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The hottest Xmas gift ideas: interview with Monica Gounaropoulos, The Masked Gifter 🎄🎁🎅🏻

Christmas is just round the corner dear neighbours. If you are one of those who find gift making difficult or if you really have no gift ideas this year, this article is for you.

We interviewed a real professional in gift making! Monica Gounaropoulos runs her personal gifting service called The Masked Gifter.


Localhood: Monica, tell us something about you and your business, what you do, who your clients are…


Monica: A bit about me… well I moved to Hong Kong nearly 3 years ago. I’m a mum of two energetic kids (!) but when I’m not running around after them, I also run The Masked Gifter.


I offer three services:

I. A ‘personal shopper’ experience…but for gifts! For those who are short on time, ideas, or simply hate shopping (!) I uniquely curate, source, wrap, and deliver the perfect gift for your recipient, every time. Plus, if you want it to look like you did it all (but better!) I also offer a discrete unbranded service, shhh… J

II. A series of pre-curated packs. Our Quarantine Care Packs help brighten the gloomy quarantine days L And our seasonal Christmas Hamper smells as festive as it looks! All our packs are personalised with your message and recipient’s name on the ribbon, and hand-delivered across Hong Kong.

III. A full-service corporate gifting service providing clients with my expertise from start-to-finish, to deliver the perfect gifts that tick the brief, budget, turnaround time and ROIs.


Localhood: What are the hottest gift trends of Xmas 2021?


Monica: It’s safe to say that the majority of us in Hong Kong will be staying put this Christmas (thanks again, Covid!!). So even more emphasis is being placed on making this Christmas as special as possible!

For Adults:

· Eco is the way to go! As people are becoming more conscious on their impact on the environment, sustainable products are a great way to gift this Christmas. Think bamboo material, reusable, small batch, ‘clean’ beauty gift items…

· Home entertaining is becoming increasingly the thing to do, even in our small HK apartments! Think cheese boards, wine decanters, vases, hand-poured candles, lush hand wash and hand lotion sets, board games…

· Putting the ABC in monogramming. Personalised items are always a winner; most people love to see something with their name or initials on, the extra touch can speak volumes. There are some talented calligraphists in HK who can personalise most items in a relatively quick turnaround; also check out stores which offer monogramming in-house… some can be done even within the hour.

For Teens:

· Virtual reality, anyone? If you REALLY want to get into your teens good books, a VR headset is the type of gift that’ll do it! The range can be pretty pricey, but it may also give you some much needed peace… J

For Kids:

· Keep them busy over the festive period by choosing one of the many educational fun packs available on the market. From learning mandarin, arts & crafts, maths or science to name but a few, there’s a pack to suit every interest and age – all packaged up for guaranteed fun in the process!


Localhood: What would you generally advise to people when they’re shopping for Xmas gifts? What should they consider?

Monica:

I. It can get overwhelming shopping at Christmas time with SO many options out there, so if you go into it blindly it’s likely to end in tears! Even if you dislike shopping or have no clue what to get someone, give it some thought before you hit the shops… it’ll help hone your search, keep you more focused and efficient, and limit the potential of being consumed by the sheer mass of options!

II. Ask stores what their exchange policy is – for many HK shops it’s an outright No No, but there are some good ones out there that will give you a gift receipt and allow your recipient to exchange… it just helps to take the pressure off a bit if you know the item could be swapped in case they have something similar (…or hate it! J ).

III. Once you’ve got a gift you’re happy with, don’t keep looking! Go with your instinct, and when you’ve made up your mind on a gift don’t let doubt creep in! Don’t keep looking if it gets reduced in the sale (!); be happy with your decision and move on to the next!

Localhood: And what about last-minute Xmas ideas?

Monica: Food and drink are always a safe bet for a last-minute gift idea. Some of the delis around Hong Kong offer pre-packed hampers with a selection of their best sellers; or check out my pre-curated Christmas Hamper for an easy last-minute gift that’s sure to delight! With lovingly handpicked items to spread the Christmas cheer, it smells as festive as it looks!


Localhood: Can you share your ideas for best non material/experience gifts?

Monica: Is it me, or has there been an absolute BOOM in subscription services in Hong Kong?! You can get so many things via subscription now… from coffee, tea, flowers, alcohol, right through to kids’ activity packs and doggie treats! Set the frequency and duration to suit your budget, and get that reoccurring gratitude from your recipient – truly is the gift that keeps giving… once a month J


Localhood: We know you’re a killer gift wrapper - can you share some hot ideas for gift wrapping?

Monica: There’s a lot of really cool festive wrapping ideas out there, but the ultra-cool ones will take some practice… so instead my hack is to use festive finishes!


Think Christmas berry, mistletoe and cotton plant stems, Christmas tree branches, dried mulled wine sachet contents… anything that’s Christmassy and a natural item to decorate your wrapped gift with will not only look amazing and festive, but will smell like Christmas too! Affix the aforementioned items on your ribbon before you finish the bow, and Ta Da! You’re welcome 😊.

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