Christmas Gift Guide

Perfect for a pandemic season

There is nothing like giving and receiving Christmas presents to end this strange year on a good note.

Retailers such as Sephora, Escentials and Net-a-porter report strong consumer demand for gift sets, fragrance and eye make-up, as well as loungewear and home and body products, as shoppers seek to make their homes more comfortable.

The Straits Times picks some of the most worthwhile gifts this year.


Fragrance

A spokesman for Sephora crowned fragrance “the new lipstick”, as people find new ways to assert their individuality from behind the mask.

Chloe Atelier des Fleurs, $175 for 50ml

In October, the House of Chloe launched a collection of nine fragrances, each inspired by and evoking the favourite flower of the perfumer who created it. Easily pick a fragrance for your giftee based on her favourite flower.

Available at Takashimaya and Sephora Ion Orchard and Ngee Ann City

Narciso Rodriguez Narciso EDP Ambree, $161 for 50ml

Going by the amber glass bottle alone, it will be hard to turn down the newest perfume from designer Narciso Rodriguez. The new unisex scent is a light but potent mix of vanilla, floral notes from Madagascar and musky cedarwood.

Available at Metro Paragon, BHG Bugis Junction, Tangs and Takashimaya

Gucci Bloom Profumo di Fiori, $168 for 50ml

The fifth addition to Gucci Beauty’s iconic Bloom pillar of perfumes blends jasmine sambac, tuberose, ylang ylang and bottom- heavy notes of rich sandalwood and musk.

It comes in a striking honey yellow bottle.

Available at BHG Bugis Junction, Tangs, Takashimaya, sephora.sg and tangs.com

Jo Malone London Cologne Collection, $159 for five 9ml bottles

Afraid of picking the wrong scent for your giftee? Play it safe with this nifty set that combines five of the brand’s bestsellers, including its cult favourites English Pear & Freesia and Wood Sage & Sea Salt. Alternatively, divide them up into small but luxe gifts if you happen to have a phase two-approved party of five.

Available at Jo Malone London boutiques

Bath and body

Multi-label beauty retailer Escentials noticed a hike in sales of haircare, bath and body pampering products this year.

A spokesman says: “As people are staying and working from home more, they also want to pamper themselves at home (with products that) clean effectively with a thoroughly immersive sensorial experience.”

Aesop The Lore Collector Gift Kit, $143

A bathroom decked out in Aesop is sure to be the envy of visiting guests.

This year’s Christmas kits are inspired by lesser-known works of literature such as The Dream Of Akinosuke, a Japanese folktale about a farmer who falls asleep under a cedar tree. This story accompanies The Lore Collector kit.

Pamper your body and over-sanitised hands with this quartet of products, which includes a Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser (100ml), Geranium Leaf Body Balm (100ml), Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash (500ml) and Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm (75ml).

Available at all Aesop stores

Lush Oh Christmas Tree, $65

Of Lush’s wide-ranging Christmas collection, this set (left) is the perfect gift for anyone with a bathtub. The quirkily packaged Christmas tree trades baubles for bath bombs – five of Lush’s best-selling ones in miniature sizes and one full-size.

Available at all Lush stores and sg.lush.com

The Body Shop Lather & Smooth Snow Globe Gift Dome, $35

If you would rather not splash out on The Body Shop’s annual advent calendars (starting at $89), the go-to Christmas brand has a wide range of gifts for all budgets.

Our pick is this comprehensive set with a strawberry shower gel (60ml) and body butter (50ml), banana shampoo and conditioner (60ml each) and strawberry lip butter (10ml).

Until Dec 31, the brand will donate 10 cents from every transaction made in stores and online to local charity Daughters Of Tomorrow.

Available at all The Body Shop stores and lazada.sg

Briogeo Merry Multi-Masking Kit, $55

Everyone could do with a nourishing hair mask – take your pick of Briogeo’s best-selling Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask (59ml); Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Superfood Mask (59ml); and limited-edition Honey Moisture Deep Conditioning Mask (236ml) in an adorable bear-shaped container.

Available at sephora.sg and Sephora stores including Ion Orchard

Value sets

There is demand for value – be it in sets, samples or buy-one-get-one deals – says a Sephora spokesman, and festive gift sets are the surest way to get the most bang for your buck.

Gift a friend a full routine with the following kits.

Drunk Elephant Glowy: The Night Kit, $138 (worth $209)

The brand’s Christmas sets are always hotly anticipated and this year’s trio of kits is no less exciting. The Glowy kit comes with a full-size 30ml T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (usually $128) – almost the price of the set – along with deluxe sizes of its newer releases, E-Rase Milki Micellar Water and F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial; plus a compact mirror.

