It’s the end of another year and so time for our annual holiday gift guide. From cheese to skincare, prints to puzzles, we have put together a list of great gifts for the festive season for all budgets.
Are you at a loss for what to put in your stockings or give for a secret Santa? Here are a few suggestions.
Anis de Flavigny come in various flavours to suit most palettes and the lovely tins add a bit of pizzazz. Savon de Marseille is famous for a reason, go for the classic blocks of soap or the liquid versions. Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré Nourishing Moisturiser is the perfect cure for dehydrated skin. For dry hands, L’Occitane hand creams (especially the festive editions) provide much-needed hydration. Dieux Skin’s reusable eye masks are perfect for tired, dehydrated eyes. These handcrafted bowls made in Brittany and painted in the Vendée make for memorable gifts. The oreilles on the bowl are especially useful if you plan on drinking your coffee the French way. Michael Storrings Christmas in France jigsaw would be a lovely family activity for Christmas Day.
When we think of France-inspired gifts, our minds immediately go to food (maybe it’s just us…). Hampers like this one from C’est Cela are a particularly great present if you’re sending something to a long-distance friend or relative. For cheese lovers, we recommend a high-quality cheese subscription, giving your giftee something to look forward to in 2023.
If you want a lighter alternative, Dammann Frères herbal tea will help your body to recover from festive indulgence with some delicious tisanes. Also on our list this Christmas is the Blackcurrant Dijon mustard from Edmond Fallot, which will hopefully be opened before the Christmas dinner.
With the baguette just having been given UNESCO World Heritage Status, what better time to start learning how to bake some bread with Upper Crust: Homemade Bread the French Way: Recipes and Techniques.
If your giftee is not quite ready to dive into restoring their own French home but wants to read about other people’s attempts: A Château on the French Riviera, The French Royal Wardrobe: The Hôtel de la Marine Restored, and L’Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home, David Lebovitz
There’s nothing like settling down with a blanket and a good book, so here are a few suggestions from fiction to memoirs:
- Death and Croissants, Ian Moore
- The Gourmet, Muriel Barbary
- Maigret series, Georges Simenon (I particularly recommend the audiobook versions read by Gareth Armstrong)
- The Most Secret Memory of Men, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr
- Getting Lost, Annie Ernaux
- Flaubert à La Motte-Piquet, Laure Murat
- My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now, Peter Mayle
- Map of Another Town, M.F.K. Fisher
- Returning to Reims, Didier Eribon
- Dinner for One: How Cooking in Paris Saved Me, Sutanya Dacres
A subscription is a gift that keeps giving throughout the year, whether it’s to France Today magazine or a membership to Bonjour Paris, the oldest English website about the City of Light. With Bonjour Paris membership, members also get free access to the popular online events series Bonjour Paris Live with guests including authors, fashion designers and expert flâneurs.
Nothing says luxury like silk. This French Riviera silk eye mask inspired by the Côte d’Azur will ensure you have the best night’s sleep even with all the excitement of the holiday. And as it’s the season for cocktail parties and formal celebrations, a silk bowtie will elevate anyone’s outfit — just make sure you give the person enough time to tie it before heading to the party. A coat from Claudie Pierlot will keep you warm despite the drop in temperature and you’ll look great on your post-lunch walk.
It can be difficult to buy for book lovers who seem to have every book that has ever been bought. Candles inspired by literature are a great alternative, like these ones from Noble Objects: The Little Prince, The Three Musketeers, and The Count of Monte Cristo.
Instead of an object, why not offer someone an experience to remember this festive season? With two tickets to the legendary Moulin Rouge Dinner & Show, you could also invite yourself along to enjoy an elegant dinner and the legendary French Cancan. If your loved one regularly visits France, museum passes make excellent gifts.
Do you know someone who wants to learn or improve their French? Help them on their language journey with a French course. If you are looking for a course that covers the French actually used by young people in France today (covering the slang essentials as well as the grammar fundamentals) then go for Damon Dominique’s programme.
Alliance Française offers more traditional courses, with plenty to choose from depending on your giftee’s requirements. For a full-on immersion in the French language, set aside time to go on a language holiday with XPF*, who are giving a discount to bookings made before mid-December.
Lead photo credit : There's nothing like a French present © Shutterstock
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