Gift Ideas: How to Create the “Perfect Pretty Parcel”

pretty gifts

I’ve been faffing about with beautiful little books and soapy morsels and bits of wrapping paper to create what I think is the ultimate pretty (and affordable) present. The “Perfect Pretty Parcel“. Ideal for Christmas, which is handy considering the time of year, but equally suitable for birthdays, graduations, leaving presents and so on. The components in the parcel can be bought all year round and there’s nothing overly festive about them – no reindeers or pine-scented things here.

And it’s a quite simple gift idea, really. It goes something like this: beautiful book + little beauty item + optional bar of wonderfully wrapped chocolate, all packaged up in rustic brown paper or (for the lazy or short of time) a decorative gift bag. The total price of the gift varies wildly depending on what you pop in to your perfect parcel, but think anything from around £7 up to about £30.

christmas gift guide books

The foundation for each gift parcel is a beautiful book. Here I’ve opted for the Penguin Clothbound Classics (read more about those here) because the covers are just so delicious. These are around a tenner each (see here) which I think is great value for something so collectible. The patterns on the covers also look brilliant when they burst out from plain brown wrapping paper – the contrast is great!

q and a diary

An alternative to a book (you’ll see a couple in the video below) could be a notebook or diary. I am very fond of the Q&A diary, above, that simply requires you to answer one (different) question each day. The following year you answer the same questions again and the year after that, and so on, but the beauty of it is that you can see how you have grown and developed, how your dreams, goals and ideals have changed. I love this idea! I think that they should do a fifty year version – can you imagine? It would be like writing your own personal history book. Though there’s nothing stopping you buying a large notepad and creating this yourself…

pretty present ideas

Add to the book something delectable; perhaps a paper-wrapped soap from l’Occitane or Roger & Gallet, or maybe, if you have a little more budget, a boxed lipgloss from Paul & Joe (the best pretty packaging ever). You can spend anything you like on your little beauty morsels but in general, you can get a lovely soap for about £4 or, if you “gift split” (I’ll be posting about this later on in the week) you can bring down the price even more. Look at these cute Fragonard fragrances, for example:

fragonard fragrance set gift

…admittedly they look very beautiful in the box set (£15), but if you were looking for luxury minis, they work out at £3 each! (M&S here.)

I’ve popped some links and suggestions at the bottom of the page and you’ll see some more in the video – I particularly like the way that this Percy & Reed dry shampoo has been packaged:

percy and reed dry shampoo gift

If you wanted to go for something extra special (and had more to spend) then a luxurious mini candle is always going to be well received. Diptyque’s are £20 for a 70g candle or, if you split up a large box set of minis, £9.50 for a 35g. (Have a look at the set on SpaceNK here.) Miller Harris also do amazing mini candles, see here. As mentioned, this does bump the price up quite a bit, but I still think that (for around £30) you’ll be giving something that looks a lot swisher than ready made gift sets.

miller harris la fumee mini candle

Going in the other direction, budget-wise, I’m all for pairing a book with some nice chocolate. Not only does it make wrapping easier (oh, the laziness of my thoughts) it gives a little suggestion as to how one could spend Christmas day. Tucked up in the attic reading a book by torchlight and popping squares of salted caramel chocolate into your mouth at regular intervals. (Does anyone have a useable attic? Or is that a thing of childhood fantasy?) You can find this Divine chocolate, which has a nice wrapper, in the supermarket. (Remember: it’s all about the wrapping with these pressies!)

IMG_5492

Right. Go forth and find pretty things – I’ve made a short video so please do watch that. It took me an age and I even did the voiceover with a sore throat – dedication to the cause, that is. I’m popping all of the bits-and-pieces below for quick reference. Enjoy – please click here for the video if you’re reading by email.

