My Christmas list, should you be wondering…

5 Comments 06 December 2013

I have some ideas for you.

I think I am one of those Hard to Buy Presents for people. I don’t collect anything, I am particular about my style (both personal and home) and I don’t like a lot of Things cluttering up the house. I always tell people my favourite presents are the ones where I know someone has put a lot of thought into it.

Maybe that’s a mom thing, a result of doing so much thinking about other people, facilitating their lives, planning their parties, and organising the world so everyone else is happy and able to get on with their pursuit of success. After all that Effort and Thought for other people it’s nice to have someone return the favour by making an effort to think about what I would really like.

But I know it’s not always a straightforward exercise to consider what someone else likes, so this post is a list of small presents that I would like, but also the reasons why–it’s one of those “6 things about me” posts, dressed up as a genuine Christmas wish list.The list is meant as a starting point–yes, I’d like these very items, but I’d also like things similar (which is why I put the little blurb about why I like them under the listing!).

None of this has been paid for, these are just things I would love as presents. Links are in the titles, if you’re interested.

1. The Treasure Island Brooch

A definining moment in my life, probably more than my parents even realise, was when I had chicken pox in 2nd grade. I had to stay home from school for ages (in my head it’s two weeks but maybe it was less than that) and in that time my mom read several memorable books to me, including The Phantom Tollbooth (lovely weirdness) and an abridged Treasure Island. Then in between reading sessions I was alone in my room, sleeping, playing and creating imaginary worlds as I always did as an only child. But something changed in my worlds after Treasure Island. I had discovered that even a poor boy could have great adventures in far away lands. I always attributed Treasure Island with the origins of my Wanderlust, but its influence goes much deeper; Treasure Island taught me how to exponentially grow my imagination and is the starting point of my creative writing.

And as such, anything to do with Treasure Island, especially clever ideas, would be a fantastic gift for me. This parrot brooch, inspired by Captain Flint, Long John Silver’s parrot, made out of a page of the book is a really clever idea.



Squawk! I could wear Cap’n Flint on my shoulder. Or bag, or coat, or wherever.


2. British Birds phone case

I love to celebrate my two home countries, the United States and the United Kingdom, and with these beautiful and unusual phone cases I could celebrate the UK in a slightly different way. Avoiding the usual variants on the Union Jack, this British Birds series turns my phone into a beautiful accessory.

Expats take note! If you’re British and would love a British gift to remind you of home, here’s one for you! If you’re an Anglophile and want something British, yet a bit different, this could be it.

I love them all, but if I had to choose, perhaps the Kingfisher… or, maybe the… Hmmm. Decisions.


Beautiful British Birds. Which one would you choose?


3. Long Socks

After an experience at Blogfest last year when I realised how very dull I must look I decided to start changing a few things. Among other things, I first added a blue streak to my hair (yes, really! Here’s the post about it: 43 is a Good Age for a Blue Rinse) and I bought some Doc Martens. The only problem with the DMs is that to comfortably wear them I need long socks and I don’t have a lot of long socks except those I keep for hiking. I don’t want to wear hiking socks with my DMs. So, a great gift for me would be long socks, maybe with something kind of interesting on them like these birds.


I see Jonathan Livingston Seagull when I look at these, anyone else?


4. Moleskine Volant notebooks

I like to be prepared. When inspiration hits I need to write it down. So I prepare for inspiration by having notebooks everywhere. Some of my very favourite notebooks are these little Moleskines. These are the thinner, paperback versions with perforated pages and I prefer them to the classic black pocket sized notebooks because they more easily slip into my bag, the side pocket of my car, by my bedside table, and in my jeans pocket when I’m on a walk or in the garden.


I’m sure Hemingway would have preferred them as well had the company thought to sell them in his day.


5. Hair clip

Again, something different but not too different. Classic with a twist is always my preferred style. With my long hair I like to sometimes pull it up in a ponytail or just pull half of it back into a hairclip. I have a handful of black, brown and tortoiseshell plastic clips, which are very handy and I always appreciate more of these, but for something a little but more fun I love this metal Art Deco butterfly. I noticed that the artist has said, “Request a custom order and have something made just for you.” so yes, I’d probably request this in black.

hair clip

I love Etsy for things just like this.


6. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

Yes, I am a lip balm addict. I have lippy in as many places as I have those little notbooks. I especially love the Burts Bees tinted lippy.


The tinted is a lovely kiss of colour.


7. Coin purse

I am a functional person, but don’t like things to just be functional, it’s nice if they’re pleasant to look at as well. Didn’t William Morris suggest that we should only surround ourselves with objects that are “useful and beautiful”? Little coin purses are good for storing all kinds of things like asprin, etc and it’s nice to have one in the car and one for my bag.


