Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Presents

Christmas gifts are piling up in my room... For those of you who are a bit lost, here are a few tips.

Wrap it - Half the fun about presents is wrapping and unwrapping. Skip over-priced gift paper and use pages from magazines or newspapers - glossy ad images, crazy National Enquirer type headlines, or something meaningful to the giftee.

Write it - a little note makes a present more precious and personal. Even "tired" presents such as the perennial soaps, mugs, and scented candles can become fresh with a note - for eg., Because I know you dream of Provence with a lavender/fig candle, or To help you dream sweetly with a chamomile tea for someone who has trouble sleeping.

Open up - I would never give makeup to my beauty editor friend or my sister who might as well be one. Rather than risk yourself into their field, open yours up to them. I may get some DVD's/books about ballet for friends who told me they find ballet fascinating but don't know anything about it.

Eat it - If you're going home for the holiday, stack up on local goodies. Even your home region that doesn't boast a stellar cuisine, you can find some local honey, or delicious preserves made by a local granny. It makes great little presents for colleagues, neighbors etc. I'll be bringing back from France treats such as: fleur de sel (fabulous sea salt), artisanal mustard, bonbons...
Drink it? I don't like giving alcohol. Still, a bottle of cider with a pretty jar of mulling spice is a lovely gift.

Don't splurge - I don't like getting sumptuous presents (note to Mum and sis: disregard this; I don't even mean it.): they make me uneasy - like I need to reciprocate. No one expects an expensive present, nor should they.
This year, I'm going (almost) all Etsy. A few ideas and shops I like: Tweet Heart for laptop vinyl decals; Good4You for fun teas, artistically packaged; Ippuku and Koide Studio for exquisite ceramics; handmade yoga mat bags; pouches to keep your handbag/suitcase/closet organized; etched mustache pint glasses from Bread & Badger; custom return address stamps from Asspocket (mention AUREA with your order and get 15% off!); message pillows stating Let's Make Out (I adore it!) by Alexandra Ferguson or Love (from Dedeeetsyshop)...

After my presents are distributed, I will post some pics. Until then, if you are clueless about what to give someone on your list, leave a comment and I'll provide ideas for all budgets. Promised.

32 comments:

J Elaine said...

What a fabulous post! I especially like your tip of using pages from magazines and newspapers as gift wrapping!

Giulia said...

M-L. All good suggestions. Maybe it's because I'm not feeling well but I'm coming up short with searching for fashion/style photography book (as in Les Parisiennes) for a friend. I can't get the Vogue book -- it's almost $40. Not a fan of Sartorialist's book...

Maybe it'll come to me when in a bookstore. But if you think of something along the lines of very cool French (or American) fashion history that is really worth it...I'd love to know.

Excellent ideas & I may give up on this...but for now, this is my quest. I won't see her until 26 Dec. so I have time.

ciao

Mary-Laure said...

GIULIA - a cheaper option than a coffee table book is, quite simply, the fascinating autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli, Shocking Life ($8.40), complete with descriptions of Paris in her days, including during WWII:
http://www.amazon.com/Shocking-Life-Elsa-Schiaparelli/dp/1851775153/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260670036&sr=1-3
You can pair it up with the autobio of Diana Vreeland ($12.25):
http://www.amazon.com/D-V-Diana-Vreeland/dp/0306812630/ref=pd_sim_b_4

If you friend likes shoes, there's also Andy Warhol lovely book of shoe illustrations ($10):
http://www.amazon.com/Shoes-Autobiography-Alice-B-Shoe/dp/0821223194/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260670162&sr=1-1
Or Warhol's fashion illustrations, which he made for magazines:
http://www.amazon.com/Andy-Warhol-Fashion/dp/0811843173/ref=pd_sim_b_4

There are so many books about fashion on Amazon or in bookstores that it can be overwhelming. So one good way to sift through them is to search using the names of museums as publishers, as many FABULOUS museums (the Met in NYC, the wonderful Victoria & Albert in London) publish books about fashion, especially on the occasion of important exhibitions.

Spangler Cummings said...

Coincidentally, I just spent the day wrapping gifts...looked like Santa's workshop here. Every surface was covered with holiday stuff. So much fun. You are a super lifestyle coach!

marie said...

beautiful ceramics!
im making chocolate biscotti for gifts this year. love giving foody things :)

danica said...

this is a wonderful post, mary-laure! i think you have really addressed the essential for christmas gift giving. hope you have a wonderful time in paris too :)

Laura in Paris said...

What a beautiful post! I love giving and receiving presents,I love to search for the right thing for the right person! I love the Holiday Season.

Kiyomi said...

