It might be thinking inside the box but perfume, boxed or unboxed, is the safest bet to give this Christmas. Predictable though it may seem, perfume is the gift least likely to be ''re-gifted'', according to an Australian survey. People are delighted to get scent, even though they probably also buy it for themselves during the rest of the year.
70 per cent of respondents to a survey by Priceline said they would not pass it on (or off) as a present. Indeed, ''beauty products'' generally (at 39 per cent) were among the top four presents people keep at Christmas. ''Perfume is the holiday gift equivalent of the little black dress - you can never go wrong with a much-loved favourite that never goes out of style,'' says Kerry Baxter, fragrance buyer at the store.
Palming off unwanted presents seems to be a common though not entirely respected tradition of Australian Christmas. The same survey found 75 per cent of Australians admitted to re-gifting, though 40 per cent said they would be concerned if someone re-gifted a gift they had given. Most re-gifted gifts are homeware, chocolate and candles and the most common reason is that they aren't needed, thanks. But everyone needs fragrance these days.
Erica Moore, perfume evaluator with Michael Edwards, says people no longer have just one perfume on their dresser. ''They're changing their fragrance every few months,'' she says. ''Women might start with sweet and fruity notes when they're young and venture into something more sophisticated as they mature and their tastes change.''
Baxter says women love perfume because it adds to their identity. Most women wouldn't regard perfume as luxury ''rather, a luxurious necessity''.
''The best way to choose fragrance as a gift is to find out what someone currently wears and then find one that's similar. Or, if you're stuck, there's nothing wrong with buying someone a fragrance you know they already love.''
Priceline stocks 700 of the big international perfumes. Its top-selling fragrance for women is CK Euphoria and for men Joop Homme. There are plenty of more niche perfumes that would make someone's Christmas Day - one out of the 1000-plus launched just in the past year might do the trick.
I'd like Fidji, which reminds me of happy girlhood summers, anything by Tom Ford on the masculine side and La Vie Est Belle, Lancome's new fragrance which is causing a stir at the beauty counters. They can't keep up with the testers.
Do you like giving - or receiving - fragrance? Which ones have you passed on - and why? Do you like choosing perfume for other people or is there another beauty gift that you like to give? What is the one you are most likely to re-gift?
- Sydney Morning Herald
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