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Happy Hannukah, and some junk

Keep the Han in HannukahHappy Hannukah, for folks who are celebrating tonight. I have an atheist Jewish husband, so we may or may not do anything holiday-ish, but I love holidays, so I always celebrate them in my heart. Z Budapest once pointed out that if we celebrated all the holidays we could, there would be no time for hate or war, and I agree with her.

Christmas is coming (or as I always think of it, Xmas, because my family are not Christians either – as my brother once famously said, “I’m sure this Jesus guy was great, but let it go!”), and in my non-Christian household, that means mostly presents and food. I’m having fun planning a brunch for a friend of mine who will visit during the week before New Year’s (almond-flour coffee cake and bacon, if you’re interested) and plotting to consume Godiva chocolates despite my usual sugar-free lifestyle. (Godiva, sadly, no longer makes sugar-free chocolates.)

Perfume is hard in the realm of gift-giving. My post on “Never give perfume” is still one of the most popular search-term-finds on this website, and I suspect it’s because people wonder every year: should I get that person this bottle of juice?

If your friend is a real perfumista, you really shouldn’t. There are certainly bottles of juice I’d appreciate having, but even I can’t really remember what they all are from day to day, and the list changes so frequently. And really they’re things I’d APPRECIATE having, but not things I’d go gaga for when I opened the box (though I’m sure there’s something I’d go gaga for, right now I can’t really name anything.)

I also have great holiday juju, which means that no matter what I’m wishing for, no matter how hard it is to find, someone out there in the world is trotting it out for the holiday sales or swaps. I had ONE perfume wish this season, for some more Le Labo Gaiac 10, and a holiday fairy is actually sending me some, courtesy of the holiday fairy post over at Perfume Posse. (I also found a wish I could grant and there’s a package from me winging its way to another lucky yearner out there in the world… and thus continues the great Perfume Circle of Life.) That is just to say, how likely is any random non-perfume-fan friend to land upon the one thing I yearn for but haven’t yet acquired?

If you ARE a perfumista, then it’s easy: pass along some samples or decants you don’t want to give a home to any more. Perfumistas are never short of things to give each other: the circulation of juice is the lifeblood of the community. Even a treasure-hoarder like me tends to build up small piles of things to Pass Along, and holiday season is as good a time as any to pass them along. In my book no perfumista should ever feel bad about receiving samples, decants, or even full bottles from other perfumistas, because let’s face it, not too far down the road you’re going to be passing some juice along to someone else, and karma just means that if you keep the juice moving to any tiny extent, some of it is going to be coming your way.

For non-perfume-fan gift-giving to perfumistas, however, gift certificates are always a pleasure. If you know someone has a favorite store that stocks good quality perfume (like I like Nordstrom, for instance, where I have acquired L’Ambre des Merveilles and Womanity Fragrance of Leather, and fully expect Jour d’Hermes to show up in the spring), that’s probably a better choice than all-purpose Sephora, though Sephora is stocking the L’Artisan line now. Sephora is not likely to have the perfume your perfumista friend is dying to own, but Nordstrom – or a great perfume reseller like Beautyhabit.com – will. The other benefit of Beautyhabit.com is that you don’t have to be anywhere near a physical store, though if you are near enough to shop at, say, MiN, you can also make your own gift certificate (even though they don’t appear to offer one) by promising your friend a shopping trip with a $DOLLAR AMOUNT purchase when you go. (Do specify the dollar amount, just as if you were buying a real gift certificate; don’t leave it open-ended, because if you yourself are not a perfumista, you will be shocked that a $665 bottle of Xerjoff Richwood even exists much less that your friend wants one. And your friend will be just as happy to use your promisory note as a discount on said Xerjoff – or whatever else they’ve been lusting after – as anything more extravagant. Perfume lovers do understand that budgets exist and reality is what it is.)

If your nerve fails you in any other regard, however, give an Amazon gift card. It’s the number one shopping search engine (yes, above Google), and I have bought many a perfume from a reseller located at Amazon – in fact, that’s how I discovered Beautyhabit, as they list perfumes with Amazon for sale as well. And if your friend doesn’t actually want to buy perfume (though how could that be?), there’s a world of other options to acquire.

Only you can judge whether such a thing is too generic. Personally I love to shop, and I love the gift of shopping. (Lots of other people I know do too!) If you’re trying to get your friend something they want but don’t know what that is, it’s really awkward to have that conversation, isn’t it? So the MEANS to shop is, I think, a good alternative.

Whatever you do, don’t just buy a bottle of perfume. The Unseen Censer tells you so.


Image totally swiped from Ca Fleure Bon and I don’t know where they acquired it.

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8 comments to Happy Hannukah, and some junk

  • Barbara

    Sugar-free lifestyle???

    • Judith

      Yep, I don’t eat sugar or white flour, for my health. Technically I eat a low-glycemic diet. And I don’t find it hard to stick to, actually, but I enjoy occasionally planning some exceptions if they’re VERY worthwhile! 🙂

  • By the way, have I thanked you yet for the mystery bottle of Jolie Madame that I received last month? No? Then THANK YOU!!!

    • Judith

      I don’t remember, but I consider myself thanked! Can I tell you how tickled I was to recognize all the perfume in those gorgeous photos you posted of the face creams (which I was sorry to see I couldn’t buy here in the U.S.! They sound so yummy.) I thought your blog post on them was *fascinating*!

  • Ari

    Well, I just got the best Chanukah present ever- the most wonderful package from you!!! Thank you so very much! I tried Dans tes Bras this afternoon and liked it very much, and can’t wait to try everything else!

  • I’m with you on holidays 🙂 Though this year I’m doing just the final day of Hanukkah candles (well, on the first day we were at our friends’ house and did it together) and a very small XMas tree.

    I also had my wish granted through that Posse’s post and found two wishes to fulfil (but one of the “takers” didn’t respond).

    Perfumes I really want are too expensive to get them as gifts from anybody but my vSO. But then I’d have to tell him what exactly I want – an it wouldn’t be a surprise. So no, I’ll stick to buying my own perfumes.

    • Judith

      If there’s no surprise, I still think it’s a lovely gift if it’s something you really want, or is extravagant. I gave my brother some choices this year, and he picked one, and I was surprised, and I really wanted it. Last year it wasn’t a surprise, but it was a bit extravagant. Any two of the three work for me. 🙂

      No one I know has had big energy for huge holidaying this year…

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