Gift shopping. Does the idea of it excite you or send you into some kind of mild panic? At this time of year, you can't escape the fact that, at some point, you are going to have to start buying presents. Possibly quite a few for probably a number of people. It could be a nightmare, but it really doesn't have to be if you follow these five foolproof steps.
1. Start Early
I know, organisation isn't my strong point either. Being a journalist, I'm used to working to deadline. "We want a 500 piece on Tom Ford's inner London circle." Errrr ok. "By 4pm." Gulp. Stressful, high-voltage, possibly a little adrenaline-pumping, doing things last-minute can work, but boy, it's not great for the nerves. Panic buying can also mean overspending and choosing badly. Which is why starting early is THE route to present buying success. You may know this already, you may have done it every year since you first pulled your pennies out of your piggy bank and bought your first present. But if you're not naturally organised, then make this the first year you try to be. It'll be a lot less stressful and you'll probably enjoy the actual run-up to Christmas a lot more!
2. It doesn't have to be perfect
I've wasted a lot of time trying to find the 'perfect present'. But, let's be honest, finding something that's truly 'perfect' is hard. Really hard. How can one thing truly sum up exactly what you feel about someone? Moreover, finding that 'perfect present' for every single person you're shopping for is nigh on impossible. So, let's take a step back and think about it logically. Unless you know exactly what they want, what they've wanted for years and years, and you can get it, then change your ambitions and look for something that's 'them'. If they wear and like leopard print, then how about a variation on the theme? A jaguar print belt perhaps or a scarf (you can never have too many scarves)? Or if they're in need of a rest, then how about something to help them relax - an eye mask, sleep oil, something to keep that sleep oil in? Do they like big earrings? Then get them another pair.....Take the pressure off and forget about perfect, think about them.
3. A little luxury
Who wants practicality at Christmas? Yes, I may need a new hoover, but I wouldn't want to find one under the tree. So, go for a little luxury. Something with sparkle, something beautifully wrapped, something that makes their every day feel just that little bit better. A pair of cashmere wrist warmers to keep their wrists warm and make them smile (they do me), a cashmere hat to keep them warm on those early morning dog walks, a beautiful pair of Starburst earrings for sparkle, a pretty top that goes with everything....Think how to make something they love just a little bit better (even a really nice coffee mug is a great idea) and you're on to a great gift.
4. Make it personal
A really great idea is to make the present personal. An initial or star sign necklace or a bespoke pair of earrings are brilliant ideas. Fill a beautiful Zebra pouch with their favourite chocolates or sweets or simply just write a note, 'I saw this jumper and it made me think how great you'd look in it'. Flattery, after all, will get you every where.
5. Go for something you can add to every year
Now this is clever. By choosing a present you can add to every year, you can solve years of present-buying dilemmas in one failsafe swoop! If they collect something, then you're probably already doing this, but how about building up their collection of jewellery? Buy them a beautiful gold-plated bangle every year and they'll have a collection that will last them a life time. Or if they have lots of keys, buy them a different keyring every year, it'll become your 'thing'.
Finally, don't panic! If you haven't gone completely off piste, then you'll be ok. Just get it wrapped, get it on time and give it to them, and they'll be happy. Good luck!
Please see just a sample of gift ideas below. There's so much more online, and I honestly think they're all fantastic presents!
1. Sparkly leopard print socks, £9, 2. Alice Oval earrings, £14, 3. Star keyrings, £10, 4. Gold-plated Hexagon necklace, £15, 5. Mila tassel earrings, £10, 6. Headbands, £14, 7. Pom pom keyring, £6, 8. Hairpin, £6, 9. Dark grey metallic scarf, £12
1. African Palmier pouch, £25, Silver-plated huggies, £22, Wool slipper socks, £19, 4. Leopard print shopper tote, £25, 5. Pearl gold-plated huggies, £24, Zebra lavender-filled, velvet-backed eyemask, £20, 7. Leopard print scarf £18, 8. Velvet clutch, £25, Navy constellation scarf, £24, 10, Velvet constellation clutch, £28, 11. Dasha embellished earrings, £16, 12. Gold-plated tassel bracelet, £15.
1. Rainbow cashmere wrist-warmers, £48, 2. Gold-plated Vaporetto bangle in slate grey/saffron, £72, 3. Gold-plated Lucy bangle in saffron, £45, 4. Cashmere blend reversible poncho, £129, 5. Bella slouchy leather bag, £170, 6. Silk/modal scarf, £80, 7.Connie cashmere jumper, £195, 8. Silk and wool scarf, £80, 9. Silver-plated starburst hoops, £30, 10. Star glitter clutch, £65