Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Episode Nine: Is This The Easiest Part? No. (or, Gifting Scents That Are For Body or Home)

When I had originally decided I wanted to offer some tips about buying fragrance gifts for the Holidays I had planned to make three parts - perfume, body, and home. Then a friend mentioned how confused he was when a shop assistant asked if he'd like EDT or EDP for the gift he was getting his girlfriend, and the terminology section was born. I thought I would drop the "body" but after more consideration, I think I will keep it, and just condense body and home in to smaller sections of a single post. There isn't too much to say about either that can't be pulled from the first installment of this guide. (Here it is for reference)

So for body it is a brief mention of types, and whether or not a body product should be the same as your perfume. For the home, I will mention the pros and cons of different types, if you should consider the location the scent will be, and for both subjects some good recommendations of gifts. Alrighty, let's start. I lied, about all of that. Whatever, let's start.

Body Care

I think the biggest concerns people have when gifting body care is that they don't want to choose a scent that is disliked, but they also don't want to chose something that will clash with the recipient's current fragrance or fragrance routine. Although it seems a bit daunting, it is fairly easy to buy body care gifts. At the very least, the scent of body care lingers only for a while, and most people are not re-applying, so if you get something they don't like much, it will not be a travesty.
If you are unable to determine a well-liked scent or product beforehand, shopping at a popular retailer is the easiest bet to find some thing the recipient will like. The most popular body care specialty stores in my area are Bath & Body Works, The Body Shop and LUSH. Both BBW (no comment - it's the easiest acronym) and The Body Shop are fairly common in most malls on the West Coast, and although LUSH isn't as widely available in brick and mortar stores, it can be purchased online. As always I must stress - MAKE SURE that the gift recipient is allergy free, and also be aware of their choices regarding animal products and animal testing. Shea is a tree nut butter, and widely used. Lanolin is a property often used that is an animal by-product. Because these products are applied directly to the body, it is of the utmost importance to be aware of what can and cannot be worn.
For a quick trip, chose a store that has the products you are looking for and ask what the most popular scent or product is. Favorites are favorites for a reason, and there is a good chance the recipient will enjoy the choice. A bonus- these faves are usually available nicely packaged for gifting. Another easy choice are the seasonal scents. Giving a gift that is appropriate for the season, and not available year-round, makes it more personal than just getting what the shop assistant points out. If buying what's easy doesn't appeal to you, it is always a nice personal touch if you give the recipient your favorite and help them understand how much you wanted to share it with them.
If you are concerned that the choice will mix poorly with the recipient's current scents, keep the fragrance types I talked about before in mind - and remember some key notes. Vanilla mixes well with most scents and will heighten and sweeten a fragrance. Musk, woods and leathers will deepen a scent and make them more masculine. They work well in gourmand, floral and aquatic scents, but may not work with all fruits or citrus. (Remember, may not. Adding a leather to a citrus might smell amazing. I just wouldn't risk it, for a gift.) Coconut will enliven fruits and floral, making them smell more tropical. Then my old favorite, citrus (it's not my fave, silly, have you read this blog before?) will add a fresh, clean pop to most scents. Even if you don't know what they normally wear, just imagine how they usually smell to you, and think about how the item you are considering would smell when paired with that. As for what type of body care, I'd personally stick to the stand-by of body cream (or lotion) and shower gel. A simple combo that almost anyone can use.

Home Fragrance

Imma answer your questions here real quick, because I am tired, I wanna post this, and it's pretty easy. 1. Candle, reed diffuser, plug-in... what to get? 2. Scent?
Okay people, let's make this clear. Don't buy anyone a plug-in (of any type), air freshener, car freshener, et cetera as a gift unless they have specifically asked for it. Beyond the fact that there are eight million different brands and everyone has a specific one they like, it is a little tacky. I said it. Air fresheners, "room refreshers", or what have you, are a tacky gift. Disagree? Politely tell me in the comments. Buy a candle as a gift. If they can't, or won't burn a candle then buy a scent diffuser. (I love the reeds, but scented stones or even *gasp* potpourri is better than air freshener, even though it does the same thing.) Be careful shipping a diffuser though, the oils can leak. The reason I say this is because these are beautiful gifts that can be left on display around the clock. The air fresheners are hidden away and while useful, do not install a sense of happiness and gratitude. Candle. Buy the candle.
Scent. Easy. If you're buying for a man (yes, you CAN buy a man a candle. He may not want you to, but he will appreciate it.) buy food scents. Pumpkin pie has been rumored to be the most popular scent among males, but vanilla is an easier, more versatile choice. Lavender. citrus. Woods and/or musk - things that are manly and clean. Look for homemade foods or clean male. Done.
Ladies are harder because what we like to smell on ourselves doesn't always translate to what we like to smell in our homes.That's why everyone is going to kill me when I say this. If you want to buy a home scent a lady is guaranteed not to hate, choose a citrus or homemade food scent. The same as a guy! Horror! Not really. Pretty simple when you think about it. No woman has ever not used lemon or other citrus scents in or around her kitchen (except you, you special snowflake) and no woman has ever not considered buying a "Vanilla and something" or "Something and Mint" for the home. Because we don't want our homes to smell like our bodies - we want them to smell clean. So sniff that candle, or those reeds. Does that smell like a clean house? If so, you're golden.
*One caveat. Floral scents and heavy room scents can be migraine triggers for many people. I try to avoid gifting floral in home scent, and make sure whatever I choose is lightly scented but has good throw.
You can buy amazing, high quality candles at Bath & Body Works, often for dirt cheap. (This Saturday, December 12 2014 all 14.5oz, 3-wick candles will be $8 USD) Another popular chain that is dedicated to home fragrance alone is Yankee Candle and they have some amazing scents. They also carry a terrible line of Man Candles, DO NOT buy those for any man unless it is a gag gift. Jo Malone, diptyque, NEST and Henri Bendel all make lovely candles at a higher price point (keep in mind that NEST is the creation of Laura Slatkin, whose husband developed the candle line currently used at Bath & Body Works and that Henri Bendel is owned by L Brands, Inc. who also own Bath & Body Works so there is a lot of mixing going on in the candle world, whoops). More and more designer brands are beginning to offer candles as a part of their fragrance lines, if you want a truly luxurious gift.

So yahhh, okay, you know that is about it all right? And I didn't do Saturday Siesta OR the Monday discussion so I am going to go right now and write a post merging those two things together, and I will post it sometime this week. As for this post, I am super tired so please be kind and ignore typos or sentence structure boo boos. I can't see to even proofread, boo boo!

As for my guide to buying fragrance gifts for this Holiday season, it is now complete! Hanukkah starts in less than a week, Christmas is in only two weeks and if you aren't celebrating, or you are celebrating something different this Holiday season, I hope this guide can be of some help either today, tomorrow or the next time you need a gift for someone. Until then, pleasant journeys~

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