Kate Pettier explains the art of the emergency present drawer.
Tag-along cousins, pop-up neighbours – surprise guests over the holiday season are as inevitable as leftovers on Boxing Day. And leftovers, in the gift department, are exactly what you need. Not having bought someone a gift is one of those faux-pas that’s hard to laugh off. Emergency present drawer to the rescue!
In essence, it’s a stash of borderline impersonal gifts ready for dispatch. My mum’s was kept in a box in the under-stairs cupboard: gift-wrapped Elizabeth Shaw Mint Crisps, Yardley powder puffs and multipack men’s hankies were its staples. As a child, how I hoped there’d be unclaimed Orange Matchmakers...
The gifts may have changed, but for my own spare-present haul, I stick to Mum’s principle that it’s the thought that counts. Emergency gifts are less a display of wealth, more a social polyfilla with which we smooth over the awkwardness of someone having been overlooked by Santa. Notelets, scented candles, V&A hankies, truffles and gift-set toiletries wait in the wings to be given away at the last minute. And of course, ever the optimist, I leave the Orange Matchmakers till last.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:
1. Soy scented candles from Anthropologie, £14
2. Liberty print handkerchiefs, £5.95
3. Belleville Bakery body wash and body Lotion, & Other Stories, £14
4. Matchmakers, widely available, around £2.50
5. Letterpress pencil correspondence cards, Meticulous Ink, £20
6. Black Forest gateau truffles, Prestat, £12
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