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Pair pretty with practical for the perfect gift

The most modest gifts—thoughtfully chosen—can draw a hugely happy response. Give me, for example, decent wool socks and we’ll be friends for life. Sometimes, though, the impulse is to make a grander gesture—whether it’s for a special occasion, or a special person. If the heart wills it and the budget will bear it, you can go a step further by combining the two—creating a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming moment for the recipient. Ideally, both types of gifts will last a long time, and give people lots of small pleasure over time.* Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing ideas for this kind of gifting; pairing an affordable item that’s welcome on its own with a thematically-related stand-out option. Make them a duo for anyone who’s been extra good this year—or who you love to pieces.

* Unless they are delectable consumables with short but delicious reward. That’s a worthy offering at any time of year. Keep an eye out for my ginger cookie with maple syrup and hazelnut glaze recipe, btw. Cheap and delicious.

Here’s my first grouping. The theme is rest and relaxation.

I absolutely adore the Aromatherapy Spa Mask from Magic Bag. This satiny pink eye mask comes with an insertable pad filled with organic flax seeds and either Lavender or Eucalyptus essential oils. It can be cooled in the freezer (good for headaches) or warmed (carefully!) in the microwave. Lavender promotes relaxation, while Eucalyptus is good for clearing sinuses.

For me, both are a divine way to relax for five to ten minutes twice a day. The mask also helps my age-related dry eye condition. A wonderfully affordable ($22) everyday luxury. These babies are flying off the shelves, so if you see them, grab two—one for a friend or relative, and one for you.

Product was supplied to me to test from Magic Bag.

Stonewashed linen bedding is a higher-ticket gift. That’s fitting. Because making it is more labour-intensive than cotton, and that adds to cost. But growing flax for linen also uses far less water than does cotton. Linen also gets sustainability points in that if properly cared for, it can last for several decades. The rules are pretty simple—machine wash cool and hang on a line or over doorways to dry. If you must, tumble on low using wool dryer balls. Avoid bleach and don’t use fabric softener.

Linen is wonderful to sleep under or on. Widely-woven fibres allow efficient air circulation, which increases breathability and comfort in any season. I recently gave someone I love a supplied sample of stonewashed linen from Envello, the Canadian brand led by Sheryn Saab. Her new linen line, manufactured in Portugal, perfectly captures the casual elegance of linen, both in design and palette. There are duvet covers, fitted sheets and pillowcases. For me, it’s a perfect offering. In the summer, an empty duvet cover serves instead of a sheet and light cover, and in the winter, it works wonderfully well as a heavier sheet with a lightweight wool blanket.

TIP: Change sheets once a week for a better sleep, and change pillowcases mid-week. Not only will you feel fresher, but you won’t be pressing your face against a fabric that’s covered in dead skins cells and facial oils (sorry, folks, I don’t make the news, I just report it.)

The low-key luxe comes partly from Saab’s deftness with colour. I am completely enamored with the Blush pink she chose for her stonewashed linen. If you wanted to add  other bedwear, there are percale sheets in several versatile shades to choose from. This summer, I saw a sage green that was awfully pretty with the more neutral blush. Product comes in lovely cotton and linen bags with drawstring tops. Pre-wrapped, you might say. And so useful later on, for travelling, shopping, and storing.

Great gifts on their own, don’t you think? But combined—out of this world, right? Who would you like to give either or both as a gift? The answer can be you, of course.

Featured image courtesy of envello, who also sent me product samples. This is not a sponsored post.

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