Stocking fillers can be stressful. Often they are gifts that you buy out of obligation. The kind you get for the office Secret Santa (are we really doing that this year?) or for slightly obscure family members who you are not all that close to but still frightened of offending. A stocking filler should still feel special and, if at all possible, selected with its recipient in mind.
They are also an opportunity to buy something lovely, even when your budget is limited. If it isn’t, there is no shortage of lovely expensive things too. This year the stocking filler takes on a new meaning. You might want to buy something for someone you might usually see at Christmas but know you won’t be with this time. Suddenly, stocking fillers are a weightier gesture, even if they’re small.
Caudalie Vinosource Hydration Mini Cracker (€11 at Arnotts) is a foolproof skincare stocking filler. The products inside are universally lovable – a serum, moisturiser and comforting lip balm. If your recipient has a face to put these mini products on, they will appreciate this cracker.
Decree is a high-end doctor brand loved by impossibly glamorous people like Nigella Lawson, so you know it's good. Decree PM Mini Essentials Christmas Set (€95 at thedecree.com) is like their evening skincare tasting menu. The Peptide Emollient Veil moisturiser is a particular highlight. Yes, this is a rather pricey stocking filler but I suppose that all depends on the size of your stocking.
There is something unspeakably delightful about tiny products and there is no more charming mini in existence than a lipstick. For an easy make-up gift, try NARS Soft Lust Mini Lip & Blush Duo (€22 at brownthomas.com). The deep rosy pink blush and lipstick will suit almost everyone and make you look how any gift-giver should – informed, tasteful and slightly edgy.
If buying Irish is a priority for you this year, there is thankfully no dearth of wonderful home-grown and -produced beauty brands to choose from. Dublin Herbalist Hand Cream Gift Set (€27 at dublinherbalists.ie) is a great option if you want a gift that is small but substantial, and that feels practical – especially given the constant hand sanitising that has become a feature of everyday life. This set contains three fragrant hand creams, each a different blend containing bergamot. All are fresh, hydrating and lovely and give someone a comforting, practical solution to dry hands that supports our Irish beauty economy.
Another Irish gift set that will be too substantial for all but the heftiest stockings and is best kept for someone you really want to impress is Oxmantown Skincare Hydration Heroes Facial Kit (€95 at oxmantownskincare.ie). This set is ideal for dry and dehydrated skin and is hand-made in Dublin's Stoneybatter by brand founder Amy Cahill. Papaya Cleansing Balm is tucked in there with a Rose & Neroli Hydrating Facial Mist, Regenerating Facial Oil and Hydrating Rosehip Face Cream. The products are rich, effective and unapologetically beautiful. There are other sets to choose from.