This year, instead of my own gift guide ( I feel like I’m a bit late to start that party now) I thought I would share some of the best gift guides I have seen for design lovers and that way you can all discover new people and ideas. My philosophy on choosing presents hasn’t changed. Pick a room that suits a person, based perhaps, on things they like to do, and starting with something small, build up and out until you hit your budget with a bit of lateral thinking round the edges. So, in short, a mug, a tea towel, a recipe book, a coffee pot, some great coffee and biscuits, a reservation at their favourite restaurant. In Venice.
Or a book, a cushion, a pair of fabulous glasses, something to pour into said glasses, a throw, a voucher for a cinema ticket (imagine that) and so on.
Once you start thinking that way it becomes much easier to start small and add on. Unless you are my 17yo son. Who only likes art. And gets art equipment all year long for his A levels. And who is having driving lessons. But who is not getting a car. Or even, at this stage, his name on my insurance. Parents of teenage boys get in my comments please… And he hates sport btw so none of that.
I have written about buying gifts in my column in the current issue of Red Magazine (January 2021) and am thrilled to announce that I will be continuing to write for them through 2021 too. It has been lovely to return to print after so many years online and it’s a magazine I love – do come and join me over there if you fancy. A magazine subscription is another great present and if you like the idea of subscriptions then do read last week’s post on the 15 best subscription boxes for the gift that keeps on giving.
So gift guides. Interesting to note that the current (and continuing) mania for instagram means there are fewer blog guides this year and given that they take sooooo long to put together I think it’s worth sharing the good ones. As usual, in no particular order.
Bianca Hall, of French for Pineapple, has come up with 25 very cool gifts for the very hard to buy for. And we’ve all got at least one of those. Look here for gorgeous ceramics, a particularly lovely set of espresso cups (and the tea towel to round it off. Or a gorgeous cocktail measure since this has been the year of the stiff drink.
Lisa Dawson split her gift guide into two this year focusing on independent stores and gifts for under £30. “Behind every item there is a small, creative, independent hardworking company or artisan who are passionate about their product. These sellers put their heart and soul into making the buying experience as individual as they are and the customer service that they offer is personal and tailored.
“Thirty beautiful and individual items that not only will fit your budget as they are all £30 or under, but they will also promote your position as a caring and thoughtful gift giver. And best of all, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your sofa. All these items can be ordered online without a car parking ticket or queue in sight – you don’t even need to put your coat on. Plus you will be supporting small business by buying from an independent shop,” she says.
Next up Melanie Lissack, who created that very beautiful fireplace garland for Red magazine and whose very beautiful (and huge) gift guide for design lovers includes both small brands and high street shops and, coming at the end of a week when two of our biggest names have collapsed, we need to support our high streets as the life blood of small towns too.
Dee Campling’s guide focuses on small shops and items with a cosy feel and she has 10 picks from stores that you may not know so do have a look over there if you’re looking for new places to discover.
Lastly, I can’t leave you without the colour lover’s Christmas gift guide by my very own podcasting co-host Sophie Robinson, who has found a fabulous selection of joyful gifts (and remember you don’t have to put them all together in the same room at the same time!
That should give you all something to go through. I hope you find some inspiration from these suggestions of affordable, hard to please, colourful, design lovers and supportive of both small stores and our high street as well. I’ve seen several things I’d like. Sadly still nothing for a non-sporting, non-reading, artistic, dangerous-driving 17yo old.