December 1st 2022
Short on ideas for this year’s stocking fillers? You’re in the right place!
Chief Sub-Editor Rosie Morton knows exactly what’s on her Christmas wish-list… With less than a month to go until the Jolly Old Man In Red makes his appearance, she has compiled her top ten must-haves for 2022:
1: Johnstons of Elgin
I want it because: Firstly, let’s talk about cashmere! Hear me out, because these have quite simply changed my entire evening experience. Aside from being exquisitely soft to the touch, cashmere is a natural thermal regulator (keeping you cool when it’s hot, and vice versa) and has natural antibacterial properties, meaning that your socks will require less frequent laundering than those made with synthetic fibres.
Johnstons of Elgin also has a 225-year Scottish heritage and an extraordinary, worldwide reputation for quality garments that (if cared for) will last far longer than synthetic equivalents. Each garment is handled with incredible care by tens of experts before it is ready to be worn.
Useful for: Put these on after a long, hot shower and you will never want to take them off. (Nor will you ever return to nylon bed socks…)
High point: These feel like an enduring, warm hug around your feet and the ankle cuff is just snug enough to keep the draughts out. Johnstons of Elgin cashmere socks (available for both men and women) are such a luxurious treat. Buy them for your mum, your sister, your brother, dad, grandparents, friends – everyone. They will thank you a million times over, I promise. These are a reminder of what top quality craftsmanship really is.
Low point: Other than not having them in every colour? Absolutely none.
2: The Coorie Company
I want it because: I’m always on the lookout for unique Scottish businesses, and the fact that these soy wax candles are eco-friendly and inspired by the landscape is a big bonus. I happened across The Coorie Company at this year’s Moy Game Fair, and the founder Sarah Smith had an infectious enthusiasm for these rose gold candle tins. They look beautiful and smell utterly divine – what’s not to love?
Useful for: Looking for a wee gift for your Christmas host? Don’t know what to get your tricky-to-buy-for sister? This is a really lovely, local option.
High point: They come with a wick which is made of pure cotton with thin paper filaments for a more stable and consistent burn. It’s a beautiful, slow burning candle that will last for around 45 hours, and the sweet Mulled Pear & Cranberry scent fills the entire room very quickly. As the name ‘coorie’ suggests this is all about being happy and cosy – and doing it the Scottish way.
Low point: The Mulled Pear & Cranberry is very sweet, so if that’s not for you there are plenty of other scents (including Spiced Pumpkin, Wild Fig & Cassis, Golden Berries & Frankincense, and Clementine & Chamomile).
3: Mary Berry At Home
What is it? Mary Berry At Home Six-Piece Double-Sided Cookie Cutters, RRP £15.95, www.hartsofstur.com
I want it because: We all know that Dame Mary Berry is the Queen of Cakes is, so who better to trust when it comes to buying baking equipment? Created, tried and tested by the former Great British Bake Off judge herself, these cutters vary in size and can produce both a fluted and a smooth edge.
Useful for: Gifting to the Bake Off addict of the family. The added bonus? You’re likely to enjoy the spoils/subsequent cookie creations.
High point: They’re incredibly easy to use, the mixture of stainless steal and tin makes for easy cleaning, and they can be stowed away neatly in the storage tin.
Low point: None.
4: NEOM Organics
I want it because: Who doesn’t enjoy walking into a room that smells like Christmas?
NEOM Organics founder, Nicole Elliott trained to become an aromatherapist after spending seven years working 60-hour weeks as a journalist, and so her knowledge of essential oils and their unique properties is extensive.
Useful for: Popping in a drawer, hanging on a door handle, or even decorating the Christmas tree.
High point: The Christmas Wish De-Stress Essential Oil Blend included in this set (with notes of mandarin, spicy cinnamon and rich tonka bean) isn’t overpowering. This is a simple, attractive way of adding to the overall festive feel in your home.
Low point: The scent needs topped up quite frequently, but that’s hardly an onerous task (especially when the result is so wonderful).
5. The Highland Chocolatier
I want it because: It isn’t Christmas without chocolate, and this guided tasting flight includes the Best Dark Truffle in the world! (No, really. Iain Burnett, The Highland Chocolatier has twice been awarded the World’s Best Truffle from thousands of chocolates from over 40 countries, judged by world-class chefs, sommeliers and food experts at the International Chocolate Awards).
Iain’s chocolates have graced the tables of both royalty and the biggest names in the culinary industry, so this promises to be a show-stopping stocking filler for the chocolate fiend of the family. Combining fresh, local cream with rare cocoa, Iain believes in investing in natural processes to avoid the need for additives. This is a serious upgrade from the usual chocolate coins!
Useful for: Chocolate makes the world go round, so this could only ever brighten up Christmas morning.
High point: This is about slowing down and savouring the moment. The guided tasting audios online (led by Iain himself) walk you through the flavour profiles of each chocolate, allowing you to really enjoy each morsel. It’s a lovely gift for the person who has been run off their feet, cooking or prepping for Christmas, giving them an excuse to put their feet up for a few hours.
Dark chocolate isn’t my usual go-to, but after experiencing Iain’s chocolates which are made with care, time and attention to detail, I can’t stop raving about them! (Just wait until you get to the smooth gianduja praline…) They are also beautifully presented in an elegant red box with gold writing.
Low point: You’ll need to find yourself a quiet corner so there’s no danger of having to share… Does that count?
