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.
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!
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…
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:
…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:
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.
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!)
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.
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
Diptyque Minis (split set, £9.50 per candle) here
Miller Harris here
l’Occitane Soaps, FeelUnique: http://tidd.ly/67cca9be
Roger & Gallet Soaps: http://tidd.ly/85117668
Percy & Reed Dry Shampoo Gift Tube: http://bit.ly/1fsmQtR
Fragonard Mini Scents: http://tidd.ly/290f4ba2