The season of gift shopping is in full swing, so we got some serious strategy advice from none other than style star Gwyneth Paltrow. The face of Boss Jour Pour Femme ($65 at hugoboss.com)—a delicious new scent that blends florals with citrus—and mom of two dishes on her favorite gift to buy for others, her go-to holiday traditions, and her favorite beauty look for the holidays.
How far in advance do you start your Christmas shopping?
I generally start my Christmas shopping at least 2 months before. I like to get things personalized and my gifts usually require some advance time. I’m definitely a planner.
Do you rope anyone in to help you?
I’m a solo shopper; I don’t rope my friends into it. I spend a lot of time searching for things on the internet.
You said you like to personalize your presents – is that getting things engraved on them?
Yes, I think it’s really nice that when someone opens a present it has something personal. Last year I gave everyone these beautiful handmade cutting boards, everyone in the family’s name was engraved on one side. I’ve done ceramic plates, jewelery with initials. It takes it from being a normal present to being something that’s actually really special and requires a lot of thought and planning.
Fragrance makes a great gift at Christmas. How would you go about picking a fragrance?
I think it’s nice to buy a fragrance that they’ve never tried, or buy them their favorite. It’s a luxury gift, it’s personal and it’s always wonderful to get perfume. I think it’s a nice time to try something new. But for people who are really married to their scent it’s also a really good time to give them that.
Who is the hardest friend or family member to shop for?
I think men are really hard to shop for, much harder than women. Probably my husband, my brother, my husband’s brothers – they’re usually the hardest.
What kind of Christmas Day rituals do you have as a family?
Our Christmas rituals are pretty much the same every year; it’s basically trying to keep the children in bed until at least 7 am! Father Christmas always leaves a stocking at the end of their bed, which is great because then they wake up and they have lots of little bits to unwrap. Then they wake us up and they just go to town on the present opening. I do a lot of the cooking before Christmas but then I usually spend a lot of Christmas cooking too. All the smells, all of the mulled wine, all of the trimmings for the turkey –we like to have all the family around. [It’s] a very traditional Christmas.
Do you get your kids involved in the cooking?
My kids are very involved in the kitchen with me, especially my son. He loves to cook and he’s very engaged when we do it – he has a lot of patience for it, it’s very cute. He helps me measure and he cracks eggs perfectly, he’s very good.
What’s your fondest memory from Christmas growing up?
I remember being probably about four years old and coming down and my presents were so tall, they were taller than I was. It was this incredible moment where Santa Claus had brought me all of these presents and it was the most astounding thing to have a mountain of presents that was taller than myself.
What’s your go-to Christmas outfit if you’re going out to a party?
I always feel like I end up wearing something black. I have a number of black jumpsuits that are always very easy because then you don’t have to think about much else.
Is there a beauty look that you like for Christmas, like a red lip, or do you keep it quite neutral?
I always think it’s a good idea to have a red lip at Christmas but I’m not very good at doing that so I usually just end up looking very natural.