I’m not really good at doing gift guides (which is why it has taken me so long to do this) but if shopping were an olympic sport I’d win gold. All the time. I can’t tell you to buy just ONE thing because I tend to buy EVERYTHING in sight. Honestly, you shouldn’t leave me in a department store with a limitless AMEX; DANGER! DANGER!! But tis the season to be thankful and come together to exchange gifts. If that’s your thing. So we’ll keep things simple, there’s something for everyone here…well almost. For me, it is not always about the physical gift, handbags get old and worn, and we can only have so many shoes and jewellery. But you can’t put a price on experience, seeing the world or the joys of a good book. And luxury is not just a Hermés scarf.
So here’s my take on the whole gifting thing…
1. A gift of time…
No, not a watch but of your time. This is the season to spend time with loved ones and make it a habit. It’s almost the end of the year, perfect time to make those resolutions, as you do, but make it a good one and it’ll stick. This is a good one and there’s no time like the holidays to start this. Spend some time with your grandparents or your parents, not just the requisite Christmas Day visit. Take them out for afternoon tea or sunday brunch, fill them in on what’s going on in your life. PG version of course. Listen to them, indulge them and spend the day being mommy or daddy’s girl or grandma’s little angel because no matter what, you will always be your daddy’s girl. £200 on afternoon out with your loved ones will give you so much than a new weave. And there’ll be plenty other times to get your hair did.
2. A gift of laughter.
Times are hard and everyone is working even harder, so the holidays are the perfect season to kick back, lay down and relax. Don’t fret about calories, you have the whole of January to do that. Don’t worry about projects you didn’t secure or deadlines you missed. This is not the season for worry, trust me, five weeks of January will more than cover the worry quota. For now, give a gift of leisure to someone you know has been having a tough time of it. Be it at work or personally, we all have our woes. Get a box set of the most sickly indulgent sitcoms or cheesiest movies, fix a cuppa and take resident on the sofa, It may not solve the problem but it’ll give you a good laugh and nothing beats the gift of laughter.
3. A gift of luxury;
I respect the hell out of parents, moms especially: single, working, stay at home, all (call me biased. I am.) But sometimes they too deserve a break. So schedule a baby sitting weekend, pack up your nieces, nephews and godchildren, give your sibling and in-law or best friends, the time of their life; a weekend away in Paris, book now for spring its cheap and cheerful, or somewhere in the country-book train tickets three months in advance for the best deals on first class. Let them indulge, recharge and revel. They’ll thank you for it and more than anything, you’ll be glad for the time with your niece, nephew or godchild. Or maybe they are long overdue a family vacation together, get the whole family to chip in and send them on their merry way, it’ll be a time to remember. And a gift to treasure.
4. A gift of words;
Books! Books are everything. Nothing beats the power of the written word and more so for children. Mr Men, the Famous Five, Secret Seven, St Clare’s, Malory Towers, Harry Potter…books that defined our childhood. Give the train set and Barbie dolls a rest this season and stimulate their minds with words. Let them discover some of the greatest stories ever told. Its a gift of a lifetime.
5. A gift of history;
FACT- Every girl loves fashion, regardless of your preference there is something fascinating about fashion. So why not educate yourself in the history behind a multi-billion pound industry that makes the world go gaga. You’ll be surprised. Its more than just high heels and handbags. Start with a referential DVD or a book on the history of a luxury brand; Mulberry at 40, Bill Cunningham and fashion on the streets, Diana Vreeland and an insight to how she changed the fashion industry in the documentary, the Eye has to travel, know the makings of the scarlet sole…go behind the seams and indulge in the scenes.
6. A gift to yourself;
Not a handbag or a new pair of shoes. But what is it you have always wanted to do, that thing you find yourself day dreaming about…for me its getting my book published, which I am furiously working on. Book a ticket and go somewhere where nobody knows your name but they are glad you came, (see what I did there…) bungee jump, learn to surf, run a race…anything you want to do, this is the time. This is your life and it is there for living. You don’t want to wake up ten years from now wishing you could turn back the hands of time. So in the words of Nike; JUST DO IT.
7. A gift of romance;
The simplest and most powerful gift of all. It’s never too late to let a loved one know that you do love them, so cease the day and say the words. Take them away, maybe for a day, maybe longer but make it memorable. Just the two of you, three or four of you, your best friend, your lover, your brother or sister… enjoy the company of each other. If they make you happy and they have touched your heart in some way, then they deserve the right to know. And you owe it to yourself to let them know.
8. A gift of travel;
See the world. It is bigger than the four corners of your bedroom. Start your savings, book the the summer off: it can be three weeks or three months, you have time to plan now. GO. SEE the world. If not all of it, then some parts of it. Most of it. Learn a language, experience a culture, spend New Years’ Eve on the beach in Sydney, Oktoberfest in Germany, eat chinese in China, go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Book festival in Edinburgh…live out of your comfort zone. It’s a big wide world out there and she’s waiting on you, so what are you waiting for?!