For our 26-page Christmas gift guide, we ask a group of real people, from newlyweds to mother and baby, from alternative practitioner to tycoon, what they would most like to receive - and interpret their wish list. By Martin Skegg and Michael Oliveira Salac. Photographs by Stuart Sutherland. Stockist details on page 60

Young and in love

Trudy and Errol O'Neil were recently married: "We love the Mongolian throw," says Trudy. "It's a cuddly portable bundle of sensuality - anytime, anywhere. The lavender ironing water is most useful - Errol's ironing fetish makes us both happy. We don't really need the CD player, but it looks and sounds so sexy, and music is the food of love. We would love a cedarwood hot tub for long soaks outdoors, reminding us of our honeymoon. On Christmas Day, we'd love to eat a giant take-out of sushi from the Nobu restaurant, or perhaps 20 native oysters from Bibendum. The best present ever was Moses, our English Blue rabbit, a joint present to ourselves. He gives us unconditional love 24 hours a day - so we'd probably let him run around on the sheepskin rug."

Above Mongolian throw, pounds 1,000, Alma. Facing page, from top, steel-frame chairs, pounds 45 each, Muji; Sennheiser RS-400 headphones, pounds 79, and HD-500 headphones, pounds 70, Sennheiser; leather cushion, pounds 102, Altiplano; towels: bath, pounds 12.95, hand towel, pounds 2.50, mid-size towel, pounds 3.95, Muji; No 88 giant burning sticks, pounds 22 (12 pack, wrapped), and Oxford & Cambridge travelling shaving kit (wrapped), pounds 75, both Czech & Speake; Rega Planet CD player, pounds 450, Rega; sheepskin hot-water-bottle cover, pounds 50, Alma; lavender ironing water, pounds 22, Margaret Howell

Gizmos and gadgets

Ben Wilson is a graduate designer and urban sport fan: "I would like the Casio as it would keep me organised. The snowboard is excellent as I am gonna do a bit of a season next year. I think the bicycle is a bit extravagant - and what's wrong with peddling? I am hoping to find a round-the-world plane ticket on Christmas morning to get away from this weather. The best present I ever had was a drum machine when I was 12." From top

Strobe-Yo, pounds 29.99, Bandai; Sims Enduro snowboard, pounds 250, The Snowboard Asylum; South Park Kenny stuffed toy, pounds 99, Virgin Megastores; navy rucksack, pounds 45, Duffer of St George; Virgin Megastore 3-D gift vouchers with 3-D glasses, from pounds 1, Virgin Megastores; Buzz Bike electric motor and Daewoo bike, pounds 795, Buzz Bikes; Reese's Pieces, 35p, supermarkets; spud gun, pounds 4, Urban Outfitters; Oreo's, 79p, supermarkets; Squeeze Cheese, pounds 1.99, leading supermarkets; The Dancing Baby, pounds 19.99, Hamleys; nylon CD holder, pounds 9.95, Jerry's Home Store; green suede Vans sneakers, pounds 60, from Browns Focus; Leatherman Wave penknife, pounds 89.99, Ellis Brigham; Aiwa AM-F5 recording personal MiniDisc, pounds 229, Aiwa; Fag End ashtray, pounds 8, Red or Dead bedsit range; Mach 3 razor, pounds 6.99, Gillette; Casio E10 MB Palm Companion, pounds 299, Casio; sumo wrestler desk fan, pounds 10, Urban Outfitters; Nokia 9000i Communicator phone, pounds 199 with connection, Nokia; steel floppy disc holder, pounds 15.50, Muji; Sony D- ES55 personal CD Player, pounds 160, MDR-D77 egg-shaped headphones, pounds 130, both Sony; all other clothes, Ben's own