6: Modern Standard Coffee
I want it because: Christmas morning simply can’t begin without ample supply of caffeine and Modern Standard Coffee is a speciality roaster that aims to ethically source coffee by cutting out the middle man and reducing unnecessary transportation.
Being as green as possible is at the heart of this brand. Each day, for instance, they produce over 100 litres of coffee chaf – a nutrient-rich bi-product that is created during the roasting process. They donate this to local community gardens to enrich their compost and give some to Trees for Cities which is used when planting new trees. All that wrapped up in your morning cuppa? Sounds good to me.
Useful for: Rallying the troops on Christmas morning. Even Santa needs a caffeine hit on the big day.
High point: This blend was chosen for the brand’s 2022 Christmas Coffee because of its clarity of flavour. There are gorgeous notes of cinnamon and clove, mixed with sweet orange (which, I might add, is the perfect pairing for an orange, cranberry and cinnamon Christmas Breakfast Muffin. Thank you, Nigella).
Low point: Not really a low point, but make sure you select the right option for your loved ones, whether that’s cafetière grind, espresso grind, pour-over grind or whole bean.
I want it because: Winter is here and the outdoor training sessions are getting chillier and wetter by the day. As a keen rower based in Scotland, I spend much of my time in soggy kit, so if I can keep the extremities warm and dry, that’s a massive win.
Over the course of the brand’s 25-year history, Sealskinz products have been put to the test on Everest, in Antarctica, in Alaska, and are even used and trusted by the British military. If these products can withstand such treacherous conditions, it can certainly do the job along the River Tay. They also offer a lifetime waterproof guarantee.
Useful for: The socks keep you warm in cold conditions, and cool in warmer climes, meaning they are incredibly useful all year round. I use them for rowing, but they would be equally good for open water swimming, kayaking, surfing, canoeing… I’m also prone to going in over my wellies, so these act as a secondary barrier for when the inevitable happens. The hat, meanwhile, has been created for extremely cold weather conditions.
High point: These products really are quite unbelievable. I can wade into the water in my socks and not a drop is let through. Equally, the waterproof hat is probably the warmest I own. Both products can be thrown into the washing machine (30°C for the hat, 40°C for the socks) and they come out smiling every time.
Low point: The hat isn’t the softest, but this is a case of substance (and practicality) over style!
8. Gin Bothy
I want it because: Having been introduced to the brand a few years ago, I am a total Gin Bothy convert. Founded by Kim Cameron and based in the Angus Glens of Scotland, Gin Bothy products are made using traditional methods, with each bottle numbered, batched and poured by hand. What’s more, all of their ingredients (whether fresh Scottish berries, rhubarb or pine needles) are sourced locally.
Useful for: Getting the party started! I used the Gunshot Gin to make a delicious mulled drink (warming it through in a pan with cinnamon sticks, cloves, oranges and ginger ale) and it was the perfect tipple for enjoying round the fire pit. The Hipflask Sloe Bramble Liqueur is also a lovely option after a long day on the hill. (The bottle is even hipflask-shaped so fits neatly in your pocket… It’s all in the detail).
High point: Generally I don’t reach for sweetened gins, but Gunshot strikes a perfect balance of sugar and spice. I don’t know anyone whose drinks shelf hasn’t been significantly improved by the addition of Gunshot. Fact. (My entire family is now completely sold on it).
Low point: Disclaimer: the 5cl bottles that are contained within the crackers will likely lead you to buying the entire 70cl bottle…
I want it because: Since 1931, OLVERUM has enjoyed an incredible reputation for being the go-to for essential oils. Created by winemaker Franz Otto Klein and his wife Edith, a pharmacologist, their bath oil came to fruition after they curated a collection of some of the world’s finest essential oils. They were both fascinated by the oils’ therapeutic qualities, particularly their ability to heal body and mind.
OLVERUM oils are also used by a host of celebrities and are known to be enjoyed by the royal family. If it’s good enough for them…?
Useful for: Five minutes’ peace.
High point: The Bath Oil is like therapy in a bottle! If you struggle to switch off after a long day at work, this could well be the answer. It is strong on eucalyptus (a personal favourite), and is mixed with heavenly aromas of rosemary, lavender and lime. I also find that it helps soothe tired, achy muscles after training.
The Body Cleanser contains avocado oil which is said to restore the suppleness of your skin by moisturising dry, compromised skin. It is also scented with the signature blend of essentials oils that is synonymous with their much-loved Bath Oil. It took five years to develop this cleanser, and I do believe it was worth the wait.
Low point: None. The Bath Oil is in a league of its own.
I want it because: A cup of festive cheer never goes amiss.
Useful for: If you’re not sure which flavour of tea your loved one might enjoy, this is a great option.
There are 5 x 2.5g sachets of loose leaf teas included: Keep The Heid, with Assam & Darjeeling black tea, Scottish heather flowers and meadowsweet; Chocolate Orange Pu’erth, with cocoa shells, orange peel and cocoa drops; Positivitea, with green and oolong tea, dragon fruit, pink pepper, raspberries, chamomile flowers and blackberries; White Peach, with white peony tea and natural peach; and Winter Bakes Apple & Almond, with sweet apple, yellow sultanas, cinnamon, pear, almond and orange blossom.
High point: Included in the cracker are five self-fill tea bags. (Your loved one doesn’t need to have an infuser).
Low point: They are taster-sized sachets and leave you wanting more…
For more Christmas Stocking Filler ideas, why not check out what Editor Richard Bath has on his wish-list?
Plus, don’t miss the December issue of Scottish Field magazine.(Source : https://www.scottishfield.co.uk)