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1. doll by SpringCopenhagen; springcopenhagen.com 2. saké cask by Japan Trend Shop; japantrendshop.com

Toys for tots

Christmas is best enjoyed through a child’s eyes but doting godparents and indulgent aunts and uncles should think carefully about whether it’s more screen time that the tots really need. What about a toy that’s well made and fires their imagination? Better yet, what about something that encourages them to use their hands, wits and creativity? It’s why this year we’ve focused on figures: a small (and not very fearsome) army of animals, softies, dolls and dragons. Maybe the Joneses bought little Dexter another games console but there’s plenty of time to discover backlit screens – children have their entire life to catch up on that. It’s game time – just play nicely.

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1. wooden horse by Kutulu; kutulu.cz 2. athena figurine by Playmobil; playmobil.com 3. whale by EO; eo.dk 4. dolls by SpringCopenhagen; springcopenhagen.com 5. dinosaur by Playmobil; playmobil.com 6. charizard by Pokémon; pokemon.com 7. moon nightlight by Moomin; moomin.com 8. wooden bird by Salakauppa; salakauppa.fi 9. cyclops figurine by Playmobil; playmobil.com 10. miffy nightlight by Miffy; miffyshop.co.uk 11. pikachu by Pokémon; pokemon.com 12. penguins by T-Lab; t-lab-japan.com 13. cuddly lemon by Jellycat; jellycat.com 14. odysseus figurine by Playmobil; playmobil.com 15. wooden elephants by Simple Shape; simple-shape.com 16. tin robot by Saint John; okla.co.uk

Prep well

The kitchen is the heart of the home and if you’re resolved to cook more and better then investing in some handsome and hardwearing kit is the first step. We’ve whipped up a comely selection of graters, trivets, cocottes and pans to make gifts for even the fussiest home chef. It could also come in handy if you’re thinking of treating yourself to some new knives or that rice cooker you’ve been hankering after.

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1. fox by Gisela Graham; giselagraham.co.uk, conranshop.co.uk 2. casserole dish by Sambonet; sambonet.it 3. spoons by Stelton; stelton.com 4. meat thermometer by Gefu; gefu.com 5. grill pan by Sambonet; sambonet.it 6. peeler by Swiss Advance; swiss-advance.com 7. strainer by Riess; riess.at 8. rice cooker by Native and Co; nativeandco.com 9. wooden spoon by Made In; madeincookware.com 10. knife by Opinel; opinel.com 11. saucepan by Eva Solo; evasolo.com 12. grater by Native and Co; nativeandco.com 13. notched rolling pin; by Totally Swedish; totallyswedish.com 14. measuring jug by Riess; riess.at 15. garlic press by Eva Solo; evasolo.com 16. trivet by Eva Solo; evasolo.com 17. knife by Native and Co; nativeandco.com 18. meat fork by Opinel; opinel.com 19. paring knife by Opinel; opinel.com 20. peeler by Opinel; opinel.com 21. pumpkin casserole dish by Le Creuset; lecreuset.com 22. saucepan by Native and Co; nativeandco.com 23. tongs by Sambonet; sambonet.it

Stock up

Anyone who’s hosted Christmas knows that someone will ask for the one ingredient you couldn’t find. This is where a well-stocked pantry comes into its own. Whether it’s something quick and hassle-free for the kids, a condiment to liven up leftovers or an ace-in-the-hole pandoro, we’ve scoured the best delis and speciality shops for the ingredients worth having to hand.

