By Bee Beardsworth
Yet again, it’s the time of year when everything starts to slow down and speed up simultaneously. My brain, invoice payments and tolerance for socialising are grinding to an alarming halt; meanwhile, my list of tasks I still haven’t completed is rapidly expanding (painting my entire house - why???) and the realisation that I am yet again slacking in the Christmas gift department has grown on my consciousness overnight like the mold I found in my dishwasher last week.
Instead of a list of gifts for your loved ones, I am making a guide of gifts to give to yourself. Most of these suggestions will probably translate well into a present for your nearest and dearest, but I think we need to remember to treat the person who really had our back this year - ourselves. Take your pick… and they are all available to order online, because it’s time to admit that Christmas shopping is purgatory (and probably best to avoid Omnicron if you don’t have it already).
Rebel Rebel jumper, Hades Wool £225. Commenting on the weather is a national pastime in the UK. It’s cold - we get it. This oh-so-soft jumper is handcrafted in Scotland using only natural fibers and ethical manufacturers.
I just got this and I haven’t taken it off. Camo Bear Hat, 1xblue £40.
I’m not sure whether it’s been the UGG resurgence, general nostalgia, or the fact that I now have a zero tolerance policy for uncomfortable shoes, but I’m hooked. I’m going to take the next step in my relationship and make it public: I want a pair of the new “outside” UGGs with “water resistant leather” to wear outside. An increasingly Foucauldian blurring of the private and public spheres…UGG Classic Short Leather Boots, £165.
Instagram’s favourite sunglasses brand Lexxola just released a new frame and it’s perfect for zooming into the new year. Despite the lack of sunlight at the present, in the meantime these sunnies are ideal for hiding my festive hangovers. Neo glasses, Lexxola £190.
These boots were made for… my feet. This Swedish brand is my favourite badly kept secret and I own more of their shoes then I care to say. This new style is effortlessly cool, will last you a lifetime, and maybe even made you cool, too. Santa, please… Blade boots, Eytys £305.
I LOVE CANDLES. Some may say I’m obsessed. Every night, I light a candle in my room and let myself indulge in this subtle yet powerful luxury. As a wise man once said, lighting a candle is literally burning money, but at least it smells a lot better. Candles also make a great gift for other people - you can’t really go wrong and if they don’t want it, they can regift. The socks of the luxury home product world, aa a wise man also once said (it’s me - I’m the wise man).
A few favourites:
I’ve recently been burning a candle called Polyamberous from the *quirky* LA-based candle brand Boy Smells. Their most famous candle is called Kush, so that’s definitely next on my list. Go on, live your Silverlake fantasy. Polyamberous 240g, Boy Smells £45.
I’m a slut for Byredo, and their candles are my favourite of all. I’ve never had a bad one, but Burning Rose is definitely a crowd pleaser. My pro tip is to clean out the glass container when done and use it as a holder for pens/toiletries/a plant. Burning Rose Candle 240g, Byredo £59.
For a less expensive and just as aesthetically and olfactorally pleasing option, try the candles from London-based Hackney Wick Co. The hand crafted candles are made from soy wax and packaged in a jar - perfect for travelling - and they have some very Christmassy scents. They are also a lot easier on the old bank balance. Mulled Wine Candle, Hackney Wick Co, £9-14.
MUSHROOM THEMED ITEMS
In some sort of twisted 70s revival, mushroom iconography is in vogue again. Maybe it’s a post-pandemic Fruedian slip - we ourselves spent most of 2020 and 2021 growing like fungi in a dark, damp place (emotionally, spiritually, physically…) - but it’s cute, ugly and the ergonomic design elements of a top heavy object are pretty useless. However, here we are.
This is so ridiculous that I simply must see someone own it - that someone being me. The audacity of Urban Outfitters. Mushroom Hors D’oeuvres Holder, UO £16.
Striped Mushroom Lamp, Etsy, £47.16
No explanation needed, and you can hold the judgement too. I have to get through at least 76 hours in a house with my family.
I’m fairly indifferent to the cult of Kylie Jenner, but she got one thing right - this shit slaps. I will never go back to that one from the off licence with the plastic sombrero... unless someone else has bought it.
Don Julia 1942, Drinks Supermarket £164.99.
In the same realm of the luxury sock and with the re-gifting potential of a candle, champagne is both impressive and completely devoid of real emotional provocation. Perfect for yourself (who needs love anyway) or for any adult you want to impress but don’t really know. Do better than Moët.
Bollinger Champagne, Waitrose, £30.
Possibly the worst best present ever.
Skorppio Vodka with Real Scorpion, Drinks Supermarket, £19.99.
The things with the pages and the words - good for your mind, your soul and your brain. A few of my favourites from this year’s reading.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
The Beach by Alex Garland
Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
The White Album by Joan Didion
Love, Freedom and Aloneness: The Koan of Relationships by Osho
Raven Smith’s Trivial Pursuits by Raven Smith
No, not sense - scents. Have you seen that film Perfume? Well, here’s a spoiler - at the end, an insatiable crowd rips the protagonist to shreds because he smells so good. And that’s how good I want to smell all the time. Let the murderous orgy begin.
An introduction to the perfume I wear everyday - I won’t tell you which though. La Sélection Boisée, Byredo £78.
Fragrance Discovery Kit, MALIN + GOETZ £22.
I recently got sent some of these, and I love Tender Light and Blushing Sands. Small Wonders Luxury Collection, Estee Lauder, £70.
During lockdown, Rachel Steed-Middleton decided to craft and sell phone straps to raise money for the NHS. The ingenious phone straps became so popular that String Ting transformed into a thriving business - “small items that transmit good vibes”. I currently have three on rotation and I never stop getting compliments. Over The Rainbow Phone Strap, String Ting £35.
A journal. I swear, writing my thoughts down keeps me (somewhat) sane. Try writing three pages every morning when you get up and see what happens.
I love nicknacks (aka useless but aesthetically pleasing objects) and I have fallen head over heels for Alma Berrow’s ceramic sculptures. Her tongue-in-cheek work has recently centred around ashtrays filled with everything from cigarette butts to gold teeth, as well as slightly more elegant - and perhaps “grown up” - plates of delicately crafted peas and satsuma peels. Good luck getting your hands on one. Ceramic sculpture, Alma Berrow POR.
Dating someone who is slightly pretentious and pretends to like films because they saw a screengrab of them circulating on Tumblr in 2014? Or maybe you just want a break from the excessively mainstream streaming material on Netflix and Amazon. Get access to tonnes of beautifully curated cinema on Mubi, from £9.99/month.
Although the original ethos of Christmas as the season for sharing love and giving has been slightly tarnished by consumerism, this is the perfect chance to find a way to share what you have. Adopt a donkey, keep a cat warm and sheltered, help someone who is homeless or buy someone in need a Christmas lunch. These are just a few suggestions, but there are endless charities online, both UK-based and international.