With December on our door step, one thing seems to embrace our minds CHRISTMAS…. Tis the season to get organised and get shopping and fulfil that “to-do” list before the mad rush.
Winter Wonderland has monopolised Hyde Park, fairy lights are twinkling in the evening skyline and Christmas Carols are filling the stores and radio airwaves. The Christmas school holidays are only a couple of weeks away and whether you are lucky enough to be going away or enjoying a traditional family Christmas at home, the one thing on everyone’s mind is GIFTING and what to give to whom!
Our special contributor this month is the wonderful Caroline Stanbury.
Caroline is a London-born Dubai resident, where she moved with her husband and children following her breakout success on bravo’ tv’s ‘Ladies of London’.
As an ambassador for many brands in the UK and UAE, her highest achieving role is currently as ambassador and spokeswoman for NMC healthcare, the 4th largest health care company in the world. She is also contributing editor and columnist for hello! Middle east with her own column ‘Currently Caroline’.
Caroline has also partnered with the UAE’s hottest radio host, virgin’s Kris Fade for ‘Kris Fade and Caroline Stanbury’s not so epic podcast’ featuring celebrity guests such as Nicole Scherzinger.
Q: WHAT’S THE BEST GIFT FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS EVERYTHING?
CS: An experience, rather than something tangible – it can be anything, a holiday, a spa day, dinner at their favourite restaurant…. And giving someone your time, one on one, nothing is more precious.
Q: YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE A LOT OF GIRLFRIENDS – HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME/MONEY / RESOURCES TO BUY PRESENTS FOR THEM ALL?
CS: I don’t buy physical gifts for absolutely every friend so for those I don’t, instead I’ll take them to dinner, lunch, drinks – something which means I have to be present. And when that’s not an option, a platform like Storcx is perfect! Gifting as a group is hard and, at times, stressful but Storcx makes it easier.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON GIFTING EXPERIENCES RATHER THAN PHYSICAL GIFTS?
CS: As much as I love seeing the delight on someone’s face when they get a physical gift they really want (shoes, bag, diamond…), I do think experiences count for more, you take those with you forever. Some can even change you completely, that’s the beauty of experiences.
Q: HOW AND WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR GIFTS?
CS: If it’s something hard to source, I often use Gabby Waller who is based in Australia – she can find anything!
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR TOP PRESENTS THIS YEAR FOR MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN?
CS: Women – thoughtfulness – I really think women just love when a gift comes from somewhere of meaning! When someone has taken the time to understand what you like, it really resonates.Men – I’ve noticed that more men are being honest about enjoying fashion and well-made, luxury goods but they still don’t seem to shop for their wardrobe as often as women do. So, the gift of something bespoke and well-made is usually fail-safe.
Children – I think the important thing with children’s gifts is that they can be something they can do alone. It’s no fun having to find someone else to want to play your game as much as you do so if it’s something they can do alone such as Lego, they get that feeling of accomplishment once it’s done too. Kids are so easily pacified with electronics these days but it’s often the back to basics items that give the most joy.
Q: WHAT DOES YOUR HOUSEHOLD DO FOR CHRISTMAS? DO YOU HAVE SPECIAL TRADITIONS?
CS: We always have a Christmas eve dinner which includes roast ham with all of the trimmings. Then the kids get to open one or two presents early depending on how generous I’m feeling. Christmas morning the kids run in at 5am to rip open their stocking presents, we all have a big breakfast together with the leftover ham from Christmas Eve and a full spread and then open the tree gifts before everyone comes over.
Q: WHAT’S THE FUNNIEST/BIGGEST FAUX PAS EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE EVER HAD OVER THE HOLIDAY PERIOD?
CS: My brother and I were doing our Santa Claus duties and got we got a little jolly on the Christmas eggnog. We fell over just about anything and everything we could when we were filling the kid’s stockings. Not something that is to be repeated.
Q: LOOKING BACK DO YOU LAUGH AT IT NOW?
CS: It was fun bonding experience and you have to be able to laugh, you can’t take life too seriously. And often, they end up being good stories, don’t they?
Q: WHAT’S THE BEST GIFT YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
CS: Jem gave me some very special gifts when I gave birth to my children, I will always hold them dear.
We thought we would embrace all that is British this Christmas and remind all our international readers and users of the Best of British at Christmas with our top Christmas traditions.
