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the art of gifting

the art of gifting

fabric-of-my-life-christmas-gift-guide-2016

i am the absolute worst at buying gifts, and never more so than at christmas! there is such pressure at this time of year to find the perfect gift for a loved one and while i might spend the entire year spotting trinkets that would make my bestie laugh or my sister cry with joy (neglecting to actually purchase them!), as soon as i’m put on the spot and feel forced to buy a gift for t’is the season, i’m often at a total loss.

gift giving is an art form; the buying of a present for a loved one takes thought and consideration far beyond just making a list and checking it twice. all too often i leave it until the last minute and then tried to hurry the process of finding something suitable, worrying not only about whether the gift is actually right for the recipient, but also what it says about me as the gifter: is it unique enough, expensive enough – or too expensive! – is it actually going to be useful?

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clockwise from top left: ola studio, kinfolk, à l’aise, prickle press, etsy uk, evermore paper co.

when i think back to the best gifts i’ve ever received, they are those which have not cost the earth, but been conceived with love and consideration for the things i enjoy most in life: a giant jar of homemade peanut butter, a framed photograph from a wonderful holiday, or a nod to a long-forgotten childhood passion.

i think it’s crucial to sit down and spend a little time carefully considering each person you plan to buy a gift for, and how well you actually know them. this year i plan to find myself a quiet, cosy corner, pour a mug of hot cocoa, put on a festive album (she & him’s christmas party is my go-to) and spend a few moments remembering all the good times i’ve shared with my family and friends over the past year, to see what gift suggestions this ritual might spark…

gifts-to-snuggle-up-with-christmas-gift-guide-2016clockwise from top left: alder+co, the white company, the linen works, this is non, me+em, toast

because it’s not a cliché to say that a gift means more to a recipient when there is a story behind it. warm woollen mittens or cosy socks might be reminiscent of practical gifts from beloved grandparents when you were young, but accompanied by a handwritten note promising a romantic winter walk, all bundled up together, these cosy items can take on a whole new sentiment.

a classic gifting option of a luxurious scented candle can these days often be disregarded as “a lazy present”, when in reality a lot of careful thought and consideration will have gone in to choosing the right brand and the right scent for your loved one. an accompanying card explaining how the “spicy ode to juniper berries and clove” of byredo’s peyote poem candle reminds you of your hedonistic mexican trip together will help ensure the memories of time spent together is envoked every time the wick is lit.

gifts-that-promote-wellbeing-christmas-gift-guide-2016

clockwise from top left: alder+co, nuori, the future kept, la gent, form, cereal x perfumer h, space nk, soap co.

after the trials and tribulations of this long, trying year a gift that encourages a few moments of quiet contemplation is surely high on most people’s wishlist, and luxury wellness products which also have a socially responsible angle to their manufacture make this kind of indulgence feel even more virtuous. one such brand is the soap co.; a social enterprise creating and manufacturing soap products with sophisticated fragrances, minimalist design and a strong social and environmental ethos, creating employment for people who are blind or otherwise disabled or disadvantaged.

i’m also a huge fan of the ethos behind nuori skincare products, which centres around freshness. the line consists of both skin-care and body products and a new batch of products is blended every 12 weeks: each bottle is marked with two dates, a start-using-by and an expiration date, to ensure the natural ingredients infused in the items are at their prime. i love the idea that gifting such a ‘fresh’ beauty product would encourage it to actually be used by the recipient – how many times have you been gifted wonderful beauty products that sit unused on the bathroom shelf gathering dust, because you’ve deemed them too luxury for everyday use?

gifts-to-tantalise-the-tastebuds-christmas-gift-guide-2016

clockwise from top left: pump street bakery, midgley green, nina+co, stelton, native+co, ren, the future keptthe citizenry

but for me christmas is all about festive flavours of the season and the tantalisingly tasty treats that demand indulgence. that long ‘lost’ week between christmas and new year is best spent gossiping with friends, reconnecting and recharging, and what better way to do that that over a nice spiced mug of mulled wine, or a freshly brewed cup of coffee? food gifts fall into two camps in my mind: those that demand sharing with your nearest and dearest, and those which you want to squirrel away and enjoy all to yourself – preferably on a lazy afternoon camped out on the sofa, binge-watching netflix..

gifts-that-keep-on-giving-christmas-gift-guide-2016

clockwise from top left: stack magazines, quill london, not another bill, experimental perfume club, school of life, school of life

a gift that ‘keeps on giving’ long after the festive season has drawn to an end is possibly the best type of gift to bestow, especially one that enriches and enlivens the year to come through the fostering of new skills, intellect or wellbeing. i’ve long hankered after a subscription to stack magazines, who select and deliver the a new independent magazine direct to your door each month, each promising quality writing mixed with cutting-edge design that you’ll want to keep them on your shelf long after you’ve finished reading. this year the magazines they’ve ‘discovered’ have included boat, drift and fiera – all of which are faves of mine – so its a safe bet i’d thoroughly enjoy each new title they deliver..

how do you go about choosing the perfect gift for your loved ones? i’d love to hear your approach!


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  1. Geraldine

    30 November

    Lots of beautiful new finds. I love those cashmere socks from The white company. x

  2. Carole King

    30 November

    Lot’s of lovely, thoughtful ideas here Kate. I don’t believe you btw when you say you’re rubbish at choosing gifts. This post is evidence of that. xx

  3. Fresh Design Blog

    30 November

    Lovely gift ideas. I particularly like the idea of telling someone why you’ve chosen a certain fragrance in a candle, as it makes it far more personal. Definitely something I’ll be doing in the future.

  4. Jessica

    30 November

    What a lovely post and such nice ideas for considerate gifting! I really like the idea of a handwritten note accompanying a gift, it really shows the thought that has been put into choosing something truly personal for someone. Merry Christmas Kate!

  5. cate

    30 November

    Really lovely post. I love buying gifts for loved ones, probably more than receiving. But it does require a fair amount of care and thought, there’s nothing worse than a present someone leaves to gather dust at the back of the cupboard! X

  6. Stephanie

    6 December

    What a great set of gifts, I hate leaving it to the last minute as I think I end up getting something that they don’t really need or want. You have some lovely ideas here, I really would love some new PJ’s this Christmas….I wonder if anyone has realised!

  7. Jen

    8 December

    A lovely selection Kate, I agree, finding the right gift for a loved one can be filled with pressure.

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