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SECRET SANTA : BUY A BEAUTIFUL THOUGHT

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This Christmas our annual Secret Santa has been a little bit different. One thing has stayed the same of course…

We’ve all picked a person for whom we need to buy a secret present, and chosen their gift based on what we know of that person and what we think they would appreciate. There was a £20 limit to our generosity but no limit to our imaginations, because...

We had to find a gift that is a Beautiful Thought.

It could be an object, experience or thing. But there needed to be a story behind it, a beautiful story about the choice, the maker or thing.

These Beautiful Stories have been collected to form a very special DG&P Advent Calendar. And every day leading up to Christmas we'll open an advent gift-bag and share our Beautiful Thinking stories with you, to celebrate not just Christmas but our unique view of the world.

 

 

It may be an inspiring product or brand, an amazing piece of design or it might even be home-made. But as always with us, it’s not just the beauty of the object, but the thinking behind it.

Today is the first of December, our grand opening! And today it’s Amber’s day…

 

 

Dear Amber,

Following our talk with Will Williams (your meditation instructor) I wanted to get you something to stimulate your senses, help elevate your mind and calm your body. The makers of this True Grace, stem-ginger scented-candle say that perfume is strongly associated with memory and emotion, and that a particular scent can transport you anywhere. Well, one of the most heart-warming smells around Christmas time is freshly baked gingerbread so I hope this brings you a sense of well being and is warming to your heart. True Grace are also committed to local and sustainable production, which I know is important to you!

 

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me... a colour changing panda mug as a cryptic clue! Today is Seila's day and she found out that her super cute mug actually has a deeper meaning...

 

 

Dear Seila,
You are a strongly ethical and kind-spirited person. You are also a designer with a love of art and culture. This gift combines both of these elements. I have made a donation, on your behalf, to a Kickstarter campaign called Bamboo Renewal: Designing a modern bamboo home in Haiti. This was set up by visual artist, Swoon, who has already helped to build two beautiful homes and a light-filled community center in Super-Adobe style for the village of Cormiers, Haiti. She now aims to build a third home out of bamboo for Louisiana Pierre Louis and her family of five. Louisana lost her son and daughter-in-law in the earthquake. But the house will be much more than a dwelling. It will also be a multifaceted work of art and social architecture made with and for the local community — a structure built on relationships that is designed to bring bamboo as a building technology into the new millennium. 

 

 

We’re not actually in the studio today, being Saturday and all, but we’ve still got our amazing Beautiful Thinking advent calendar stories to share with you! Take a look at David’s story while you enjoy your morning cuppa…

 

 

Dear David,
There are two things, amongst others, for which you are known; your exquisite eye for design and your stylish mode of transport to work, the scooter on which you glide over the pavements of Clerkenwell. It seemed only right to combine the two and draw out a couple of pieces from the Lambretta portfolio, a natty hat and a pin badge bearing the iconic ‘target’ logo, a design classic. So even though you may be aboard something which doesn’t exactly belong in Milan or Rome at least your head and a couple of square millimetres on your jacket will, every day, be covered with something from the Spiritual Home of the Scooter and the land of some very Beautiful Thinkers. Or Belle Pensatori as they say would say.

 

 

Today is a doubly special day – it’s Steph’s birthday!!! And also her Advent calendar story…

 

 

Dear Steph,
You have a truly beautiful mind that rarely gets to flow free. This is to remind you to fill fifteen minutes every day with your own Beautiful Thinking. I bought this from The School of Life  - an interesting place devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture in many different mediums.

 

 

And now it's Paul's turn. But what on earth could you get our comms aficinado?! 

 

 

Dear Paul,
I’ve chosen a book by Edward de Bono: Six Thinking Hats. I chose it because Edward de Bono is the pre-eminent exponent of creative thinking and the theory that sits behind it. Although not without his detractors, De Bono was the man who coined the phrase - lateral thinking. His book documents individual thinking involving 6 coloured hats and ‘provides a means for groups to plan thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive way’. Incidentally he also wrote the foreword to Smile in the Mind.

