Tuesday evening, somewhere above Indonesia, and I’m in a very happy place. I’m stretched out in a rather empty cabin on the Qantas 747 service to Brisbane and I’ve settled in with a nice Chardonnay, two Nurofen Plus and a tasty selection of Aussie cheese.
While the cabin could be a bit more Christmassy (I rather liked the fake pine boughs and bows on my Singapore Airlines flight down from London, and I always enjoy the Christmas effort made by Japanese carriers), I’m not going to let it kill my buzz because in a few days I’m going to be hosting the real Santa from Finland, while I tend to the reindeer and do my bit for tradition at the annual Monocle Christmas market. If you are in London this weekend, do swing by our HQ for some glögg, gift consultation and chat.
In case you can’t make it to London, I have drawn up a Christmas shopping list for you to peruse. I hope it covers everyone you need to buy for. Be warned: it’s not all available online and might involve you having to purchase tickets to Helsinki, Tokyo or Stockholm to get what you need.
1. For new homeowners or fans of good graphics I suggest a visit to Finnish textile designer Johanna Gullichsen’s studios in Helsinki and Paris. Stock up on good pillow cushions, sensible bags and thick blankets.
2. For friends with chalets or colleagues who like to work late, Birkenstock’s felt house shoes are ideal for padding around the oak floors in Verbier or feeling cosy in the office after 8pm. Go for Loden green, dark grey or navy.
3. Sticking with the felt theme, Moessmer in Bolzano does a good range of capes and vests that are ideal for friends who harbour fantasies about a South Tyrolean lifestyle – even if they reside on the Upper East Side or in Chelsea.
4. Japanese fashion brand 45rpm has shops across Japan as well as stores in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Beijing and Taipei. It does good blazers, excellent scarves and very nice smocky dresses.
5. Commes des Garçons’ fragrances are always a little bit surprising and tend to prompt a “what are you wearing?” from bystanders. While I could promote the three fragrances Monocle has done with them, I recommend Kyoto from its incense series.
6. On the topic of Kyoto and incense, Lisn does a superb collection of fine blends that run from the oriental to the dense and woody. If you’re fond of the latter, buy a set of its “sunny” sticks from its shops in Kyoto and Tokyo.
7. Want to kick off the year right and set the tone for 2014? How about a week to 10 days at Chiva-Som for you and your partner or best friend? I’m particularly fond of its strict policy of not allowing guests to have electronic devices in public areas. More resorts should be so brave.
8. Buy someone a CD of lovely Nordic-jazz from Hird. Get your hands on it in the basement music department at Stockmann in Helsinki. You’ll find it’s delightfully nostalgic to shop for music in a department store environment.
9. If you get tight on time, then subscriptions are always a good thing. For those who see themselves eventually residing in Australasia, then Habitus is good for architectural inspiration, as is Home from New Zealand. Australian Gourmet Traveller is a nice antidote to all those new-generation niche food mags that are pretty to look at but hard to use. The Weekender and The Travel Almanac are good bedside editions from Germany, while the recently revitalised US edition of Condé Nast Traveler is worth a look. And for pure, decadent escape it’s wonderful to get lost in the pages of AD Spain.
10. Anyone deserve new wheels? I’d be very happy with either a green Toyota Land Cruiser with camel interior and all the trimmings for jaunts down to the country, or a peppy little Subaru Forester in black for days when I want to feel like a tweedy history teacher from a Vermont prep school.
Tyler Brûlé is editor-in-chief of Monocle magazine
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