I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise to my mum for all the terrible gifts I've bought her over the years. Like the potpourri sachets and cheap handkerchiefs of 1995, and that awful grocery-list-on-a-fridge-magnet of '97. I'm sorry, Mum. This year will be better.
I always promise that this year it will be better. This year, I tell myself, I will be a gift-giving goddess of the Christmas tree, a paragon of perfectly timed and beautifully chosen delights that will leave my family in raptures.... and this year I won't, as always, leave it until the last minute and buy a book.
Before we run through the 'do's, let's cover a few quick 'don't's.
1. Don't get her a 'voucher' or IOU for any household chores or tasks that you should already be doing.
2. Don't get her anything intended to relax her after all the hard work she's been doing, in doing the chores or tasks you should be doing.
3. Don't get her anything that highlights, even in a joking way, the fast that she does the chores you should be doing. I'm looking at you, cheap coffee mug with the sexist slogan. And you, grocery-list-on-a-fridge-magnet.
4. Finally, don't get her anything appearance-based that isn't also wellbeing-enhancing. Makeup: no. Perfume: yes.
Sorted? Happy? I'm sure I've ruffled a few feathers already, but let's move on to the good stuff. Here are some gift ideas you local lady will love – and the fellas too.
1. Polariod camera and film. This one can be expensive, but is a lot of fun. Alternatively pick up a few classic disposable film cameras and regain the magic of taking photos you won't instantly be able to see and delete.
2. CDs, preferably bought from buskers around your city.
Melbourne is bursting at the seams with talented buskers who are usually selling their albums for $5 - $20 a piece.
3. Magazine subscription. It's the gift that keeps on giving.
Try something slightly offbeat like Dumbo Feather or Smith Journal, a visual feast such as Vogue Living, or an informative read like Time or National Geographic
4. Bookstore voucher.
Vouchers tend to feel a little impersonal, so try wrapping it up with the store's latest catalogue and a hand-written note. You could even visit the nearest coffee shop – some bookstores have one inside the store – and grab a $5 voucher and free coffee card. That way you're not just giving them the opportunity to buy a book, it's a whole experience.
5. Homemade food.
This gets major points for the effort and thoughtfulness factor. Try gingerbread, preserves such as jam or lemon curd, fruit cake or banana bread.
6. Timeless furniture
This might stretch your budget, but as Mary Poppins herself said, 'a thing of beauty is a joy forever.' Have a look for an ornately carved mirror frame or elegant side-table.