After some mild panic, whimpering and foetal rocking in the corners of various stores in Oxford and London, here’s what I ended up getting some of my family & friends for Christmas:
Williamson elephant tea caddies and Urban Outfitters socks
My Dad once attended a conference in the US where a beverage station was laid out every morning, including a coffee machine, tea bags, sugar…and an industrial-sized vat of Skippy Peanut Butter. For the first few mornings he thought it was mislaid, and would helpfully cart it back over to the toast table. On the 3rd morning, he was halted in his tracks. “Here in the States,” the beefy-necked hotel chef drawled, “we stir a couple tablespoons of PB into our cawfee. Makes it bulletproof.” If your friends are similarly barbaric (eg. my old housemate refused to drink ‘leaf liquid’ and insisted on triple-shot espressos with a dollop of coconut butter), they probably won’t appreciate Williamson’s ‘well-balanced and aromatic’ and ‘unusually delicate’ tea blends. But for everyone else, tea is a pretty failsafe gift.
I chose the elephant caddies because they’re whimsical, super pretty AND useful. After you’re done with the tea, you could use the jar to store cookies, pushpins, slips of paper with your hopes and dreams…endless possibilities! Personally, I’d be happy to have my cremated ashes stored in one (at least until my heartbroken next of kin could throw my desiccated remains into the wind across a Nordic fjord).