Why we love the boring gift

In the wise words of Dumbledore, "one can never have enough socks". It’s a mantra we’re taking to heart this Christmas, and we’ve added pants, pyjamas et al to the list. They might not always be the most memorable, but they’re often cosy, comforting and gifted with a dose of common sense. Consider this our love letter to the boring gift – which, as it turns out, might not be quite so boring after all.

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Girl wearing grey socks reading


FOR ENJOYING EVERYDAY


The Socks

The holy grail of boring gift giving, but with a scandalously unearned reputation. Giant multi-packs of plain black ankle socks won’t hit the spot – but on-trend fair isle prints, cosy cashmere blends and posh ones from Paul Smith or Pringle more than deserve their space in the stocking.



The Pants

Lacy lingerie is a minefield, reserved only for the brave and those in supply of a very clear wish list – so try an edgier, sportier style that’s far less likely to offend. A classic Calvin Klein bralette and brief set (or the block colour briefs for him) are the crowd-pleasing way to do comfies.



The Tie

When it comes to Dad, gifter’s block is almost guaranteed. And yes, a tie might be a more traditional choice, but the print doesn’t have to be - try a rich hue in a herringbone, paisley or polka dot pattern, which all trump the tired stripe. Swap for a wool scarf if his office is more ‘start up’ than ‘suit compulsory’.

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Ashley Wilson Biba leopard print pyjamas


FOR THE POST-CHRISTMAS SLUMP


The Pyjamas

IIf we’re not in a new pair by Christmas Day evening – or, if we’re honest, afternoon - something’s gone seriously wrong. Forgo the short slogan sets in favour of a printed pair of full-length pyjamas à la Ashley Wilson, which feel far more indulgent (not to mention far warmer). Bonus points for a pyjama top that almost doubles as daywear.



The Dressing Gown

There’s no better companion for those dead days between Christmas and New Year. Part blanket, part chunky knit, we’re not talking the silky, slip-into-it just before bed kind but the towelled and TV-ready (hello, Netflix’s ‘are you still watching?’ screen). Like gifting a spa day, without the spa.



The Slippers

Luxe materials maketh the giftable slipper. The best pairs are a little pimped out – think coloured faux fur, a generous sheepskin lining or quirky embroidered motifs (aka the cosy cousin of the Gucci loafer). On-trend shapes like mules, sliders and even fuzzy flip flops are far more homely than holiday.

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Caroline Gardner gold heart diary


FOR NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS


The Notebook

Not a boring gift at all, we hear you say. Yes, stationery is enjoying quite the revival, thanks to modern classics like kate spade new york’s initial designs. But we’re flying for the flag for the relentlessly functional, too - no stickers or rainbow dividers needed. If they’re not much of a writer, a 2019 diary is right on time.



The Pens

What else are they supposed to write in their new notebook with? Nothing says ‘I’ve got my life together’ than banishing the chewed up biros for a matching pen set. And whilst only the fancy write with a fountain pen these days, there are some beautiful options for the right recipient.



The Water Bottle

If they’re the last one standing still drinking out of disposable cups, it’s time. What might once have been the most boring gift imaginable has been seriously souped up, thanks to our newly found aversion to one-use waste. The trend has sparked a thousand lovely options, from slick coffee carriers to the cheerfully sloganned.

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