The Holly & The Ivy

Rule of thumb for buying bath products during the holidays: don’t buy them for anyone that will get completely skeeved out at the mere idea of you associating them with personal hygiene, and in effect, getting nekkid. With that rule established, the big four bath and beauty stores out there love to tempt us consumers come the holiday season with special limited edition products, and more importantly, holiday-themed scents. My nose is twitching in delight already.

In general, sweet-smelling bath products tend to fall into one of two categories of people you’re buying for: those you have no clue what to buy for (co-workers, great aunts, and people who say “I don’t need anything”), and those who genuinely love to spoil themselves and treat their body as a temple that requires some delicate care and preservation. To aid you in both of these quests, I’ve broken out what the new holiday scents are from the big four for that friend that can’t get enough body stuff, and selected a gift hovering around the $20 mark that would make an excellent Secret Santa purchase or gift for that ‘Slightly Obscure but Obligatory Gift Purchase For Relative So & So’.


Fruits & Passion

F&P has a special place in my heart as the sole Canadian retailer on this list. With 110 stores across nearly every province and an online shopping system that gifts you with free samples, they’re also home to my beloved Cucina line, which is rolling out a new scent for the holidays called Arancia Dolce. Arancia is Italian for orange, an increasingly popular wintertime scent that channels memories of pulling a ‘Christmas’ orange from your stocking mixed with a spicy, kitchen-friendly smell.

Festive Fragrances: Fruits & Passion is once again rolling out Orange Cinnamon and Winter Berries, but this year they’ve also added Iced Vanilla, which has some fruity tones to make it a little less sweet.

Secret Santa Selection
: Holiday Star Foaming Bath Set, $24. Hint: don’t try to gift wrap this one. With five tree bulb-shaped containers containing delicious bubble baths, this is a great, festive gift that’ll look stunning with a mere bow thrown on top. The soaps are also available individually in a slightly smaller size at just $4 a pop, perfect for stocking stuffers!

In a surprising turn for this worldwide brand, they’ve gone the sweet route with a line of dessert-inspired goodies, gift boxes, and more of their signature items.

Festive Fragrances:  Candy Cane, Gingerbread House, and the classic Sugar Plum Fairy.

Secret Santa Selection
: Have A Sweet Christmas gift box, $14.95. Lush does amazing things in the gift box department, including the fact said giftboxes are pre-wrapped. At under $20, this box includes a candy cane bubble bar and The Godmother soap that channels their Snow Fairy shower gel in bar form. It also leaves you some money to throw in a mini-box of decadent chocolates or some other fun little knick knack. Also, I’m in love with the Maple Taffy lip chap for a Canuck nod to stocking stuffers.

The Body Shop
When I was younger I remember The Body Shop being swarmed with customers come Christmas. While the same is still no doubt true, TBS also faces a bit of competition with the delectable products offered by their competitors. That being said, their annual holiday packages have a long history behind them, which makes them that much more desirable to moms, sisters, and friends alike.

Festive Fragrances: Cranberry Joy, Spiced Vanilla, and Jolly Orange.

Secret Santa Pick
: Best of the Body Shop Mini Gift, $15. The Body Shop has tons of gifts that you can conveniently browse online in various categories – under $10, $20, and $30. I gravitated towards this non-holiday sampler set because it covers head to toe and various scents, to ensure you’re not sidling your giftee with a fragrance they hate or a product they’ll never use.

Bath & Body Works
As the newest of the major bath retailers out there, B & BW has made a strong showing in bringing their adorable festive gear to the North. I talked about them briefly in a stocking stuffer post recently, but to recap…

Festive Fragrances: Twisted Peppermint, Winter Candy Apple, Vanilla Bean Noel, and Fresh Balsam

Secret Santa Pick
: Soap & Lotion Caddy, $16.50 (available in Twisted Peppermint and Vanilla Bean Noel). The thing I like about this gift in particular is the fact both dudes and ladies will appreciate it as a simple way to holiday-up-their-house without getting too close to the tub. Throw the caddy into the most frequently used bathroom by a guest and you’ve instantly made your giftee feel a little more festive, making it a perfect hostess gift as well.

There you have it, my holiday scent roundup for 2010. Truthfully if you’re going to buy bath products as a gift, now is the time to do it. The limited time scents that roll out are generally among the most universally adored – mixing in spicy sweetness with crisp coolness across a wide range of ready-to-give gift sets.

One Response to “The Holly & The Ivy”
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  1. […] stores launch a bunch of limited edition gift scents and fragrances. Last year I recall doing a pretty exhaustive roundup of everything every store was launching. This year I’d like to focus on each store […]

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