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Christmas Gift Ideas for Broke Musicians

Christmas, well, the commodified Farmers-catalogue version, can be a stress. Even more so when you’ve been scraping away 2018 on a steady diet of Tim Tams and 2-minute noodles while you try and put that new album to bed. The good news is, we’re creatives! And if anyone can pull together a cheap, novel, and meaningful present at Christmas, it’s us. So, as one final gift to you in 2018, we’ve rounded up some gift ideas for the broke musician that might just save your skin this silly season.

  1. Make a mixtape

It’s personal, it’s soaked in nostalgia, and it’s an art-form. Sure, the days of sellotaped cassette tapes with hand-drawn cover art might have been 86’d by technology, but the concept is still alive and well. Thanks to platforms like Spotify, they’re also virtually free.

Compile a playlist of songs that remind you of your significant other. Head down memory lane with a playlist of all the songs from your sibling’s formative years. Give a young cousin or niece a crash-course in the hottest new tunes – it could set them on a journey of discovery that will see them well into 2019. Give it a theme: Deep Cuts from 2018; Songs that Remind me of You; If You Like Six60, You’ll Love...

Here’s a great step-by-step from Gadgetmatch

2. Give them an experience

There’s been a lot of talk about conscious giving lately, and at the top of the Ethical Hierarchy of Gift Purchasing lies the gift of experience. Giving your loved one a ticket to a gig is the gift that keeps giving – especially if you accompany them to it. There are plenty of inexpensive, mid-level gigs out there that are cheap and cheerful, and will provide you and your giftee with a night to remember. Better yet, there are a tonne of perfectly great free gigs on over summer, like the Music in Parks series.

3.  Lesson-is-more

We’ve all been guilty of excitingly caving in to a family member’s fleeting fascination with learning an instrument. As the token musician in the family, it falls upon us to source a beginner’s nylon-string guitar on Trade Me, wrap it in an Oasis poster and make their day. We’ve also seen that same nylon string guitar untouched and propped in a dank corner gathering various versions of flora six months later.

What they need is some follow-through. So why not give them a year of lessons instead? It’s got everything: accountability, affordability, and the chance to make sure they start out learning proper classics like Stairway to Heaven instead of Wonderwall.

4. ...and if all that fails:

  • Walk into literally any op-shop and scour around for your favourite band t shirt, or grab a well-worn Christmas album on CD by Mariah Carey, Bublé, Hansen or Rod Stewart. These guys are ageless. They’ll survive the nuclear age along with the cockroaches.

  • Grab an old frame from an op shop and add a pic of yourself. Guaranteed to stun.

  • Whip up a batch of russian fudge and add a tube of toothpaste for the aftermath of ongoing tooth care.

  • Rinse out a marmite jar and pot some miniature endangered native flora. Extra merit for saving the planet.

  • Make a wall hanging after your Piha beach excursion with rope and locally-scrounged beachwood.

Most of all, remember to slow down and breathe, surround yourself with loved ones, and have a solid Feliz Navidad around the barbeque.

Merry Christmas from team Parachute – see you on the other side!

Luke Oram