Available at sephora.sg and selected Sephora stores including Ion Orchard

Caudalie Vinoperfect Christmas Set “The Cult Anti-Dark Spot Routine”, $100

Try French brand Caudalie’s best-selling Vinoperfect range via this kit, which includes its Dark Spot Correcting Moisturiser (15ml), Dark Spot Correcting Glycolic Night Cream (15ml) and a full-size Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (usually $98 for 30ml).

Available at sephora.sg and Sephora stores including Ion Orchard

Clarins V Shaping Facial Lift Holiday Collection, $122

Facial tools are one of those little luxuries people usually do not get for themselves – so be the better friend and gift it. This limited-edition V Shaping Facial Lift Massage Tool (which cannot be purchased) is a dual-ended saviour for tired skin, combining a facial roller and gua sha tool.

Best of all, it comes with a full-size V Shaping Facial Lift ($122 for 50ml), travel sizes of the Enhancing Eye Lift and V-Facial Intensive Wrap and a festive pouch.

Available at Metro stores and metro.com.sg

Glow Recipe Glowing Skin Trio, $64

Fans of cult skincare will love this three-step set from fruit-themed Glow Recipe. It includes a full-size Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask (usually $64 for 15ml) and deluxe sizes of the Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser and Banana Souffle Moisture Cream.

Available at sephora.sg and Sephora stores including Ion Orchard

Hanz de Fuko Deluxe Mini Kit, $21

When in doubt, buy hair wax for the men in your life. This deluxe set lets you try four styling products (7ml each) from Hanz de Fuko – the Sponge Wax, Gravity Paste, Modify Pomade and crowd-favourite Claymation.

Available at lazada.sg, deckout.sg and Sephora stores

Eye make-up

It has been all about the eyes this mask-wearing year. Gift beauty lovers something they can actually use.

Charlotte Tilbury Bejewelled Eyes To Hypnotise Eyeshadow Palette, $130

This year’s Charlotte Tilbury holiday palette is eyeshadow amateur-proof, with 12 shades thoughtfully arranged by colour story into easy trios – one to pop in the crease, one to darken the outer corners and one shimmering shade to accent. The sleek silver palette also looks gorgeous on any vanity.

Available at sephora.sg and selected Sephora stores including Ion Orchard

Milani Most Wanted Eye Palettes, $20.40

For those on a budget, drugstore brand Milani offers eyeshadow palettes that are just as pigmented in colour payoff. Available in three colour stories, the Most Wanted Eye Palettes feature six velvety shades perfect for everyday use.

Available at selected Watsons stores and watsons.com.sg

Anastasia Beverly Hills Palette Vault, $98

Best value goes to this palette vault that comes with ABH’s limited-edition Sultry eyeshadow palette (usually $81), full-size Lash Brag Volumising Mascara ($42) and Liquid Liner ($33) and Mini-Mini Eye Primer. A one-and-done kit for all your eye make-up needs.

Available at Sephora stores including Ion Orchard

Fenty Beauty Holo’daze Snap Shadows Eyeshadow Palette + Mini Mascara Set, $44

For the bold wearers of colour in your life, snap up this limited-edition festive set from Fenty Beauty. It is a good way to try the brand’s Snap Shadows, which are usually $39 each.

Available at sephora.sg and Sephora stores including Ion Orchard

Loungewear

This year, the cliched Christmas gift of pyjamas will actually be welcome. After all, as a spokesman for Net-a-porter puts it: “There’s never been a more fitting time to perfect the art of nesting."

Marks & Spencer Women’s Family Christmas Checked Nightshirt, $49.90

The British retailer remains a go-to for gift-worthy pyjamas. This nightdress in a festive plaid print is the perfect cosy staple that is still presentable enough for Zoom calls.

Available at marksandspencer.com/sg and Marks & Spencer stores

Hanro Leano Camp-Collar Piped Cotton-Jacquard Pyjama Set, £187.50 (S$335)

You cannot go wrong with a matching pyjama set – especially one in timeless colours such as navy and burgundy. Just in time for the year-end colder weather too.

Available at mrporter.com

Esse x Sunday Bedding

Two local labels have collaborated to launch an unlikely loungewear capsule – bedding goods brand Sunday Bedding and sustainable womenswear label Esse.

The four-piece Repose collection turns fabric offcuts from Sunday Bedding’s bamboo sateen bedsheets into a romper ($109), cami top
($65), shorts ($79) and eye mask ($30).

Available at sundaybedding.com and essethelabel.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2020, with the headline 'Perfect for a pandemic season'. Print Edition | Subscribe