Every year, my present-buying story goes like this:
1) Start thinking about how thoughtful my presents will be in the middle of November, contemplating making things like personalised scarves, embroidered bookmarks, and hand-painted votives.
2) Downgrade this idea to monogrammed gifts by the end of the month.
3) By the end of the first week of December, the party spirit has hit, and I think how nice it would be to do a day at the shops like I used to with my sister, travelling to Brent Cross on the 142 to laden up with presents before spending an evening watching Christmas films while trying not to get paper cuts from the vast rolls of wrapping paper we’re getting through. I realise this day will probably never happen, but I think of it while cramming myself onto a stuffed tube while listening to Last Christmas.
4) It is the week before Christmas, and the magical day of shopping hasn’t materialised – nor does it look like it will. Big ideas have been shrunk to a quick dash through Selfridges and Liberty London after work to grab something semi-thoughtful. Or at least in the right size. That’s probably good enough.
5) Faced with a wall of frantic shoppers, I revise my strategy further: I’ll go to the beauty or jewellery hall; I know both well enough to dip in and out with speed.
This year, I’ve had to add a further number on account of being bloody poorly in the lead up to Christmas:
6) Order almost everything from Net a Porter (they deliver in 24 hours and do a speedy London service, too), and from Liberty London, then sit at home watching rubbish tv and adding name tags. While it may not be quite as merry a process as I’d have hoped for, there is a bonus in doing it this way: I’ve saved an awful lot of energy, and I haven’t been lured in by festive displays into buying anything but gifts I think will really be enjoyed.
Applying the logic that if this is my reality, that I am perhaps not alone and that perhaps there are plenty of you who are also sofa-bound, gulping tea by the gallon in the hope it’ll soothe a sore throat, watching While You Were Sleeping on repeat, with little chance of making it to the shops, and that perhaps you may be after a gift for someone (or something cheering for yourself), and that perhaps I can help, I compiled the below. (GASP: what a long sentence – remember I am poorly so brain is addled.) Merry Christmas //
Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil / I give this oil frequently as a gift and always hear back from people to say that it’s been one of the best additions to their bath. It’s universally loved and this is the best of their scent range in my opinion. Sneaky tip – if you’re a shower person, sprinkle the teeniest bit on the floor before you get in to be engulfed in Deep Relax-scented steam. Heaven.
Marant Five Gold-Toned Rings / Truth be told, I haven’t bought these for my sister (who’d love them) because I am fully expecting to have a rush of Christmassy ‘I don’t care about money and am going to buy myself stuff because who knows when I might expire as a result of this frightful cold’ moment in the next few hours and think these are just the perfect stackable rings. But were I feeling more in line with the traditional Christmas spirit of sharing, I’d buy these for anyone, really. They’re quite lovely.
Tina Earnshaw Make-Up Brushes / Okay so this won’t arrive by Christmas, but my God if you want something to add cheer to early January and are a make-up person, get one of these. I have tried a whole raft and think all of Oscar-nominated Tina’s brushes are brilliant, but I’d say get the roll if you travel with brushes and want something beautiful to store them in, grab no 6 if you like eyeliner and are after something to apply it with precision (it’s the tiniest, firmest brush I’ve found yet for the job and works especially well when applying a liner with a damp shadow), and opt for no 8 if you apply bits of foundation or concealer only where needed (say, around your nose) and want something big and fat to lay it down with.