SEVEN AND A HALF UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS
Why not try to give them something they will actually like?
My first blog post was meant to be about the big why. After all, I am putting an exciting career as EU official on hold to reinvent myself as style exploration and creative coach. Obviously, there is a story there begging to be told.
But, I am a go-with-the-flow kind of person, and Christmas always has a way of winning me over eventually.
In any case, last night I woke up in the middle of the night with this burning desire to help. You see, just the other day, I mentioned Christmas shopping to a friend, and you know what he did? He cringed! He looked like he was in serious pain for a second. There is even a smiley for that 😬, which I now suspect was invented around Christmas time.
I remember thinking "that’s not right. Christmas is not supposed to be another stress factor. Don’t we have enough stress on our plate as it is?"
So, here is my list of seven and a half Christmas gift ideas to help take some of that pressure off you. Rest assured that I am not getting any money out of this or anything else for that matter, except the sheer joy of sharing. These are simply some of the things I am buying for my loved ones for Christmas this year (and I’ve just spoiled it for them now ... 🙄).
Before you dive in, one more note. I have not made the traditional separation between gifts for him and gifts for her. This is because a. it is pretty self-explanatory most of the time, and
b. frankly, I am a little beyond the ‘him vs her’ categorization. I mean, who says you can’t buy a guy flowers?
Right, enough talking.
One. A blouse (or anything else) from Sézane
Anyone who knows me even just a tiny bit, knows I am a sucker for Sézane. This label is ‘je ne sais quoi’ multiplied by ten. Such exquisitely feminine, effortless elegance! And they genuinely try to work in more sustainable, green, and human ways.
You can’t go wrong with Sezane!
Click on the picture to link to Sézane’s instagram page.
Prices range between 80 and 250 €.
Two. Dried flowers
If you want to be unexpectedly ‘branché’, dried flowers are your best bet. They are relatively cheap and stay beautiful for ages.
The fun part is playing around with them. You can go wild with plenty of vases and compositions, wrap them in brown paper for a refreshing take on the classic flower bouquet, or keep it purposely minimal.
Whichever you prefer, you are in for loud, ecstatic cheers and comments in the lines of ‘who knew you had such an eye for trends!’...
For good-quality dried flowers by the box or bouquet, buy them online from Rosa Cadaqués, a small specialized company in a Spanish border town. Prices range from 15 to 60 € for a box or bouquet. They also have lovely sets of vases to choose from.
Three. A leather travel bag
I stumbled across this Instagram post the other day and it was love at first sight. Would you look at this perfect weekend bag! It comes in a whole range of colours with this totally insane retro plastic-like finish.
Unfortunately, Samara bags are shipped from the States, so it can take a while (probably too late for Christmas, by hey there is always Valentine’s). Also, you might have to pay import duties at Belgian customs. So perhaps not the best of my ideas, but I just had to add it to my list...
Click on the picture to link to Samara’s Instagram page.
Four. Jewelry from Herentals
To jump back to the lower price-range and much closer to home, this is my latest find for pretty and playful jewelry. Perlettes is a small, one-woman atelier in Herentals. The designer makes all designs by hand and sells them to you directly through DM on Instagram or Facebook.
Prices are more than fair. I bought the pair on the left for 18 € the other day, and now I am thinking I should buy the pair on the right as well 😉. After all, it’s a great way to support local women in their creative and entrepreneurial journey. Checking all the right boxes!
Click on the picture to link to Perlettes' Instagram page.
Five. Back-to-basics skincare
I am big fan of DIY skin care. My husband and kids know this all too well. Every morning, while I prepare my fruit bowl, I rub fresh pomegranate juice all over my face, leaving me looking like a lobster (ok, this is actually pretty personal information...).
All of this just to say: You won’t find me buying expensive skincare creams claiming miracles based on doubtful scientific arguments. That is why I am totally sold on typology. This French label is all about ‘less is more’. Every product contains maximum 10 natural ingredients.
I am currently testing the serum mattifiante (9.50 €) and the Huile Végétale Figue de Barbarie Bio (29.90 €), and so far I am surprisingly excited about the results. I’ll give you my longer-term review in a future blog on skincare. Sign up for my newsletter if you don't want to miss it.
Click on the picture to link to typology’s Instagram page.
Six. A knitted headband
Do you want to buy more knitted hats for Christmas? No you don’t! But a knitted headband, well ... that’s different.
Headbands are distinguished, classy, and even a bit exotic. Plus, it does the trick of keeping your ears warm. So go ahead, buy the headband. It’s not another hat:)
Where to find one? You can find them in just about every store right now, but Zalando online could be your fastest bet. Just write ‘cache-oreille’ or ‘hoofdband’ in the search box and you will find plenty of options between 10 and 40 €.
Make sure you choose a headband with a crossover effect like the one in the picture, for that essential extra flair.
Seven. A retro suspender-belt
On a slightly different note, and for a more intimate, spicy Christmas gift (no, there is no rule against that ...), I say buy her a suspender belt. Personally, I am a true addict, because a suspender belt with stockings feels so much better than tights. And trust me, whoever get's to see them, will be enthusiastic as well 😉. It’s a win-win. Go for it!
You don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, I do. Start with Cervin Paris. They sell a select line of exquisitely retro-looking suspender belts, and high-quality stockings. Prices for the set will be somewhere between 60 and 100 €.
Click on the picture to link to Cervin’s Instagram page.
If you’re curious for more tips on modern-day femininity and playfulness, sign up for my newsletter and watch out for my Valentine’s blog. I think the topic deserves a bit of elaborating...
...and a half
My mom used to hand out ‘Win For Life’ scratch cards during family reunions. Back then, when I was 13, I thought it was a bit silly. But I am a different person now (perhaps altogether not that different from my mom...), and silly is a good thing now. Shouldn’t we all take ourselves a little less seriously?
So, next time you are in the Delhaize, buy a whole stack of ‘Win for Life’ scratch cards. Hide them under people’s plates at the Christmas table, and fingers crossed!
There, that is it from my side for now. Perhaps my suggestions will inspire you to find that perfect gift. If you have any great ideas yourself, share them in the comments of this blog. Together we can make this a really powerful go-to page for Christmas shopping 101.
If after all this, you still cringe at the thought of Christmas shopping, and you wish you could just pass on the whole business to somebody who actually likes doing this, remember one thing: this is my job now. I can help 😏.