 

 

We're really getting into the festive swing of things here, the tinsel's up, the xmas classics are on and we're pretty much eating our body weight in mince pies! Today it's Shirley's advent and she got the biggest surprise so far...  

 

 

Dear Shirley,
I bought you a cute set of shot glasses and some matching party straws as you are most definitely the studio’s party starter - and this is a party starting kit! I bought them from the local, quirky gift-shop called Sublime, just around the corner. But here comes your big surprise… I also bought you a flight to Szczecin, Poland! This is because of your beautiful, travel-happy sense of adventure. Enjoy your trip.

Not only has Shirley faced this adventure head on (would we have expected anything less?!) but she's also taking us all along with her! 

 

 

We had the absolute pleasure of having Lindsey and little baby Zachary in the studio yesterday for her advent opening...

 

 

Dear Lindsey,
And for the most beautiful, tasty and useful of all fig rolls? A rework of the fig roll, beautiful, tasty and useful which blends the best of British and French into one very mum-friendly package. The fig-flavoured chocolate is hand-made in England by a small artisan family firm which is blended to go specifically with a French Malbec. Both best enjoyed relaxing by the light of Bahoma’s, made-in-London, fig-scented candle. And all wrapped up in a French scarf for practical reusable purposes. Bref – quelle belle pensée!

A little bit of context may be needed here for some - Lindsey's married name is Figarol, and her lovely husband Fabs is French!

 

 

Another day, another mince pie! Today was our resident planking champion's turn and his gift had some serious Beautiful Thinking behind it as well as a healthy pinch of humour...

 

 

Dear Mike,
You have a good sense of humour (encroaching on the darker side of funny). As a designer you appreciate visuals and I know you love Cards Against Humanity, you like games in general, and drinking and you’re super competitive (at least you win at everything!) So I bought you Exploding Kittens. It’s the biggest crowd-funding project ever. They wanted $10,000 and got nearly $9million instead (Beautiful Thinking) It was created by a video game designer and the illustrator of ‘Oatmeal’ (It’s really beautiful). The creators saw the impact that video games were having on kids & adults and wanted to create something with real interactions again, instead of on screen (Beautiful Thinking again). It has created over $50 million in revenue for the company. But aside from that it’s just an awesome gift.

 

 

Wow what a weekend! All kicked off with our fabulous Christmas party - where the advent was to everyone and delivered in style at an Oscars-esque awards ceremony - we'll tell you all about that evening in good time, glitter and all! But for now let's carry on with our next opening.

It was clear that Sachin had been a good boy this year as he received not one, but two beautiful presents...

 

 

Beautiful Sachin,
A new Men’s grooming shop has just opened in Seven Dials called Beast; full of brilliant beauty brands, stocked with a plenary of new discoveries for men only. In these dark winter months getting up out of bed and into the shower can be such an effort. Feeling good from the inside out is important to us all so what better to wake up than with a men’s aromatherapy shower gel, not only to help awaken but to be HAPPY - even on a Monday! GET HAPPY Organic Bodywash is enriched with organic essential oils and is made of only eight simple ingredients.

Thinking Sachin,
As designers we use and select colour without even thinking about it. How about dropping some history or facts into why we chose a certain colour or a little insight into where the colour originated from. All to help build our Thinking in our Beautiful way. The Secret Lives of Colour tells the unusual stories of the 75 most fascinating shades, dyes and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso's blueperiod to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green and from scarlet women to imperial purple.

 

 

Andrew's gifts then followed, again in two parts but this time with a congruent sentiment...

 

 

Dear Andrew,
You surprise me (in a good way), a strapping rugby coach as well as an empathetic ad-man with a love for clothes at the pastel end of the Pantone book. I love hearing stories about your family and your observations and insights on seeing your kids growing up, guiding and helping but also letting them pursue their own path. The quotes (most of them) resonate on or off the poster and it's such a pretty colour too : ) Both the sweets and the poster represent challenging preconceptions – a reminder to all not to judge books by their covers.