You can view the whole Christmas Gift Guide category here

Book Ideas:

Penguin Clothbound Editions, £10.34 from Amazon:http://amzn.to/1iBDpTQ

What I Read, £4.52 from Amazon: http://amzn.to/18ulLO3

Q&A Diary, £8.26 from Amazon: http://amzn.to/I8pre0

Candle Ideas:

Diptyque Minis (split set, £9.50 per candle) here

Miller Harris here

Soap Ideas:

l’Occitane Soaps, FeelUnique: http://tidd.ly/67cca9be

Roger & Gallet Soaps: http://tidd.ly/85117668

owl gift bag

Paul & Joe beauty products at ASOS and Selfridges

Percy & Reed Dry Shampoo Gift Tube: http://bit.ly/1fsmQtR

Fragonard Mini Scents: http://tidd.ly/290f4ba2

© 2017 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.

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24 Comments

  1. Cornelia Kennedy
    November 25, 2013 / 7:53 am

    What could be better than a book, chocolate and candle? Sounds like the perfect evening!
    Are you finding the country less busy than London? We moved just south of London from Toronto, love the silence but we do head to London very often ;)

    http://www.ineffablebeauty.co.uk

    • RuthCrilly
      November 26, 2013 / 11:43 am

      Yes, I divide my time up between busy and quiet! It works well. xx

  2. naomi
    November 25, 2013 / 8:52 am

    Lovely presents Ruth, love the gift bags too, they are so girly and pretty.

  3. Lolo
    November 25, 2013 / 10:14 am

    Hi Ruth, Love these ideas. That’s my girlie friends covered. I wondered whether you have any thoughts about what to gift wrap our male friends. I don’t think mine are as in love with reading as I am and I know you don’t often venture into male products but thought I’d still ask.

    • RuthCrilly
      November 26, 2013 / 11:42 am

      Coming up!!! xx

  4. Chiara
    November 25, 2013 / 11:30 am

    Lovely and sweet presents! I would love to receive one of those :)

  5. Marsi
    November 25, 2013 / 2:54 pm

    That Q&A Diary is one of my favorite gifts to give. I bought one for myself two years ago (about to start Year 3 of answers!), and I’ve since given one to each of my best girlfriends. It’ll be under the tree for a few ladies this year, too. Great suggestions, Ruth!

    • RuthCrilly
      November 26, 2013 / 11:43 am

      Thanks Marsi x

    • RuthCrilly
      November 26, 2013 / 11:42 am

      Not at all… ; )

    • Rachel
      December 2, 2013 / 10:12 pm

      yes, I wish Santa would bring me a beautiful little bundle of treats like this :) I’ve had my eye on those penguin editions for a while; thinking of upgrading some of my tattered favourite classics from paperback to these handsome beauties :)

  6. Bev
    November 25, 2013 / 9:32 pm

    Beautiful ❤️ sensible, thoughtful gifts. Presentation of gifts and the video really made me smile bringing care back to the way we should be giving presents. I would be delighted to give any of these gifts and have added the books & Q&A to my shopping list. Thanks Ruth

    • RuthCrilly
      November 26, 2013 / 11:42 am

      Pleasure x

  7. J
    November 25, 2013 / 10:33 pm

    I absolutely love this post, I love the idea and will definitely be using it – thanks Ruth! :) xx

  8. Nadine Pinnock
    November 25, 2013 / 11:30 pm

    This is such a good post- I’m definitely going to have a look at the Q&A diary- I think that’s such a great idea! Little posts and videos like this around christmas time are always great when I remember about a gift that I’d forgotten to plan and it’s too late to be original!

  9. Maria Politou
    November 26, 2013 / 2:45 pm

    I loved the Q&A diary! I’ve already ordered 3 from amazon for my friends and me! I am expecting your suggestions for our male friends, especially for very young ones (my husband’s son is 18 and I really don’t know what to offer to him. No more clothes or music… what else?) Thanks!!!

  10. November 28, 2013 / 12:13 pm

    Hey Ruth! I just bought that brown Ikea gift wrapping because I thought it looked so beautiful in your photos/videos. Now I only wish I could wrap as beautifully as you do!

  11. Numptyheid1 .
    November 30, 2013 / 9:42 pm

    Ruth you are an absolute genius : ) I have already bought two Q & A diaries and one Q&A for kids and will be getting one for my husband (and hinting to him that I’d like one too!). What a smashing idea

  12. Rachel
    December 2, 2013 / 10:10 pm

    This would also work well for a literary minded collegue’s secret Santa at work/ uni :)

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