Good old days

Frances Warman enjoys an active and happy retirement. "I don't want very much. When you get to my age you don't really, do you? But I love the smell of the Bronnley pot pourri, and the shopping trolley is lots of fun. My best present ever was a Solvil & Titus Swiss watch with gold chain. For Christmas, it would be nice to receive a simple microwave. The best thing, though, is having all my family together under one roof." From top

Good Grips trowel, pounds 7.95, fork, pounds 7.95, and weeder, pounds 6.95, John Lewis; Ufesa oil-fired radiator, pounds 69.99, Index; fruits in syrup jars: cherries with kirsch, peaches with cinnamon, pears with Calvados, pounds 12.95 each, The Pier; shopping trolley, pounds 16.95, The Holding Company; kneeling pad, pounds 9.95, John Lewis; Moth Chaser violet pillows, pounds 14.95 (four pack), Jerry's Home Store; BBC audio books, pounds 8.99 each, John Lewis; pressed flower stationery, pounds 45, Smythson; slippers, pounds 9.95, John Lewis; pot pourri, pounds 6.95 each, The Pier; Bronnley Classic gift sets, pounds 29.95 and pounds 19.95, Bronnley; all clothes, Frances's own

From top

Metal cross cabinet, pounds 35, APC; iMac computer, pounds 999, Apple Macintosh; Jam Robo Stacker, pounds 215, Same; lampshade, pounds 69.99, Proto UK; Droog soft washbowl, pounds 470, Same; Denon D-M3 micro system, pounds 299, Denon; salt shaker and pepper mill, pounds 65 each, Jerry's Home Store; olive oil, from pounds 4, APC; Charles Eames lounge chair, pounds 425, Places & Spaces; Siemens TT 91100 Porsche coffee maker, pounds 179, Harrods; metal optical frames, pounds 125, Katharine Hamnett; flannel trousers, pounds 169, and jacket, pounds 370, Nicole Farhi; lace-up loafers, pounds 155, Oliver Sweeney; jumper, Joao's own

Madonna and child

First-time mother Sasha Chessells with her four-and-a-half-months-old baby Harvey: "The buggy is so cool - not much baby equipment is. The clothes are comfortable, and grey is not only fashionable but totally practical with a baby. The tins are great for holding all the paraphernalia that comes with a baby. The Clarins is heavenly - having a bath is a blissful moment for me after I have put Harvey to bed. I would like the Nigella Lawson cookbook, as there is a section on baby food and it is too much to justify buying for myself. I think Harvey likes the Junko Shimada teddy. It's just the right size to be a friend to carry about everywhere." Sasha (from left)

Laundry basket, pounds 32, Muji; Gucci G clock, pounds 325, Gucci; amber and orange-blossom-scented candles, pounds 19 each, Jerry's Home Store; Relax body treatment oil, pounds 25 (100ml), Relax bath & shower concentrate, pounds 14 (250ml), Clarins; Angel perfume, from pounds 36, Thierry Mugler; multi-purpose chrome tins, pounds 14.95, from The Holding Company; Bradbury bag, pounds 495, from Mulberry; wide-leg wool trousers, pounds 110, tunic sweater, pounds 123, both Agnes B; wool cube-heeled boots, pounds 175, Russell and Bromley Harvey (from top)

Padded dungarees, pounds 28, Baby Gap; all-terrain pushchair, pounds 385, Land Rover; teddy bear, pounds 19.95, Harrods; bear, pounds 18, Junko Shimada; striped hat, pounds 12, Baby Gap; cashmere baby blanket, pounds 75, Brora; all other clothes, Harvey's own

Fine and dandy

Jasper Baird-Murray has set up his own catering company, Poseidon! Poseidon!, with a partner: "The sailing boots are my favourite - maybe I'll be able to stay on the boat without slipping. The can-crusher is an effective solution to that age-old predicament of unsightly aluminium cans. The spice rack is rather extravagant, I don't think it's intended for kitchen usage, it's too ornamental. Under the Christmas tree, I would like to find - myself, blissfully drunk, knowing that the hard work is over." Clockwise from centre