 

 

Fiona was up today - a girl who has an affinity with the sea...

 

 

Dear Fiona,
I know you love to travel and also that you love animals, particularity animals from the sea.  So I’ve adopted you a Hawksbill Sea Turtle for one year from the WWF, the world’s leading independent conservation organisation dedicated to protecting wildlife. Marine Turtles are majestic and beautiful creatures that have navigated the oceans for millions of years and are sadly on the critically endangered list due to fishing, climate change and illegal wildlife trade.  Animal adoptions like yours help fund projects to work with local communities to monitor turtle movements and protect their habitat. Enjoy trialling motherhood for the next 12 months!

Did anybody see the Hawksbill turtles on Planet Earth II? - pass the tissues please!

 

 

Number 13 - unlucky for some, but most certainly not for Molly...

 

 

Dear Molly, 
Your commute time from the lushest countryside to the hustle and bustle of London each week sounds horrendous (around 3hours?!) so I thought it was best to find you something to fill the time! I felt this was the perfect gift; not only will you learn a new skill (I'm hoping you're not a knitting master already) but you’ll also get that thinking cap on and create something truly Beautiful to be enjoyed for those long winter walks with your dog. I hope this kit of parts gives you the essentials you need and I look forward to the Winter 2017 Dog-Walk Show!

 

 

Finally it's Matt G's advent! Sorry your go has been bumped so many times, nothing personal of course, just pesky work getting in the way :p

 

 

Dear Matt,
I think you only get to know your colleagues when you work on a project together. This year I have been lucky to meet some new people, doing new things, beautifully. This gift is to recognise a cool piece of work from you. As with all our designers, you take everyday briefs and create 'once in lifetime' ideas so deserve to be pampered by Rituals, a brand that turns daily routines into unique rituals.

 

 

Ding dong, Jo Bell is up today! Let's see what our creative writer discovered in her advent...

 

 

Dear Joanne,
As our brand development guru you supply all of us with a great deal of insight to everything new in the world of health and beauty. Whether it is first hand at an event, trawling the deep web for some crazy new trend coming out of South Korea or getting us to turn up to Open Eye with even more ideas than the last time! As such I decided to get you this beautiful notebook from Wedgewood which I hope will keep all your findings and beautiful thoughts in one place! Based on their Arris collection it has a contemporary geometric pattern designed to stand out from the crowd and lots of pages to jot away at your next events!

 

 

Our newest recruit opened up her advent and found out she had the luxurious gift of self-indulgence...

 

 

Dear Jacki,
You are a super mum to two little twins! So I wanted to treat you to the gift of pampering and self-indulgence. This Jo Malone ornament comes with a duo of beautiful scents — luxurious Peony & Blush Suede Cologne and refreshing Grapefruit Body Crème — all wrapped up in whimsical packaging that you can hang on your tree as a beautiful bauble decoration. We featured this in our View on Festive Beauty because of it’s beautiful design and fantastical festive story.

Robin had a birthday advent on Saturday! So Happy Birthday and a Merry Christmas to you...

 

 

Dear Robin,
As a true cycling enthusiast, this book will take you on beautiful adventures across Europe. From the heights of the Ötztal Glacier Road in Austria to the 'secret' side of the legendary Alpe d'Huez, Mountain Higher: Europe's Extreme, Undiscovered and Unforgettable Cycle Climbs explores 50 soon-to-be cult locations and captures stunning scenery from off the beaten track. (You won’t need to worry about cars there.) Maps, route lengths and heights are all included so all you need to do now is book your flight or start cyclin

 

 

Matt T (another cycling enthusiast!) opened up his advent today...

