Since this year I don’t need to be basting a turkey and wrapping pigs in blankets on Xmas morning, I’m feeling rather relaxed about the whole affair (although it is true that my Christmas cards are still sitting stamp-less on the sofa, and there’s unwrapped presents shoved in every hidey-hole I could think of). My main concern now is to source some rather lovely gifts to give to the hosts of the yuletide and New Year gatherings that I’m lucky enough to be invited to. And since, in true relaxed style, I’ve left it too late to order online, I’m heading off to the Great British High Street to do some last minute shopping…
Literally drooling at my keyboard Hotel Chocolat!
If there’s one place I can’t pass by without drooling it is British cocoa grower and chocolatier Hotel Chocolat. And have you seen its range of Xmassy gifts? (Look away now if you have no willpower…). As well as the best type of Christmas cracker I’ve even seen (contains 40 chocolates rather than plastic moustaches and dubious fortune-telling fish), it also offers a Festive Wreath with cookies and Florentines embedded into its chocolaty circle and a dark chocolate gianduja log studded with hazelnuts and pistachios. For a New Year gathering you might want to consider the Chocolate Dipping Adventure, a selection box of its tantalising chocs – or even cocoa gin (right now, I’m pretty much considering all of those things…mmmmmm).
If there’ll be plenty of corks popping when you’re partying, why not consider some gifts to help out your bubbly host? Lakeland offers a champagne opener, a ‘bubbly bung’ (in case you leave any bottles unfinished??), as well as Caviar d'Arôme and Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup (to add to the fizz and give it that little bit extra). And if you’re up for a bit of fun, why not take along a bottle of Blue Nun Sparkling Gold, a glitzy white wine with flecks of 22 Carat gold leaves to get the party started (available from Rhythm & Booze stores nationwide or in mini-bottles from ASDA).
Christmas cheer in a glass!
If your host is more tea and cakes than champers and canapés, perhaps a trip to Cath Kidston might be in order (the brand has been with us for 20 years now, how did that happen)? With china ranges including 3-tier cake stands and ‘proper’ tea cups and saucer sets, you can’t fail to impress any hostess with the mostess (plus you can buy some ‘Stanley’ shortbread biscuits – yum!). Joules also offers some lovely kitchenware – with the badger and fox designs bringing a touch of tongue-in-cheek country to any home.
If you want to pamper the lady of the house that you’ve checked into, head to John Lewis. The store is awash with luxury gifts, not least its selection of candles, which includes Jo Malone, Dipytique and Cochine offerings. In the beauty hall you can choose from the top brands which will help melt away hostess stress – everything from Liz Earle, Elemis, Rodial and Bare Minerals. Swoon! If you want to take your beauty gift to cult level, head to Space NK – something like the Georgia Louise Lift and Sculpt Butterfly Stone will set your gift apart from any other. I dare you to get in and out of that shop without buying something for yourself too!!
You will be invited back
So with all this shopping to do, I should probably stop blogging and get buying! If you have time to comment in the box below, I’d love to know which gift you’d choose! Right now, I’m off to the shops – and probably the post box too…