Now I don’t know you about but I often end up getting irritated with Christmas Gift Guides. I don’t want to be classed as the “foodie” or the “gardener” or the “best friend over 40” or the “mad woman with the cat”… actually that …. And the Mad Husband has never yet wanted anything from a must give gifts for the man in your life list.
Although when he said to me last night that he didn’t get a present at all last year and I vigorously reminded him of the 66North Iceland parka I bought for him, he said that hadn’t been a “surprise”…. Further interrogation produced the following brief: It must be a surprise. But it must be something he sort of needs to justify buying it in the first place. But not something that he needs so much that he would actually buy it himself. However, in addition to the need there must be the want. For if he doesn’t want it why would anyone buy it for him? And it shouldn’t cost the earth. Because that is silly. But an element of “reassuringly expensive” never went amiss. Anyone got any ideas? Actually I think I’ve just sorted it – a can of Stella Artois. JOB DONE.
Leaving him and his impossible demands aside, I have decided to take a different route this year. I shall be exploring presents room by room. Because we all have those rooms. And one way to tackle the need versus want scenario is to buy -yes – something for the house but something that is so beautiful that that person wouldn’t have bought it for themselves. The joy of presents for rooms is that they will undoubtedly be used every day as well.
So today we are starting in the kitchen. Because that’s always a good place to start. Heart of the home and all that. We will explore the rest of the rooms over the next few days and hopefully you will find beautiful things for your and your home at a range of prices.
Such as the Dolce & Gabana Smeg toaster for example. Will get used everyday. Is an ordinary item elevated to luxury status. I won one as a prize earlier this year after attending the launch party in Milan and it certainly brightens up that corner of the kitchen.
Another way to tackle the gift giving is to expand on the stocking filler idea. In other words lots of small presents individually wrapped and presented in a box. Or a rucksack, or silk pillowcase… you get the idea. Because opening lots is always better than one – unless it’s that £8000 Chanel boyfriend watch but since I’m guessing that’s not going to be under my tree any time soon.
When stuck for inspiration I have often resorted to a theme for the present-buying for himself. There was the Mad Men year with the vintage Dorothy Thorpe glasses from Ebay with the bottle of whisky, the vintage shoe cleaning kit together with a leatherbound copy of his favourite book and a scarf. Or the travel year – guides to the places we wanted to go to, a cocktail shaker and recipe cards, a hammock and a machine that made wave noises. You can laugh but it got the baby to sleep a treat that first year. Also that was 17 years ago, my attempts to find an inflatable palm tree failed but that would be easy now.
So, pick a theme and build on it until your budget runs out. A mug, a tea towel, some fabulous coffee, a milk jug, great biscuits and a book. Those last two are crucial for the compilation present – food, reading and, I would always add paper and pen – as pretty or as practical as your budget dictates. Read the captions for suggestions to built out from the picture.
A set of glasses, a bottle of the favourite tipple, a funny ice cube tray, a couple of pretty serving dishes, a recipe book. Plates are a great presents as you will use them every day and if you care about what you eat then that’s a great way to start building up a collection.
One final suggestion – beautiful storage jars ( house curious has some glass ones with wooden and leather handles) which you can fill with gorgeous ingredients – dried whole chillis, pink rock salt, bay leaves, together with a recipe book. One jar or three. Add a pretty serving dish and spoons. Or not.
Once you start thinking like this it becomes easier to think of something for even the most difficult person and, as I say, you can stop when the budget runs out. So I hope you will like some of these ideas for the kitchen – and no oven gloves still aren’t acceptable. UNLESS learn this – you give oven gloves from Thornback & Peel, accompanied by a beautiful diary in which you have written the date for dinner at a fabulous restaurant – the implication being that the oven gloves can have the night off. Get it? Got it? Good.
Tomorrow we will look at gifts for the bathroom. Drop in if that’s the room that most suits the person you are buying for…