 

 

Dear Matt,
Whilst I know you’re a man of many hobbies (and talents), I wanted to buy you something to compliment your amazing eye and passion for Photography – It’s a personal photography journal packed with creative prompts which you can interpret through your own beautiful lens. Record them or simply use it as an inspirational guide to seeking out new ways of thinking beautifully – It’s highly rated by ‘It’s Nice That’ and ‘Photography Week’. The bicycle pizza cutter is simply a smart way to combine your love of bikes and food – and a useful tool too! Merry Christmas.

 

 

A family secret was revealed at today's advent...

 

 

Dear Sara,
It was quite difficult at first to think about a present with a true meaning AND that you would enjoy…. You love to socialise, you are always up for fun, to share a good talk, to listen, and to care. Only something for the heart could match that. So I ended up quite close to home. For as many generations as we can record, my family has grown wine (in small amounts, just for family consumption!). Since 1985 my family joined forces with the vast majority of the small village producers, and together founded BODEGAS PATROCINIO. It is now not only a very successful enterprise, but it makes great RIOJA wines, that get exported all over the world. Best to be served chilled, with great food and better company - Enjoy! PS: The bottle commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Bodega, all the producers are named inside. Tomas Sarramian is my father, Francisco Saez my uncle, and the rest…. The people from the village!!

 

 

Nick opened his advent and had to ask, "I wonder how many times i've travelled this year?"

 

 

Dear Nick,
For our beautiful and stylish Creative Director - these Aesop Jetset items are to keep you looking and smelling your best when traveling the world, sharing our Beautiful Thinking. Aesop is such an amazing brand, that others often try to imitate but often fail to do so. Just like Aesop there is no imitating you! You are most truly one of a kind, and we wouldn’t have you any other way. Happy travels!

 

 

Hump day, we're so close now! Emily continued the travel theme today with her advent...

 

 

Dear Emily,
You are a beautiful, free-spirited explorer with an eye for detail, a passion for food and culture and a taste for the finer things in life. You also won the Oscar for the person who visited the Balearic Islands the most in one year! So, I’ve signed you up to a year’s subscription of SUITCASE magazine - “a multi-media publication that is re-imagining the role of the travel magazine, saying goodbye to the impossibly luxurious and the underwhelming tourist clichés, and embracing the eclectic and adventurous appetite of a generation of creatives and entrepreneurs”. It’s packed full of off-the-beaten-track destinations, food, arts, fashion and features. Your first is The Spirit issue and the next will be Myths and Legends - I hope you start your new year with a similarly magical narration and sense of spirit… Once upon a time Emily Mills was guided by tales of distant lands and promises of magical experiences to pack her suitcase and head off, on what was to be, the most epic of adventures!

 

 

Have you ever heard of someone having a pet hedgehog? No we hadn't, until we met Bryony...

 

 

Dear Bryony,
I bought you two presents this year, the first is a graphic autobiography for you to read on your commute to work. It is about the life of a girl growing up during the Islamic Revolution - it's hard hitting  funny and charming with a beautifully simple almost childlike illustration style. It's won many awards and been translated into many different languages. The second is inspired by Buffy, your hedgehog, and also the fact that we all know you like your tea… so now you can enjoy a cuppa in style!

 

 

Pet hedgehogs and now doga. This is a whole new world...

 

 

Dear Margot,
We know you love to spend time with your two dads, and you hate to be apart from them.  Now you can spend more quality time with them bonding over some doggy & daddy yoga, with this Doga book.

 

 

Today's the day we say farewell for the holidays! Our very last advent of 2016...

 

 

Dear Em,
To our amazing studio manager superstar that never seems to crack. You’re effortlessly stylish in your favourite colour black. So a token gift of darkness to put upon your feet. And because you’re a great problem solver, find the clues to complete…

 

 

Wow what a year it's been! And what a great month of advents and mince pies. So, from everyone here at DG+P we wish you a very merry Christmas and happy New Year! Here's to 2017 xx

 

More reading:

Empowering Beauty
Stretch? We Certainly Have!
Keeping Up with the Culturists

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