Christmas present ideas for under £100

Special little somethings destined to delight

Naseweiss rubber-band-driven racing car, £39 from Manufactum
Naseweiss rubber-band-driven racing car, £39 from Manufactum

A beautiful desktop toy for the young at heart

Manufactum – a German online homewares store (with nine physical shops in Germany) – induces gasps and sighs over its tools, accessories, clothing and household supplies by taking ordinary designs and transforming them into the very best versions of themselves. Founded over 30 years ago by Thomas Hoof – once a member of the German Green Party – the company’s ethos was, and remains, to create or stock simple pieces that are beautifully made and built to last. Products are typically traditionally manufactured, using natural, sustainable materials. There is something for every passion on there, but one of the children’s toys – a rubber-band-driven racing car (£39) – would appeal to big kids too. Although it appears very simple, it’s actually hard to find this kind of understated, no-frills design. manufactum.co.uk. CLARE COULSON

Un Air de Diptyque car diffuser, £45, and cartouche refills, £30
Un Air de Diptyque car diffuser, £45, and cartouche refills, £30 | Image: Andy Barter
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An art deco-style scent diffuser for cars

The nostalgic styling of this Un Air de Diptyque car diffuser (£45) evokes the art deco radiator grilles of vintage cars. Clicked neatly onto an air vent, it releases scent from your chosen cartridge – be it orange blossom, amber, fig or ginger – and can be easily adjusted for intensity. diptyqueparis.comVICCI BENTLEY

Henri Giraud Solera Ratafia Champenois, from £37.50 for 50cl
Henri Giraud Solera Ratafia Champenois, from £37.50 for 50cl
Christian Lacroix for Galison Maison de Jeu playing cards (keepsake box 15cm x 11cm x 3.5cm), £32
Christian Lacroix for Galison Maison de Jeu playing cards (keepsake box 15cm x 11cm x 3.5cm), £32 | Image: Andy Barter

Bubble-free champagne

At the very mention of champagne, bubbles float into the mind. But for something a little different, there’s an entirely bubble-free wine made in the Champagne region: it’s called Ratafia Champenois and it’s delicious. Ratafia has been made in Champagne for centuries. Known in French as a mistelle, it’s a wine whose fermentation has been stopped in its tracks by the addition of grape spirit. In the past this was a way to conserve the intrinsic qualities of the juice without risk of it going bad. Most French regions have their own mistelle, but Champagne’s Ratafia is, of course, special. Its singularity, explains Claude Giraud (who makes champagne and Ratafia at the family firm in Ay), is that both grapes and spirit must originate in the region. Giraud worked tirelessly to have this product declared, in 2015, a Protected Designation of Origin speciality. Those growers who make Ratafia produce limited quantities. Thus, a 50cl bottle from Giraud costs around £40. You can drink it slightly chilled as an aperitif, but with its delicate pinkish-amber hue and a beautiful balance of grapey sweetness and crisp acidity, it also makes a mean cocktail (try it with a little crème de framboise and a splash of champagne). champagnedirect.co.uk. thewhiskyexchange.comSUE STYLE

Perfumes: The Guide 2018 by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, £12.86
Perfumes: The Guide 2018 by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, £12.86
Tanner Goods origami-style sunglasses cases, £90
Tanner Goods origami-style sunglasses cases, £90

Playing cards with an air of decadence

These deliciously de trop Christian Lacroix playing cards (£32) beat the competition hands down. Decorated with playful, intriguing designs – a mix of baroque, botanical, figurative and abstract imagery – the two decks capture the heady spirit of French gambling houses of a bygone era. padlifestyle.co.uk. MARIA FITZPATRICK

Native & Co brass bottle opener, £45
Native & Co brass bottle opener, £45 | Image: Andy Barter
Caran d’Ache Crayons de la Maison, imbued with Tibetan-wood perfume, £35 per set
Caran d’Ache Crayons de la Maison, imbued with Tibetan-wood perfume, £35 per set

A sensory adventure in perfume

Every year brings us a few thousand new perfumes. Thankfully, Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez are two of those brave souls who work tirelessly to make sense of scents and save us from choice overload. Their Perfumes: The Guide 2018 (£12.86) includes more than 1,200 fragrance reviews, along with tips on navigating the perfume counter. Turin, a biophysicist with an interest in olfaction, published Parfums: Le Guide in 1994, establishing fragrance criticism as a legitimate field on a par with similar discourses on wine or cinema. In 2008, he teamed up with writer and fragrance expert Tania Sanchez to offer Perfumes: The A-Z Guide. The focus this time is on niche and artisanal perfumes – a field that has grown beyond anything one could have imagined 10 years ago. The authors encourage experimentation and approach each fragrance like a message to be decoded, hiding neither their displeasure nor their excitement. It reminds us how fascinating perfumery can be: a combination of art and science, technique and creativity that never ceases to surprise. VICTORIA FROLOVA

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Leather goods with Wes Anderson cool

Tanner Goods has come to epitomise Portland, Oregon’s far-reaching cultural cool, with a feeling of quality, innovation and independence. The charming leather-goods brand, established in 2016, plays on a certain kind of American heritage with Wes Anderson style: it’s a little rural, youthful, “indie” and upbeat. And it ships worldwide. The classic belts in cognac or black are fantastic quality – crafted in premium bridle leather rather than inferior bi-cast – and the rugged-but-understated styling means that they go with everything. Along with all the smart wallets (from £50) you’d expect, there’s also a really striking origami-style sunglasses case (£90) available online in three alluring shades. tannergoods.eu. MARK C O’FLAHERTY

A bottle opener of singular beauty

Crafted from solid sand-cast brass that rests satisfyingly in the hand, Native & Co’s bottle opener (£45) was created by the Japanese designer Masanori Oji for a foundry dating from the late 19th century that originally specialised in Buddhist altar fittings. Ingeniously simple and eminently functional, it develops a rich patina with use, imparting added character to what is already an object of singular beauty. nativeandco.com. MARIA SHOLLENBARGER

Rare-wood scented pencils

The venerable, artist-loved brand Caran d’Ache is a regular fixture on desktops, but there’s a particularly special appeal to its Crayons de la Maison concept. A few years back, the​ brand teamed up with an Italian wood specialist and put its​ own craftspeople to work developing pencils from responsibly sourced rare woods. Research into “noble” species from around the world has resulted in glorious collections of instruments with intricate texture, colour and warmth. Each is “an invitation to explore new lands”, drawing attention to the innate beauty of precious and exotic woods. The No 6 edition (four 4HB pencils, £35) is a collaboration with Mizensir, the Geneva-based perfume house: not only are these pencils aesthetically intriguing, they are imbued with the perfumer’s Tibetan-wood fragrance, a deep, spiced and powdery-sweet scent with essences of patchouli, incense and tonka bean. A greying Western Hemlock pencil cosies up with veined bright-ivory White Oak, the chillier, refined Silver Teak and a warm White Ash, with elongated fine ash-coloured grooves. In a world humming with inkjets, just opening a desk drawer for a rush of the scent, which is both heady and oddly soothing, brings everything into a more mindful state. Satisfyingly broad, matte in texture and with a whispery smooth scratch across the page, they make writer’s procrastination pure folly. carandache.comMARIA FITZPATRICK

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