If only...I had thought ahead enough to rummage through this selection of old French boxes when I had the chance. There they were in the washstand (or cradle for a Moses basket?) outside a quirkly little brocante in Céreste last summer - and they are just what I need now! Imagine the gorgeous gift presentations they would make, padded with tissue paper for homemade cakes, hand-printed notecards or a smart new diary.
This afternoon I'm tackling the wrapping of Christmas presents in readiness for a family Christmas party next week. And thanks to a fantastic Winter Fair in the village in Kent, I was able to buy many of my gifts a short walk from home. That appeals on many levels, not the least being that my self-imposed deadline of a first draft of the new novel by Christmas is fast approaching and I'm completely bound up in that.
But it's also a pleasure to be able to support small local businesses. The big players have so many advantages - buying and negotiating power, tax, whatever you want to name - that it's never been so important to buy from sole traders and start-up ventures. And these are people with vision and passion, usually offering specialist products. Wouldn't you rather receive an artisan piece of silver jewellery or aromatherapy oil than an item that had been produced in hundreds of thousands for the mass market?