Toys, socks and undies, scorched almonds - these Christmas gifts wear out or get devoured, but at least one kind of pressie is designed to be permanent.
Timaru's tattoo artists say they have seen a spike in demand for gift vouchers in the lead-up to the holidays, as family members and friends of ink enthusiasts seek to give their loved ones gifts to last a lifetime.
Tattooist Hayden Colvill, of Arkane Tattoo in Church St, has been selling about two gift vouchers a day for the last few weeks.
"There's so many people getting tattooed and it's not a cheap vice to have," he said.
"If it's someone who likes tattoos and you give them the present of a voucher, you know you're giving them something they'll like."
At Burnt Toast Custom Tattoo and Piercing in Stafford St, tattooist Russ Beaumont said he had seen dozens of vouchers in denominations from $50 to $200 go out the door this holiday season. "Voucher sales have been steadily climbing each year. A lot of it is people buying them for family."
The vouchers that are given now will return as bookings starting in January, Mr Colvill said.
Both studios said they were fully booked and working flat out to meet demand. Mr Colvill said he was scheduling clients about four weeks out.
Mr Beaumont and another artist work at Burnt Toast studio regularly, and a third guest artist travels down from Palmerston North to take clients as well.
It was a good sign for prospective clients if a tattoo artist had a busy schedule, Mr Colvill said.
"I always tell people, if you walk into a studio and the tattooist is sitting there reading a book or something, turn around and walk out."
- The Timaru Herald