Smith Travel BlogTravel tales and hotel news from the boutique hotel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith

The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide 2010: part 1

Posted by Lucy Fennings on December 14th, 2010

Galeries Lafayette Christmas tree ParisIf you’re anything like us, when the consumer countdown to Christmas began in, ooh, 1066, you just put your fingers in your ears and went ‘la la la, October is not nearly Christmas time’. But now you’ve suddenly realised that Hallowe’en has been and gone, that Thanksgiving has also, and that the big event is technically next week, and you’re quietly panicking about (a) the unwritten cards, (b) that unplanned festive feast, and (c) those unbought Christmas gifts.

Well, we can’t write the cards for you, or order your bird, but, as we did last year in our great Christmas gift guide, we can (*cue jingle bells, rosy-faced choristers, roasted chestnuts etc*) come to the rescue with a few timely Christmas present pointers, stocking-filler suggestions and wrap-star ideas from our favourite fashion and style insiders… So at least your Mr (or Mrs) Smith needn’t have unfulfilled yuletide yearnings this Christmas.

And, since belts are tight this year, we’ve even arranged to gladden these tidings with special Mr & Mrs Smith member discounts from all the brands featured: log in or sign up here to get up to 20% off all your seasonal shopping!

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Amanda Wakeley at homeAMANDA WAKELEY, FASHION DESIGNER

Where are you spending Christmas?
At our home in Switzerland…

And where would you most like to spend it?
At our home in Switzerland!

What are you hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year?
An ABS airbag backpack for skiing. Sounds mad, but it’s a potential lifesaver if you’re unlucky enough to be caught in an avalanche…

Cashmere boyfriend jumper by Amanda WakeleyWhat from your own collection would you give to your own Mr or Mrs Smith?
We don’t do menswear but at times like this I really wish we did… normally I would raid Connelly but sadly it has now closed – it was brilliant for men’s gifts. If I was Mr Smith, I’d go for a cashmere hoodie or ‘boyfriend’ jumper (pardon the pun) for my Mrs. Alternatively, the Smokey and Lemon Quartz Eros rings, which look amazing worn together.

And to your friends?
One of my oversized Zodiac scarves. I love them. I created 12 individual scarves each depicting a star sign in a very painterly way; they make me smile as I have also added a narrative of the personality traits of each sign. They’re a superfine cashmere and modal blend and really generously large… a gorgeous gift.

What’s your best budget gift option?
Chocolate… I am a total chocoholic and really appreciate how much pleasure chocolate can give. The leather and silk cuffs from my collection are a good buy, too.

Where do you do your Christmas shopping?
No fixed address… wherever I am inspired.

How do you wrap your gifts?
In layers of crisp black tissue paper with a beautiful thick red satin ribbon.

Stephen Webster ringBest Christmas present you ever got?
A magnificent Stephen Webster ring. It was a complete surprise and I absolutely adore it.

Worst?
An avalanche shovel!

Psst… Mr & Mrs Smith members get up to 20% off Amanda Wakeley fashion online…

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Pedlars founders Charlie and Caroline GladstonePEDLARS CO-FOUNDER,
CHARLIE GLADSTONE

Where will you be spending Christmas?
At home in the Highlands of Scotland, out in the sticks and, I hope, knee-deep in snow.

And where would you most like to spend it?
Where we will be. We have spent recent Christmases in India and Vietnam, but this year, Scotland won the family vote.

What are you hoping to find under your Christmas tree?
An axe. My wife thinks this is an odd request. But I think axes are the future.

Funky crash helmet by PedlarsWhat will you be giving to your own Mr or Mrs Smith? (We promise not to tell them. Er…).
Bizarro glasses. And a bike helmet (I gave my wife two last year in the hope that she’d wear one. It didn’t work, but I live in hope).

Stocking filler - Bizarro glasses from PedlarsAnd to your friends?
Beach House’s amazing album Teen Dream, which is the Pedlars Album of the Year.

What’s your best budget gift option?
Either home-made stuff, or our Pedlars chocolate Swiss Army Knife, which is our bestseller so far this Christmas.

