holiday gifts: 13 posts

Holiday Gifts for All Senses : Perfume, Incense, Makeup

While the first part of my holiday gift guide this year was dominated by edible things, the second is an eclectic mix of skincare, perfume, incense, soaps and a few beautiful makeup items. Many gifts on the list are suitable for men. A large portion is reasonably priced, including a selection of under $25 delights that would make great stocking stuffers. As always, I look forward to your gift ideas. If you have come across anything interesting (or if there is something you would like to receive), please share in the comments.

Gifts Under $25

incense sachet

Shoyeido Johin Incense Sachet

I have several of Shoyeido’s incense sachets stuffed in various linen closets, and they have a rich, elegant perfume of sandalwood, clove and camphor. Johin incense is rich in patchouli and sandalwood, for instance, and the sachets are made out of colorful textured fabric. Sachets are small, but they keep their aroma for months. Available from shoyeido’s website. Each sachet retails for $7.50.

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Gifts From The Silk Road

One of my favorite stores in Brussels isn’t a chocolate shop. It’s not even a fabulous perfume treasure trove called Senteurs d’Ailleurs. It’s a supermarket at Rue de l’Escadron 35 called FreshMed. Technically, it’s not even in Brussels proper, but in Etterbeek, one of the 19 communes that make up the metropolis. It’s a store offering a vast selection of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods, with a smattering of Baltic and Polish products.

incense-cat-burner

FreshMed isn’t a fancy store; it’s a place where the aesthetics are provided by the towering pyramids of fresh vegetables and fruits, not an overly creative interior design. I like this simple and unpretentious approach. Here you can find fresh tarragon and pomegranates, stock up on Greek retsina and Lebanese arak, and then load up your cart with homemade foods: tiny Syrian pies, Turkish-style pizza, hummus, tzaziki, olives and 10 kinds of feta. Then there are shelves of Iranian floral waters, Cretan dark honeys and Moroccan amber scented soaps. It’s a journey down the Silk Road within the space of a few supermarket aisles.

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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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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Kari in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2016: As someone who really loves creamy sandalwood, your mention of Santal du Pacifique caught my attention. I want to check this out. Tell me more about it, if you can! August 30, 2016 at 2:06am

  • Kari in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2016: And Victoria, that flower carpet is gorgeous. I love your photography from around the world. You make me long to visit so many besutiful cities, and somehow Brussels was never… August 30, 2016 at 2:01am

  • Kari in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2016: I love reading through these threads. At this point I feel like I’m less in need of “recommend me a perfume” as I am in needing recommendations for how to… August 30, 2016 at 1:58am

  • spe in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2016: Noire Epices by Frederic Malle? August 30, 2016 at 1:30am

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