Even though Easter celebrations this year are likely to be a little quieter than usual, we still think it’s lovely to mark the occasion and connect with family near or far, even if it’s just in a small way. So, we’ve brought together a few of our favourite gifting ideas – from snail mail subscriptions to hand-arranged ‘hampers’ – with designs from our own collection and those of a handful of independent businesses. Simply pop in the post or leave on a nearby friend’s doorstep to brighten their day.
For the dedicated and the would-be gardener
Now that the weather’s finally on the up and our gardens look set to play an important role in our lives over the weeks and months to come, a gardening gift will be appreciated whether the recipient is especially green-fingered or not. Either way, we’d suggest starting with one of our Littleton baskets – with their metal linings, they’ll make the perfect vessel to gather your gardener’s hamper in as they can be planted up afterwards. Then, choose your fillings depending on your loved one’s experience: a hand-trowel and fork for the just-starting-out (we particularly like the handmade copper ones from The Future Kept) or some specialist Japanese tools for pros (try Wood & Meadow). Then, add seeds (Grace Alexander’s are beautifully packaged in handmade paper envelopes), a gardening journal like Bloom or Hortus (both available from Magalleria) and that essential for all hardworking hands, a tube of extra-moisturising hand cream.
For the bread-baker and the cake-maker
For the person in your life that’ll love nothing more than a spot of Easter baking, we’d start off with a mixing bowl – you can never have too many. Our large Bayham serving bowl is handmade by potter Rebecca Williams and would work perfectly, or else our new Lewes stoneware collection includes a lipped bowl that’s ideal for pouring out pancake and cake batter. Then, pop in a cotton apron in a sunny, spring-appropriate shade of yellow, a few jars filled with spice blends and flavoured sugars (we especially like Steenbergs’), a cookbook (‘Aran’ by Flora Shedden and ‘Beatrix Bakes’ by Natalie Paull are two that are topping our must-have list at the moment), and a useful piece of kit, like Iris Hantverk’s oiled birch dough scraper (available from Objects of Use).
For the one whose nose is always in a book
We can’t imagine any avid reader not being thrilled with a carefully-curated book subscription landing on their doorstep each month, and never more so than right now when there’s ample time to devote to reading – and when it’s especially lovely to have something to look forward to.
Some favourite services that the Neptune team have tried include: Mr B’s Reading Subscription, where the Bath-based bookshop will send the recipient a questionnaire and then hand-pick the titles that’ll appeal to them most; The Willoughby Book Club, where you can choose from selections for cooks, gardeners, contemporary fiction-lovers or even couples (a subscription that includes two of the same book each month), and where they also donate a book to Book Aid International for each subscription; and ‘A Book a Month’ from Persephone Books, a London-based independent whose publications (all beautifully presented in pale grey jackets with patterned end papers) focus on lesser-known mid-20th-century writers.
Or, if you’d like to send your recipient’s books all at once, why not get in touch with your local independent bookshop (you can find your nearest here), give them a budget and ask them to pick out the titles that they think will suit best? Many will even gift-wrap them for you too. It’s an idea we picked up from writer Jo Rodgers, who recently posted that she’d done just that on Instagram (and whose account, incidentally, is an excellent place to head to for book recommendations).
For the working-from-home
If you know someone whose daily commute has recently become much shorter, more bed to kitchen table than home to office, then a collection of beautifully-designed stationery will help make the whole experience of getting their home workspace organised that little bit more enjoyable.
Start this time with a basket they can use for tidying paperwork or desktop bits and bobs, like one of our sturdy-sided Ashcroft box trays. Then, look online to shops like Choosing Keeping and Present & Correct to fill it with essentials that feel anything but basic. Think notebooks with block-printed covers or marbled edges, brass pencil holders, artfully-shaped paperclips and ceramic pen pots. Finish off with a prettily-patterned mug and artisan loose-leaf tea and they’ll be all set to enjoy their mid-morning break too.