Earlier this year, Boots asked over 11,000 people some questions about Christmas. The results confirmed to me that Brits are mostly the eccentric and humble bunch I like to think we are, putting energy into buying for pets (65% of pet owners do this, me included – Monty is receiving a lovely new coat this year), valuing the roast potato over all other components of a Christmas dinner (69% pledged their fealty to the humble spud), and sticking to the traditional chocolate coins and oranges to make up Christmas stockings (if it ain’t broke, and all).
But the results on buying gifts surprised me. Almost a quarter of Brits start their shopping in August (sales perhaps playing a role?) because they find choosing a gift difficult. A third of people think they’re hard to buy for because they buy everything they need for themselves, and presumably it is that same 37% portion of folks who voted that they would prefer to self-gift.
So why do we still bother? The stats suggest it isn’t a sense of duty, but rather for the joy: 57% said that seeing someone’s face when opening their gift is their favourite part of the whole shebang. Which rather made me feel less cynical about the world and also better about continuing in my efforts to offer help to those buying in the form of gift guides and tips.
Boots approached me in light of this survey to ask if I’d like to work with them this year on three things: first, to run a giveaway for my readers (scroll to the bottom for all the info); second, to answer some questions included on the survey, and, finally, to choose some Christmas gifts for her and Christmas gifts for him I’d choose.
I of course said absolutely yes to all three and got a bit overexcited and carried away on their website when doing the shopping bit and ended up with 16 things in my basket but had to whittle it down to 3: something for him, something for her, and the perfect stocking filler. So I’ll start with them.
My picks are as follows:
Dior Savage for menfolk. I can’t imagine who wouldn’t want to either smell like this or be in close proximity with someone wearing it. It is creamy and woody and green and begs to be paired with a crisp white shirt or thick, cashmere knit.
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Glossy Posse Mini Gloss Collection for anyone who enjoys make-up. Yes, gloss is making a comeback (hallelujah), yes Fenty do coloured gloss very, very well with no stickiness and lots of pigment, and, yes, anyone who wants to amplify and make their lips appear slightly plumper should get their hands on them immediately.
P.s. I am keeping these for myself.
P.p.s. The tin they come in is pretty handy and could be repurposed as a pencil case/place to store receipts/jewellery, etc.
This Works Dream Team for you. It is, after all, a bit of a full on time of year and these really do engender a sense of zen. I you want to give them as a gift, buy them for anyone who’s stressed and particularly for those who travel a lot as the size is so perfect for it. Another one I’ll be keeping pour moi.
… And in answer to their questions:
Q: Which person’s gift receives the most thought?
A: While I enjoy buying my sister’s gift the absolute most because she effectively has the same taste as me so I just get to feel wildly indulgent by buying something I love (but then, sadly, having to part with it), I would say my mum. My mum is one of those people who needs nothing but who also has excellent taste and always presents a challenge.
Q: When do you start your Christmas shopping?
A: In honestly, around the 22nd of December. I like to immerse myself in it when I feel that work has wound down, and I can really comb shops and enjoy the process. I live in London, so I just hop on the tube and nose around shops while listening to Christmas music. Sometimes a friend of mine joins me and we go for lunch mid-shop at Mews of Mayfair and huddle under blankets and a heat lamp while discussing where we’ll go next.
Q: What is the most quintessential Christmas dinner food?
A: Don’t laugh: sprouts. I love them. Fry some with a few onions and really I could do without the rest of the palaver. I am a fan of simple pleasures, so have never understood the whole thing about labouring in the kitchen for hours.
(I have to add a second food though as mum might murder me otherwise: rum kugels. My mum’s Austrian and makes these delectable balls of rum and almonds and chocolate and really I eat far too many of them every single day of the festivities and given that I’m teetotal they probably make me really quite tipsy but I love them and Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them.)
The Giveaway /
Now, for the giveaway. Boots are offering a reader the immense Soap & Glory Advent Calendar (worth £42). To enter to win, please tell me when you start your Christmas shopping in the below comments field. (I am praying one of you will also start as late as me!). The winner will be picked on the 28th of November and notified by e-mail.
This post has been sponsored by Boots.
I try and start during the first week of December!
I make some of the gifts,(soap) so I start on that in september, I make last min some rocky road. Most of the gifts drift in noveember, as I have to post some.
As late as possible…. Mainly because I refuse to believe Christmas should not start till December!!.. All this malarkey with folks putting Christmas trees etc up in November makes me cringe.!!
As early as October I’m afraid… although this year I’m late and only started this Monday! But I love it so it’s not a chore for me 🙂
Usually around 21st Dec when I panic and end up spending more on expedited delivery charges than the actual gifts!
Have just done that for a birthday!
I absolutely hate going shopping so I leave it until the very last minute to buy anything.
My husbands birthday is this weekend, so I can’t even contemplate Christmas until after, I generally start shopping for gifts from December 1st, but I have been known to do it all in one day on December 22/23!! (Ps adore Sauvage, and the Fenty glosses are fab – love your choices!)
Mine is the 11th of Dec, so really Christmas used to kick off in my household after that!
Nothing fills me with more joy than buying presents for friends and family, so I start around the first week of December. But I mostly pick up bits and bobs throughout the year, so by the time Christmas rolls around, I have a nice stash of gifts to choose from. I always pop into Boots to look at their festive aisles for secret Santa pressies. Ahh, even talking about this is making me so excited! xx
I know I love getting riled up about it too!
I start my Christmas shopping when the stores start doing discounts like a 20% day this helps me spread the cost over several months usually from the summer holidays and now I’ve learned that if I see what is possibly a really good gift I buy it there and then if I can afford it because it’s gone if I ever go back to get it. I too love Austrian Almond chocolates
Around 21st and 22nd – early in the mornings on those days the shops are relatively clear and nothing is better than the whole buzz of coming home with lots of bags to unpack. I also don’t wrap until Christmas Eve with Mulled wine mince pies and Wonderful Life on.
That’s my favourite – quieter shops, very festive!
December! But if I see something nowish I’d get it. I have a small family so don’t have much to do. I’ve asked for those that aren’t my parents to donate to shelter this year though .
I started last week in a panic but I probably keep buying bits for the whole of December! The big question also seems like when does the tree go up???
Same. I always feel like it should be around the second weekend of Dec, but I’ve completely made that up!
I put the real Christmas tree up at Dec 1st. Its only right ?
My mum used to do it on the 24th because she’s Austrian!
Normally around the end of November as I like to have everything organised by the time my children finish school in the middle of December!
I start as soon as I get an idea for someone but at the latest it’s in November or I panic buy! Sometimes I’m as late as you!! ?
I’m not as late as you, mainly because there aren’t any decent shops around here, but I’m late for me this year and haven’t really brought anything but To make it worse I asked my parents what they wanted and told them to order it and I’ll pay them back ? I’m definitely going to be on santa’s naughty list ?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! Nothing worse than getting someone a gift they don’t want
I start properly about the first week of November, but I do look out for lovely gifts all year, so sometimes I already have a few by then
I started in the Jan sales!
i will start Christmas shopping on the 1st week of December.
I usually start in August… but it takes me until Black Friday to finish (guess why!) HA!
I start at the beginning of December.
And the winner is Sally Anne Mackay. Sally – check your e-mails so Boots can send you the calendar ASAP!