Oh you shouldn't have!

Oh you shouldn't have!

Portrait - Sam Edwards

Sam Edwards

Copy producer, johnlewis.com

Christmas shopping for your other half is a fine balancing act between predictability and surprise. The tiniest thing can make all the difference between a delighted “oh, you shouldn’t have” and a shell-shocked “oh, you really shouldn’t have.” Sidestep this festive fretting with a breakdown of sure-fire successes. 

Small packages, big expectations

Jewellery has long been the go-to Christmas gift, and in terms of making an impact it’s difficult to beat. If the gift is a surprise, avoid pieces with potentially tricky sizing unless you can ’borrow’ a sample from the jewellery box. Rings are a prime example of things that are better bought as a team.

Astley Clarke specialise in fine and feminine pieces, with each collection telling its own story. The Biography collection celebrates the importance of the bonds of friendship we form in our life, with a range of colourful and wearable bracelets inspired by the classic woven friendship bracelet. Try coral for people who love a pop of colour, or labradorite for those who like their colours a bit more subdued. Each bracelet features 18ct gold vermeil for a luscious gleaming gold look, woven through with coloured fabric and finished off with a faceted, round cut gemstone at one end. 

The Muse collection offers more traditionally sparkly designs, with diamond set pieces in dainty star shaped rings or classic round studs, all in 14ct gold for a lustrous look.

All wrapped up

Scarves are a fantastic Christmas gift, and you can never own too many once the weather turns chilly. If you’re confident of the recipient’s style, go with a bold print like one of these Coach scarves in super sleek silk in pink or navy.

If you’re having doubts about the style, you could consider letting the material do the talking. This super-soft 100% cashmere snood from Somerset by Alice Temperley features a cable knit design, with ribbed trim. The light grey colouring should fit easily into any winter wardrobe.

A slipper-y suggestion

The best Christmas presents are often the ones you can get instant use from, and on a cold December morning slippers are unbeatable. Slippers are easier to estimate the size for than shoes, with a bit more wiggle room and a more casual fit than those worn out of the house.

These John Lewis O-Tricia slippers feature supple black leather uppers with some subtle stitched patterning, and a comfy, thick sole that’s ideal for day-to-day household tasks.

If you prefer something a bit more lighthearted, these knitted panda slippers feature a cheeky black and white design with cosy fur trim. The knitted uppers make them ideal for slipping on after a long day.

Bags of inspiration

A handbag is a slightly riskier choice for a gift, but one that make quite an impact if you choose carefully. Think classic, simple designs and high quality materials if you’re in any doubt.

The Legacy Chelsea Grab Bag from Coach is available in super-supple calf leather, with a selection of colours including black and midnight oak for a versatile colour palette. 

If you’re thinking of a purse, keep an eye out for the size of their current purse, as you don’t want them to be stuck with something that’s too far off what they already have – chances are it’s the shape and size they like best.

Once again, go simple and classic: it’s impossible to go wrong with Mulberry. Famously soft leather, impeccably constructed and timelessly styled, Mulberry stands out as a premier investment piece.

For those who carry a lot of coins and cards, consider the Mulberry Dome Rivet Continental Wallet. If their carrying needs are more modest, this small and tidy design, with 4 card slots and 3 slip pockets, should do the job.

If you’re still completely stuck…

You could just ask them what they want, but where’s the fun in that?