Apple Powerbook G3 multimedia notebook computer, pounds 1,949 (plus VAT), Apple Macintosh; Tag Heuer 6000 Chronograph chronometer, pounds 1,995, Tag Heuer; Buboory calf-skin and Gore-tex sailing boots, pounds 120, Captain OM Watts; test-tube spice rack, pounds 36, Aero; wine-bottle-shaped pepper mill, pounds 24.95, The Museum Store; truffle oil, pounds 3.95, Harvey Nichols; La Baleine fleur de sel, pounds 2.29 (125g), Selfridges; Robert Isabell herb-scented dinner lights, pounds 27.50, Harvey Nichols; Cirrco nutcracker, pounds 14, Purves & Purves; Recipes notebook, pounds 25, Wines notebook, pounds 25, Menus & Guests diary, pounds 75, all from Smythson; Lever Model corkscrew, pounds 110, Forme cheese knife, pounds 35, Forme cook knife, pounds 40, all Purves & Purves; Alessi kitchen timer, pounds 44, American Retro; The Moo salt shaker, pounds 15.95, The Museum Store; Alessi cactus orange squeezer, pounds 14, American Retro; spray pump, pounds 12.75, Purves & Purves; Green Frog can-crusher, pounds 18, American Retro; leather bean bag, pounds 590, Alma; checked suit, pounds 610, Paul Smith; shirt, pounds 90, checked tie, pounds 60, enamel cuff-links, pounds 55, Duchamp; lace-up ankle boots, pounds 129, Oliver Sweeney

Girl power

Lotte and Nancy Andersen attend a French Lycee school and go to lots of parties. Lotte, 9: "I like the talking watch best because I saw it on TV - I wish I had one. The personal organiser is good as I love computers, and it is useful for sending messages. I'd like a portable cassette and CD player for Christmas. The best present ever was my Nintendo Gameboy. What I really want for Christmas I'm not allowed to have - my ears pierced!" Nancy, 6: "The TV is best because it is a lovely colour, and it means I can watch the Cartoon Network in my room - I'd like an inflatable chair to sit on. At Christmas, I would like a computer (my dad's got an iMac) and a TV. I've forgotten the best present I ever had." From top

Chupa Chups lollipops, 10p each, Woolworths; Casio JD-1100S digital diary, pounds 9.99, Woolworths; cuddly toys, from pounds 5.99, Hamleys; PDA Control Pad 32 personal organiser, pounds 47.99, Argos; Reese's Pieces lunch tin, pounds 9.95, Oreo lunch tin, pounds 10.95, both Jerry's Home Store; Oreo cookies with yo-yo, pounds 1.39, supermarkets; assorted sweet collections, from pounds 1.49, Nestle; Sound Bites musical lollipop holders, pounds 7.99, Woolworths; duck hot-water bottle, pounds 12.95, Jerry's Home Store; flashing bracelets, from pounds 4.99, Apocalypse Now; bouquet de parfum `Flowers', pounds 12.95 each, Pupa; talking watch, pounds 19.99, Hamleys; Tomy Cybercon 2000 headsets, pounds 18.75, Index; Bush 1433-Y 14in remote-control TV, pounds 130, Comet; Steepletone micro hi-fi system, pounds 39.99, Index; Bopit, pounds 29.95, Harrods; velour dress, pounds 24, Gap Kids; tights, Lotte's own; silk tartan taffeta dress, pounds 175, The Scotch House; tights, Nancy's own

The finer things in life

Alan Woods is the chairman of Woods River Cruises: "The antique knight's helmet with clock is my favourite because it is so unusual. I will find the Pioneer DVD useful - the latest technology to see my favourite films on. The NEC phone is the most over-the-top I have seen - I would never buy something like this. For Christmas, if I could have anything, I would like an additional teak deck on our vessel, the Silver Sturgeon, the hire of the Windsor Belle for the Henley Regatta 1999 and a weekend at the Chateau St Marten in Vence in the south of France. But the biggest kick is the reaction of my family to the presents I have given them." From top

