The Murchison-Hume Gift Guide

Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? Every single day in 2020 has dragged on, but that hasn’t stopped the year from zooming by in the blink of an eye. Time flies when you’re staying at home, trying to get through a pandemic, right?

At least we have a season of matching pajamas, sugar cookies, and watching the Mr. Napkinhead scene from The Holiday. And of course, there are presents! I love getting them, giving them, and even wrapping them (if I have the right gift wrap handy).

A thoughtful gift says that you understand and love the person you’re gifting. And there’s no better feeling than the delight of knowing you’ve introduced your loved ones to something new that they would have never bought for themselves.

You probably have very different types of people you need gifts for, and you might not always know what to get them. We’ve got the best gift ideas for almost everyone on your list.

Late last year, I moved into my forever home: The Ponderosa. It started as a joke name because it felt so big compared to the little houses and apartments, we’ve rented around the world, but the name just stuck! I’ve cherished the travels we’ve had as a family, but I always dreamed about setting down roots someday with a real family home, so I feel incredibly lucky to be here.

We renovated an old Spanish Colonial house in the Valley, and contrary to what everyone told me about a major renovation, I enjoyed every minute of it! And why not? I finally got to pick out every paint color, tile, and surface, not to mention every stick of furniture with the help of my friend, Designer, @beckiowens. The visual part of design is fun, but people often forget about one crucial aspect: Scent.

Home fragrance is the second thing people will notice about your home. That’s why real estate agents always tell people to bake cookies during an Open House! It’s incredibly powerful and strongly shapes the way you (and others) feel about your space. We’re not having a lot of guests over these days but building an active Home Fragrance “menu” is crucial to my idea of comfort.

A beautifully scented home is just like a good wardrobe: it’s layered. As soon as I get home (or come downstairs from the Studio) I light a scented candle to signal the end of a working day. If we’re having people over (remember those days?) I light a few candles at least 30 minutes before they arrive, to allow the scent to “bloom” and create an atmosphere.

The Perfect Host/ess

These are the perfect Host/Hostess Gifts to thank the friend who genuinely loves to entertain. Hosting is a tricky balancing act, making the hard work look effortless (and fun). A good host loves practicality and beauty. These stoneware larder crocks tick both boxes and will be a hit.

Similarly, bonsai scissors or a portable Japanese knife might not be an obvious choice for a gift. But for any of your friends with a green thumb, or loves a picnic, either will be a very welcome gift that gets you invited back year after year.

How about a brass oil burner? It feels delightfully Art Deco, like something you’d find in a Parisian apartment during the 1920s. The essential oil and tea light combo give you all the ambiance of a candle, with none of the panics about falling asleep without blowing it out. The Reed Diffusers are great for the same reason. Our founder, Max, keeps them in her powder room!

This large cocktail carafe from W&P Design is minimalist but still beautifully designed, and looks just as good sitting on a bar cart full of sexy brass straws as it does holding a batch of your favorite spicy margaritas. Don’t forget the wood muddler, which is great for adding fresh herbs and making a drink feel fancy.

Gooseberry is another ripe berry scent that just happens to go beautifully with Red Currant. They have the same fruity, fresh essence and complement each other so well. Other pairings I love? Sandalwood and Quince. Just like colors, you can go matching, complementary or total contrast. Woodsy and fruity, or floral and fresh, scent is a deeply personal thing, so you have to experiment to hit the right notes for you.

The other thing about Home fragrance is the delivery method. Some are stronger than others, so it’s best to have a few different types to create texture. I think of it like lighting: You don’t want only floor lamps, or just task lighting or a solitary overhead light. You need all three to create a cozy ambiance. Same with Home Fragrance. You need different types!

I like to put a statement oil diffuser in our tiny powder room instead of a candle in there because it would be too overpowering. A reed diffuser is another good option, if, like me, you might forget to blow it out after a long night!

A nice room spray is always a good idea in the bathrooms. You know why. People always assume that because my company makes cleaning products, everything is always perfectly pristine. Nope! I like to keep a couple of them around (especially in the boys’ bathroom). Just in case. That’s where the Atmosphere mists come in. A few sprays and it covers any lingering funk.

If we ARE expecting guests, I like to be my best self. That means prepping everything I can well in advance and then taking time out to relax before people start to arrive. I like to light some incense while I’m bathing and dressing with a glass of wine to get me in the mood. It’s the pre-game ritual that every good Hostess knows. A relaxed Hostess is a good one, even if you burn the chicken!

Ps. Thanksgiving is coming up. I don’t know what your family is like, but I know mine can get…spirited after all that turkey, red wine, and politics. Burning some Palo Santo sticks will clear the air and any lingering bad juju. Better safe than sorry!