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1. indian lime pickle by The Picklery; littleduckpicklery.com 2. nougat by Demel; demel.com 3. chai tea by Teministeriet; teministeriet.com 4. tuna by Ortiz; conservasortiz.com 5. chilli flakes by Daphnis and Chloe; daphnisandchloe.com 6. fritada sauce by Brindisa; brindisa.com 7. mustard by Monty’s Deli; montys-deli.com 8. elderflower vinegar by Gimlet Bar; gimlet-bar.com 9. caramel corn by Tohato; tohato.jp 10. yuzu soy sauce by The Wasabi Company; thewasabicompany.co.uk 11. fleur de sel by Grand Cruz de Batz; grandcrudebatz.com 12. ponzu by Mizkan; mizkan.com 13. olive oil by River Café; rivercafe.co.uk 14. hot sauce by Shedletsky; shedletskysdeli.com 15. chai tea by Nemi Teas; nemiteas.com 16. rice by Arroz Calasparra; arrozdecalasparra.com 17. tuna by Arroyabe; arroyabe.com 18. chutney by Melrose and Morgan; melroseandmorgan.com 19. pandoro by Perbellini; pasticceriaperbellini.it 20. curtido by Shedletsky; shedletskysdeli.com 21. chocolate sardines by Simon Coll; simoncoll.com 22. olive oil by Nicolas Alziari; nicolas-alziari.com 23. gokujo genmaicha tea by Ippodo Tea; ippodo-tea.co.jp24. smoky honey mustard by Halen Môn; halenmon.com 25. rayu by White Mausu; whitemausu.com 26. bonito bonito flakes by Tanaka Foods; tanaka-foods.co.jp 27. mikawa Mirin by Clearspring; clearspring.co.uk 28. buckwheat noodles by Miura Foods; japancentre.com 29. anchovies by Abba; Abba.se 30. paté by Maison Argaud; maisonargaud.com

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1. napkins by Svenskt Tenn; svenskttenn.se 2. salt and pepper mills by Very Good and Proper; verygoodandproper.shop 3. side plate by Native and Co; nativeandco.com 4. fork by Sambonet; sambonet.it 5. salt bowl by Svenskt Tenn; svenskttenn.se 6. bottle coaster by Svenskt Tenn; svenskttenn.se 7. glass bowl and platter by Svenskt Tenn; svenskttenn.se 8. vase by Iittala; iittala.com 9. jug by A Vida Portuguesa; avidaportuguesa.com 10. runner by Svenskt Tenn; svenskttenn.se 11. white side plate by Iittala; iittala.com 12. sugar bowl by Sambonet; sambonet.it 13. trivet by Native and Co; nativeandco.com 14. wooden serving platters by Very Good and Proper; verygoodandproper.shop 15. fork by Sambonet; sambonet.it 16. candle holder by Svenskt Tenn; svenskttenn.se 17. fork by Kay Bojesen; kaybojesen.com 18. napkin ring by Svenskt Tenn; svenskttenn.se 19. plate by Native and Co; nativeandco.com 20. jug by A Vida Portuguesa; avidaportuguesa.com

Quartet of canapés

Whatever you’ve set your heart on for mains, don’t overlook the canapés. These deceptively easy-to-make mouthfuls are essentially edible adult Lego sets to be piled up and enjoyed with a liberal glug of something fizzy come Christmas morning – and into the new year. Our ideas include mini cheese straws, duck röstis, salmon blinis and bite-sized prawn cocktails. If you’re hungry for more sign up to the Monocle Weekend Editions – there’s a fuss-free recipe every Sunday – at monocle.com/minute

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1.

Mini cheese straws

Try flavouring your batch with lemon zest and cayenne pepper or Marmite.

2.

Röstis

Top with duck breast and a dark cherry, red wine and peppercorn sauce.

3.

Blinis

Pile on salmon caviar, pickled cucumber, sour cream and a sprig of dill.

4.

Prawn cocktail

Use baby gem lettuce as a base for marie rose sauce, avocado cubes and prawns.


Get the light right

The world is too full of abrasive leds that make the people beneath them look more like Halloween ghouls than Santa’s little helpers – we take a dim view. It’s why we’ve made a selection of lamps that cast a flattering and festive glow to help your home feel all the cosier.

