holiday gifts: 11 posts

Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Soaps and Creams

For this holiday gift guide, I decided to put together some of my favorite scented body products and some fun accessories. I also wanted for all selections to be under $50. Despite what beauty magazines tell you, you can really score some great, quality products on a budget. The second part of my holiday guide includes interesting finds like soap made with real sandalwood, luscious looking powder puffs and orange blossom scented skincare for men.

soap incense etc

Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Perfume Discovery Sets

Rosewater or Orange Blossom Water

As a scented gift for someone who also enjoys cooking, floral waters are unbeatable. They are available at gourmet food stores, Iranian, Indian and Middle Eastern shops and Whole Foods. $5-15, depending on the brand. If your gift recipient is new to floral waters, including a note with some of your favorite ways to use them would be a nice touch. You can find extra ideas here: 10 Ways to Use Rosewater and 10 Ways to Use Orange Blossom Water.

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Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Perfume Discovery Sets

And so December begins. The selection of holiday sets and packages at stores and online is downright overwhelming, and I don’t pretend to offer you a comprehensive guide. It’s only a collection of my favorite things, gifts I’ve given before to friends and family (and the ones they’ve enjoyed) and whatever I have seen and liked myself. Today the spotlight is on perfume sets.

perfume set

Giving perfume as gifts is tricky, but if you decide to introduce a friend to fragrance, a set of mini bottles or samples is perfect. One gift idea is to make your own decants and package them in spray atomizers. Clear, well-attached labels and a quality atomizer are a must, but the rest is easy–a colorful box, a few notes describing perfumes, and a ribbon. If you would rather go with commercial sets, below are a few ideas for both men and women.

Another gift idea is a set of perfume and lotion, a good idea if you know a fragrance your gift recipient wears. The only problem is that many luxury brands’ body products are a disappointment. A big price tag won’t guarantee a quality lotion or a moisturizing cream or that they would even smell close to the original perfume. I include a few favorites that I found well done, but in all cases, I recommend sampling the body products at store.

Two exceptions aside, all sets are under $100. While I include a few suggestions on where to find them online, the list is far from exhaustive.

L’Artisan Parfumeur  The Perfume Box

l'artisan samples

L’Artisan always does excellent holiday sets, and this selection of 10 samples is terrific and well-priced. $20 gets you and your lucky gift recipient 10 x 2 ml vials of Batucada Eau de Toilette, Caligna Eau de Parfum, La Chasse Aux Papillonsr Eau de Toilette, L’Eau D’Ambre Extreme Eau de Parfum, Fou D’Absinthe Eau de Parfum, Mure Et Musc Extreme Eau de Parfum, Nuit De Tubereuse Eau de Parfum, Premier Figuier Eau de Toilette, Seville a L’Aube Eau de Parfum, and Timbuktu Eau de Parfum. $20. Available at Luckyscent, Aedes, Barneys and major department stores.

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Holiday Gift Ideas : Soaps, Creams, Makeup and More

In the last part of my holiday gift series, I’ve put together another eclectic collection of my favorite things. Some of them are scented, others are simply pretty: beautifully wrapped soaps, decadent body creams, jewel-like makeup … and cat shaped lipsticks.

Rancé Iris Royal Box of 6 Soaps

rance

Rancé has been making soaps since 1795, and purportedly the formulas remain unchanged. While I highly doubt it, the quality of their soaps is excellent. They’re triple milled, which means that the bars stay firm and last well. They’re scented with high-quality essences, and the aroma lingers delicately on your skin. Even those with sensitive skin–and I’m one of those people–won’t find this soap drying or irritating. Finally, the packaging is stunning, making Rancé’s soap sets a beautiful present.

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Holiday Gift Ideas : My Favorite Candles

I love giving gifts, and not just for Christmas. When I want to treat someone to a scented present, a candle is one of my top choices. By lighting the wick, you transform the ambiance of a room in just a matter of minutes. You can give L’Occitane Feuille de Figuier as a memento of the summer, or L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Thé et Pain d’Épices for a bit of winter holiday cheer. With Comme des Garcons’s Jalsaimer candle, you can send your friends on a tour of Rajasthani temples perfumed with myrrh and frankincense. It’s up to you to choose the fantasy.

candles

Although it’s easier to select a scented candle than a bottle of perfume, you should still research your recipient’s tastes. Is she a lover of all things sweet and floral? Does he like clean, understated colognes? In general, you have more leeway when it comes to home fragrances, because while someone may not like wearing gourmand perfumes, they will enjoy the scent of vanilla and gingerbread spices in the air.

Having come across my fair share of candles that were either badly scented and/or overpriced, I have little patience for high-end brands that don’t deliver on their promise.  A good-quality candle should have a strong smell when unlit, fill the space with perfume when burning and also retain its fragrance as long as wax remains in the jar. There should be no scents of soot, burning paper or wool, or other off-odors (assuming that you clip the wick regularly).

It’s best to burn your scented candle for no more than 2 hours at a time. But with the choices below, these 2 hours should be plenty to perfume the whole room.

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Holiday Gifts Ideas from French Magazines

It’s time for m gifts lists inspired by French magazines and Belgian stores. Christmas decorations are going up around Avenue Louise, Brussels’s version of Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and the boutiques are receiving their seasonal gift sets. I’m rarely tempted by the matching scented creams and shower gels, but the presentations are so irresistible that it’s hard to walk past the perfume shop window without taking a quick peak inside.

galerieslafayette

My list reflects things that I like to give and would love to receive. If you would like to introduce someone to fragrance and know a bit about their tastes, discovery kits are excellent options, and there are several choices below. Another criterion for including the sets is the high-quality matching products. All too often the body lotions and creams are of mediocre quality in comparison to the perfume and needless to say, such sets don’t make the cut.

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Latest Comments

  • anastasia in Recommend Me a Perfume : December: Hi Limegreen, I guess I’ve started to appreciate perfume as an art in the same vein as painting or music etc. Kind of how a painter might have a “truth”of… December 19, 2014 at 7:18pm

  • angeldiva in Recommend Me a Perfume : December: Hi Sarah, Wow! You have fab taste, newbie! :) My recommendation: Balmain Vent Vert It’s a thrilling chypre. Bridgitte Bardot wears it. Also, in the original James Bond 007 books-… December 19, 2014 at 3:33pm

  • Sarah in Recommend Me a Perfume : December: Hi, I’m 2 months in to my perfume journey after discovering this blog in October via Olfactoria’s Travels. My favourite perfume discoveries so far are Joy, Coco, Eau du Soir,… December 19, 2014 at 9:52am

  • Gentiana in Recommend Me a Perfume : December: thank you, I wasn’t in house for a few days :) December 19, 2014 at 9:03am

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