The Beauty Queen

Don’t be fooled by the name: a Beauty Queen can be any gender. It’s just a person for whom skincare is more religion than routine, is always trying a new product, and loves a good #shelfie of their favorite brands.

Give them the gift of gorgeous naked nails with the Heales Apothecary Nail Detox Kit, and throw in a Flash Buffer while you’re at it. Both are the perfect genderless gift and they’ll be impressed with your deep knowledge of Australian Indie beauty brands. 

For your friend that misses their regular blow-outs at Dry Bar, give them the Heales Hair Oil and cult-favorite Round Brush to recreate it at home. And while we’re talking about hair care, maybe slip your bestie a bottle of Fur Oil to keep the hair down there happy, too.

Beauty isn’t just about your head. They’ll appreciate the extra rich lather and deliciously sexy scent in this amazing organic body wash. Add a special body oil for the full spa experience at home. Our favorite one smells like the Rosewood leaf and we want to wear it as a perfume!

Bottom line? Home fragrance isn’t just for company. It’s for comfort. It’s something I do for myself, and my family, like a warm hug at the end of the day.

Deep breaths…

xx, mlk

The Wellness Guru

The Wellness Guru in your life loves a good self-care ritual and takes a holistic approach to everything. What better gift can you give them than a new ancient ritual to get obsessed with? Dry-brushing has been around in every ancient culture, but like with all trends, it’s coming back around.

The Heales Dry Brush is the Goldilocks of dry brushes: not too firm or too soft. It’s just right. There’s also a Sisal Dry Brush that’s a little on the softer side for beginners. Throw in the cellulite-busting bath mitt for the total package, while you’re at it. All that skin brushing will exfoliate and stimulate the lymphatic system for better circulation.

Never underestimate the power of scent to improve overall well-being. Combine the act of ritual and home fragrance with this cute little sculptural cast iron incense holder and some Kayuragi incense to go with it. Palo Santo can help get rid of any lingering 2020 vibes as we head to 2021, too.

Bathing culture is definitely trending right now, so get them everything they need for their own spa experience at home. Bath salts, a luxe sea sponge, body wash that doubles as a bubble bath, and the perfect extra-large Turkish bath sheet for wrapping up afterward. And if this is an extra close friend, then slip in this Momotaro Tonic, which will keep your downstairs bits as clean as up top.

Finally, this year is a hypochondriac’s worst nightmare. Give your holistically-minded friends a Feel Better Kit stocked with this Mata Healing Balm and the Mata Inhaler, which will naturally soothe, hydrate, decongest, and heal.

For The One Person, You Just Can’t Figure Out

This is for all those new and so far unclassified people in your life - from your new boyfriend’s mother to the cousin you got in the gift exchange and haven’t spoken to in a year, these are the practical and thoughtful gifts that anyone will love.

New towels might sound like a weird idea, but these beautiful pastel Turkish Towels do so much more than just sit in your bathroom. Use them as picnic blankets, beach towels, in yoga class, or as a shawl in a pinch. If you’re really trying to impress someone (like your new in-laws), the Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser and Campo Scents are a great way to get on their good side. The vessel is subtle but still aesthetically pleasing, and Campo’s scents come in fun bottles like Sleep, Love, and Relax. It’s the perfect intro to aromatherapy.

If you’re still unsure, stick to the classics: A gorgeously scented candle (that’s NOT Pumpkin Spice or Cinnamon) is the gift equivalent of a bottle of wine. It’s always welcome. Our Murchison-Hume candles look as good as they smell, so they can even repurpose the container afterward. I use mine to hold makeup brushes and lip pencils. Way more elegant than an organizer.

The Stocking Stuffer

You will score major points if you remember to bring something to add to the stockings! You can really get creative and fill it with lots of lovely little things for people you hardly know, or for your SO. It just works on so many levels.

It’s exciting to unwrap a few little things. Everyone loves a little bit of mystery, even if it’s low stakes. Stocking stuffers should be inexpensive and surprising. They can even be a little impractical.

Golda’s perfectly spherical orange soap hits all the stocking stuffer requirements. It smells amazing and isn’t something you would necessarily buy for yourself. The Himalayan Pink Salt bar falls under this category, too. Both will look beautiful sitting sink side! And Golda Topanga Atmosphere Mist looks pretty sitting in the bathroom as an air freshener, too, although we use it on drapes, rugs, and furniture, too.

This one might sound weird, but fancy salt is a great stocking stuffer for anyone who cooks. Who wants to spend their hard-earned money on salt? But it does make a difference, especially when it’s as pretty as this Himalayan Pink salt.

Maybe don’t slip this into small relative’s stockings, but this Japanese pen knife is a perfect little gift for the wine and charcuterie board crowd at any family gathering.

Of course, the best gift you can give this year is safety. Please remember to wear your masks, get tested, and keep family gatherings to a minimum. Have a happy and healthy holiday, y’all.