'Tis the season to think outside the box

Wanna avoid the pressure of last-minute gift shopping for Christmas this year? It's never too early to start planning Christmas gifts for family, loved ones and even fur friends.

Wanna avoid the pressure of last-minute gift shopping for Christmas this year? It’s never too early to start planning Christmas gifts for family, loved ones and even fur friends. This week, iDEAL brings a few inspirations for Christmas shopping. And the wish list includes something for everyone.

For family

Flower subscription 

If you have family members who love fresh flowers to decorate the house, gifting them a flower subscription would be a nice and not-so-expensive idea. Flower vendors such as FlowerPlus (delivers nationwide) deliver fresh flowers every week. A monthly subscription starts from 99 yuan (US$15) and new users will also receive a free vase.

Robot vacuum and mop

Robots are the household’s new best friends, as they can take care of the cleaning chores nobody wants to do. The robot vacuum and mop are excellent gifts for family: they can clean the room faster and better. The popular models are intelligent enough to get into hard-to-reach places and avoids harming the walls or furniture.

'Tis the season to think outside the box

Flower subscription (left) and robot vaccum and mop (right).

Heated blankets

The winter in south China is in some ways actually more difficult than that in the north because of the lack of central heating. The warm and cozy heated electric throw blanket are almost a lifesaver — simply plug in and enjoy the feeling of being wrapped in warmth.

Air fryer

Fried chicken is unhealthy, but it’s one of the things that makes life more enjoyable. An air fryer can make French fries, onion rings and fried chicken in healthier way as no oil is required. The air fryer can also cook steak and vegetables, it’s also easier to clean than ovens.

Peanut butter machine

For lovers of peanut butter, what’s more fun than making fresh peanut butter at home? Peanut butter and nut butter makers can make quite decent butters with the click of a button. You can also customize the taste with honey, sugar and spices. These machines with vintage design are also great pieces of décor for the home.

'Tis the season to think outside the box
Ti Gong

Left to right: air fryer, peanut butter machine, heated blanket.

For loved ones

Noise-cancelling headphones

With technology that can eliminate sounds from the environment, noise- canceling headphones are excellent for traveling. They can provide a moment of peace, sound great and are also better for hearing.

Whiskey stones

Whiskey stones can cool liquor without diluting it. It’s a perfect companion to whiskey/scotch/bourbon/vodka. Simply wash the stones, place in a bag and let it sit in the freezer for a few hours.

Fun garment

Sweaters with interesting prints are fun gifts for friends. CRUSH “I have a crush on myself” embroidered sweater, exclusively for Club Monaco can be a nice choice with its seasonal red color.

'Tis the season to think outside the box

Left to right: noise-cancelling headphones, fun garment and whiskey stones.

Portable Bluetooth speaker

A portable speaker is a great gadget that

produces better sound through 360 degrees than simple headphones. You can also take the speaker to picnics for more fun.

Cold brew coffee maker

Cold brew is not a cheap beverage in Shanghai with prices range from 30 to 60 yuan (US$4.5-9).

The cold brew coffee maker is a simple and affordable tool that can make a large pitcher easily, simply steep coarsely ground coffee in cold water for 12 to 24 hours.

'Tis the season to think outside the box
Ti Gong

Portable Bluetooth speaker (left) and cold brew coffee maker (right).


A new pair of shoes can be a great gift for loved ones. Drawing from John Lobb’s

rich archive of bespoke women’s shoes and boots, a ready-to-wear collection launches for this season. The stylish forms high- light the house’s unique boot making skills through hand-wheeled soles, decorative nail heel patterns and expansive whole cut leathers.

Yoga mat

Yogis practice all year round even in the coldest of days. Sugarmat’s Christmas gift set includes an ultra chic yoga mat that features premium synthetic suede, a natural rubber tree base, anti-slip technology and gold monograming, as well as a luxurious yoga sling strap and a mat spray.

'Tis the season to think outside the box
Ti Gong

Shoes (left) and yoga mat (right) are great gifts for loved ones.

For children


This wearable companion monkey from the company WowWee is one of the hottest toys of the year. The miniature baby monkeys can cling to the fingers and go anywhere. They can react to sound, motion and touch while making fun monkey noises. Give the monkeys a kiss and they will kiss back. You can swing and pet the baby monkeys, even rock them to sleep gently in your hands.


Meet your neighborhood Spider-Man, a voice-activated robot that tells jokes, down- loads stories, guards the perimeter with built-in motion sensor and even works as an alarm clock. Developed by Sphero, Spidey will automatically update for new missions, villains and other features with Wi-Fi connection. It’s compatible with iOS and Android, has a silicone finish and provides two hours of play on full charge.

'Tis the season to think outside the box
Ti Gong

Fingerlings (left) and voice-activated Spider-Man (right).

Star Wars BB-8 app-controlled robot

This app-enabled droid by Sphero is an excellent gift for Star Wars fans. The utterly adorable BB-8 has authentic movements and personality.

Fossil kits

For junior paleontologists, excavating a dinosaur skeleton from a rock could be a super fun task. There are different brands of fossil kits, some brands have the bone pieces scattered in the rock, and after they are removed, they can be assembled into a miniature version of the dinosaur. The kits also provide simple tools like hammers and a small brush.

Fairy Unicorn Garden

If you have a young unicorn seeker at home, this fairy unicorn garden by Playmobil allows children to explore the fairies and

unicorns and create a garden of wonder. The set comes in a convenient take-along case so it’s easy to tidy up and put back into place.

'Tis the season to think outside the box

Left to right: fossil kit, Star Wars BB-8 app-controlled robot and Fairy Unicorn Garden.

For pets

Wall and window perch

For the avid climbers, wall perch is a simple furniture that allows cats to jump higher and rest at an advantaged position. Some wall perches are specially designed for cats, so they come with scratching pad or have curved design. You can also substitute with regular wall-mounted shelves that are well-spaced so cats can jump effortlessly.

Window perch or hammock is another great furniture for cats. Affordable and easy to install, it can give the cats a view of the outside world and a place to enjoy sunshine.

Maze bowl

Also called slow feeder, the maze bowl can make meal or snack time like a fun game for dogs. These interactive feeders have swirl pattern that can slow down rapid eating habit, prevent choking while make eating more interesting.

'Tis the season to think outside the box
Ti Gong

wall and window perch for cats (left) and maze bowl for dogs (right).

Dog treadmill/treadwheel 

If you have a more generous budget and also more space in the house, consider adding a dog

treadmill or treadwheel in the wish list. This gym equipment allows dogs to exercise indoor to stay fit and happy.

Illuminated leash

The brand NiteyLeash has a LED dog leash that glows in the dark. It’s fiber-optic illuminated, very fashionable and practical, as it makes walking the dogs at night- time safer and easier. The leash runs on AAA batteries and have two modes, stead and blinking. It comes in pink, blue and green.

'Tis the season to think outside the box
Ti Gong

Illuminated leash (left) and dog treadmill (right).

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