1. SENDING CHRISTMAS CARDS
Sending Christmas Cards to your friends and family is an old English Tradition, originating in 1843, purely as a means in which to encourage people to use the newly founded Public Records Office (now the Post Office). Now it has become a ritual for most, and something to kick off the Christmas season with. Whether it’s a family picture, something more traditional or a charity card, no home would feel like Christmas in the UK without a scattering of cards dusted about.
2. CHRISTMAS TREE & DECORATIONS
No Christmas is complete in England without the presence of a Christmas Tree. A family outing to go and pick collect your tree mid-end December is an essential part of the season. Decorating your tree with Christmas baubles and magical fairy lights has become a family activity and seeing the piles of presents pile up underneath fills any child with glee!
3. CHRISTMAS CAROLS & CONCERTS
At the beginning of December, you will start to hear Christmas Carols being sung in department stores, places of worship & on the radio. Carols originate from pagan times and the practice of carol singing carried over into the Christian era. Traditionally church choir groups would go door to door singing carols to collect money for their church or parish.
4. MINCE PIES & CHRISTMAS PUDDING
Love them or hate them mice pies and Christmas pudding are part of a traditional English Christmas. Mice Pies were originally bought back from the Middle East by the Crusaders and had 13 ingredients representing Christ and the Apostles.
5. CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS
Originating from Europe the tradition of the stocking goes back to the 1800’s. In England they are usually left at the end of your bed for Santa to fill while you are sleeping.
6. HOLLY AND IVY
Synonymous with Christmas and the subject of a traditional British folk carol, both holly and ivy were originally used in pre-Christian times to celebrate the winter solstice. As they provide a rare splash of colour in the darkest month of the year, their popularity has endured.
Hanging mistletoe in the home is an ancient pagan practice adopted by early Christians. The word itself is Anglo-Saxon and the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe originated in England. E
8. THE QUEENS SPEECH
The first Christmas Broadcast was delivered by George V in 1932 and since then has evolved into an important part of the Christmas Day celebrations for many in Britain and around the world. Each Broadcast carefully reflects current issues and concerns, and shares The Queen’s reflections on what Christmas means to her and to many of her listeners. Over the years, the Christmas Broadcast has acted as a chronicle of global, national and personal events which have affected The Queen and her audience.
STORCX WINS THE GOOD WEB GUIDE AWARD FOR BEST START UP 2019
We are thrilled to announce that STORCX has won Best Start Up 2019 as voted by The Good Web Guide in their annual Mission Awards ceremony 2019.
We would like to thank everyone who has helped us get to where we are and we are excited for the next chapter of our journey. We know this is just the beginning and we are looking forward to the future of STORCX.
DECEMBER GIFTING GUIDE
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE
AISHA & ABHAYA
TICKETS FROM £3.00
PHOEBE DICKINSON PAINT WORKSHOP
VILLA CETINALE APRIL 17- 23RD 2020
LE TOY VAN
PALACE DOLL HOUSE
LARGE ZIPPED TOTE
WOOL TWEED & GOLD-TONED METAL
PITTI WOOL COAT
CHRISTMAS IN LEICESTER SQUARE
8th November to 5th January
Experience a magical Christmas market in Leicester Square, plus unique Christmas shows for all the family
HOGWARTS IN THE SNOW AT
WARNER BROS. STUDIO TOUR LONDON
16th November to 26th January
Travel on a magical adventure through the Warner Brother set of Harty Potter.
21ST November – 6TH January
London Hyde Park
No December is complete without a visit to the magic and excitement that is Winter Wonderland. With rides and games for ALL the family, WW kicks off the Christmas season with style and energy!
WINTER AT THE SOUTHBANK CENTRE
8th November to 5th January
London Southbank SE1
Fun-filled family shows, festive goodies at our markets and pop-ups, twinkling lights, dazzling comedy and cabaret – with more seasonal delights than you can shake a stocking at, Southbank Centre in winter is truly magical.
CHRISTMAS AT KEW
20th November to 5th January
Kew Gardens TW9 3AB
Enjoy an exciting tour around Kew Gardens in the dark under the twinkle of the stars filled with sparkling Christmas lights and magical illuminate paths.
LONDON NEW YEARS EVE FIREWORKS
Thames Riverside, Central London, SE1
Enjoy one of the world’s most famous NYE celebrations full of unmissable moments and staggering fireworks!
Remember Keep Life Simple – #storcxit xx