A cute coin purse from a shop that often has a wide variety of styles.


8. A CD of your favourite music

I like to know what other people like. I also like to discover new music. Combine the two and I like it when people make a CD of their favourite music for me to listen to in the car. My almost son-in-law made this collection of some of his current faves for a present and we love them! More of this please…


Clever almost son-in-law!


9. Food gifts

I LOVE food, especially things that are a bit different from what I usually buy. A friend gave me a jar of homemade (by her) Danish cookies. I tried one, politely offered them to one or two family members then hid the jar and ate them all myself. What can I say, I was an only child. I do try to share most of the time, but in this case I can’t remember my friend saying these cookies were for Sharing.

I have a book on cheese given to me by one of my (step)daughters and when she gave me the book she also gave me some cheese to go with it. YUM. I love cheese as much as I love homemade Danish cookies, but cheese is more difficult to hide in a cupboard. It gives itself away really easily (there’s only so much you can blame on the cats). So yes, I do share the cheese.

The Fine Cheese Co have a wonderful selection with fantastic names that enchant me. Even if you are not going to ever buy from them, go have a look at the cheese names.


Simply: yum.


10. Metal Detector

a) I am naturally curious.

b) One of the things I love most about living in England is the extensive history, even in the local landscape (here’s the post I wrote on that: 2000 Years of People Where I Live).

c) I live in a house that was once a pub and there’s been a pub here since at least 1704 (according to the earliest map we’ve found).

d) Can you even imagine the kinds of things I might find if I had a metal detector?

Thus: I put ‘metal detector’ on my birthday and Christmas list every year.

Unfortunately: I have yet to recieve one…


Some of the objects I found when digging my newish vegetable beds.


11. A chili plant

I’ve always loved spicy food but I have started to use more chilis in my cooking. I have several food themed plants on my kitchen window sill (a clementine, an olive, a basil) and I welcome any more food themed plants. I love the look of chili plants and I love them even more knowing I could use their fruit in my cooking.


I noticed Sainsbury’s have some…


12. Emma Bridgewater mugs

I don’t care how Aga Saga these look, I love the style of Emma Bridgewater mugs. They are almost impossible to tip over, they have a nice solid feel to them, and you can cup your hands around them to stay warm. I like most of the designs, especially the birds and flowers, but my very favourites are the ones that have the scenes on them, such as the Tower of London, or the Church Windows. One I would really love is the National Trust mug but I’m not sure if that is available anymore. I think I like these because they’re just a bit more interesting than the other patterns.


(It’s that classic with a twist thing, again.)

13. Interesting vases, dishes or bowls

Probably in rebellion to the Emma Bridgewater mugs I allow into my cupboards, I love to collect vintage bowls and vases. Vintage is perfect because they’re unique. Not many, if any, other households you socialise with will have the same thing. I prefer the Art Deco vintage stuff because the clean lines mix and match more easily with other styles. Here’s some gorgeous Art Deco individual bowls I found on eBay when writing this.

art deco

Beautifully classic!

14. Kiva

Ever since my sister and brother-in-law gave us a donation to Kiva, the micro-finance company, I have loved this organisation. And I would also love any further donations so I can increase the loans I give. Not ever heard of micro-finance? Click on the title above and check them out. You look through a list of people who have signed up and been vetted by Kiva, choose the one’s you’d like to help with a loan, they pay it back over time into your Kiva account, then you go through the process all over again. I love knowing how I’m helping other people around the world and seeing it happen in a matter of months. This isn’t the token ‘do-gooder’ present, this is something I really love.


Feel good factor x1,000,000.


What about you? What are your favourite presents? Any of these above appeal to you?



Your Comments

5 Comments so far

  1. Oooo hope Santa is good to you and leaves loads of these lovely presents on Christmas Day neighbour! x

  2. Expat Mum says:

    Not sure I really even want anything but it always seems churlish to say that. (Having said that, the three things I said I would like for my birthday were nowhere to be seen.)
    And yes, the trouble with venturing out fashion-wise (Dr. Martens) is that you need other things to go with them. Where does it end?

  3. You are such a quirky funny one, I think I love you, Michelle :-)
    PS: Haha for not wanting to share the cookies. I am one out of 4 but can totally relate.

  4. Russell says:

    Loving the cheese reference. That would be my favourite thing by far. I think I need to move back home.

  5. Joel W says:

    Those are scotch bonnet peppers which are very hot. I would take extreme care in adding them to food. They are used in lots of Jamaican dishes.

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An American writer in the UK for over 20 years. Lives in Essex. A pretend extrovert.

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