 poster of their favourite cover. This is a gift that will keep on giving, and it’s an ideal one for both your clued-up mates and that person in your friendship group who stopped listening to new music in 2006.