Pinus sylvestris sapling, pounds 7.45, Clifton Nurseries; antique clock, pounds 750, Jean Brown Antiques; 1996 Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc, 1et Cru Morgeot, pounds 25.45, 1996 Echezeaux, Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret, pounds 34.27, both Laytons Wine Merchants; brewers' corkscrew, pounds 25, Space EC1; mushroom knife, pounds 17.75, Carluccio's; NEC DB2000 solid platinum limited-edition mobile phone, pounds 10,000, exclusively from Harrods; Portobello desk diary, pounds 95, Smythson; Pioneer DV-717 DVD player, pounds 550, Pioneer; Hangover cufflinks, pounds 39, Simon Carter; leather and gold fountain pen, pounds 370, Louis Vuitton; Solitaire platinum fountain pen, pounds 9,250, Mont Blanc; silver nautical key ring, pounds 95, Tiffany & Co; Quicktionary language scan & see translator, pounds 150, Innovations; Psion 5, pounds 450, and Mulberry case, pounds 170, Psion; Kirium chronograph watch, pounds 1,325, TAG Heuer; shoes, pounds 155, Oliver Sweeney; all other clothes, Alan's own

All the right labels

Liz Higgins is a hospitality and corporate entertainment manager: "I'm not a name-dropper but I do like good quality. My favourite present is the Louis Vuitton Top 30 City Guide because my husband and I keep promising ourselves some European mini-breaks. The weekend bag will be most useful for our trips, too. The Margaret Howell cashmere wrap is just perfect for travelling and for breakfast on the terrace. My dog, Cliquot, is named after Veuve Cliquot champagne, so he's rather upmarket, too!" From left

Results hair products range, from pounds 3.25, Charles Worthington; Jil Sander No 4 New Way body moisturiser, pounds 18, exclusive to Harrods; Ralph Lauren charity teddy, pounds 10 if spending more than pounds 35 on Ralph Lauren products (profits to Sargent Cancer Care for Children), exclusive to House of Fraser; Karakoram cashmere travel blanket, pounds 370, and leather holder, pounds 70, Louis Vuitton; nail polish, pounds 11 each, Chanel; Fotonex APS 3500ix zoom camera with remote-control panel, pounds 199, Fuji; dog's trench coat, pounds 115, Burberry; European City Guides, pounds 30, Louis Vuitton; Gucci 2405 stainless steel bracelet watch, pounds 625, Gucci; Alize weekend bag, pounds 535, Louis Vuitton; cashmere robe, pounds 995, Margaret Howell; `Mini Suitcase' pill holder, pounds 85, Tiffany & Co; Vialetto amaretti almond biscuits, pounds 5.99, BHS; Carmencita coffee pot, pounds 29.95, Lavazza; apricot compote and selected jams, pounds 1.39 each, Bonne Maman; trouser suit, pounds 299, Paul Costello; wool polo-neck, Liz's own

Inner tranquillity

Chester Odendaal is a Golden Age Reiki master: "The Lightbody essences really excite me. They clear the emotional and mental body. I think all the presents are useful, practical for the fourth and fifth dimensions. It would be wonderful to have a Tiffany emerald crystal. Emeralds resonate and activate the higher heart, which helps to connect to the divine. They were implanted on earth by the Hathors, Christ-conscious beings from Venus. The best present I have ever had is the help and support on my spiritual path from Mel, Shimara Kumara, the Ascended Masters and Angels and Archangels." From left

