Christmas brings with it a dizzying variety of gift options. But how to pick from this year's offerings when there's such a wide choice, particularly if you don't have a great track record at buying for your wife/partner/mum/best friend? Sweat not, we've lined up the best of the best, from luxury pyjamas to fragrances and home gifts, helping you save time – and time in the returns' queue.
1. Slippers – you can('t) go wrong
What better time to give gifts that promote relaxation and a sense of wellbeing than Christmas? It’s almost as if Christmas + cosy slippers + silk pyjamas were made for each other. If you can pick items that also look amazing, too, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Good-quality fluffy slippers are a failsafe gift option. UGG Australia make some of the most luxurious sheepskin slippers (below) out there; available at Amara.
2. Give her some beautifying shut-eye
Stop press: silk has been revealed to be anti-ageing and skin-soothing, as well as lovely to the touch, which makes silk eye masks the triple-whammy of gifts (just don't lean over and say 'it's anti-ageing, love', as she opens it).
Our favourite find is the tropical-themed Bird Luxury Silk Eye Mask (below) by Sara Miller. A cheerful reminder of summer in mid-winter? Yes, please.
More beautiful silk eye masks:
3. Pajamas – but not budget ones
Forget comfy pajamas your nanna wouldn't be out of her comfort zone in (unless that is, the woman you're shopping for is your nanna), if you’re ready to splash out, a silk PJ set will be both luxurious and comfortable – and, if it is good quality, it will last ages.
The White Company will not be beaten on their silk PJs, and why not add a Cashmere Tipped Robe for extra brownie points? Oh yes you should.
More luscious silk PJ sets:
4. Dare you opt for a home buy?
Choosing gifts for someone’s home has always been a bit of a taboo, but we'd say avoiding Christmas-themed gifts – reindeer sculpture, anyone? – and matching the present to their home's style will crack it.
For lovers of bright colour (and cats!), our pick is the delightful Cleo Cushion. Will your friend/loved one/gran love it or hate it? If you know their stance on Marmite, you’re good to make the choice.
More cat-themed cushions:
5. Cyclist in the family? Look no further
For cycling junkies, the Collect and Scratch Alpine Cycle Climbs Map is a perfect combination of wall art and memorabilia. It looks good, too.
More fun map prints:
6. Get that shelfie ready
Reindeer ornaments are out, but a modern, neutral vase is always a winner because it's useful and good-looking.
The striking Tall Ceramic Vase with Painted Face by Madam Stoltz will suit all rooms and decor schemes.
More tall ceramic vase options:
7. Add to that on-going gallery wall project
As far as art prints go, we think abstract or animal/botanical prints work best as gifts – and they look fab on a gallery wall. The Beetle in the Rain Art Print from The Curious Department is colourful but understated.
More pretty botanical prints:
8. Pick a go-anywhere sweater
Who would say no to a quality jumper? Not us, and we're really quite fussy.
The Funnel Neck Jumper with Alpaca from The White Company is a perfect addition to the winter wardrobe, cosy enough for Christmas at home, and smart enough to wear to work.
9. Artwork, but on a shirt
The delightfully relaxed shirts from Paloma Wool are certain to appeal to all ages and tastes.
More women's shirts that will make great gifts:
10. Golden rings: could they be more Christmassy?
Accessories make great Christmas gifts: easier to choose than clothing – and simpler to personalise (which makes it look like you've made more of an effort).
The Family Tree Signet Ring by Jana Reinhardt Jewellery is dainty and can be personalised with an engraving and a choice of birthstones. Available at Not On The High Street.
11. A cute clutch bag to stuff in the stocking
Because no one can ever have enough handbags, the Kurt Geiger Velvet Kensington handbag (opulent and festive, by the way) is sure to get many outings during the festive period and beyond.
