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A very CHOICE Christmas: our staff's Christmas gift picks

CHOICE staff reveal what’s on their Christmas list this year (and what is most definitely not)

Last updated: 06 December 2019

Have you ever wondered what CHOICE staff have on their wish lists for Christmas? With access to an array of laboratories and test results for everything from Bluetooth speakers to slow cookers and fitness trackers, our staff are perhaps some of the most knowledgeable (and sometimes the most particular!) people when it comes to Christmas gifts.

We chatted to some of them to find out what they wanted for Christmas this year, and what gifts they'd prefer not to find under the tree on Christmas morning. Their ideas might even spark some inspiration for your own gift shopping. 


Margaret Rafferty, CHOICE managing editor

Margaret says she's asking her family to #buyfromthebush to help drought-affected communities.

If you haven't already heard about it, #buyfromthebush is a social media campaign started by Grace Brennan, a woman living in Warren in country New South Wales. It encourages city residents to buy gifts from small businesses in areas that are suffering as a result of the drought.

"I'm asking for a handmade wooden tray or a set of wind chimes," says Margaret. "Really, what I want is something made with love and care in Australia by someone who has been affected by our drought. That's what I want and what I'll be buying for others."

And what is it that Margaret doesn't want to see under the Christmas tree for her this year?

"What I don't want is anything related to cooking – no cook books, no exotic ingredients, no appliances or fancy utensils! Just because I have to cook most nights doesn't mean I enjoy it and getting gifts that relate to this daily chore is just rubbing salt into the wound – even if it is fancy pink Himalayan salt."


Matthew Steen, CHOICE reviews and testing director

Matthew was very quick to answer with what he'd like for Christmas this year.

"Haigh's Chocolate. Any kind," he says.

"If you like chocolate, it's a sin if you haven't tried it. Their chocolate is really good across the board, whether it's milk or dark or something else. You can smell how great their chocolate is whenever you walk past their stores. They have these massive chocolate frogs, which are about half a foot tall, but I will happily receive any of their chocolate as a Christmas present."

Matthew also points out that Haigh's is an Australian company (based in South Australia) that produces all their chocolate in Australia – handy to know if you want to support local this Christmas. And if you're curious about what Matthew doesn't want for Christmas this year, it's electronics.

"Unless the person giving me the gift has a CHOICE subscription, it's going to be the wrong thing," Matthew says.

Harsh, but perhaps fair?!"I worked in IT for 12 years, so I know what I want when it comes to electronics, and if anyone else buys anything for me, they're usually going to make a mistake. Just don't do it, don't buy me anything electronic! I've had electronics given to me for Christmas before, and they're just sitting up in the attic gathering dust." 

Well, at least we know Matthew will give honest present feedback!


Ashley Iredale, CHOICE's resident whitegoods expert and content producer

When it comes to Christmas gifts, Ashley leans more towards experiences.

"It could be anything that shows the person really knows me and put a lot of thought into it, or it could be something decadent that I wouldn't normally spend money on myself for," Ashley said when asked what he'd like to see under the tree this December 25.

"One that comes to mind is a day at rally driving school. I've always wanted to have a go, but I've always baulked at spending that kind of money on myself. Or a holiday somewhere, with some time to go wreck diving."

And what would cause a disappointed Ashley on Christmas Day? Clothes with offensive or ridiculous slogans on them.

"If I'm wearing something, it's signalling to the world that I hold that opinion or endorse that message, so if the slogan is really ridiculous that makes me a bit uncomfortable."


Amira Stevenson-Hynes, CHOICE media support officer

Amira says she likes giving or receiving experiences as gifts, rather than actual products. However, she'll never turn down a nice box of chocolates or a face mask.

"But the best present I've ever received or will ever receive is my puppy Windsor," she says.

"We had to choose between two puppies, which was very hard. We ended up choosing Windsor because he was just so calm in our arms when we held him."

If you're thinking about welcoming a pet into your home this December, the RSPCA says that adopting a pet at Christmas can be a great idea, as long as it's not a surprise present.  

"I can't really think of anything I absolutely wouldn't want for Christmas ... perhaps something like hand weights or a vacuum," says Amira.