Burning sticks, pounds 4.95, oak incense stick holder, pounds 7.95, both Jerry's Home Store; Chinese-style candle, pounds 18, Urban Outfitters; Rainbow Lightbody Activation essences, pounds 7 each (15ml), pounds 60 (set of 10), Crystal Herbs; glass sushi plate, pounds 14.95, Jerry's Home Store; Equilibrium Oils by Aura Soma, pounds 11.50 each, Lucia Angelis; engraved river rock Chinese icon stones, pounds 9.95 each, The Pier; `Feng Shui For Modern Living' magazine, one year's subscription, pounds 35.40; Zen garden, pounds 25, Paperchase; chipped granite vases, large, pounds 23, small, pounds 17.50, Urban Outfitters; cream linen drawstring trousers, pounds 129, Nicole Farhi; jumper, Chester's own


Aero 96 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5RT. For mail order, call 0181-971 0066

Agnes B 111 Fulham Road, London SW3 6RL, enquiries, 0171-225 3477

Aiwa Unit 5, Heathrow Summit Centre, Skyport Drive, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 0LY. For information and stockists, call 0990 902 902

Alma 12-14 Greatorex Street, London E1 5NF. For enquiries and mail order, call 0171-377 0762

Altiplano For mail order, call 01428 684 856

American Retro 35 Old Compton Street, London W1V 5PL. For enquiries and mail order, call 0171-734 3477

APC 40 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AA (0171-229 4933). For mail order, call 00 33 01 4439 0660; (fax) 00 33 01 4439 0661 or internet at

Apocalypse Now For prices, mail order, call 0171-379 6807

Apple Macintosh For information and stockists, call 0870 600 6010

Argos For nearest store, call 0870 600 3030

Baby Gap For nearest store, call 0800 427789

Bandai Jellicoe, Botley Grange, Hedge End, Southampton S030 2AF (01489 790 944)

Bonne Maman From branches of Sainsbury and Waitrose

BHS For nearest store, call 0171-262 3288

Bronnley For stockists, call 01280 702291

Brora For mail order, call 0171-736 9944

Browns focus 38-39 South Molton Street, London W1Y 1DA, enquiries, 0171- 629 0666

Burberry 165 Regent Street, London W1R 8AS (0171-734 5929)

Buzz Bikes Collingbourne House, Spencer Court, 140-142 High Street Wandsworth, London SW18 4JJ (0181-875 9171)

Captain OM Watts 7 Dover Street, London W1X 3PJ (0171-493 4633)

Carluccio's 28a Neal Street, London WC2H 9PS. For stockists and mail order, call 0171-240 1487

Casio For information and stockists, call 0181-450 9131

Chanel From major department stores and Boots

Charles Worthington From department stores and Boots

Clarins From department stores and Boots

Clifton Nurseries 5a Clifton Villas, London W9 2PH (0171-289 6851)

Comet For local branches, call 0500 425 425

Crystal Herbs For mail order, call 01379 668848

Czech & Speake For mail order, call 0800 919 728

Denon For information and stockists, call 01234 741 200

Duchamp 75 Ledbury Road, London W11, enquiries 0171-792 5200

Duffer of St George 29 Shorts Gardens, London WC2H 9AP, enquiries 0171-379 4660

Ellis Brigham For stockist and mail order, call 0161 834 55 55

`Feng Shui for Modern Living' magazine For subscriptions, call 0171- 336 6139

Fuji For information and stockists, call 0171-586 5900

Gap Kids For stores nationwide, call 0800 427789

Gillette From leading supermarkets and chemists

Gucci For stockists and further information, call 0171-371 7795

Hamleys 188-196 Regent Street, London W1R 6BT (0171-734 3161)

Harrods 87-135 Brompton Road, London SW1X 7XL. For enquiries and mail order, call 0171-730 1234

Harvey Nichols (London & Leeds). For information, call 0171-235 5000

The Holding Company Burlington House, 184 New King's Road, London SW6 4NF. For mail order, call 0171-610 9160

House of Fraser For nearest store, call 0171-963 2000

Index For local branches and enquiries, call 0345 444 444

Innovations To order, call 0870 908 7070

Jean Brown Antiques 515 King's Road, London SW10 0TX (0171-352 1575)

