Gift guide: What to get the entertainment addicts

In my family, I am notorious for giving the best gifts, and yes, I’m totally bragging right now. I love to spend days thinking about the person I want to give a gift to, researching, asking them questions without giving too much away… It’s just the best!

While writing for the Entertainment section at 9Lives, I’ve come across a few goodies that I would love to have and this festive season’s gift giving will be the easiest yet! We all like some form of entertainment, whether it is cooking shows, music, movies or board games – there is truly something for everyone.

So let’s dive into our entertainment gift guide.

For the players

We have a longstanding family tradition of epic board game challenges during the December holidays. From favourites like Settlers of Catan to Ticket to Ride, Monopoly to Cluedo, we play tournaments, keep score and ultimately announce the reigning champion at the end of the holidays.

I was recently introduced to the Big Box Cafe in Cape Town, close to Harrington Street. You can head to the Cafe for some amazing coffee and challenge your friends to a variety of awesome board games. But even better news than the fact that a place like this exists, is that they have an online shop!

Some favourites to check out this holiday season is the conceptual masterpiece game, Dixit (retailing for around R490). This game won the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award in 2010 and has since held audiences captive. The premise of the game is based on using a deck of cards illustrated with dreamlike images, with players selecting cards that match a title suggested by the “storyteller”, and attempting to guess which card the “storyteller” selected.

 

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If you are more into strategic games, like Settlers of Catan, you need to add 7 Wonders (retailing for around R690) to the list of presents for you favourite board game partner. The game takes players through three ages of civilisation where they need to build up resources, develop commercial routes and connections to survive all three eras and defend their empire. More accurately named a ‘card development game’, this strategic two to seven player game will have them going for hours.

 

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Camel Up (retailing for around R580) is another firm favourite of mine. This game is a 2014 Spiel des Jahres Winner that has up to eight players betting on five racing camels, trying to suss out which will place first and second in a quick race around a pyramid. This game is loads of fun and has a beautifully constructed board which includes a complete pyramid that is used to throw the dices. This lighthearted game will be a treat to the entire family.

 

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View these and other board games at the Big Box Cafe’s online store.

For the chillers

I’m not going to lie, I enjoy nothing more than getting home and curling up to a nice movie or series. Summer or winter, any day of the week and even sneaking a minute or two at work – I love some R&R in the form of streaming my favourite shows and series. But the truth is that the cost does start adding up.

At the moment I have a Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video and Curiosity Stream subscription, on top of my fibre connection. The good news is that Showmax Gift Cards have been selling for a while now and Netflix Gift Cards have now also joined the scene. Both of these gift cards are available at major retailers like CNA, Game, HiFi Corporation, Makro, Pick n Pay and more. Showmax Gift Cards can even be bought with Absa Rewards, eBucks, Pick n Pay Smart Shopper and Standard Bank’s UCount.

But we all know that more often than not, the latest and greatest films are not on either of these platforms. Another firm favourite in this regard is the iTunes voucher for use on the iTunes store. The beauty of these cards is that you do not limit the receiver to only films. They can also buy music, podcasts, Apple music subscriptions and more. What makes this even greater is the fact that you can email the voucher to the recipient without ever having to visit the store.

In a similar way, you can gift a Spotify Voucher. If you’ve ever had the gift of enjoying Spotify Premium, this gift card is definitely worth it. Currently my favourite way to find new music, Spotify’s user-friendly interface makes it worth a try. My boyfriend has been using Apple Music on his Android device and since convincing him to give Spotify a chance, I’ve been in his good books. These cards are also available for purchase online.

Now that your subscriptions are sorted, it’s time to kit the receivers out with the best gear to watch their favourite shows and movies, as well as listen to some awesome tunes in the comfort of their own homes.

I brought the family a Google Chromecast (retailing for around R1 750 on Takealot) from Germany earlier this year and they simply love it. Even on the farm where we do not get the best internet, they stream seamlessly and the device integrates perfectly with favourites like Netflix, Youtube, Showmax, Spotify and more.

For the Apple lovers among us, the brand new 4K Apple TV (retailing for around R3 339 on the iStore) is a thing of beauty. If you are a total Apple fan, like I am, this is the obvious choice as this fifth generation device works as simplistically as all of Apple’s other products and as most of our cities are inlaid with fibre, this is one of the best options for 4K streaming.

 

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For a cheaper, yet still effective option, the Xiaomi Mi TV Box (retailing for around R1 499 on Takealot) is an obvious choice. This TV box integrates perfectly with South African apps like DSTV Now and features Google Cast integration which ensures most of the casting capability of the Chromecast. The Mi TV Box also streams in 4K, making it a great alternative to the more expensive options.

TBH, most days I do not even turn on the television. My absolute favourite thing to do – totally a guilty pleasure – is to stream my favourite series on my laptop, iPad or iPhone in bed with a cup of coffee. Earlier this year, Netflix sent me an awesome lapdesk that I’ve been using for all my in-bed series watching.

I’ve since been on the hunt for similar desks as they are so comfortable with a flat, hard top and stress ball-like bottom for maximum comfort. I found some great alternatives, like the DeskStand’s Wavy Sit-Stand Table (retailing for around R395 on deskstand.co) which is designed for ease of using your PC in bed, as well as while standing. Another option is the Fellowes I-Spire Laptop Lapdesk (retailing for around R519 on Takealot) which has soft sponges on the bottom that rest on your legs whilst still providing a stable platform for the laptop.

 

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For the bookworm

Towards the end of the year, publishers release titles by the best-selling authors, which is likely to excite the bookworm in your life.. Saffers, who loves heading to the beach with a good book, get spoiled with some fantastic beach reads that double up as Christmas stocking fillers. This year is no exception as authors such as James Patterson, Deon Meyer, Wilbur Smith and more enter the charts.

South African author, Deon Meyer, is no stranger to the end of the year releases scene, with his previous bestseller Koors or Fever released at the end of 2016. This year, he is back and Prooi by Deon Meyer (retailing around R249 on Takealot) promises to be another action-packed adventure novel with several twists and turns in the Karoo.

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks (Retailing for around R249 at Exclusive Books) already has Sparks fans screaming for more. This successful romance novelist is known for his endearing, often tear-jerking, novels. Several of these books have also been adapted for the silver screen very successfully prompting a genre on its own – the Sparks romance.

Early October saw the release of Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami (retailing for around R358 at Exclusive Books). This Japanese novelist has in recent years cemented himself as one of the world’s most influential authors. His books have been translated into more than 50 languages and touch on the subject of love and loneliness, war and art. The book is also considered an ode to The Great Gatsby.

If you’re a Millennial like me, you’ll know that the new Harry Potter titles were usually released at the end of the year. Each and every December holiday, I still long for the adventures of Harry, Ron and Hermione. These days the closest I get to this feeling is the range of Harry Potter tees by Vintage Lover (retailing for around R195 per tee on their online store). Quirky quotes such as ‘Pott Head’, ‘Snitch, don’t kill my vibe’ and some NSFW ones like ‘Not today MuggleFucker’ or ‘I don’t give a Hufflefuck’ is the perfect sassy addition to any Harry Potter lover’s gift.

Head to their online store for colours and sizes.

 

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