2. With their Modiglianiesque necks, these beautifully formed, multifunctional 12in glass bottles in Vatican purple or burnt amber will please aesthetes and utilitarians alike. Fill them with salad oils or bubble bath, otherwise let them stand alone in minimalist grandeur on the mantelpiece. pounds 6.95 from branches of Liberty, Regent Street, London W1R 6AH (0171-734 1234).
3. The function of this domestic object is not immediately obvious - a hair twirler, perhaps, or a spaghetti chaser - so it wins a place in our top 10 on the grounds of intriguing looks alone. It is, in fact, a beechwood dough mixer and as such doubles as an activity tool for the long winter months: give it to friends yearning for the good life and things home-made. pounds 5.70 from Purves & Purves, 80-81 and 83 Tottenham Court Road, London W1P 9HD (0171-580 8223). Mail order available.
4. This chunky little glass bowl is so pretty it does not need to do anything, it can just sit around being pretty. But you could, if determined to make it serve a purpose, offset its frosted blue by filling it up with festive bonbons wrapped in silver paper. Suitable for grannies who have too many frilly ornaments or to add a splash of colour to monochrome bachelor pads. pounds 9.95 from Heal & Son, 196 Tottenham Court Road, London W1P 9LD (0171-636 1666).
5. A clean, cool glass of milk should be enjoyed from a clean, cool glass. Ritzhenhoff, maker of glassware that causes designers to go weak at the knees, has produced just such a vessel with its two-tone and blue "MILCH" hand-finished glasses. They are a milk advertiser's heaven. Ideal for your teenage brother. pounds 9.50 from Ogetti, 133 Fulham Road, London SW3 6RT (0171-581 8088). Mail order available.
6. Here is the perfect gift for serious beer drinkers: serious beer glasses, decorated with a range of regal motifs, which promise to transport the drinker from the comfort of home to the raucous bierkellers of Bavaria. Made by Ritzenhoff, suppliers of over 600 breweries in Europe, for the new Royal Beer Company, they are available in nine designs and cost pounds 10.95. Since each glass comes with a co-ordinated set of beer mats, we thought we could bend the rules! Available from The Home, Salt's Mill, Victoria Road, Saltaire, Bradford (01274 530770).
7. It is attention to the details in life that cheers and consoles. We therefore recommend these verdigris star fish hooks in place of the usual steel varieties found on the backs of bedroom or bathroom doors. They are inexpensive and delightful. pounds 4.99 from WaterAid (01983-821303).
8. Attempts to bring smokers back into the fold continue with these black or white so-called fly ashtrays. I, for one, have never seen any buzzing bluebottle that remotely resembles these contoured slabs of china covered with strange spirals. I hope I never do. They look much nicer gracing a coffee table. pounds 9.95 from the Conran Shop, 81 Fulham Road, London SW3 6RD (0171-589 7401).
9. This nifty egg-cup set with its trendy spiral egg-cup and cafe-style salt and pepper set packed in a nice chrome jar should be given to design- conscious campers and friends obsessed with order and clutter-free kitchens. Not recommended for the soldier-dunkers among us or those liable to dribble yolk over the cup's gleaming finish. pounds 6.95 from After Noah, 121 Upper Street, London N1 1QP (0171-359 4281).
10. There are plenty of candle-holders about, but these Gothic steel candlesticks with their crowns decorated with pearls made it into the top 10 because of their emotionally restorative function: it was hoped their simple beauty might cheer up the disenchanted monarchists among your family. They are probably more reliable and they do not answer back. From pounds 9.95 from branches of The Pier. For your nearest branch, call 0171- 351 7100.Reuse content