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The art of elevated gifting

The art of elevated gifting

A set of mugs, a hot water bottle, a voucher to their favourite store – all are lovely gifts on their own. But what if they don’t feel quite…enough? Rather than more, separate presents, one of our favourite things to do (for any occasion, not just Christmas) is to expand on the theme or sentiment behind that first gift and turn it into a sort of ‘kit’, if you will. If you’ve ever received or sent a care package, you’ll know just what we mean: a parcel of little bits and bobs, from homemade cakes to little bottles of bath soap, usually dispatched to away-from-home students and recuperating relatives, that brings cheer and a big dose of love purely for being so thoughtful. It’s an idea that, over the years, we’ve created lots of variations of…

The classic care package

If ever there was a year when we’re all in need of looking after, it’s this year. You might send a care package to a family member who’s been isolating or perhaps pop one round to a neighbour who’s had a tough time of it. Either way, it’ll let them know that you’re thinking of them.

The gifts you include don’t need to be large or expensive. Here, it’s truly the thought that counts. Choose items that exude care: a tube of hand cream and a duo of bath salts and essence (like the ones in our bath & body collection), a candle, a soothing herbal tea (or their favourite blend) and a wellness journal like The Simple Things or Oh magazine. If you wanted to make it a bigger present, you could also pop in a wool blanket that’ll feel like a warm hug. Nestle it all into a box filled with tissue paper so they can slowly peel back each layer to reveal the lovely surprise within.

The fireside set

Anyone who’s lucky enough to have an open fire, a log burner or an outdoor fire bowl at home will enjoy this present, and it’s one that’ll instantly bring to mind good memories of cosy evenings and campfire gatherings.

Begin with a basket that they can use for kindling but which, for now, will hold the rest of the gifts. Our small Redford is perfect for the job as it isn’t too large. Next, pop in some natural firelighters (the sort made from straw or wood chippings – we especially like this set as they come in a nice hessian bag), a prettily-packaged box of matches like our Winterberry ones, a bundle of pinecones dipped in wax scented with essential oils (which you can DIY yourself or buy online) and enough toasting forks for everyone in the family (these handmade ones from RE are our favourites – we particularly love the one designed to hold crumpets!). You can wrap the presents up in the basket, but, as with all these gift ideas, we think it’s perfectly lovely just to tie a big bow around the basket and perhaps pad out its contents with shredded tissue (a great fire starter in itself).

The hot chocolate kit

This one’s a perfect gift for a family (whether the children are young or old) because it’s something everyone can enjoy, and is especially good if you don’t know all the recipients well because there’s not much chance you can go wrong. Depending on your giftee’s tastes, you could also do something similar with tea, coffee or cocktails.

To your mug or set of mugs (choose generously-sized ones like our large Sutton or Croxton designs), add a clip-top jar or paper bag filled with a homemade hot chocolate mix – Jamie Oliver’s recipe is our go-to and is appropriately luxurious. We do think homemade is best for thoughtfulness, but if you’re pressed for time, there are some delicious and well-packaged pre-made blends around that you can pick up during your weekly shop (look out for Cocoa Loco’s flakes and Pukka’s night time ‘latte’ – both are favourites). Finish off with marshmallows and, for all-out festivity, red and white-striped candy canes that can be used as stirrers.

The foodie parcel

There are many people who’ll appreciate a food-themed gift, not least all the cooks in your life. And just like the hot chocolate kit, you can’t really go too far wrong with food.

We’ll start this one either with our small Bermondsey chopping board (in which case you’ll probably want to arrange all your gifts in a box or basket) or a tray that they can then use for serving and breakfast in bed. To that, add a cookbook you know they’ll love, or else one that’s well-thumbed in your house (stuck for ideas? Our personal recommendations would be Nigel Slater’s ‘Kitchen Diaries’ and Skye McAlpine’s ‘A Table for Friends’, while serious foodies will also enjoy ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’ by Niki Segnit or ‘Do Sea Salt’ by David, Alison and Jess Lea-Wilson. If you want to push to boat out, you could also include a well-made chopping knife or a beautiful copper milk pan, but otherwise, you now just need to add a selection of ingredients. Go for the artisanal over the everyday – smoked Cornish sea salt or fleur de sel from Brittany, spice blends like zaatar, ras al hanut and rose harissa, and traditional festive sweets from the continent like panettone, panforte and lebkuchen.

This is another elevated gift idea you could adapt to suit your recipient, switching from cook to baker. For this alternative, begin with our Lewes pouring bowl, add a book like Donna Hay’s ‘Modern Baking’ or Natalie Paull’s ‘Beatrix Bakes’, pop in a wooden spoon and a selection of cookie cutters, then put together your own gingerbread mix in a jar and include a note on the recipe, or seek out sugars flavoured with vanilla and lemon and baking spice mixes (Steenbergs do a great selection).

The home decorators’ starter kit

If you know someone who’s recently moved house (or bought their very first) or who’s about to undertake a serious renovation, then we’re certain from experience that a gift like this one won’t go amiss.

You want your starter kit to be a mix of the practical and the inspirational, so in a small basket (which they can use afterwards to keep all their samples and swatches organised) include a retractable tape measure (it should be at least five metres long to be useful) and a metal scale ruler for drawing up floor plans, as well as a paint swatch booklet and a couple of good-quality paint brushes. To that, add a copy of Stories as well as other favourite interiors magazines, and then round things off with a Neptune voucher that they can spend on whatever they might need for their home. Tie a bow onto the basket’s handle, and you’re done!

Ready to start creating your elevated gift? A great place to begin is with our gift guides, where we’ve gathered together an edited collection of presents, including a few sets that make great elevated gifts in themselves.