The one Christmas present that won't end up in a cupboard.

I’ll never forget the year I left my Christmas shopping until the very last minute – and ended up panic-buying my soon-to-be mother-in-law a nice case of wine.

The problem? She wasn’t a wine drinker. At all.

Being far too kind to say anything, she smiled politely, and quietly popped the box in the cupboard – where it remains to this day.

I mean, I love Christmas, and I really love it when I manage to find gifts that the people in my life actually WANT to receive (unlike that case of wine). But unless you happen to be the ultra-organised Monica Geller type, the pre-Christmas period often resembles more of a mad, blind panic instead of a serene, magical experience.

"I mean, I love Christmas, and I really love it when I manage to find gifts that the people in my life actually WANT to receive (unlike that case of wine)."Image: iStock.

When you’re tackling that end-of-year madness, and you have a to-do list longer than your arm (think present-buying, decorations, menu-planning, baking, socialising…) it’s easy to fall into the trap of buying things that people don’t really want. They're purchased purely for the sake of saving face and having a prettily-wrapped present to place under the tree for them to open come December 25.

And even if you do manage to pick a gift they want, do they actually NEED it? I know the spirit of Christmas is all about giving and being generous, but these days, Christmas seems to have become a race to purchase endless stuff that none of us really need.

So what’s the solution, I hear you ask?

Enter – a meaningful gift. The type that actually helps others, and shows the gift recipient that you care about something far more important than forking out for the latest toy or tech gadget.

So why not opt for a Make-A-Wish “Wish Kringle” Christmas card? They make thoughtful presents, while making a positive difference to children battling life-threatening illnesses.

Annabelle, 9, diagnosed with liver failure, wished to go to Broome and ride a camel, see whales and go on a glass bottom boat. Image: Supplied.

It’s easy - just choose which ‘wish card’ you’d like to give, add a personal message, and make a donation to Make-A-Wish. You can either give your wish card along with a present (in place of a regular Christmas card), or as a complete Christmas gift.

And the best part?

You’ll get that warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing you’re helping Make-A-Wish to make wishes come true for seriously ill children – bringing them much needed hope, strength and joy.

Preston, 11, living with cystic fibrosis, wished for a blue Staffy puppy to play with. Image: Supplied.

I don’t know about you all, but hand-on-heart, I’d much rather be given a thoughtful gift that helps other people, rather than yet another box of chocolates or scented candle or insert-generic-gift-idea here. I’d rather know that someone had decided to brighten the lives of really sick kids in my honour, instead of just buying a standard gift pack from a department store that frankly, won’t ever be used.

If only I’d known about them years ago, I could have avoided the embarrassment of THAT case of wine.

And another, more selfish bonus? You can avoid those soul-destroying, panic-inducing Christmas shopping crowds.

Now that’s something we can all get excited about, right?

What do you look for in a Christmas present?