With just two weeks to go, we thought it was time to help you out of your present-buying panic with a Smithy guide to the sexiest stocking fillers, most stylish surprises and must-have treats to swap under the tree this year. Since we like nothing better than unearthing insiders’ address-book secrets, we asked our favourite luxury-goods purveyors for their take on Christmas giving and some top gift tips.
Attention credit-crunchers: all the stuff we like best is on offer to members of Mr & Mrs Smith at a special discounted rate – so log in or sign up online and save a bundle on a sack-load of great gifts…
SO here goes: our two-part guide to the ultimate Christmas presents…
Where will you be spending Christmas? At home in Surrey with my huge family, all the kids and my grandkids; the house will be full of laughter and noise.
What are you hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year? I’d like anything that is organic, vintage, ethical or sustainable. Just knowing that someone has considered this reassures me that we can all make a difference.
Which products from your range would you recommend as a gift for Mr or Mrs Smiths? I would give my Usiku body oils and my organic Usiku Eau de Toilette. Usiku is a really seasonal fragrance, full of spices and very woody. The body oil also makes a great massage oil.
And your friends? My exfoliating salt scrubs: they make your skin feel amazing and nourish the skin in the winter months. Or perhaps one of my new Christmas gift sets.
Where do you tend to do your Christmas shopping? I shop around, checking antique markets, online and little independents shops for something original. I also buy from Cath Kidston, Matches, and Bamford & Sons.
Best Christmas present you ever got? A beautiful antique diamond necklace from Ronnie.
Worst? I’ve always loved all my presents: the fact that someone is giving something to you is just lovely. It’s the thought that counts!
Psst… Smith members get 10% off Jo Wood Organics online, and up to 20% off fashion at Matches…
ALISON CHOW, FOUNDER OF COCO RIBBON
Where will you be spending Christmas? With my extended family at my parent’s home in Sydney, Australia, surrounded by the bush, kookaburras and various other wildlife, eating oysters and seafood cooked on the outdoor barbie.
What are you hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year? A Lulu Guinness red lip-shaped clutch bag; Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa; and a set of Jasper Conran’s Green Chinoiserie Wedgewood tea cups.
Which Coco Ribbon treasures would you give to your own Mr Smith? A pair of our grey and white striped cashmere bedsocks, which look cool on blokes at home and are super comfy – you can steal them to wear yourself, too!
And your friends? Any one of our luxury gift boxes brimming with Coco Ribbon goodies – they start from £20 – or a Knickerscription from The Panty Postman, which delivers knickers through the post for a year from £58.
Where do you do your Christmas shopping? I shop around and pick things up towards the end of the year as and when I see something that might be perfect for someone… For Mr Smiths, I like Paul Smith (!) and Aspinal of London, however I once bought my father 12 chickens and my brother a cow through the ‘Send a Cow‘ charity, which enables poor farmers in Africa to become self-reliant by providing them with livestock, training and advice. Check it out, it’s a great charity.
How do you wrap your gifts? Badly – I am the worst wrapper-upper ever!
Best Christmas present you ever got? A Girl’s World styling head when I was seven – a kind of giant Barbie head that you could put make-up on. My brother snuck it away immediately and painted on a clown’s face which left its head all red and ruined – I never got over it.
Worst? A jar of pickled people from my mad uncle, who said the squashed faces in the jar reminded him of me.
Psst… Smith members can save up to 20% on Coco Ribbon gifts…
Where will you be spending Christmas? With my family in Beaconsfield.
What are you hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year? A new Smythson diary; Avocado Oil and Banana Handcream by Ligne St Barth; and some cashmere from our new Resort collection – I’ve had my eye on one of the hooded tops.
Which piece from your range would you give to your own Mr Smith? Vilebrequin swim shorts and a Heidi Klein linen shirt.
And your friends? A snakeskin-print Rio hipster bikini – snakeskin will be a key look for S/S ’09; a wide-brimmed Heidi Klein sun hat; and a Nmemba Pebble tunic – it’s such a versatile piece, perfect for throwing on over a bikini, or dressing up for evening with shorts or jeans.
Any favourite one-stop Christmas shops? I tend to shop around. The General Trading Company is fantastic for nearly every member of the family. Bamfords is great for gifts for my husband, and they have some tasty foodie treats from the café in the basement. I really like shopping online, and will order gifts from Matches, Space NK and Amazon.
How do you wrap your gifts? Very badly! Or I bribe someone else to do it for me.
Best Christmas present you ever got? An Anya Hindmarch handbag.
Worst? A sandwich toaster from my husband.
Psst… Smith members can save up to 20% on Heidi Klein online, and 10% off Smythson diaries…
Where will you be spending Christmas? London – its our first Christmas with our new baby so myself and my husband are cooking a delicious fat goose for the whole family and we are hosting Christmas at our house for the first time. We’re hoping to nip away on Boxing Day to Seville for a few days – we may Mr & Mrs Smith it if we can!
What are you hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year? A jewellery box – I’ve got to start storing my collection properly; a new pair of Ugg boots (I know, I know! But they’re so comfy!); two tickets to somewhere hot; a lie-in/sleep voucher from Mr Astley Clarke.
Which piece from your collection would you give to your own Mr Smith? A pair of our hand-enamelled sterling silver elephant cufflinks – very grown-up but super fun. If I had a Mrs Smith, I’d give her one of our fabulous cocktail rings to wear over the party season.
And your friends? A pair of fabulous designer earrings from Astleyclarke.com; a charm bracelet; or maybe some contemporary hoop earrings – I’d gorgeously gift wrap them and have them delivered to their door as a surprise.
Favourite one-stop Christmas shops… Astleyclarke.com for jewellery (obviously); Smythson of Bond Street for leather goods and a little stationery – if it’s good enough for the Queen…
How do you wrap your gifts? At Astley Clarke, it takes our team 12 minutes to gift wrap every box, which tells you the amount of effort that goes into each delivery! Handmade gift paper imported from Japan, beautiful bows and bags, and not a piece of Sellotape in sight. Gifts are our business, so all of us are expert bow-tiers now!
Best Christmas present you ever got? A magic box filled with tricks from my favourite uncle when I was 7 – I can remember almost everything in it…
Worst? A boyfriend gave me a cheese-grater once.
Psst… Smith members get 10% off Astley Clarke online, and 10% off Smythson diaries…
Watch out for Part 2 of our Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide tomorrow, with perfect present suggestions from the clever little elfs at fashion boutique Matches, sexy lingerie sellers Myla, gorgeous beauty company NEOM Organics and the comfy-cosy Pyjama Room…