Dec 19 2008 By Anne Hatton
It’s that time again when we trawl up and down the high street, looking for that perfect gift. Juggling work and family means less time to search for something unusual and unique. With this in mind, here’s an easy guide to finding presents that will last and withstand the test of time. By purchasing something for the home, your gift will give pleasure long beyond the holiday season and all these ideas can be ordered from home, saving you time and shoe leather!
SPARKLE FOR HER
For the woman in your life, she'll love something luxurious and indulgent that she wouldn't purchase for herself. Metallic and luxe fabrics are very hot at the moment and can be found anywhere from cushions to bed throws. A quirky wall display is the carved wooden angel wings, available from Cox & Cox (www.coxandcox.co.uk) or a mirrored tile from Plain Gorgeous (www.plaingorgeous.co.uk.) A good stocking stuffer is a silky tassel to be hung on the key to a dresser or chest of drawers in the bedroom. Silver or glass picture frames (complete with photo, of course) silvered storage jars and mirrored boxes are always welcome, as are coffee table books, such as Nicholas Haslam's Sheer Opulence (published by Cico Books.)
THE MALE EVENT
Men are always difficult to buy for - but who can resist something original and fun, such as the phrenologist's head from Cox and Cox - a real talking point in his study or sitting room. He'll also love anything embossed with the Union Jack, from a leather cushion to a painted wooden chair (see www.notonthehighstreet.com.) One of his prized photos can be made up into anything from a canvas print, to wallpaper or even flooring or garden panels. Print2Canvas (www.print2canvas.co.uk) has loads of suggestions. Leather bound books or albums look great on bookshelves and tables, especially when personalised with his initials. A metal stage light would look great anywhere in the house, particularly when perched next to a leather chair, such as from Andrew Martin (www.andrewmartin.co.uk/onlinestore.)
Make Christmas morning captivating for little ones with painted wooden letters from Millie Moo (www.millie-moo.co.uk) spelling out a name or a special wish. Wall stickers can instantly brighten up a bedroom, such as from Rockett St. George (www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk.) They have a huge selection that includes flowers, words, shapes and even a quirky power line, ideal for a teenager. Pinboards are great for all ages and can be made from cork or covered in a fabric to match the room. Older kids will love the metal shelves and table from Susan Bradley, found at Rockett St. George, which add a practical, but quirky touch.
Grandmas will also enjoy something for the home. Why not look at plaster plaques that can be displayed on the wall - www.plastercraftinteriors.co.uk has a plethora of ideas and styles, including kits to make your own. These can be painted to match a decor or with an antique finish to add character. Granny might like a delicious cashmere throw in a jewel colour to drape over a bed or a sofa. A butler's tray or rattan tray can be put to good use anywhere in the house - look at Oka (www.okadirect.com) for great ideas, including luxurious table and bed linen.
DON’T FORGET GRANDDAD
For the granddads, why not consider a clock for the mantel? The Contemporary Clock Company (www.contemporaryclock.co.uk) has clocks for the wall, the mantel or the floor in an array of styles. A fabric, wooden or rope doorstop will do the trick for keeping a door open in the house, in a wide variety of forms and shapes (www.opiltd.co.uk has a good selection.) He'd also love the oriental decorative wine box from Yu Tiger (www.yutiger.com) which wouldnÕt be out of place in a formal sitting or dining room.
AND FOR OUR FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS
A dog's basket takes up an enormous amount of space, so why not make it decorative? Oka Direct has a range of rattan ones to suit. Or why not be eco-friendly and get one made from recycled tires at Plain Gorgeous.
DREAMS COME TRUE
Make memories last well beyond Christmas - a garden gift that will last a lifetime is a personalised English oak swing seat, complete with rope. You can have your choice of words engraved along the edge Ð and who doesn't enjoy the abandonment of swinging high in the air? (www.notonthehighstreet.com.)
And finally, why not put on your favourite Christmas music, get the children and family together and get decorating? No, not your house, but a gingerbread house. Nothing is more fun than spending an hour baking and decorating an edible gingerbread house (Cox and Cox has a cookie cutter kit, complete with recipe.) Who knows? Maybe there's a budding interior designer, ready to go! Happy Shopping and Happy Christmas!
Anne Hatton teaches interior design through Bucks Adult Learning, as well as running her own interior design practice, <Embellishments Ltd. She is an Associate Member of the British Interior Design Association (BIDA.) She can be contacted on 01753-882425 or 07776-171-328 or through her website.