Hi, I'm Kiyomi from Koide Studio.
Your picks are all great! I really like the idea that you go with etsy handmade for this Holiday gifts. I think there is no such luxurious and personal gift than handmade. Thanks so much for including my kitty cup. By the way, did you know "ippuku" is a great friend of mine in the same area. You are so psychic!

Joyful said...

I love shopping for just the right thing for people too. I don't shop for many gifts, just immediate family and mostly buy what they need (or what I think they need based on what they told me). I do like all your suggestions for personalizing the gifts, saving the environment & your pocketbook and doing the unexpected with wrapping, etc. Enjoy your visit home and have a safe journey :-)

Mary-Laure said...

MARIE - oh chocolate biscotti, I love that! Would you share your recipe???

KIYOMI - I adore what you feature in your store. Your kitty collection is just wonderful.
And actually, Mitsuko-san from Ippuku, with whom I have been in touch, did mention that you were a dear friend. I'm not surprised, as you're both so talented.

Sam said...

Oooh! That little cat cup is cute as!! Terrific tips too - many thanks!

Leia said...

Excellent tips, thank you! :)

Giulia said...

Mary-Laure,

Thank you, thank you for the detailed reply. Usually I'm good at paring down & research but obviously overwhelmed here. Your ideas are excellent.

Plus, I was just reminded by your reply about museums that I live in one of the great museum cities. Aiee. And I'm a member of the Phillips Collection. Great place for marbles, stickers, postcards & affordable stuff for people out-of-town. Off I go to wander online.

Have a good trip...I'm not sure when you're leaving. Might we see a Paris post from there?

Cheery ciao from rainy/icy DC with a cat (Miss G.) shnurrfling on the sofa...

Mary-Laure said...

GIULIA - I am off to Paris, with Benjy in tow, in a couple of hours. I will make sure to post from there to celebrate the season and... to tell you all about my sister's marriage, tomorrow!
My sister and I wanted Benjy to be the ring bearer (with a little basket around his neck maybe?) but my mum shrugged it off rather tersely. Not sure the officials at city hall would appreciate it either...

Giulia said...

Oh this is exciting! Have a safe & comfortable (as is possible) trip. I used to take my late cat Teddy on lots of planes many years ago. He was a ring bearer once but in a back garden (here in DC). I'm thinking of the French officials in city halls. Uh oh. I think the phrase is "we are not amused." Sadly. A wonderful day for your sister, groom, & your family...and of course, for adorable Benjy. xoxo

Beth said...

I know the use of gift bags is abhorrent to some but for me - with a back problem – they are a godsend. And amongst family, we re-use & recycle them. I do like your idea of using magazine pages. I could do that for the wrapping of small gifts.

Angie Muresan said...

I agree with you on everything, but most especially on giving gifts that don't make the receiver feel obligated in spending tons of money. Great post. Love the photo of the wrapped gift!

Angie Muresan said...

Oh, and I forgot to wish you safe travels and a Joyeux Noel!

B said...

Need to get a good gift for my not-electronics-crazy boyfriend. The last thing he gushed about, was a washing machine!
Totally content about what he has and with a zero drool-list, I'm bordering paranoia!
Any suggestions? :)
B

B said...

And something handmade would be great, though I'm clueless :(

B

Sammi said...

I love your tips Mary Laure. I'm struggling to find a gift for my best friend who owns and runs a pub, isn't into make up, and is very family orientated.

If Jane said...

wonderul post!!! ;))

gracia said...

So many good and clever finds to be found on etsy... such temptation is hard to resist.

marie-louise said...

Hello M-L
Very much interesting things and thougts here:)
Bye from M-L nr 2

Kwana said...

Great tips. Thanks so much.

A Cuban In London said...

I'm still getting over the 'wrapping it' bit. I am a mess when it comes to wrapping presents up. Marvellous post.

Greetings from London.

Marci said...

Que post más completo!
me quedo con la idea de la nota en el bote de cristal!

Stéphanie said...

So lovely post !

lori vliegen said...

fabulous ideas!! i absolutely love your simple approach to gift giving......gifts from the heart are always the best ones!! thanks for stopping by my blog.....i enjoyed reading your sweet comment!! :))

Taocito said...

Oooooooh! I love presents! Did you know that I was a present myself, though not for Christmas?
I came in a bag with a big red bow around my neck.
I also regularly "purchase" a gift from my owner for Christmas, and those suggestions are definitely worth taking in account.

billie said...

Very inspiring! I've recently decided to only wrap my presents with used wrapping paper (I collect it to no end) or pages from magazines. It's a great way to personalize gifts and make something unique out of it.
A very good friend offered a batch of amazing Japanese masking tape, they make every gift look special.
You can see some examples here:
http://notemaker.com.au/collections/designer-masking-tape-designer-washi-masking-tape-from-kamoi-kakoshi-adhesive

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