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About Face: Get Your Wrapping Paper Ready for These Gifts



Christmas is exactly 10 days away — start snapping up these sets!

By Roxana Hadadi

Maybe you’ve gotten your stocking stuffers ready (read our suggestions!) and a few of your smaller gifts, like soaps, fragrances and other body items (more suggestions!) are already planned out. If so, congrats! You obviously are better at battling procrastination than most of us.

But now it’s time for significant gifts — for that one main item you’re planning on giving. And it’s easy when you consider sets, collections or packaged items that will work together to make your giftee’s holiday as awesome as possible. Buying items that are meant to correspond to each other lessens your shopping time (since they’ll all be sold in the same place) and means you can cater to your giftee’s specific interests. Little details, like if she’s obsessed with Disney, loves the smell of pomegranate or wants to freshen her skin, can help you plan an entire gift. Pay attention to what your giftee gabs about, and then use that knowledge to your best advantage.

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+ Think about your home (first photo, two items on top left and two on top middle). When I was a kid, one of my mother’s major entertainment-related goals was to collect all of the classic Disney movies — think “Aladdin,” “The Lion King,” “Cinderella” — on VHS so my brother and I could watch them whenever we wanted. Twenty years later, I’m probably the only person in my neighborhood who still has a VCR, and who regularly uses it, to see the Avengers, Peter Pan and Robin Hood get up to their hi-jinks. If you have a Disney junkie on your list, think about the Magic Scented Candle and Room Spray ($11.70 and $9.90, respectively, Disney Store), both decorated with Mickey Mouse and with a fragrance of chocolate, mint and sea spray. It’s strangely refreshing, and takes me back to my childhood, eating candy on the boardwalk at Ocean City. Delicious. If you think your giftee would appreciate a more adult fragrance for their home, pick up the Crabtree & Evelyn Smoky Amber Hand Care Caddy ($38, Crabtree & Evelyn). The hand wash and lotion smell like a mysterious mix of ginger, amber and cardamom, earthy and invigorating, for the kitchen or bathroom.


+ Boxes could be the best (first photo, items on top right and bottom). It’s not copping out if you buy a boxed gift for someone; it’s easier on you, and similar items are packaged together — if your giftee likes one, they’ll probably like them all. For a sophisticated party look, think about one of the cosmetics sets created specifically for Juicy Couture: Champagne Lipgloss and Nail Polish, with 24 Karat Couture gloss by Troy Surratt and Here Comes the Queen polish by Deborah Lippmann ($23.99, Juicy Couture); Shimmer and Shine Set, with Deborah Lippmann polishes in Bring on the Bling, Whatever Lola Wants and Since I Fell For You ($23.99, Juicy Couture); and the Precious Metals set, with Deborah Lippmann polishes in Believe, Jewel in the Crown and Here Comes the Queen ($23.99, Juicy Couture). For someone who cares more about their lips, the Jack Black Balm Squad set, with four balms in Lemon & Chamomile, Natural Mint & Shea Butter, Mango & Mandarin and Shea Butter & Vitamin E, is wonderfully moisturizing ($25, Jack Black). And the Baby It’s Cold Outside set from LUSH is packed with body products, great for someone looking to try something new, like the Australian Igloo Sugar Scrub, Jilted Elf Shower Jelly, Dirty Springwash Shower Girl, Northern Lights soap and Too Drunk Emotibomb ($36.95, LUSH). Plus, the LUSH wrapping paper glows in the dark. Umm, amazing.

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+ DIY pairs (second photo). Some of the best things come in twos — coffee and cake, chicken and waffles, Bert and Ernie — and putting a pair of items together as a gift works, too. Put shower items together for a fruity, lush gift, like Softsoap Moisturizing Body Wash or Body Soap, available in ridiculously wonderful fragrances like Sweet Honeysuckle & Orange Peel and Juicy Pomegranate & Mango Infusions (about $5 each, Drugstore.com). Shampoo and conditioner make for a clear pair, too: Care for dry hair with Pureology Antifade Complex Hydrate Shampoo and LightCondition (check prices and where to buy, Pureology), or go the organic route with Elava Botanik Papaya Shampoo and Conditioner, made with real whole fruits and free of preservatives or artificial color ($42.95 for the pair, Elava Botanik).


rsz beauty2+ Collect a collection (third photo).If you’ve seen those late-night Proactiv commercials, you can’t ever forget the ads’ basic message: “Buy all our products, they’re supposed to work together! You must commit!” Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne and Justin Bieber all claim it, so it must be true! I’ve never used Proactiv, but I do think there is something to the idea that companies develop products that are meant to be used together for best effect; buying a set will probably provide you with the best results. Skincare company Kiehl’s has been around since 1851, and their new Ultra Facial Oil-Free collection covers all your bases with a toner, lotion, cleanser and gel cream ($16-$24.50 each, Kiehl’s). For men shaving their face or women shaving their legs, Barista Bath and Body’s b3 Shave System uses coffee in each item — Grind skin polish, Fix pre-shave oil, Buzz shave cream and Chill post-shave soother — for a rich, restorative experience ($65 for the set, Barista Bath and Body). Crabtree & Evelyn has a tart, fresh citrus scent in the Pomegranate Argan & Grapeseed collection, which comes in a variety of forms, such as the Skin Cleansing Bath and Shower Gel, Skin Smoothing Body Scrub and Skin Replenishing Body Bars ($20, $26, $22, respectively, Crabtree & Evelyn). And for nail polish junkies, nubar offers their collections in handy carrying cases, such as the Venetian Glass Collection, with glass-flecked shimmer and rich shades like light red Bronzo, light purple Vaso, deep gold Oro, bronze Caramello, dark green Verde, glowing orange Arencia, deep wine Vino and radiant red Rosso ($54 for the set, nubar).


EDITORIAL NOTE: The product/s reviewed in this post were provided to Chesapeake Family’s About Face blog by the manufacturer or their public relations company for review. Chesapeake Family’s reviews are inspired by personal experience and opinion, and are not paid for or influenced by the manufacturer, PR company or any other organization unless mentioned.

Product photos by Adam Fried.


 In middle school, Roxana Hadadi was a cosmetics-scorning tomboy; in high school, a glitter eye shadow- and black nail polish-loving trend kid; in college, obsessively committed to dying her hair unruly colors that upset her mom. Now a bit older and a bit more mature, she’s trying to figure out what hair, body and cosmetics products will work for her, you and your family in About Face, Chesapeake Family’s new beauty blog — and she’ll leave the sparkle makeup and neon highlights in the past. Roxana also writes movie reviews for Chesapeake Family’s Popcorn Parents blog.

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