I’m not one for Christmas stockings (it’s not something I’ve grown up with) however I am big fan of St Nicholas and traditional advent calendars (how expensive are the beauty ones this year though?!). As you may have noticed a few weeks back when I was talking about All Souls’ Day (catch up here) I really do enjoy my traditions – especially when done with a good dose of old-schoolness.
St Nicholas Day is held on the 6th December and Czech children traditionally wait for St Nicholas (dressed as a bishop with a massive hat & a cane, always accompanied by an angel & a devil) to come around to their house and providing the child was good, they receive a paper bag or a cone full of little gifts. If the child’s been naughty that year then they get a bag filled with pieces of coal or even get a few good spanks from the devil. The gifts St Nicholas usually brings are fruit (apples, nuts & oranges) or chocolates however as kids have become a little more demanding, the paper cones have started filling up with more materialistic treats. The gifts are still very small in size & super affordable (St Nicholas does walk around the whole town after all, that would bloody ruin him if every single kid wanted an Xbox). I’ve put together a list of a few different takes on St Nicholas’ gift bags (here‘s a quick DIY for the bags in the pictures) and because they are so little you can also use them as an inspiration for DIY advent calendars and as stocking fillers!
? The traditional ones
I’m not gonna lie – I’m a huge fan of the really traditional St Nicholas gifts. All the oranges, clementines, apples, brazil nuts… I remember once I got a starfruit when I was a kid & I was so blown away I can still vividly remember the excitement. But I can fully appreciate that a kid (or even an adult) today would probably tell you stick the starfruit where sun don’t shine (pardon my French!) so perhaps throw in some chocolates instead! Or even get a bunch of American candies they sell in Selfridges (dribble over here) – you can’t go wrong with fancy frosted pistachios or a huge tub of jelly beans!
? The ones with a load of history
To get a little more creative (especially when making gift bags for grown ups) you can make a St Nicholas package full of unique vintage bits & bobs. They are usually just a quid or two each and you can choose from sets of ornate cutlery to a one of a kind mug or a travel chess set. I usually look for these in my local curio shop, Sunday markets or eBay.
? The ones that sparkle
With the Christmas season just around the corner you can’t go wrong with a bunch of sparkly make-up products. Capital Hair & Beauty (browse here) have a pretty impressive range of glitter pots & nail polishes available (and they are super affordable – they have Orly too!). You can also pick up some beautiful glitter at your local NYX counter in Boots – I haven’t tried it but the glitter primer is apparently GOOD!
? The ones that bubble up but smell like cakes
You could go for the usual Lush bath bombs, they are the perfect stocking fillers – or you can be a little more adventurous and pick up a few cupcake bath bombs from Patisserie de Bain (look here). Don’t these cupcakes (and a doughnut!!) look so much better than the boring Lush ones? C’mon, you know they do!
? The colour coordinated ones
To give your gift bag or a stocking a bit of an edge you can colour coordinate everything in it! Rose gold is massive right now and if Zoeva brushes are not an option for you (they are a little pricey to be honest) then perhaps pick up a few bits for the kitchen – Wilkos are currently doing a whole range of rose gold pieces (see here), or this gorgeous rose gold curling tong (buy here).
? The musical ones
Generally people tend to think that musical instruments are an investment. Not necessarily – you can get a pretty little ukulele for about £30 from a music shop or even less than £15 off eBay (look here). You can also get music books & notes for those who are already playing an instrument. Or a mini harmonica which is only about £3 from a music shop and a quid off eBay (see here) & is so much fun!