I’ve compiled a list of holiday gifts that I can wholeheartedly recommend. These are all products tried and tested by yours truly, and are things I’ve either given, or would love to get myself. Good gifting is an art, a stylish art, and one that I struggle with sometimes because it can require a lot of time to think of and track down something perfect. A good gift should be thoughtful and personal of course, but for me it also has to be useful. I’m not always fond of that category loosely defined as ‘something you wouldn’t normally buy for yourself’, like overpriced Chanel hand lotion, because I’d rather give (and get) something with more function than form.
Most of my friends insist that I buy them beauty products because I’m such a skincare and makeup fanatic that I always know what works and what new products they won’t have discovered yet, so I’m going to include a few of those. In fact, let’s just start with those, shall we?
This might be my favourite skin care product ever, Ren’s Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial. I won’t even pack a suitcase without a tube of this going in. My skin gets cranky when I travel with the change in water, the different food, and change in climate. The 1 Minute Facial sorts it all out. Because of the high concentration of Vitamin C, it fizzes a little when you activate it with water, but it tidily whisks away that top dulling layer of skin and preps the skin beautifully for whatever oil, serum, or cream you want to put on next. The tube travels well, isn’t bulky, and does exactly what it promises: smooth exfoliated skin in one minute flat.
It amazes me how many people have still not discovered Blinc Tubing Mascara, so I’m going to include that on here just in case you are one of those people. It is clump proof, smear proof, suitable for people with contact lenses or sensitive eyes, waterproof, and yet slides off your lashes with warm water and just a little pressure. In the past year or two, I’ve got my mother, my mother in law, and my sister in law all addicted to this product. If you haven’t discovered this yet, you are missing out, and I’ve found it makes a super gift to the uninitiated. (I’m not including a picture, just the link. We’re all fairly clear on what a tube of mascara looks like.)
I’m too klutzy to walk around with boiling hot liquids, but if I did, I’d have one of these. 100 billion single use coffee cups get thrown away each year. This clever alternative is made of organic bamboo. It comes in a variety of colours, is dishwasher safe, is compostable, and is not made with BPAs or any other nasties. If you have an environmentally aware coffee drinker on your list, or someone who commutes with a cup of joe every day, this is the gift I’d boss them into.
I’ve been a fan of Cire Trudon candles since forever, and often give them as gifts. There is no other candle like them; they are as complex as perfumes. This box set for winter is a lovely splurgy gift for someone (maybe even yourself!). It contains three of their most warming wintery scents: Bethleem (pepper, cardamom, saffron, sandalwood, cedar, amber, white flowers), Gabriel (chestnuts, birch, moss, smoke), and Nazareth (clove, cinnamon, orange). All are gorgeous room-filling powerful scents in uber-stylish Italian glass containers. If you don’t like the spicy wintery fragrances, their Solis Rex (beeswax, incense, eucalyptus) or Ernesto (tobacco, leather, and amber) are my other personal favourites. Explore their website and see what grabs you.
While we’re on candles, I’ve raved and blogged about these before, and I’m going to do it again here because they make such an indulgent and unique gift. Neom Intensive Skin Treatment candles are divine on every level. They smell amazing, and they give you gorgeously soft skin. What other candle does that? I’m hooked.
Years ago, someone gave me The Soup Bible as a gift, and after cooking out of it for a year, I was so wowed by the delicious recipes that I bought myself The New Soup Bible as well. I didn’t know soup could be THIS amazing. Both books are filled with very authentic recipes (and sometimes difficult to find ingredients, but that’s half the fun!) from around the world. Some of them are a little complicated, but every winter I pull these books out and make impressive, nourishing, show-stopper soups.
I’m a tea drinker, and as with wine, part of what I enjoy when I’m drinking it is looking at the colour, and how light plays with the liquid. Most standard teacups are opaque, so if you have a tea aficionado on your gift list, get them a transparent stylish cup to turn their daily habit into a spoiling ritual. This one by Massimo Lunardon is my absolute favourite one, and I intend to buy it for myself. It has to be held and seen in person to be appreciated; the lightweight, handmade, imperfect, one-of-a-kind design is a real statement. It feels amazing in your hands… it is hard to describe, and looks much better in person than the photograph. A less colourful burt equally stylish option are the double walled Bodum ones; I love the minimalist functional design which keeps your tea (or coffee) piping hot for longer due to the air insulation between the cup walls.
I’m not usually one for holiday makeup coffrets, but I’m making an exception for Charlotte Tilbury’s The Book of Magic Makeup. I’ve liked everything I’ve ever bought from her line. This particular set doesn’t seem to have much filler product (those colours or items I’d never use) like so many holiday collections do, and it contains a few of my favourite Charlotte Tilbury products.
Most of us lounge around at home in yoga trousers, right? Why not up the comfort and luxury factor a bit and go for cashmere joggers? I think they make a great useful gift; I live in mine at home. In fact, at this very moment as I peck away on my keyboard, they are festooning my person. Long live Slouchy Luxe!
This is such a sweet idea, not just for the holidays, but for year-round– personalised word art. You choose at least 15 words to be made into a word-cloud, select a shape, (I’m partial to the star and the shoe), then choose a colour scheme, a font, a frame, and you’re done! Good for a new mother, a birthday, a housewarming, a gift for a grandmother (with all of her children’s and grandchildren’s names) whatever. I’d like to do one all out of swear words as a gift to myself, because few things make me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside as creative swearing.
For men’s presents (they are SO hard to buy for, aren’t they?) if you haven’t already bought the man in your life a cashmere bathrobe, maybe now is the time to do so. I got this one for my husband a few years ago. He doesn’t use it every day, but in the winter time when it is cold in the mornings, or when he is feeling under the weather, he gets a lot of mileage out of it. It is a bit splurgy, but its a seriously nice gift. I love the idea of combining a cashmere robe with some masculine bath oil (or shower gel… horses for courses) and a book as a present, because really, is there ANYTHING nicer in the winter than having a bath, putting on a cashmere robe, and curling up with a good book?
Speaking of bath oils, I experimented with the entire range of Ortigia Sicilia products when I was in Sicily this year. Ortigia make several fragrances that are great for men, and the packaging is stylish and unisex as well. My husband was quite partial to the Ambra Nera.
Another bath product that makes a great gift is the Aromatherapy Associates 10 miniature bath and shower oil collection. Because the aromatherapy oils are SO strong in this product, you only need about 1/3 or 1/4 of a bottle for each use, so each bottle is enough for three or four baths or showers. The Deep Relax fragrance is life changing if you are into aromatherapy. This makes a great hostess present year-round if you are a houseguest, and if I’m ever stuck for a gift for anyone, male or female, this is what I give. I even buy an extra one every Christmas so my husband and I can enjoy it at home.
I hope this guide has helped you find a few ideas for the people on your list, or even for yourself! Do you have any tried and tested or unique gifts that you can recommend? Let me know in the comments; I’m always looking to expand my repertoire of stylish gift ideas.
P.S. If anyone is stuck for ideas for me, I’ll solve your problem; just get me these Manolo Blahnik Zara booties, please. 😀