It’s time to shop and wrap. The days are counting down, so we thought we’d put together a list of some great gift items that everyone who lives somewhere would welcome. Debbie and I have been into thousands of homes over the years, and we’ve noticed that as much as everyone is different, we all crave some of the same things. I’ve put together a list that appeals to the practical and the pretty, but most importantly will bring a little bit of joy.
To make things easy, I’ve included some links on the products I recommend. Unlike when I had my store, I’m not making money off these items. I just wanted to share. If you’re about to start getting the house festive and want some decorating ideas, check out the blog I wrote last year, Decorating for Christmas.
#1: A Beautiful Mohair Throw
A mohair throw will last a lifetime and it’s one of those quality gifts that bring pleasure every time it’s used. There’s something so comforting when wrapping yourself in a luxury fabric. It’s meant to be used, so keep it close by on a bed or thrown over the sofa. That way you get the added benefit of a beautiful decor item.
#2: Luxury Bed Linens
Giving sheets might seem like one of those weird impersonal gifts. Yet we spend so much time sleeping that having great sheets is so worth it. Yes, we can buy them ourselves, but do we spend the money to get the best quality? That’s why luxury bed linens get top billing on this list.
# 3: Vintage Silver Cutlery
If you frequent antique shops or even yard sales, you’ve probably come across bins of tarnished silver utensils. Take the time to go through them. There’s usually some beauties hiding at the bottom. If you read our blog on Yard Sale 101, you know we’re big fans of vintage pieces and repurposing. Remember, cutlery sets don’t have to match, so pick out the pieces that are in good shape and appealing. Take them home, clean them up and wrap them with a pretty bow. Such a lovely unique gift for a hostess or someone who likes to cook.
# 4: A Set of Bread and Butter Plates
One can never have too many plates of this size. Perfect for snacks, small lunches and of course, bread and butter! We like to leave a stack on the table or in the middle of the island. You’ll be surprised how often they get used. It’s fun to change them up for the seasons too. Bone china is the most durable and is worth the extra money. Check out antique stores and even The Goodwill. Many people today are downsizing their china collections, so finding pretty plates is fairly easy. Present them tied together on a cutting board and your gift will not only look beautiful, but will be extremely useful.
# 5: Bose Bluetooth Speaker
If you live with someone that loves music, this is the best gift ever. It’s small, portable and puts out amazing sound. Plus there’s no wires or cords. There are three systems to choose from, the above being the budget friendly version. The sound is incredible and it will connect to any wireless device. It has an 8 hour rechargeable battery. I like it because it is so discreet in a room and doesn’t call attention to itself, and being Bose, the sound is excellent. Do you remember the days of record players and big speakers? Now you can enjoy the music and not have stuff take over the living room.
#6: Handcrafted Cutting Boards
What is used more in a kitchen then a cutting board? It pays to invest in quality. West Wind Hardwoods makes a selection of beautiful culinary boards. Whether it’s for serving or for chopping, they can custom make what a cook desires. A beautiful wooden board looks great sitting out on a counter. Every kitchen could use this natural touch.
#7: Jo Malone Candle
Sometimes it’s nice to have a little luxury. Sure you can pick up a scented candle for a lot less dough, but it won’t be Jo Malone. If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing the fragrances from Jo Malone, you’re in for a treat. Jo Malone is a bespoke British fragrance company. The scents are understated and sophisticated. They do fragrance for him, for her and for the home. The best part about Jo Malone is that different scents can be layered for a really unique and personal fragrance. Hmmm…maybe that means buying two different candles that pair well together.
#8: Coffee Table Books
A good coffee table book will last a lifetime. One of the best decorating accessories for a home are great books (the other being beautiful cushions). At this time of the year, bookstores are overflowing with beautiful large hardcover books. If you know some of the interests of the intended recipient, it won’t be hard to find a book or two.
#9: Linen Tea Towels
Linen Tea towels need to be a staple in every kitchen. Nothing dries glasses better and they can be used on pots and pans as well. Linen will absorb 20% or more of its weight in water. It’s also naturally resistant to bacteria. Flax linen is one of the world’s most strongest natural fibres. It’s three times stronger then cotton. A good quality linen tea towel will last forever, so it’s well worth the initial cost up front. I still have some of my grandmother’s linen tea towels, which is hard to believe, but true.
#10: Electric Candles
Fireplaces, dim lights and candles are necessary for a room to feel cozy. As much as I love a real candle, (my favourite are Geoffrey Lane) I’m always concerned about fire. When I want candles glowing in other rooms, that’s when I use the electric version. The best ones that I’ve come across – and a good price too – are the ones at Home Outfitters. They are made of quality wax, flicker like a real flame and have a little black wick. As you can see from the pic above, they have an on and off switch, plus a 5 hour automatic turn off. Turn them on as it gets dusk, flick to 5 hr and then every evening come home to a glowing house. These ones are great because they only take 2 AA batteries – so don’t forget to include those as part of the gift.
#11: Norwex Face Cloths
The first time I went to a Norwex party, I was so overwhelmed that I went home with only the little facecloth that I won in a game. Winning that little facecloth was a small miracle. It’s the best facecloth I’ve ever used and now I am a Norwex facecloth groupie. It’s unbelievable for taking off make-up (just use water – and yes it takes off mascara), gentle exfoliating, helping to control acne and it doesn’t stink even after several days (okay, a week). You have to try it to believe it.They’re sold in a pack of three, so give two as a gift and keep one.
# 12: Berry Bowl
Here’s a gift that’s extremely practical and very pretty too. Every time I use my berry bowl, which is a lot, I get so much pleasure out of rinsing the berries, letting them drain and then setting the same bowl on the counter. Tons prettier then a metal colander. It’s always the small things that bring so much joy. Berry bowls bring joy.
Wishing you a wonderful lead up to the holiday season. It really is a magical time of the year.
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Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It's not about how much you have, it's about using what you have to create beauty.