What should you buy the women in your life this Christmas?

Marian Keyes, Laura Kennedy and the Women’s Podcast book club reveal all

Do not buy somebody a Christmas present just because you think it’s fabulous and would love it for yourself.

That is the golden rule of gift-giving according to Marian Keyes, on the Irish Times Women's Podcast.

The author does not "do" Christmas herself, but she joined Irish Times beauty writer Laura Kennedy and the Women's Podcast's book club to provide some inspiration for those struggling with their festive shopping lists.

If there is a woman in your life who loves cats, then Karl Lagerfeld has you sorted, says Keyes. His website has a full section dedicated to furry felines, inspired by his beloved pet Choupett.


For the beauty conscious, Rihanna’s Fenty line of makeup provides no end of delicious options, but if you have to go for just one, then make it her Stunna lipstick.

Most charities issue Christmas appeals and for the more socially conscious in your life you can send a cow to Africa with Bóthar, make a donation in their name to Unicef’s Winter Appeal, buy sanitary products and deliver them to the Homeless Period Dublin project, or countless other good causes.

Few are more knowledgeable when it comes to beauty products than Laura Kennedy, but she widened her remit for the podcast.

If you have a board game enthusiast in your life, Watson and Holmes, a game of deduction set within the works of Arthur Conan Doyle, is Kennedy’s first choice for them.

Pyjamas are always a good option, as are scented candles. She recommends the Irish brand Cloon Keen.

What do you get for the person who has everything? An avocado hugger, says Róisín Ingle.

It can be tricky to buy books as gifts, unless you are fairly sure you know what the person has read this year.

On the latest Women's Podcast, the learned book club of Irish Times journalists Bernice Harrison and Niamh Towey, along with Ann Ingle, put together a list of their favourite reads in the last twelve months and which ones they think would make great stocking fillers.

Ann Ingle made some 'oldie-but-a-goodie' recommendations, beginning with Elena Ferrante's series of four books, starting with My Brilliant Friend.

Ingle is hoping to get her grandchildren in America thinking about life with the "well written and easy to read" books of Matt Haig, How to Stop Time and Humans. For herself, she would be very pleased to find Dawn French's interactive non-fiction book, You. Me. A Diary, which is a personal planner combined with writings from French about what she has learned in her 60 years on the earth.

Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling, by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen gets a few nods from the book club, including from Niamh Towey, who also delved into the archive to recommend Margaret Attwood's classic dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale.

Another popular choice on the podcast was I Found My Tribe by Wicklow writer Ruth Fitzmaurice, about her life with her late husband, the film-maker Simon Fitzmaurice and their five children and about the importance of sea-swimming for her.

Bernice Harrison thinks young women will love Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends and that the debut novel by the young Irish writer will have the same longevity as Edna O'Brien's The Country Girls.

Other books which Harrison enjoyed this year were Jon McGregor's Reservoir 13, Ann Patchett's Commonwealth and the most recent one to be reviewed by the Women's Podcast book club, Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach.

To hear all of the recommendations from the Women's Podcast, go to www.irishtimes.com/podcasts

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