“Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.” George Monbiot
I don’t intentionally trash the planet every year. But I do know that I buy Christmas cards, use wrapping paper, buy an advent calendar, pull crackers, eat excessively and log on to Amazon (not necessarily in that order).
I like to think however, that I buy my Christmas presents carefully. There are very few solar-panelled flashing bacon flavour single use novelty gifts on my to-buy list and I’ve told everyone point blank this year that they’ll be getting books. Or something Cornish.
So here it is, a list of the top ten Cornish gifts to massage your conscience this Christmas.
One: Buy something from Finisterre
I’ve gone for the infinite scarf, mainly because I love the re-invention of the 1980s snood, but also because they talk about stuff that matters and actually do it. The Tolcarne wool is made and knitted in Portugal and the chunky generous knit ensures that the snood sits upright on the neck adding a certain Elizabethan drama to outdoorsy wear. In storm (a gorgeous deep turquoise) or oatmeal, this is a classy product that is also practical, a Finisterre USP. Top with a matching Tolcarne beanie to finish.
Snood £40, matching beanie £30
Two: The film Brown Willy
Brett Harvey’s take on a stag do that goes somewhat awry between best mates has been likened to Cornwall’s own Withnail and I. A childhood friendship, hanging by a thread, plays out against the unrelenting savagery of Bodmin Moor. Expect profanity, nudity, head butting, illicit substances and some painful self-discovery and secrets, but most of all some heart-warming entertainment and a good laugh.
Three: Seaweed Seasoning set from Cornish Sea Salt
Seaweed is big news, a little sprinkle on scrambled eggs and you’re halfway to your five-a-day. Blended with the mineral-rich natural sea salt harvested from the sparkling waters of The Lizard, the seaweed gift pack provides enough variety to experiment with nature’s own umami as well as giving you a healthy nutrient/mineral kick in preparation for all that Christmas indulgence.
Four: A massage on the moors
You’d be forgiven if you arrived at Bolventor and expected (willed) Ross Poldark to ride in beside you. Persephone Moir’s stunning “healing space” on the moor is definitely worthy of fiction, a granite studio filled with the scent of natural oils and an over-riding stillness. Seph is a master in bodies, specialising in holistic massage, pregnancy massage reflexology and much more. After a detailed consultation, lose your back pain to the sound of wind in the trees and regain a complete sense of self.
£40 per massage (Christmas vouchers available as above)
Five: Classic Cornishware
It was once all about the blue stripe, now it’s anything from parma violet to russet red, racing green to jet black. Cornishware is the archetypal gift to bring back from a stint at the coast and one I drink out of daily. Go for the set of four, inspired by a box of old crochet balls, for a little local colour on the table at breakfast. For the boys Coloured Mug Set £40.
Six: Ruzza Farm
If it’s to do with sheep, it’s all here, be it eating, knitting or (very) soft furnishing. The farm specialises in Romney sheep, known for their wool and meat and which can be traced back to medieval long wool breeds. The land is refreshingly managed for wildlife and there are also bees, hens and pigs on site. Not only does the farm offer lamb but also the rare opportunity of buying the much-neglected hogget and mutton (sheep over one year and two years respectively) which both have a more interesting and fuller flavour than lamb, as well as a more delicate texture.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on meat availability.
Seven: Cardamom vodka
What?! I hear you say. Oh yes. From the same company that brings you cocoa nib vodka and Rock Samphire Gin, we bring you cardamom vodka. As to be expected: wonderfully warming yet spicy and citrus. Quadruple distilled for proper smooothness and so great it can be supped solo or combined for some great cocktail mixes. Cornish spring water, organic cardamom seeds and vodka. We like all of it.
From £19 (35cl) curiospiritscompany.co.uk
Eight: take her or him out to Truro’s latest booze establishment – The Sanctuary.
The discerning David McWilliam offers top coffee and top tipples (take out or have in) to relaxed house music. We recommend two glasses of Billecart’s pink for a special Christmas treat at £15 each, a glass of the white £10 a go, or some very decent Prosecco for £5 a glass. Watch out for secret film evenings and wine tasting events.
Nine: Rachel Fisher: reflexology
One of my favourites for all round health and wellbeing, Rachel takes the edge out of modern stress and gives you the opportunity to tune back in to yourself. She also offers hot stone massage, fascia massage and more. Based at the fantastic Children’s Clinic in Lostwithiel (opposite the doctor’s surgery), a voucher here will be a serious treat for a loved one. £40 a treatment.
Ten: Camel Valley Pilsner
Camel Valley make award-winning fizz and Sharp’s make some very fine beer. Together – it can only get better, let us introduce you to the latest Cornish bubbly: a Pilsner. After brewing, the lager is bottled in traditional champagne bottles at Camel Valley vineyards, reseeded with Brut yeast and aged for another six weeks. The result is a top quality Pilsner with a clean lemony fruit finish. On the Christmas list.