Last-minute Christmas gift ideas, not just for beginners!

Last-minute Christmas gift ideas, not just for beginners!

The Christmas special of Hype&Hyper’s Business&Strategy column. For those who leave the shopping to the last minute!


Relaxation, reflection, and spending time with family and friends – ideally, these are the activities we associate with Christmas. But the holiday season also means less pleasant activities, such as the mad scramble for presents in crowded shopping malls. However, the festive season can be easier with a bit of preparation: Here are our gift recommendations that are certainly more unique than perfumes.

All Quiet on the Western Front – Benedek Réfi

The new film adaptation of the classic Erich Maria Remarque novel was released on Netflix this year, introducing the world-famous story to a new generation. The film is spectacular, exciting, and sometimes horrifying, but it also received some harsh criticism, mainly because the action film features sideline the anti-war messages. Indeed, it is difficult to make a commercial film about war without being action-packed and romanticizing the killing. The original novel, published in 1928, is devoid of all these elements and depicts the war’s horrors and the caused traumas much more vividly. All Quiet on the Western Front is one of the most influential war novels; its significance is unquestionable. The horrors of the fronts in a meaningless and hopeless war are as relevant today as they were a century ago. This book perfectly illustrates that beyond politics and power structures, ordinary people fight in the war who have their own lives, desires, dreams, and families.

Cooking together at Makery – Eszter Hegedűs

It is often a big struggle to find an item that the other person indeed needs but giving experiences can be a good idea in this case. A perfect example of this can be Budapest Makery, where we can bring our loved ones who love to eat and are also somewhat brave. But of course, it is advantageous if they like to cook too. The concept of Makery is that you eat the food that you cooked yourself, with the help of the Makery team, of course. The location is given with the ingredients, and the staff tells all instructions, so you just need to invite the chosen person to cook and, of course, eat together. There are many options for what to cook, and desserts are also highly recommended. The dishes are not only amazing but also pretty much indestructible. The qualified staff is ready to help with any dilemmas, and you will probably remember this gastronomy experience for years.

Scratch off world map – Benedek Réfi

The best way to discover somewhat familiar or foreign cultures is to visit them in person. After all, the best way to understand ourselves is by knowing where we came from; visiting historical sites and seeing castles or paintings with our own eyes after we once studied them in school can have a significant impact on our lives. But if you already know enough about your region or country or just feel more like exploring a different culture now, the best solution is undoubtedly traveling. And for those who are proud of being widely traveled or want to keep track of where they have been for their enjoyment, a scratch off world map is a good Christmas present idea. Of course, I do not say that you should travel just to tick off a place from your bucket list, and stretching off a country should not mean that we never again go to that state. No country can be fully explored in a short visit, but the memories and experiences can bring joy to many.

Digital survival kit – Benedek Réfi

Probably we all have friends who would not survive a single night alone in the middle of a forest. They are urban people, and in 2022, survival kits are needed not just for the wild but also for everyday life in the cities. For such a person, an excellent gift under the tree is a collection of useful items they may need. A power bank is an essential element of such a package, but we should not forget the cables connecting it to a phone or laptop. Nowadays, we have to be entertained while getting from A to B, so a headphone is also important for a digital survival kit. In 2022 it is actually expected to be wireless, as wires were left in the 2010s. It is even better if it is a noise-canceling headphone, so we can take longer journeys without being disturbed. Although we store almost everything in the cloud, a USB flash drive can still be a valuable part of our gift as it does not take up much place, and we still often want to use an external data storage device for security or convenience reasons. Finally, for many people writing by hand is still more comfortable than taking notes on phones; a notebook and a pen can be a very handy Christmas gift for them. With this digital survival kit, we can also ensure that the family member or friend who gets it will use our present the most in the coming few months.

Pottery workshop – Eszter Hegedűs

Unique, authentic, and imperfect ceramics are enjoying a renaissance now, and they are even more special if we make them by ourselves. The authentic experience of a pottery workshop with aprons and the potter’s wheel can be a unique and exciting Christmas present, certainly bringing a bit of light to the grey weekdays. What is more, it teaches a nowadays relatively uncommon skill. And this experience also has a product we can take home: Who would not want some handmade pottery? It might be a bit crooked and wonky, but it is the result of our own DIY project.

White – Eszter Hegedűs

Bret Easton Ellis, the American writer famous for American Psycho, has turned away from fiction and published a collection of essays: the „White” is not a typical, frivolous book for Christmas, but it is thought-provoking and provocative, especially in the challenging times we live in. The author uses his own memories, experiences, and insights to criticize American society, but his judgment can be generalized to the whole West. He sharply criticizes many things now so deeply rooted in Western culture. The book can hardly be labeled as it contains film critiques, essays on the past, and a 9/11 reminiscence. However, it has a clear, central message: neither political correctness nor the hatred of Donald Trump makes someone morally superior. Ellis denounces the Hollywood elite who sit in judgment on politicians while they also have USD millions of wealth and can hardly be called saints. Ellis’s work is also very exciting from a European perspective as he warns everyone against hypocrisy and fake goodness. Instead, it encourages us to think critically, which we can actually already apply to his book as well: you do not have to agree with Ellis on everything, but it is worth considering his points carefully.

Photo: Johnny Louis/Getty Images

Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century –  Levente Nagy

Helen Thompson’s 2022 book discusses the 21st century’s geopolitical, economic, and democratic challenges, focusing on the European Union, the Middle East, and the United States. The author explains well why we are living in the times we are living in. We are in a historical moment emerging from global power dynamics and creating constraints we must face, not problems we must solve. Thompson’s larger point is that energy and finance are often at the core of geopolitics. Her book highlights the key structural forces shaping recent events and determining the coming developments we must inevitably face.

Graphics: Réka Pisla

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