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.