Here's a guide to get them right.

December 12, 2018

It’s mid December and let’s be honest: you haven’t started your holiday shopping.

That’s fine! Many folk are in the same boat. But fear not; we have lots of recommendations to get you through the next 12 days.

Your first stop should be our 2018 Christmas Gift Guide. You’ll find everything for the jetsetter in your life, the interior enthusiast or that one person who’s impossible to shop for. All that and much more. You can also check out gift-giving tips from the experts.

Give Gifts That Disappear

Choose food or wine. Not only are consumable goods almost universally appreciated, if you make them yourself they can be inexpensive and thoughtful, too. Another big plus is that they won’t contribute to your recipients’ household clutter. Dealing with extraneous gifts is one of people’s biggest organizing challenges. We often don’t have the space to store gifts, but feel too guilty to give them away. Home-made shortbread, for instance—tied up with festive ribbon, of course—won’t pose that problem.

Fruit cake is almost universally appreciate. Image via @simonjohnsonprovidore.

Give Experiences or Services

Make up your own gift certificates redeemable for a few hours of babysitting (for a new parent), tackling a dreaded chore (such as organizing a spouse’s desk, best friend’s crowded wardrobe, or decorating a pal’s new pad) or a fun event (theatre tickets for the play of the moment or recipient’s choice of dinner at a hot new restaurant). Not only are these kinds of gifts personal and thoughtful, but all you need is a card or piece of paper. And you get to avoid the stores altogether. I still have a card from top international decorator Thomas Hamel promising me a couple hours of his time he gifted me 25 years ago – yet to be claimed – which would be worth a small fortune now! 

Shop in Your Own Home

Re-gifting may seem gauche. And no one wants your old unloved items, but maybe that silk shirt you’ve never worn will better suit your sister. Giving away your own stuff can work particularly well when done with love.

My mother recently opened up her considerable jewellery collection; and told my daughter she could pick one piece; my daughter, who is in her twenties, thought it was amazing.

Avoid Department Stores

While large department stores might sound like a good bet because they carry items for all ages, stages and genders, at this point, big stores get hectic and stressful, plus their offerings can feel picked over. You actually might spend more time looking and finding less.

Instead, stick to smaller homeware boutiques, which tend to get new items daily, have shorter lines, more attentive staff and better gift wrapping.

Pare Your List

The easiest way to get through your shopping list quickly is to knock people off it. Every year a few friends and I agree not to give each other gifts. Instead, we go out to lunch together. If you do go that route, however, make sure your soon-to-be-ex gift recipients are on board. You’re trying to pare your gift list, not your friend list.

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