More quilted handbags:
12. Perfume – the overlord of Christmas gifts
We're not saying you can't go wrong with perfume (picture the scene, the unwrap a fresh, green scent only to declare they only like musky aromas), BUT it's pretty hard to trip up when you buy a selection of perfume minis, saying (strategically) 'something for every occasion' as they unwrap.
We like the gorgeous Essential collection of bestselling fragrances from Frederic Malle.
More perfume mini gift sets:
13. Everything that glitters IS gold
Wandering around the beauty section of a department store can be like waking up in a safari park on the warders' day off. Where to go? How to get out alive? Our advice? Swap real shopping for being guided by us. Lo, we bring you a beauty gift that's all about the brand name and fancy packaging: the deliciously OTT Christian Louboutin Makeup set. Spiky, shiny and guaranteed to make an impression. Available at Selfdriges.
14. Pick a thoughtful gift
If your mum/partner/friend already has all the silk pyjamas they need, or perhaps prefer less ostentatious gifts, think laterally. Our pick the ingenious Classic Poetry Subscription by Bespoke Verse (below) which comes as beautiful monthly prints – perfect for some quiet off-screen time. And if your giftee loves a read, don't miss our gifts for bookworms, too.
15. Ideal for craft lovers (and travellers)
Another thoughtful (rather than glitzy) gift, the reusable travel mug painting kit by The Pottery Post comes with ceramic-friendly paint ready to be used at home. When they are done painting, it can be sent off to be fired, finished, and returned. You never know, they might give you the finished product next Christmas.
16. Pick a tasteful frame for that wall print
No one can ever have too many photo frames; moreover, a really beautiful photo frame may well inspire them to finally put something up on the wall.
The photo frames from Maisons du Monde are very chic and will go very nicely with that botanical print you bought them.
More metal photo frames:
17. Help her stay organised with a pretty storage bag
Whether she wears makeup or has lots of beauty products, travels a lot, or has limited bathroom storage, a good-looking cosmetic bag is always a gift winner. Pick one made from a nice material, such as cotton, and a pretty print. The Blackbird Bramble Cosmetic Bag from Thornback & Peel is guaranteed to please.
More cotton cosmetic bags:
18. Choose cool leggings to spice up her workout
Leggings are definitely back – and amen to that. Comfy and coming in an almost endless array of prints and colours, leggings are great for the gym, yoga sessions, or just hanging out at the local coffee shop (or the sofa, if it's one of those days). And, leggings being the ultimate casual wear, there's no need to play it safe. Go for a funky print and bright colours, because why not?
We love the Space Leggings by StarSeedTribe – a bit crazy, but so pretty. Available at Etsy.
More space leggings:
19. A gorgeous watch in a trendy rose gold finish
Yes, it's true that everyone just checks the time on their phones nowadays, but a beautiful watch is still a lovely gift – we think that everyone secretly wants one, but rarely would buy one for themselves.
Our top tip when choosing a watch for her is to avoid overly ornate or girly designs (unless you are confident that's her taste). Pick something slick and modern, like the lovely La Garconne Rose Gold Watch from Cluse. It's actually made from stainless steel, and is only £89, but looks expensive and is very gift-worthy.
20. Give her the gift of beautiful, soft curls
Anyone with longer hair likes to experiment with waves and curls, fact. Some like putting a wave through their hair every day, while others only get the curling tongs out for special occasions. Whatever their preference, they'll love the Soft Curl Tong Gift Set by GHD, which includes a paddle brush and handy hair clips. Available at John Lewis.
21. Give her a beauty accessory that looks great, too
Let's face it: not all beauty gifts are equally exciting. We can promise you your giftee doesn't want a Radox bubble bath for Christmas (even if you've got plenty in your bathroom). Instead, get a beauty gift that looks nice enough to go on top of the vanity/dressing table. A Rose Quartz face roller will do nicely – it's pretty, easy and pleasant to use (you literally roll it all over your face), and is good for the skin (or so they say). We can't think of anyone who'll be able to entirely resist it.