With Christmas looming closer than ever, the rush for panic buys is coming up fast, and the majority of products and safe gifts have sold out. So what to do now? With internet shopping, there is a new way top shop much closer to Christmas, where there is a wide variety of products and gift items available almost until the last week before the festivities start. This has proven to be a very reliable way of getting better, more thoughtful presents for me in the past and it takes care of the people you care about for the most important gift-giving time of the year. Therefore I have made this list completely from online shops and boutiques.
Every woman I know makes wish lists and shopping lists both online and in journals throughout the year. These then mysteriously become available to their significant others/relatives/friends around this time, gently prodding them with the perfect items for them to put under the tree. I know that I have been inspired by my own wish lists and purchases for this list, however I would like to think I am thinking about every woman out there, irrespective of age, finances or background! Standard gift options should be thrown out of the window- you won’t find a boring bottle of perfume here. It is incredibly important both for the buyer and the receiver to find/get a gift that will not be a waste of money and will be useful enough to not end up gathering dust on a shelf, so I know these items will make the cut.
As I am living in the UK at the moment, the majority of the items will come from UK shops online, however the items should be available in very similar designs from other countries as well.
1. The Sumptuous Cashmere Jumper
The one I have picked out here comes from the winter collection for Uniqlo, who are known to produce some of the best quality cashmere on the high street. Although this may come with a slightly higher price tag, cashmere is extremely versatile and is the only thing I know to completely ward off the winter chill. If taken well care of, it can last a very long time, and is bang on trend with the metallics and velvets for winter, as well as leading through the post-Christmas lull cuddled up on the sofa. If you can afford the slightly eye-watering sums for cashmere jumpers from more exclusive brands, go to Brora or House of Cashmere. There are similarly priced versions available at M&S, Asos and other high street clothes, however I can only personally vouch for the quality of the ones from Uniqlo, as I own quite a few.
2. The Reverie Candle
Although some people say that they don’t like ostentatious fragrances, not every candle has to have a very intense smell! Recently there have been more and more affordable high street brands who are venturing into collaborations with niche candle makers, and offer full-sized and mini versions of their bestseller scents. The most expensive ones would have to come from Jo Malone or Diptyque, while you can also get some great candles with a large throw from PF. Candles who have just set up their candle shop online (they used to be on Etsy) and Paddywax Apothecary (available on Asos) who move away from saccharine smells to more herbal, gently floral ones that will bring a grown-up feel and look to any room.
3. The Functional Journal
No one has any intention to start the year on a bad note, especially after 2016, so why not make it the best year ever by making sure that all of your events and key dates are noted down in your very own planner or journal? While a planner is more functional, usually including a printed out layout for a timetable and a ‘Things to Do’ section, a journal is for more free writing, more similar to a notebook or a diary in format. This past year has been a big one for encouraging people to peruse stationary, washi tapes and decorative forms of note-taking, as well as the trend for ‘Bullet Journaling’ and colouring books. It has been noted that these kinds of activities encourage a more reflective focus, encouraging creativity and decreasing stress which is useful for any woman. I would personally recommend the Kate Spade and the Day Designer planners, and the Moleskine and Asos notebooks for journaling, as they are filled with good quality paper and usually have some great covers!
4. The Nourishing Hair Mask
Although many women take close to religious care of their skin, the hair is usually left out and after a season of straightening and curling for parties, deserves to be pampered. Many hair masks offer natural ingredients nowadays and are cruelty-free, even the cheaper ones available on the high street. Many more smaller brands have entered the beauty market with their products, and it is their no-nonsense ‘good hair only’ approach that makes them more trustworthy. Ingredients such as coconut oil, tomato extract and silk proteins offer protection and reinvigoration to hair that has been over-styled and has become brittle and prone to breakages. My ‘Nounou’ holy grail hair mask is from a brand called Davines (stocked at Liberty online) and is full of Vitamin E and tomato extracts and leaves the hair incredibly soft. Some of the other hair masks I recommend would come from Korres and Oh!K (stocked on Asos). Oh!K is a wonderfully inexpensive Korean brand that is known for their many different face masks, however they also have a hair mask for damaged hair that comes with a treatment and hair cap for heat preservation.
