Dear Father Christmas,
I hope all is well with you, Mother Christmas, the reindeer and of course all the elves. You must have stacks of Christmas lists arriving from all the kids. Let’s hope they don’t all want the same thing this year and that you don’t have a repeat of the Great Tracy Island Disaster of 1992! As you mentioned recently, at least you know what they want. It really must be so frustrating that the grown-ups won’t write to you. And what use is it you sending in a team of elves to do some discreet eavesdropping, if women will keep coyly saying, “No, really darling. Don’t get me anything this year. There’s honestly nothing I need.” We all know how well it’s gone taking that sentiment at its word in the past! (I really do think Mother C has got over it now, though.) So, as promised, I’ve had a little think about some things the womenfolk might love to see in their Christmas stocking this year. I hope it helps.
As modes of communicating and paying for things become ever more electronified, old-fashioned writing is more of a luxury than ever. This gift will step her away from the office’s hideous standard-issue (and inevitably slightly chewed) Biros and sashay her into a life of fountain pen finesse.
Cross pens come with a lifetime guarantee. Why on earth wouldn’t you choose something that will last forever? Available directly from Cross online or in branches of The Pen Shop or at trusty old John Lewis. The Apogee fountain pen is priced from £120.
The act of taking off a pair of gloves screams old-fashioned glamour. Well ok, how true that last sentence is probably depends on the gloves in question. So what we’re talking about here are gloves which feel and look divine. They’re not just for keeping her hands warm. Oh deary me, no. Bless you for thinking that’s what gloves are for. Gloves are an integral part of her look, with different pairs for different moods.
Take these babies from Hawick Cashmere of Scotland. Black cashmere, stopping just short of the elbow, with six or seven of the most darling little buttons at the top (£50). Chic, elegant, fun, sexy, stylish. If the lady in question is any of these things then she’ll be over the moon. If something less overtly glamorous might be more suitable, try versions at Pringle of Scotland, or online from Eric Bompard.
Travel Alarm Clock
These are words which ideally should never be seen together. If she’s travelling but needs to be woken up at a certain time, this is no holiday. It’s work. The hotel’s saccharine-voiced wake-up call is never going to get her day off to its best possible start. Far better to give her a stylish timepiece that she can put by the bedside and that will feel like a little piece of home.
Links of London do a small but perfectly formed Traveller Alarm Clock at £110, which comes in a leather pouch. Engravable so that she can begin and end each day with your thoughts uppermost in her mind. Do choose your words carefully.
Tiffany packaging somehow never loses its appeal. Their exquisite travel clocks will ensure that she’s always up in time for breakfast (get it?). The Atlas is £305 and has a leather slide cover. Paloma’s Groove (£380) is based on designs by Paloma Picasso – most elegant.
Asprey’s Clic Clac in its vibrant colours of shiny alligator would brighten the very dullest hotel room. The alarm clock equivalent of being woken up by Colin Firth. At £750, it’s probably not the ideal gift for those of us who pack at the last minute and dash out of hotel rooms leaving stray items behind.
Buying jewellery gifts can be a minefield. But no girl can ever have too much jewellery and if in these days of Austerity Britain we might feel a little self-indulgent buying it for ourselves, being given jewellery is a whole different kettle of fish. Take the stress out of it all by shopping at the luxury online store Astley Clarke. Their choice is immense, with prices starting at the really very reasonable and going all the way up to gulp. Give yourself some time, have a browse and if you’re still a little confused about what to go for you can enlist the aid of their personal shoppers either via email or the phone. Buying luxury jewellery couldn’t be any easier.
Last orders for UK next-day delivery are 22nd December, but if you are in London you can order on the 23rd and get same-day delivery.
The beauty halls of department stores are fraught with danger at this time of year. You’re running the gauntlet of ladies desperate to spray you with some new perfume. A high proportion of these kamikaze sprays are destined to go into your eye, spoil your silk tie and leave the words ‘tart’ and ‘boudoir’ emanating all around you for the rest of the day. This is not the perfume buying experience you want. And also highly unlikely to result in a perfume gift any lady will want. Instead, head to one of the boutique perfumers such as Miller Harris, Penhaligon’s, Les Senteurs or Ormonde Jayne. All also available at their online stores. So much better for everyone involved.
I hope I don’t have to say this, but please steer clear of anything remotely resembling a celebrity perfume. A definite no-no.
“Do you think I’m more like Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte or Miranda?” A question to which there is no right answer, so don’t even try. Why did we ever care enough to ask? Because that question started its life with the names of the sisters in Louisa M Alcott’s Little Women. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. She’ll love rereading it and discovering which sister she’s most like now. She might even find that those girls have changed as much as she has.
The fashion designer Orla Kiely has designed a cover for Puffin’s limited edition of 1000. Available at Puffin’s online store for £100. But really any nice copy will be a surprise and a treat.
Nobody wants to have to stuff their snazzy laptop into their day bag amongst their wallet and lippy. No. Far better for the laptop to have its own beautiful bag and ideally one that complements the wearer’s overall look.
Most versatile will be anything from Mulberry’s ‘For Apple’ range. Whilst they’ve been designed with Apple products in mind I don’t suppose anyone is going to actually stop you putting a non-Apple item in one. But then again, Steve Jobs is pretty determined and powerful. From £295 and with the full range available at their online store.
A host of other good options are available at Net-a-Porter. From Alexander McQueen’s skull print version to Smythson’s rather more restrained plain leather (both £250); via Marc Jacobs’ prints (£70) and Diane von Furstenburg’s Mariela (£100).
So, there you have it Father C. Don’t hesitate to ask if you’d like some more ideas or if there’s anyone in particular you’d like a hand sorting out with a special gift. I should say that Mother C seemed very keen on the cashmere gloves. I suppose it does get quite chilly up in the North!
Love to all – and drive safely on the 24th!
Angela Clutton, aka Girl Thursday, is an events and concierge guru, responsible for some of the most luxurious and exclusive parties, shows and private soirées in London. Discover more.