Papa Pukka on... what men really think about Christmas shopping

Our grooming columnist, author, podcaster and Insta-star, Matt Farquharson (aka @papa_pukka), gives Christmas shopping some thought
Photography: Plain Picture

This is the time of year when I start to fret about the festive season ahead. Not because I will actually buy anything yet – that’s unlikely before 20 December – but it’s the fear of buying the wrong beauty gift that starts to play on my mind. Let’s face it: there’s no easy way to say to your partner, ‘Here’s how I think you could look better.’ It suggests you’ve sat down, a cuppa in hand, and pondered the ways they could smell better, have shinier locks, or slowly edge towards blemish-free skin.

I’ve been married for 10 years. This will be our 13th Christmas as a pair. On year one, I bought some arty-looking vinyl, because she had a record player and that’s something people did in the mid-noughties. On year two, I went with a purse, which she never used. My efforts have gone downhill ever since.

Because how do I get my beloved life-lobster things she actually wants, without suggesting that she needs to glow-up in a few areas? Does something with a ‘masque’ suggest I want to see less of her face? Does a cream with ‘complex night concentrate’ say she’s looking a bit tired? (I’ll be honest: she is, but we’ve got two small kids and my own eye bags could store enough food for a family holiday.)

And that’s before I consider my mum, sister and mother-in-law. So, this year, I’ll seek professional help. I will walk up to a counter, show a picture of her, and get some advice. Then I’ll tell her it was the result of an expert consultation – allowing enough distance if she doesn’t like it, but showing that I’ve invested time and thought if she does. Wish me luck.

Who gets what…

A good 50% of the non-kids Christmas budget. My main criterion is, ‘things that look more expensive than they are’. Often found in deep purple, navy or dark green packaging.

She still looks at anything I give her as though it were a dried-pasta smiley face glued on to a paper plate: disappointed in the effort, but glad I managed to get something.

Harder, given that she has an in-depth knowledge of beauty products. If in doubt, I opt for something that smells nice and add a chocolate orange as a chaser.

Papa Pukka, Matt Farquharson Christmas, presents, small gifts, happy face

Matt’s pressie picks

NEW Marc Jacobs Perfect* (100ml, EDT), is a few steps up from a homemade picture for Mum.

NEW Frank Body Glow Time Kit. I don’t understand it, but I know my sister will appreciate it.

NEW & EXCLUSIVE XX Revolution CompleXXion Face Palette promises top marks from my wife.

Matt Farquharson X'mas picks

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*On and in selected Boots stores from 9 September 2020. †On and in larger stores from 28 September. Subject to availability. The kit contains: Glow Mask (35ml) and Rose Gold Shimmer Scrub (100g).