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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).

staff christmas wish list
Last updated: 15 December 2020

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. 

peter z beer

Peter Zaluzny, CHOICE digital home expert and content producer 

Our resident tech head Peter Zaluzny goes giddy for gadgets, but this year he says he'd love nothing more than some delicious beer from a local brewery. 

"Australian brewers are making some of the best beer in the world in almost any style you can think of," says Peter. 

"From refreshing lagers to big, bold stouts, hoppy IPAs and even barrel-aged beers that continue to develop in the bottle, there's bound to be a brilliant brewer in your backyard."

There's an added benefit, too – buying local means you're supporting brewers who were hit hard by COVID-19.

Please don't buy white wine for me, it's just not my thing… I've yet to find one I'd rather drink instead of a nice red or beer

Peter Zaluzny, CHOICE digital home expert and content producer

"Pubs, clubs, venues and the breweries' taprooms themselves all shut down, which meant no one was buying beer," says Peter. 

"Now, not only can you enjoy a nice cold one (or four) on Christmas day, but you can help the brewers and their staff get back on their feet."

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

"Please don't buy white wine for me, it's just not my thing," he says. "And before anyone asks, yes, I've tried many, many whites in my time and I've yet to find one I'd rather drink instead of a nice red or beer."

narelle board game

Narelle Cornelius, CHOICE buyer

What do you buy for a professional buyer? 

Luckily for Narelle's friends and family, she's not expecting something us amateurs might struggle to source online or instore.

"My first thought was some Star Wars Lego, but I don't have space for that and my cat would eat the pieces," she says. 

"So I'd love some kind of board game or card game. Games are great as you get to share the gift with friends and family over and over again."

My first thought was some Star Wars Lego, but I don't have space for that and my cat would eat the pieces

Narelle Cornelius, CHOICE buyer

And if you're curious about what Narelle doesn't want for Christmas this year… 

"I have a very strong aversion to the scent of jasmine," she says. "So anything jasmine-scented, from hand creams to candles, would be miss."

Narelle has been a buyer at CHOICE for over ten years and admits that when shopping is your job, shopping for gifts can sometimes feel like a chore. 

"I do like a challenge though, and I love making others happy by finding the thing they really need (or that I think they will love)," she says. 

Her top tip? "To help make shopping less of a chore, I'm a big fan of a clear shopping list, even when shopping online."

ashwin leather notebook

Ashwin Sridhar, CHOICE chief data and technology officer

Ashwin, like many of us, would appreciate a bit of a digital detox over Christmas. 

"Given the year that we've all had and the overdependence (rightfully so) on technology, I am not overly keen on getting anything that's technology related," he says. 

"Similarly, as I think about gifts that I give to others this year, I'm trying to avoid technology-related products. Wouldn't it be nice to receive something that connects you back to the physical world?"

I'm trying to avoid technology-related products. Wouldn't it be nice to receive something that connects you back to the physical world?

Ashwin Sridhar, CHOICE chief data and technology officer

So what does Ashwin want to unwrap on Christmas morning? 

"A personalised leather refillable notebook for taking meeting notes," he says. "It's the perfect companion for those Zoom meetings and a way to disconnect, even if in a small way, from the digital world."

saimi and her bike

Saimi Jeong, CHOICE investigative journalist

Saimi Jeong says that, when it comes to Christmas gifts, she finds it difficult to think of a "'wish list". 

"My immediate reaction is to say I don't want anything, which is both true and untrue," she says. 

"It's true in that I don't want to accumulate any more things I'm unlikely to ever use. It's untrue because when I'm given something anyway and that something is actually amazing, I feel so grateful."

Case in point is one of the best gifts she's ever received, but never thought to ask for: a bike. 

I was afraid to try riding to work – for Sydney road rage reasons and fitness reasons – but now I love it

Saimi Jeong, CHOICE investigative journalist

"My partner bought one for me soon after I started working at CHOICE," she says. "Pre-bike, I'd often be waiting for the bus home for longer than the hour it takes to walk. Even so, I was afraid to try riding to work – for Sydney road rage reasons and fitness reasons – but now I love it."

She also wouldn't say no to something good to read – even if it takes her a while to get to it. 

"I love to receive great books I don't know about, which is most great books because I'm not 'in the know'," she says. 

"I've been given some really insightful and satisfying reads in the past. But I'll admit that many of the books I've been given are still sitting on my bookshelf, unread."