M&S Davao Style File: Nikki Gotianse-Tan, the art of gift giving

Yuletide carols filled the airwaves on the first day of the ber months signaling the season of gift giving. Out comes the Christmas list for 32-year old Nikki Gotianse-Tan.

The thought process on what to give every Christmas starts around September or early October for me so I can work my way through my list leisurely. I love browsing online for trending brands and take advantage of go-to brands that go on sale. I try to avoid panic buying because I usually end up settling for things that are just so-so and sometimes, even more expensive, said Nikki, as she puts on the seasonal Santa hat at midday in between the other daily hats she wears as wife, mother, businesswoman, lifestyle writer and yogini.

“Food & wine is always a great gift idea in my book.”
On Nikki, red Chevron print long sleeves from M&S Collection.

Christmas is always a special time for me because growing up, my parents always pulled out all the stops to make it memorable. I enjoy all the old-fashioned things about Christmas and I have them to thank  the tree, the stockings, traditional food for noche buena and opening presents at the stroke of 12 midnight. Im passing on the tradition to my kids, Nikki shared.

Although the Christmas tree comes up mid-November at her home, the presents to surround it are prepared, each meticulously selected and personally wrapped. She confessed that she always look forward to seeing her kids faces lighting up at the sight of beautifully wrapped presents (and plenty of them!) and finding sweet treats in their Christmas socks.

“Kids are only young once. Go the extra mile & make their Christmas memorable.”
On Nikki, M&S Collection Striped Tunic.

As for the presents for family, friends and everyone else she holds dear, these are ready to be personally delivered even before the first day of the Christmas month comes.

I love giving gifts because it is a gesture of appreciation. Well thought-out gifts are the best ones. Through your present, you are telling the person you are giving that you took considerable time and effort to give him or her something that they can use and enjoy. Christmas shopping is something I have to say I unabashedly enjoy. It is not often that you get to show your gratitude and spoil your loved ones and other people in your life so I always like to make it count.

“It is not often that you get to show your gratitude and spoil your loved ones and other people in your life so I always like to make my presents count.” 
Nikki’s Scuba KS Print top from M&S Collection.

Nikki has elevated gift giving into an art form. Everything is done with a personal touch, from choosing the appropriate present, wrapping, adorning and completing it with a handwritten personal note.

Just like with any other endeavor, I believe gift giving can be an art when you put enough ingenuity and imagination into it, said Nikki, The goal I have when turning a purchased item into a gift is making sure that the recipient will delight in receiving it, opening it and ultimately, owning it.

“I believe that gifts should be decked out in red, green, gold and silver.” 
Nikki’s long-sleeved striped shirt from M&S Collection.

Here, she shares her tips on Christmas gift shopping.

1. Expectations are always good. Through the years, the anticipation will build for the people you gift if you have consistently made the effort to give them great ones and knowing that they look forward to another of your gifts is already gratifying.

Always a good idea to keep the Christmas spirit bubbly. 
Wine + chocolate, get the pair from the Marks & Spencer's collection.

2. Its never too early to start storing gifts. Your Christmas list tends to vary very little each year and it is always great to reach December already 80-90% done with your gift shopping. Work through your list thoughtfully and label what you buy to avoid confusion when wrapping time comes.

3. List at least two options for each persons present and weigh them in terms of your budget and which one you think they will like more.

4. Always look around. Some of the best gifts are found purely by chance, like in an obscure shop youve never visited before or a street corner you just stumbled upon while on a trip.

5. When thinking of a gift, sometimes the most commonly used things are still the best and most appreciated. Just look for it in a unique design or personalize it especially for the person youre giving.

“When thinking of a gift, sometimes the most commonly used things are still the best and most appreciated.”
Nikki wearing Digital Rose tee, 5-pocket jeggings & Pear Shape Tonal necklace from M&S Collection with Classic Cashmillion Cardigan in pink.

Great gift idea: M&S biscuits make the perfect pair for tea & coffee.

From the M&S tea collection. A box or two will make an ideal Holiday gift.

6. Wrapping matters. I believe gifts should be pretty inside out so invest in good quality wrapping material in fun and intricate designs. Order a set of personalized gift cards and gift tags. Let good wrapping be your signature.

Try wrapping all your presents yourself. The entire process can infuse the object with your feeling of joy and excitement and it will surely pass along to the recipient. 

7. There is valuable truth in making a list and checking it twice. You don't want to miss out on anyone who matters to you or has been nice to you. Take time to remember acquaintances, colleagues and people you have encountered at work and even people at your doctor's clinic or salon. 

8. Carefully recycling gifts can work but make sure to make it look brand-new. Your oft-overlooked items at home can be someone else's greatest delight. Check that the packaging is in mint condition and that it didn't look like it passed hands one too many.

9. When in doubt, turn to food and drink. There may be people in your life whose personal tastes you don't know enough about. Its times like these that you best turn to a bottle of wine or gourmet snack or pastry to help you make their holiday a happy one. Food is always a great gift idea in my book.

Wise go-to gifts- food & wine. There is something for everyone from the M&S Food Hall.

10. Go the extra mile for kids. They are only young once and making their Christmas memorable will be something they always remember.

M&S sweet treats make great Christmas stockings fillers.


Fashion: Marks & Spencer 2015 Autumn/Holiday Collection.
Photography: Kenneth Hao, Licentiate Wedding Photographer of Asia/2015 Tanglaw ng Inspirasyon Photography Specialist of the Year Awardee
Make-up: Otoy Mercado

M&S Christmas gift baskets are now available at SM Lanang Premier & Abreeza Mall.


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