Jerry's Home Store 163-167 Fulham Road, London SW3 6FN. For enquiries and stockists, call 0171-581 0909

Jil Sander Exclusive to Harrods (see above). Call 0171-730 1234

John Lewis For information and branches, call 0171-629 7711

Junko Shimada 54 Rue Etienne Marcel, Paris (00 33 1 42603009)

Katharine Hamnett From In-Specs, 237 Queenstown Road, London SW8 3NP, enquiries 0171-978 1888

Land Rover For stockists, call 01822 618 077

Lavazza For stockists, call 0181-580 8810

Laytons Wine Merchants For mail order, call 0171-388 4567

Louis Vuitton 178 New Bond Street, London W1Y 9HF (0171-399 4050). For stockists and mail order, call 0800 393 304

Lucia Angelis For details and mail order, call 01507 533 581

Margaret Howell 24 Brook St, London W1Y 1AE (0171-495 4888)

Mont Blanc For information and stockists, call 0181-232 3000

Muji For nearest store, call 0171-323 2208

Mulberry (stores in London, Manchester, Edinburgh). For information, call 01749 340 541

The Museum Store 37 The Market, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8RF, enquiries, 0171-240 5760

NEC For further information, call 0645 404020

Nestle From confectioners and supermarkets

Nicole Farhi 158 New Bond Street, London W1Y 9PA, enquiries, 0171-499 8368

Nokia For further information and stockists, call 0990 003 110

Oliver Sweeney From Harvey Nichols (see above), enquiries 01364 631529

Oreo's and Reese's Pieces From supermarkets

Paperchase For stockists, call 0171-580 8496; for mail order, call 0171- 323 3707

Paul Costelloe From Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB, enquiries 0171-629 1234

Paul Smith 40-44 Floral Street, London WC2E 9DG, enquiries, 0171-379 7133

The Pier For enquiries and mail order, call 0171-814 5020. Mail order address, 91-95 King's Road, London SW3 4PA

Pioneer For enquiries, call 01753 789 500

Places & Spaces 30 Old Town, London SW4 0LB. For enquiries and information, call 0171-498 0998

Proto UK For mail order, call 0171-232 0501

Psion For stockists, call 0990 143 050

Pupa For stockists, call 01932 254854

Purves & Purves 80-81 Tottenham Court Road, London W1, 0171-580 8223. For mail order, call 0181-960 0788

Red or Dead For stockists, call 0114 2737827

Rega For stockists, call 01702 333 071

Russell and Bromley 24-25 New Bond Street, London W1Y 0PS, enquiries, 0171-629 6903

Same 146 Brick Lane, London E1 6RV, for enquiries and mail order, call 0171-247 9992

The Scotch House 2 Brompton Road, London SW1, enquiries 0171-581 2151; mail order, 0171-437 3577

Selfridges 400 Oxford Street, London W1A 1AB (0171-629 1234)

Sennheiser For information and

stockists, call 01494 551 532

Simon Carter For mail order and stockists, call 0171-287 4363

Smythson 40 New Bond Street, London W1Y 0DE. For mail order, call 0990 211 311

The Snowboard Asylum For stockist information and mail order, call 0990 902 902

Sony For information and stockists, call 0990 111 999

Space EC1 25 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QL. For enquiries and mail order, call 0171-837 1344

Squeeze Cheese from supermarkets

TAG Heuer For stockists and information, call 0800 550 555

Thierry Mugler From department stores and Boots

Tiffany & Co 25 Old Bond Street, London W1X 3AA (0171-409 2790)

Ufesa For mail order, call 0345 55 22

Urban Outfitters 36-38 Kensington High Street, London W8 4PF (0171-761 1001)

Virgin Megastores For nearest store, call 0181-400 4000

Woolworths For nearest store, call 01706 862 720