5. The Traditional Watch
The watch may also come under the organisation aspect of the next year, but nothing saying beautiful and functional than a sparkling timepiece on your wrist. As the buyer, it is important to remember the preference of the giftee- do they like a metal or a leather strap? Do they like a watch face in a pretty design or more classic? Opinions on skeleton watches? Etc. Etc. However, I believe the best watches for women are ones that don’t carry too much weight, have clear numbers (for functionality) and are well made (no dropping off turn dial). My preference in keeping with the winter trends this year would be to go for a rose gold face with a burgundy strap, akin to this one from Komono (available on Asos).
6. The Thrilling Book/Ebook
Although seemingly no one reads books anymore, Christmas and the week leading up to the New Year is a perfect time to decompress and to give those ‘little grey cells’ of the mind something to do instead. As a gift for her, there are many offerings by respected female authors as well as titular heroines, so a book like ‘A Tale for the Time Being’ by Ruth Ozeki would be a perfect way to get away from the realities brought on by work. Focused on a spinning world between the tales of Nao and Ruth, it explores the life of the heroine and her diary-keeping in Japan. It is very well-written and brings you into the character’s world, making it a perfect gift both for the avid reader and for those just getting back into turning the pages. The book is available online through iBooks or the Amazon store, as well as in all bookshops as a paper copy.
7. The Luxurious Bath Set
A bath set is a wonderful present for anyone looking to try their a new brand they have heard of but they don’t want to purchase the larger, full-priced product. Many exclusive skincare brands like REN, Moroccan Oil or Burt’s Bees offer a set of miniatures to try and encourage customers to buy full-sized products later on. A bath set is also a versatile option for many people who don’t have time to waste their money on large products with a short sell-by-date, as most skincare and bath products only last around 6 months-1 year. Given the Christmas themes of many of them, these would be a perfect gift for those who want to feel pampered and always feel like they can’t choose between their favourites.
8. The Monogram Necklace
Nothing is more personalized than a signature monogram, and with the trend for fonts and handwriting styles, it is possible to even write down your giftee’s name or initials and have it made in gold or silver. The variations in price here don’t always indicate quality, so it is perfectly acceptable to get something lower priced that would look equally beautiful. This would be a somewhat more romantic gift as it is very impressive and intimate, however it would be the perfect way to show someone how much they mean to you. The monograms don’t have to be large either, and can be made into simple initials for a more delicate look and can also be made more opulent too with crystals or jewels.
9. The Structured Bag
A perfect bag to take around for the next year is an important outfit feature and an essential travel item for many women approaching the New Year. Nothing says organised and well-put together than a good structured bag that would fit everything in her world. Women are known for wanting to carry everything from a screwdriver to a full make-up set in their bags, and usually prefer a larger bag to accommodate for unexpected items. The best new bags consider functionality as well as style-some bag brands have chosen to include mobile chargers or dongles in their bags as well as including specifically sized pockets for essential items. The most stylish bag of the season must be the leather rucksack, however a good clutch small over-the-shoulder bag would be perfect to take her through the New Year party season.
10. The Smartphone Instant Printer
This may seem like an unusual item, however nothing says festive more than simply having time to be with your loved ones and remembering the Christmas you spent together. For all those memories, special occasions and perfect selfies, it is now possible to print out photos akin to a Instax camera. The difference between that and the Fuji Filmprints is that this is compatible with any phone with bluetooth and it uses a telescopic system to print out photos exactly as they come out on your phone, without the Polaroid filter. This would be the perfect gift for anyone looking to create their first physical photo album without the commitment of going to a Photo print shop.