With Christmas approaching, it’s only natural that we’re all scrambling for unique and thoughtful gifts for the ones we love. The shops are busy, online stores are regularly out of stock, and it’s a stressful time for everyone.
Even the most die-hard Christmas lovers always dread heading to the shops, especially since it always seems to be busy, and the winter weather is often miserable. Online shoppers don’t have it much easier - constantly refreshing the page to see if an item is back in stock, hoping there are no delays to the delivery so their gift arrives on time, and hoping that whatever they ordered looks how they imagined in real life.
If there’s a scent lover in your life who you’re looking to gift the perfect scent to, it can be even more intimidating than not knowing what to get at all - with so many choices on the market, it can be hard to narrow the vast array of perfumes down to something they might like. You might even be looking to get perfume as a tender present for that special someone, so every time they spray it they’ll be reminded of you. There may be a friend in your life to whom you want to show your appreciation to, or a family member who you want to lavish with a personal and thoughtful present.
There are a variety of factors to consider when buying perfume for someone else - their taste, their personality and energy, their sense of style, and how they like to present themselves to the world. There are also their values - are they into environmentally friendly beauty or vegan cosmetics? Are they more of a convenience shopper or do they love quality products from high-end brands? With so many elements that make up the perfect perfume present, it can be a terrifying proposition to head to the shops and get your search started.
But perfume shopping needn’t be scary! Time is rapidly ticking down towards the big day, and if you’re flustered at the prospect of scent shopping for gifts, you’re in the right place. Read on for our complete guide to great-smelling Christmas gift-giving.
Giving perfume as a gift? Here’s what it means
Everyone loves receiving gifts, especially ones that convey the person giving the present’s feelings towards them. When someone puts thought and effort into choosing the perfume gift, you can tell - it’s always unique, personal, and memorable - we always remember the gifts that made us gasp at how perfect they are. While giving gifts all year round is lovely, birthday and Christmas presents are that extra little bit special, since the present will commemorate a special day that the person opening the gift will always remember.
Perfume is perfect for this exact reason. A bottle of perfume can be an extremely personal present. It speaks of not only the person receiving’s tastes but also of your impression of that person. It can also be a test of how much you’ve been listening when they’ve been talking about what scents they like! Fragrance gifts require research, thought, and affection, so when someone opens a bottle of perfume chosen just for them, it’s bound to make them feel special. The beautiful thing about perfume gifts is that they speak volumes about your feelings and impression of the other person, saying the things you may feel unable to say out loud.
Gifting perfume goes all the way back to Egyptian times, when giving perfume as a gift was seen as a statement of affection. It’s a practice that’s so well-loved that it’s spread all over the world and is still done today! When you give someone a fragrance, you’re creating memories for them, since our sense of smell is greatly connected to how we remember things. It’s a gift that’ll last far longer than an item of clothing that might go out of fashion next season, or a bottle of wine that’ll be drunk and then discarded. Scent plays such a key part in how we view the world and how we present ourselves, and the right perfume can give a confidence boost, a zap of energy, or a calming presence. This kind of present means you’ve thought about what the person likes, what they enjoy in life, and how they see the world.
There’s also a good chance that the perfume you give someone will become a part of their daily routine. Perfume is an essential part of any morning (or evening!) routine, and the bottle you give them will patiently wait on their dressing table for the receiver to use. It might even become their new signature scent! Presenting someone with fragrances means you’re giving them something to spice up their morning routine, or their “getting ready” ritual before a night out. Romantically, this can be a wonderful way to express your feelings to someone - that you’re keen to be a part of their life and that you care about them taking time for themselves.
It might seem lavish and over-the-top, but if there’s any time to go all out on gift-giving, it’s Christmas. A sure-fire way to impress and touch emotions, a perfume gift is a fantastic way to show you care, whether it’s a romantic partner, a friend, or a family member.
Is giving perfume as a gift bad luck?
It might surprise you to discover that there’s a lot of superstition tied to perfume gifts!
There’s a popular Indian superstition that gifting perfume brings bad luck. This could be reversed by taking one or two rupees from them in exchange for the perfume. This is also present in Greek cultures, where people receiving fragrances for a present would give some coins to the person giving to ward off the superstition and balance out the bad luck. In some cultures, it’s also considered rude to give someone perfume, as the person receiving it might interpret the gift as a sign that they smell bad. There’s also a belief in some parts of Asia that if you give someone this as a gift, their love will fade away as quickly as the fragrance does.
Luckily, with ours, there’s no chance of that!
These beliefs are still practised to this day in some cultures and places, but overall, perfume is widely regarded as a thoughtful and special present to most people. It goes without saying that if you’re from a culture where giving perfume is a bad omen, then maybe skip the perfume gifts, but otherwise, they’re a great choice for a unique present for someone special. In fact, in some spiritual and feng shui practices, certain herbs and flowers are actually seen as good luck.
Fresh mint, soothing chamomile, and grounding patchouli are said to attract money, wealth, and prosperity. Lavender’s sharp floral scent is said to bring love and marriage, as well as restful sleep and relaxation, and herby rosemary is said to aid good health. The uplifting scent of lemongrass is known for bringing clarity and new ideas, earthy vetiver is associated with mental healing, and spicy ginger is said to attract luck. Herbs and flowers have been used for centuries in aromatherapy and homeopathic healing, and the scent alone can bring the same mood and vibes of their spiritual properties.
