This is the first year in living memory that I have not only bought all my presents, but wrapped them well in advance of Christmas Eve. Yes, that IS my tree, and those are my wrapped gifts for everyone underneath it. Usually I am to be found in a welter of wrapping paper, recycled ribbon and curses, sellotaping my fingers together at midnight on the 24th. Partly that’s due to the amazing Emily, who asked me in mid-November what I was doing about Christmas, which focused my haphazard mind admirably. The awake-in-the-middle-of-the-night jetlag also helped on the online shopping front.
I have also, for the first time, not only remembered goddaughter no 1’s birthday (she is 6) in time but sent her a present too. And her Christmas ones. AND her mother’s, all in a big box. ’tis a festive miracle. (Poor Amelia: being born on the 22nd means you do tend to get your birthday elided in favour of an all-purpose Christmas gifting session.)
When I go to America in the fall, I always buy candy canes in the drugstore to decorate both my tree and my presents. They are as cheap as chips: a few dollars for a box full. As opposed to 70p (that’s over a dollar) a pop in my local London Whole Foods.
And, whilst, we are on the subject of presents, I thought I’d add a few more gifting ideas, from some of the things I’ve been given over the year that I really like.
All the girls who attended the Red/Wedgwood Afternoon Tea at my London flat were given a Wedgwood cameo pendant as a going home present. I’ve barely taken mine off since, and I’ve seen all the others wearing their cameos too. I predict a resurgence in 2013. From £80.
Dote London make absolutely beautiful and luxurious nightwear, loungewear, bias cut silk dresses, pyjamas, dressing gowns and slips, as well as some great pieces for men. Produced by a one woman business, it’s all perfectly put together, and very desirable. (The website makes you want to jump straight into the brand.) This floor length Garbo slip is part of her collection of bias cut slips in pure silk, Liberty print paisley, and soft modal, suspended on grosgrain, ribbon, or delicate self-fabric straps. (Do check out the Liberty slip £75, and the Liberty print shorts £38 too.)
I’ve been using my Marshall Bergman laptop case all year, and get asked continually where it’s from. I can see this 11″ Emerald Leather Tablet Case / Clutch being equally useful and chic. It’s got a large back pocket with a popper closure for essential documents, and fits both a small laptop or the afore-mentioned tablet, and can double as an envelope clutch bag. £135.00
These are my first ever pair of Fitflops: the Polar™ Sneaker in Sage. They’re like a boxer’s boot, lined with sheepskin, and have the legendary Fitflop wobble technology. I’m looking forward to testing these out as I stride around Cornwall over New Year. (They’re on sale on the Fitflop website right now: they were £145.00, now £95.00.)
This year, Liberty of London (nothing WHATSOEVER to do with me) launched a glorious bath & body collection, created in Devon using lavender, geranium and rose. A British product that aims to bring a little bit of luxury to every day, the range includes body lotion, hand lotion, body wash, hand wash and soap. I particularly like the Rose, which is pitched exactly right: a gentle waft of an English summer garden. The washbag lurking behind is part of the collection too: it’s the Small Claire Aude Print Tana Lawn Wash Bag from the Liberty London Collection. £25.
Designed by Noma Bar exclusively for the Guardian Collection, this ruled-page notebook is part of the new Guardian stationery range. £9.95
I really should have added a hot water bottle, with a cover, to my list of presents for tricky women. This extremely luxurious one from The Cross resides inside a pretty hand embroidered cashmere roll neck cover, letting your feet get cosy and warm, with no danger of burning.