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1. marset; marset.com 2. artemide; artemide.com 3. santa and cole; santacole.com 4. &tradition; andtradition.com 5. &tradition; andtradition.com 6. &tradition; andtradition.com 7. marset; marset.com 8. santa and cole; santacole.com 9. artemide; artemide.com 10. very good and proper; verygoodandproper.shop

Gorgeous gadgets

Most of monocle’s New Year’s resolutions involve wriggling out of our technology dependencies yet there’s still room in our stocking for things that improve our lives. From headphones to cameras, we suggest hardware that’s lo-fi and lovely to behold.

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1. synthesiser by Teenage Engineering; teenage.engineering 2. projector by Piqo; thepiqoprojector.com; selfridges.com 3. clock by Seiko; seiko-clock.com; conranshop.co.uk 4. coffee-making alarm clock by Joy Resolve; joyresolve.com 5. speaker by Bang and Olufsen; bang-olufsen.com 6. headphones by Bang and Olufsen; bang-olufsen.com 7. wireless-charging lamp by Koble; kobledesigns.com 8. portable espresso-maker by Wacaco; wacaco.com 9. photo printer by Polaroid; polaroid.com 10. wireless charger by Native Union; nativeunion.com 11. camera by Leica; leica.com 12. instant camera by Lomography; lomography.com 13. radio by Brionvega; brionvega.it

Jolly trolley

You know the drill. Fix your guests a cocktail, show them where the spirits are kept, pour wine when at the table and stay one drink behind them so you’re not the most muddled. The rest is entirely up to you.

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1. drinks trolley by USM; usm.com 2. whisky by Compass Box; compassboxwhisky.com 3. gin by Stockholms Bränneri; stockholmsbranneri.com 4. spiced tomato mix by The Pickle House; thepicklehouse.com 5. spiced rum by The Salford Rum Company; salfordrum.com 6. white wine by Domaine Matassa; salthousebottles.com 7. red wine by Vino di Anna; salthousebottles.com 8. whisky by Mackmyra; mackmyra.com 9. cocktail shaker by Sambonet; sambonet.it 10. cointreau by Cointreau.com 11. tonic water by Double Dutch; doubledutchdrinks.com 12. champagneglasses by David Mellor; davidmellordesign.com 13. glasses by Iittala; iittala.com 14. jigger by Sambonet; sambonet.it 15. bar set by Stelton; stelton.com

Finishing with finesse

How you give a gift matters (almost) as much as what’s inside. A carefully cocooned present shows that you care about the recipient, that you take pride in giving and get the idea that the ritual of wrapping matters. Whether you’re doling out a present to a toddler (who, let’s face it, isn’t in it for the paper) or gifting granny that hat she’s been hinting at, take care to really take care. A little crisp paper, twine and sharp scissors can go a long way.

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1. cambridge imprint;cambridgeimprint.co.uk 2. molly mahon; mollymahon.com 3. cambridge imprint; cambridgeimprint.co.uk 4. wrap; wrapmagazine.com 5. penco; hightide.co.jp 6. choosing keeping; choosingkeeping.com 7. scissors by Hobbycraft; hobbycraft.co.uk 8. choosing keeping; choosingkeeping.com 9. bridie hall; bridiehall.com 10. pentreath and hall; pentreath-hall.com 11. bridie hall; bridiehall.com 12. pentreath and hall; pentreath-hall.com

Always say thank you

Say it. Everyone knows that. But mean it: whether or not you really wanted the leather jacket or just grinned through the opening for Aunt Greta’s sake. If 2020 taught us anything it’s that time together matters much more than gifts or gaudy celebrations. A simple “thank you” for all of the things that went our way (and the gifts we received, in whatever form) is a powerful message to take from this messy year into the next – with a little hope and humility. Speaking of which, thank you for reading.

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1. note cards by Smythson;smythson.com; 2. brass fountain pen by Midori; midori-japan.co.jp, quilllondon.com

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