Christmas is a time for surprises. I especially love the anticipation and the preparation.
I enjoy wrapping the gifts as much as making the choices and matching the gift with the person.
This year my suggestions are simple and affordable. They say thank you and I love you.
A Diffuser from Crabtree & Evelyn features an exquisite porcelain bird that dispenses an aromatic scent around the home at Christmas.
There are two different coloured glass containers releasing two different fragrances.
One is Windsor Forest in a green glass bottle and it discharges a crisp scent reminiscent of an ‘evergreen medley of fir needle, spruce and pine notes entwined with the fresh aromas of holly and juniper berries,’
The red Noel diffuser is a festive blend of fruits and forest a classic Christmas bouquet that is pervading my home at this very moment.
The fragrance mingles in the air and tantalises the sense of smell.
One of the joys of listening to the ABC Classic FM’s Breakfast show has been the daily Swoon featured in the broadcasting. Listeners nominated their favourite Swoons and this album presents the results of the survey in ‘music that makes your world stand still.’
The Classic 100 Swoon deluxe edition has eight CDs plus bonus CD and DVD.
A special favourite of mine is Peter Sculthorpe’s Small Town which featured at number 56.
The countless moments of musical bliss will enthral any music lover as they listen and are transported away from their everyday worries and enfolded in the loveliness of pure music.
A magazine subscription is fun and recently I discovered Gather a beautifully produced journal.
Its design imparts visual images that are artistically constructed and the accompanying text presents imaginatively connected concepts.
The visual approach of the magazine is different and is imbedded with ‘seasonal recipes and exceptional ideas.’
This magazine will have widespread appeal as it explores food from diverse perspectives like colour, film, cocoon, the desert and magic.
Giving a living edible gift with a favourite recipe attached is caring and sustaining.
A lush fresh rosemary bush with a lamb, rosemary, tomato and feta cheese recipe will provide all year round access to a very versatile herb and a deliciously simple casserole.
A chilli plant with a chilli jam recipe will delight those who love a fiery bite and making preserves.
Complete it with lots of red tinsel and a Christmas decoration to embellish the cellophane wrapped gift.
A beautiful lavender bush with a lavender bavarois recipe and lavender toffee will delight the gourmet recipient.
Books are such a thoughtful gift and provide many hours of joy, relaxation and exciting discovery.
Go to your favourite bookstore browse and ask for recommendations in relation to the personality and interests of the receiver.
Among my favourite books for 2015 were Louis Nowra’s Into That Forest and Prince of Afghanistan (both for young adults).
Just off the shelf is another book by a treasured Australian author Debra Adelaid titled Women’s Pages.
The Big Whatever by Peter Doyle and introduction by Luc Sante is also a new publication on the bookshelves.
For nine to eleven year olds Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr is a gentle and poignant reminder of the tragic effects of war on the innocent.
The White Crane, a touching Japanese folktale retold by Marilyn Bolchunos would be a charming addition to any seven to nine year old’s bookshelf. Add a bundle of Origami paper to complete the gift.
Scarves combine fashion and are a nurturing symbol offering accessory and comfort.
They come in all kinds of designs, colours, textures and prices.
Anna Chandler from Perth has designed some vibrant tasselled scarves that sing with the colours and design of summer.
I love the versatility of different uses they encourage.
She also designs tableware, home textiles, jewellery, bags, stationary, coir doormats and carpet designs.
“Trends come and go. I like to create things of timeless beauty which bring joy and colour to your home” voices Anna Chandler.
Soaps conjure up relaxation, pampering and fragrance. They can massage, exfoliate, soothe, moisturize and make you smell divine.
A cake of soap can be as simple as an Australian botanical sustainable palm oil scented with lemongrass, lavender or rose.
Or the soap can be exotic and expensive like Chanel Coco Bath soap.
This extravagant splurge is very gentle for sensitive skin, smells wonderful and makes the skin feel smooth and soft.
The secret to the success of this gift is in the attention given to wrapping and presentation.
One example is wrapping in white paper with a sparkling silver buckle threaded through white ribbon and finished off with a silver bird clipped to the ribbon. It could sit elegantly on a soap dish.
Brooches have always held a special place in the jewellery box and can add finesse to any outfit.
The grains of wood, the shape and black painted design of a Jetta’s Nest brooch is refreshingly stylish and timeless.
Samantha Gilkes is the creative behind Jetta’s Nest where “each bespoke piece is carefully created by me using salvaged and repurposed timbers and finished with individually illustrated and painted details making each item one of a kind.”
Better World Arts integrate cross cultural projects in fine art and fine craft.
Their ethical practice is an innovative social enterprise and a worthy one to support.
A Better World Arts designed brooch by artist Alec Baker is quintessentially Aboriginal patterning and it makes for a much cherished gift.
The handmade crane broach designed by Melanie Augustin of kimono reincarnate captures the flight of the bird and is motivated by Japanese textiles and designs.
It is sympathetically presented in a round silver tin.
I love a bird theme at Christmas and this had its origins in a box of exquisite silver birds given to me over twenty years ago by my daughter.
Every year since, my collection of white and silver birds has grown and I always fondly attach them to a white painted branch that has fallen from a tree.
Lucky enough to find a piece of tree that assumed the shape of a nest for me I painted this white and birds perch on it as peaceful symbols of the spirit of Christmas.
It remains one of my most treasured and precious possessions.
Consequently my final suggestion is to choose a very special Christmas decoration that can be built on over the years to create a collection.
Hearts, snowflakes, stars, bells, wreaths, trees and of course birds are some suggestions.
Think carefully about colours that will match the personalities of the recipients.
I wish you all a peaceful, healthy, restful and joyous time at Christmas and throughout the coming year.
Rose Niland, NSW Special Features, 2015