Where do you do your Christmas shopping?
At our Hawarden Estate Farm Shop and at Pedlars, when I can get away with it. But, otherwise, I love shopping, so I start in October and build from there. I’ve already got a cap by Lock & Co for Pedlars stashed away…Lock & Co cap for Pedlars

How do you wrap your gifts?
Very badly. I am not patient enough to do it well.

Best Christmas present you ever got?
An iPod that my wife had preloaded with 500 of my favourite songs.

And the worst?
A Westlife CD. My brother gave it to me to annoy me (in a  nice way).

Psst… Smith members get up to 20% off Pedlars in the online store…

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TOAST CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, JESSICA SEATON

Where will you be spending Christmas?
Jamie and I are going to the Alps with our son Nick. We stay at The Farmhouse in Morzine – an old, old chalet on the edge of the town. Dorrian, the owner, runs the place like his own home, seating his guests around one table for dinner every evening. There is usually a great mix of people of all ages so the atmosphere is warm and convivial. It feels like being at home because we know the place and the people so well.

Flannel bedding - Toast homewareAnd where would you most like to spend it?
I’m happy with the choice we’ve made!

What are you hoping to find under the tree?
Snow and lots of it!

What from your range would you give your own Mr Smith?
I will give my ancient father some new Toast pyjamas, bed socks and some warm stripy flannel sheets from our new Men’s range. Mens flannel pyjamas from ToastThat should keep him warm at least… And I’d buy Jamie one of the new Toast Easy Cardigans.

And to your friends?
I will be giving my friends tins of our New Season Olive Oil. We get it in each year from a farm we know in Tuscany. The pressing is done in November and then it gets shipped over to us and we send out an email to everyone announcing its arrival. Its fresh, intense peppery flavour is perfect for a winter salad.Olive Oil from Toast

What’s your best budget gift option?
I think this year the best gift you can give someone is some time: we have so many possessions but we have no time.

Where do you do your Christmas shopping?
I mostly do it on the internet nowadays. I can sit in the comfort of my own home and plan everything out.

How do you wrap your gifts?
We don’t seem to do formal wrapping paper in our house. So a favourite mode of wrapping is using old copies of the FT (pages with few pictures are best) and tying around with a silvery-pink ribbon. Alternatively I use brown paper with white ribbon or with very thin white twine (builders chalk line twine is just the sort you need), with a paper doily for decoration. And this Christmas in our shops we are using old wallpaper and upholstery ribbon. There are so many options and it looks more interesting than standard shop-bought paper.

Christmas stockings at ToastBest Christmas present you ever got?
In our village in Wales there is a Christmas day service in the church which is held at 6am in the morning. This is a candlelit service with unaccompanied singing by the men of the farming community. One Christmas some years ago, we had bravely pitched out to attend this service and after coming back through the cold, cold early morning – with badgers crossing the road and green eyes in the woodland – were sitting safely back by the fire drinking coffee when Jamie gave me the best present I have ever had.

He came in from outside with a small, cold white box tied with silver twine and decorated with a sprig of fir cones and gave it to me. When I lifted the lid the aroma of woods and mushrooms came spilling out. Inside were a half dozen white eggs and a large black truffle. There was something about the complete surprise – and the care he had taken to both find it and keep it – combined with the resonance of woods and wildness which was humbling and captivating.

We ate the truffle for breakfast on those eggs, scrambled – delicious.

And the worst?
Actually, my second best present turned into the worst. I was given a small white wooden toy grand piano for Christmas when I was around 5 or 6 – the lid would lift and it played beautifully. It was a glorious present, but unfortunately my cousin jumped on it when visiting on Boxing Day. Oh the grief!

Psst… Smith members get up to 20% off Toast online…

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Christmas decorations from ToastWatch out for Part 2 of our Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide 2010 tomorrow, with gorgeous gift ideas from the stylish little elves at quintessentially British lifestyle store Cath Kidston, Aussie accessories boutique Sambag, luxury leather designer Bill Amberg, and the real-life Mr & Mrs Smith…

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One Response to “The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide 2010: part 1”

  1. Hi! I came across your blog while looking for some info on hotels in Berlinbut this guide is really great and useful!

    By Liliya Goranova

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