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By Alex Orfila

Oh December, the month which brings with it bundles of joy, celebration, over-eating and the ever so slightly stressful activity of gifting. For me the first day of December (or November if you’re super organised… which I most certainly am not) feels like I’m on a racing track waiting for an imaginary whistle to blow and signal that I can commence my frantic search for many perfect gifts. A search which often culminates in a nerve-racking Christmas eve, still trawling main street for some desperate inspiration. Gifting is a task which can seem rather daunting; shops are festooned with lavish goods and the media is constantly force-feeding us festive advertising inviting us to spend, so why is it that we still struggle with finding what to buy?

It’s hard to strike a balance as you strive to buy something that someone will truly love, so what are your options? Anything clothing related can be awkward, it’s much too personal and there’s also the whole ‘sizing’ issue to consider. Vouchers are a good shout but can feel a little last minute and unimaginative. We are then left with the predictable but albeit ‘safe’, functional gifts like socks and pyjamas – but there’s only so many times you can get away with buying those for a loved one.

I may be biased but often when I find myself in this type of pickle I (perhaps rather predictably) turn to beauty-related gifts!

What makes beauty gifts all the more appealing is that there are many brands releasing gift sets specifically for the festive period. These not only make fabulous gifts but they also present a great opportunity to stock up on products as limited-edition sets are released. These are invitingly gorgeous – usually in luxe packaging – but often also represent great value and prove much cheaper than what it would cost you to by each individual product on the high street. Do you not have time to trawl through countless beauty websites and cosmetic stores for inspiration? Fret not, I’ve done plenty of the research to help you navigate this crowded space and compiled a list of delightful giftsets from some of my favourite brands – all of which happen to be conveniently available locally.

Elemis

This is a British Spa brand whose mantra is blending nature and science, by extracting the best natural ingredients for a truly effective skincare regime. Elemis lets you bring a little piece of spa wellness home with you with its skincare, body and home selection. Buying skincare products for others can be a bit complicated if you are not familiar with their skin type or preferred routine – so try and do some research beforehand or stick to gentle formulas which will agree with most skin types.

Elemis Beauty Sleep Trio Gift Set £45 (worth £69.95) includes: Gentle Foaming Face Wash 150ml (full size), Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules 14x2ml, Peptide4 Thousand Flower Face Mask 40ml, Cleansing Cloth.

Men’s Grooming on the Go Gift Set £55 (worth £71.50) includes: Skin Soothe Shave Gel 100ml, Deep Cleanse Face Wash 50ml, Daily Moisture Boost 50ml, Active Hair and Body Wash 100ml, Travel wash Bag.

Rituals

Rituals mantra is that happiness can be found in the smallest of things, reminding us to focus on the simple joys of each moment which are often overlooked (especially when caught in the frantic daze of Christmas shopping). Their range of uplifting and invigorating products for body and home will make the perfect gift for those who wish to indulge in a little self-care this season.

The Ritual of Dao, Calming Ritual £29.90 includes: Candle, foaming shower foam, body cream, body scrub.

The Ritual of Happy Buddha, Energising Collection: Mini home fragrance diffuser, foaming shower gel, body cream, shower scrub.

Molton Brown

A household name when it comes to plush bath and body products. This British brand has been at the forefront of concocting the most beautiful scents since the early 1970s. Taking inspiration from far flung destinations as well as from British gardens they bring you both the exotic and traditional. There is no way a gift from these masters of luxury body care will disappoint.

Stocking Filler Gift Set 10x50ml bath and shower minis including a selection of classic scents: Orange & Bergamot, Coastal Cypress & Sea Fennel, Vetiver & Grapefruit, Suede Orris, Fiery Pink Pepper, Rosa Absolute, Geranium Nefertum, Re-chare black Pepper, Tobacco Absolute, Russian Leather.

Bizarre Brandy Festive Bauble Set blends scents of aged brandy, cardamom, orange and ginger, the set includes: 300ml Bizarre Brandy Bath & shower Gel, 70ml Festive Bauble.

Diptyque

This fabulous French perfumer is perfect for those who are looking for something luxe, cool and a little less mainstream. It’s true that perfume can be a somewhat personal gift, however Diptyque’s selection of minis solves this problem by creating the perfect opportunity to sample their unique scents – most of which are also available in candle form. Did someone say a box full of tiny opulent French perfumes? This will always have a place on my Christmas list!

Diptyque Eau de Parfum 5x7ml Discovery Fragrance Gift Set £88 includes: Fleur de Peau, Do Son, L’Ombre Dans L’Eau, Tam Dao, Minthe.

Bobbi Brown

A gift from Bobbi Brown will no doubt be on the lists of makeup lovers anywhere. When gifting makeup keep it fun and informal – stay away from foundations, powders or anything too specific to one’s skin tone. Shimmery eyeshadow palettes inspired by the festive season are a must and a selection of lip sticks in luscious shades are the perfect finishing touch to any Christmas party outfit.

Major Crush Liquid Lip Set £40 (worth £76) includes four fill size lipsticks in the following shades: Ginger Snap, Currant Affair, Smoothie Move, Mango Move.

Luxe Gems Eye Shadow Palette containing seven eyeshadows in festive jewel tones £59.

Rituals, Molton Brown, Diptyque and Bobbi Brown available from various SM Seruya stores. Elemis products available from Atlantic Suites Spa and Sunborn Spa.

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