So, whatever side of superstition you’re on, perfume as a gift could be the perfect gesture of affection this Christmas, and you’re sure to make someone’s special day when they unwrap a bottle of perfume chosen especially for them.
What does it mean if you receive perfume as a gift?
Someone who’s given you perfume as a gift clearly thinks highly of you, since perfume is something that requires thought and research before committing to it. It’s also fair to assume they know your taste and know what scents you like, so they’ve been paying attention to you! It can also be a symbol of affection - since perfume is something you’re likely to wear every day, perhaps they want you to be reminded of them whenever you put it on.
It can also be an indicator of how someone views you - if they gift you a fresh, zingy citrus scent, it means they see you as a ray of sunshine who always brings a good mood and a fun vibe to any situation you’re in. If the perfume they give you is a soft floral or soothing herby scent, perhaps they see you as a calming presence who always keeps a level head, even in stressful situations. Spicy ginger or peppery scents could mean that they see you as full of life and energy, and dark, earthy oud or patchouli scents can say they think you have an aura of magic and mystery.
Perfume gifts can also be incredibly romantic, so if you’re receiving perfume from a lover (or potential lover!), it’s definitely a sign that they care about you and thought of you a lot while choosing the scent to give to you. Despite the fact that the tradition of giving perfume to show affection is regarded as ancient history, it’s definitely still prominent today when people are looking for gifts for their other halves or someone they love.
If you want to read into it more, the type of scent could be indicative of the things your partner wants to do with you - if it’s a bright, crisp scent, maybe they want to spend sunny days with you going on walks and enjoying clear weather. If the scent is dark, sexy, and earthy, it might be an indicator that they have romantic evenings of dinner and drinks in their mind. Floral perfumes are a great alternative to a bunch of flowers that’ll eventually wither, so a blooming flowery scent could mean they feel romantic towards you. And, if it’s a unique, uncommon scent, it shows that they see you as one of a kind.
Perfumes given by friends are a clear sign that they value your friendship, and, like romantic gifts, they can be a representation of what they love about you. An evening perfume can mean they love going on nights out with you, or fresh citrus can be a sign of the energy and fun you bring to a friendship. You could even get matching scents to wear with your best friend!
So, whoever’s giving you fragrance and whichever one they choose, if someone buys you perfume, it’s clear you’re a special person to them who they enjoy having in their life.
How to choose the right perfume to gift someone
Just like if you were buying perfume for yourself, there are so many factors to consider when buying perfume for someone else.
If you’re close enough to them, taking a peek at their dressing table is a good start. You can make a note of what scents they already own and then look them up online later to see what notes and smells they feature. There might be a recurring theme - they might love florals, for example - or they might have an eclectic mix of scents they love.
If there’s definitely a category of fragrance that that love, getting them an addition to their collection is always a safe choice, and even within scent categories there are so many options and choices, so you can go on the hunt for something that’s unlike anything they already own. If they’ve got various scents, the world is your oyster - you could get them something similar to one they already have, or get them something completely out of the box to try!
When you’re shopping, don’t assume that they’ll automatically love a scent from a brand they already own a fragrance from. Scents can wildly differ within individual perfume companies, so it’s best to go on scent and notes alone rather than a designer label or a brand name.
It’s also imperative to try the scent before you gift it, since some perfumes are far more long-lasting than others. In-store, you can spray the scent on your skin and leave it for a few hours so you can really see for yourself how the scent develops and lasts. Spray it on your forearm or neck instead of your wrists - since we’re always washing our hands, a perfume can be easily washed away, and you want to give it a fair shot.
If you’re online shopping, many brands do cheaper “taster” sets of small samples that you can order and try at home. This will ensure that you’re on the right track, as going based on a product description alone can be risky.
Another important element of perfume gift shopping is to really think about the person you’re buying for. What’s their personality like? Are they a ball of energy or a soothing presence? Imagining the fragrance on them is a great way to narrow down your choices, as some scents might smell incredible, but just don’t suit the receiver. It’s also a good idea to enlist a mutual friend in your quest for the perfect perfume gift, as another set of eyes (and sense of smell) will give you a fresh perspective on the fragrance you’re buying.
Thinking about the person’s lifestyle is also a great way to help you choose a scent. If they’re always up early and going out for a walk, they’ll probably love a herby, grassy scent that’s reminiscent of the outdoors to amp up their morning strolls. Are they always the last to leave the bar on a night out? A woody or deep floral scent for them to wear on wild nights is a great option for the party animal in your life. Maybe they’re the kind of person that snoozes their alarm multiple times before dragging themselves out of bed and don’t wake up properly until they’ve had breakfast. If so, a zesty citrus perfume might help them drum up some energy in their morning. You can even get perfumes with notes of coffee for the caffeine-loving person in your life!
Finally, if the person receiving the gift is a high-end fragrance lover, surprising them with an “inspired by” version at a fraction of the price is a great way to blow their mind on Christmas Day. Many dupes have virtually identical notes and have lasting power to rival the designer versions, so it’s a great way to show you’re thinking of them - and their bank account! One of the best gifts you can give someone is a new habit, and by gifting them a fragrance that smells the same as their designer favourite for a fraction of the cost, you might convert them to smell-a-like perfumes that’ll save them major money in the long run. And, if they really love having a wide variety of fragrances to choose from, they’ll love the fact that the reasonable price tag means they can buy even more perfumes for their extensive scent wardrobe!
Shopping for Him? Choose Executive
Shopping for Her? Try Neroli