I imagine that many of you will have your Christmas present shopping done or at least planned by now. But, that’s not to say that some of you won’t be hanging your heads in despair at the very thought of it. Whether you have a big gift to find, someone to impossible to buy for or a Secret Santa/stocking filler/little present to purchase, then we have some ideas – although, if you haven’t yet seen it, do check out Natasha’s fab list from last week. Happy (Christmas) Shopping!
Ok, so I’ve been trying to think of what every woman would want – and not just me. Although, I must admit, my personal preferences have held some sway here….
Who wouldn’t love to find a little cashmere under their tree? What’s wonderful is that these days, the quality of high-street cashmere is fantastic – and fantastically priced. While you could splash out on something designer (and by all means, if anyone reading this wants to do so for me – you certainly have my permission), you can also find beautiful pieces that don’t cost the earth. Uniqlo is renowned for great-quality cashmere, while M&S and Gap can also be relied on when it comes to knits (plain, cosy, comfortable rather than show-stopping, but who doesn’t need a bit of that in their life?) Then of course, there’s the higher end offerings from the likes of Brora, Crumpet, Chinti & Parker and Madeleine Thompson. If you have (a lot of) cash to splash, then Loro Piana or Brunello Cucinelli should suffice.
Contrast-cuff cashmere sweater, £295, Chinti & Parker; Navy and sulphur cashmere breton stripe, £260, Crumpet; Colour-block cashmere sweater, £285, Vince
A scarf is another fail-safe item, especially in the midst of winter when cold necks provide the fast-track to flu. I actually live in them almost year-round.
Wild horse scarf, £69, Becksondergaard; Star print scarf, £55, Style Snob; Jacquard weave scarf, £7.99, H&M
Is perfume a boring gift? I think, perhaps, I used to think it was, but if you are replacing a long-loved favourite or have exquisite taste, then it could be a wonderful present – and please note, we’re not talking bottles of Britney Spears’ special or even the latest mass-market offering from Calvin Klein or Gucci. Think about boutique labels such as Byredo (the sleek packaging is a present enough alone) or wonderful brands like Jo Loves and you can’t really go wrong. You could even (if money isn’t an object) arrange for your loved one to have their own bespoke perfume mixed up by someone like Lyn Harris of Miller Harris – now that would be a gift to remember.
Gypsy Water parfum, £130, Byredo; Pink Vetiver, £95, Jo Loves; Balenciaga Paris, £41.40, Balenciaga
Tickets to the cricket
So, The Ashes aren’t going very well, but that’s not going to stop a cricket-mad husband/boyfriend/father/brother loving you for getting them tickets to some of next summer’s tests. You have England v. Sri Lanka and England v. India to choose from. Or, if cricket’s not his thing, then choose another sporting or cultural event. Tickets to a festival, a play, a gig, the rugby or for the truly well-heeled and thoughtful, to Brazil for the World Cup!
A piece of art
If you trust that your taste matches his, then a piece of art is an amazing present to give. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it could be a framed photograph from Yellow Korner, a drawing from an up-and-coming artist at Will’s Art Warehouse or reproduction canvases from Surface View.
A Classic Book….
I refuse to believe that anyone dislikes P G Wodehouse. This collection of 10 classic stories would make any man happy. Or go for 007 with the Complete Bond Collection comprised of 14 books.
For little ones…
Obviously I’m not covering all ages here – I can hardly remember what my sons liked as babies, let alone attempt to work out what an 11 year-old would want to find under the Christmas Tree (and in fact, they’ll probably tell you in great detail). Therefore, I’m thinking about under-fives – ideas for your children, god-children, nieces and nephews.
Aged 3 1/2 years old, my eldest son is seriously into fancy dress. Any chance to wear his pirate, doctor or this week cow costume (yes, it’s nativity season) – and he’s there. I would go with this theme and run with it – go for a great costume and if you want to give more, add in a few extras. For a knight, add these Melissa & Doug castle blocks and a castle book. For a pirate, you have the costume, the pirate ship and the sticker book. And for a doctor (my costume of choice for small girls – let’s just say I’m trying to inspire them) the outfit, the doctor’s kit and – you’ve guessed it – a book.
Pirate oufit, £21.99, Dress up by Design; Pirate ship, £33.34, Playmobil; Pirate sticker book, £4.49, Usborne
Play tent and cushions
Children love hide and seek. Whether it’s a make-shift camp under the kitchen table, behind the sofa OR in their very own tent, then they’re happy. This indoor play tent from Ikea is ideal. Spruce it up with a couple of cushions, throw in a torch and some books and you’ll have a very happy little camper.
Cirkustalt children’s tent, £17, Ikea; Skarum cushion cover, £5, Ikea; Animal torch, £5, My Eco Store
Bits and Bobs
I’m a big believer that you don’t have to spend a fortune on small children. One of my best discoveries this year has been 10 Little Birds, an amazing online boutique specialising in children’s gifts costing £10 and under. Do check it out, it’s fab for smaller presents and stocking fillers. Bimbily is also fantastic for imaginative gift ideas and I also think crayons are great – these chunky ones from Stabilo are perfect for little hands.
Alpha bracelet kit, £7.95, 10 Little Birds; Bon Appetit puzzle, £12.50, Ingela P Arrhenius; 10 Woody crayons, £11.36, Stabilo;
Impossible to buy for…
Oh how tricky it can be buying someone a present when they just seem to have everything they need. If you’re stuck for ideas, how about one of these…..?
A surprise present…
For the person who has everything or in fact, the person who is impossible to buy for, then this is a genius idea. Subscribe to Not Another Bill and they will send a surprise present in the post every month. All you have to do is tell them about the person you’re buying for and they’ll tailor-make the gifts to match, sending a beautifully packaged box containing the present and a letter explaining all about it. Working with up-and-coming designers, artists and brands, the presents are promised to be interesting, unique and most importantly, completely out of your hands! Previous gifts have included lomography cameras, art prints and jewellery. Subscriptions from £60 for 3 months up to £210 for 12 months including p&p.
Sign up before Wednesday 18th December and they’ll send you a box to put under the tree (explaining all about it) and then monthly presents from the 9th January.
If you’re buying for someone who owns everything, then how about giving them an experience to remember? Not so long ago, we wrote about some amazing courses and classes (read it here) from establishments as diverse as The Faber Academy (for creative writing) to The Darling Collective, who arrange everything from foraging to street photography trips and gastrotours. They have an incredible selection of courses, classes and experiences for 2014, all of which would make the perfect gift for someone with a desire to try something new. We like the sound of the shoe-making class, the olafactory and chocolate afternoon, and the food smoking course in Buckinghamshire.
A break in emergency box…
I truly believe that you can never have enough chocolate or champagne. Unless the person you are buying for is tee-total or sugar-free, then why not create your own ‘break-in-emergency’ hamper with champagne, chocolate and the pretty-much universally loved Jo Malone bath oils?
Stocking Fillers/Secret Santa/Under £10 gifts
Finally, if you’re in desperate need of a not-too-expensive present then how about these?
Gold monogrammed mug, £8, Anthropologie; Linen eye mask, £5.99, Zara Home; Sparkly ‘Tayla’ nail varnish, £9, Wild About Beauty
IMAGES: The Lilypad Cottage