For most people, buying Christmas gifts for your loved ones can be a bit of an emotional and financial minefield.
It’s a time of year when you’re trying to spread your limited budget across all of your friends and family. Your gifts are generally going to be opened - and judged - in a public and dramatic unwrapping ceremony. Everything that you’ve bought will be on sale the day after Christmas.
The trick is to keep it simple - don’t try and second guess what might tickle someone’s fancy, don’t try and buy something that’s bang-on-trend, go for classic crowd-pleasers that you can never have too many of and will always bring a smile to someone’s face.
Here’s some suggestions to help you navigate the festive retail frenzy.
It’s best to avoid scents and perfumes - these are quite a personal choice and easy to get wrong. If you know what their favourite perfume is, why not buy them something else from that range that they may not necessarily think to get themselves. Most major perfume brands will have a moisturiser or scented candle to complement their signature scents.
Luxury bath items though are generally a safe bet. Opt for shower gels over bath-bombs. Hand-creams are always warmly received, but avoid things like foot-scrubs which could be interpreted as dropping hints about personal hygiene.
A great option is some sort of massage or facial treatment. Most spas offer vouchers which work well, as your loved one is then free to choose the type of treatment that appeals to them.
The black pepper range from Molton Brown has been around for a few years, but it’s always a smash-hit in the gift-giving stakes.
Even if there aren’t any vacation plans booked in, travel-related gifts are generally a fairly good choice.
Avoid trying to buy someone sunglasses or a hat, but you can never have too many beach-towels or sarongs. If you know that your loved one is likely to be hitting the beach over the summer, why not put together a sun-survival kit - a towel or a sarong, some high-end sun-block, some after-sun care, a book to read, and maybe a voucher so they buy some new swim-wear.
If your loved-one is more of a snow-bunny, then skiing-related gifts are always well received. No doubt they’ll already have all of the latest jackets and gear, but you can never have too many snow-related accessories. Stick with basic colours - black or white are safest - and go for bobble-hats, gloves, thermal-wear, or a hip flask and a bottle of brandy or schnapps.
We’re dreaming of leggings from Under Armour. Not necessarily for any specific sporting activity, but they’re perfect for staying toasty warm while out and about.
Underwear as gifts can go really wrong or really right. If you don’t have much insight into the underwear preferences of your loved ones, then you’re safest to stick to a gift voucher of some kind that lets them get whatever they’re into. If you know that they’re a bit adventurous in the underwear department, then this is a great opportunity to introduce them to some brands or styles that they might not yet have explored.
We’re a bit obsessed by Adonis Underwear. Their crisscross black jockstrap is eye-catching and a great conversation starter.
Food and alcohol
If you’re really stuck, then a fail-safe gift is a bottle of booze or some sort of luxury food-related treat. You can put together a small hamper of items that might include a bottle of port, some chocolate biscuits, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and anything else that looks exciting as you’re wandering through the deli.
It’s great to include something that you might not normally be able to get where you are. Different flavours of Kit Kat chocolate bars are fun - there’s a Kit Kat store in Osaka that stocks over sixty different flavours of Kit Kat. There’s bound to be a few festive favourites available!
How many shopping days are there until Christmas? You’d better get busy!