My design Christmas: three wise shoppers - Russell Pinch, Janice Blackburn, India Knight
The furniture designer
Russell Pinch is an award-winning London furniture designer and the founder of Pinch Design, with his wife, Oona Bannon. They plan to celebrate Christmas at home with their two daughters in Brixton.
"Christmas is the only time of the year my wife Oona and I feel we can relax so we try to keep it simple but big on treats. We really like doing a winter walk and coming back to a big log fire and loads of candles. We have bought some lovely candle holders from Dark Room in Lambs Conduit Street (darkroomlondon.com) and the pewter one will definitely make its way into someone's present pile.
"Lambs Conduit Street in Bloomsbury is very special. There we will have to pop into Persephone books to buy a beautiful novel (and matching bookmark) — great stocking fillers (persephonebooks.co.uk). And VAT's wine bar (vatswinebar.com) is a very atmospheric place on the same street for a pre-Christmas snifter to give us courage before heading on into Christmas shopping hell.
Watching movies on our projector with the kids also marks the festive period. Last year it was Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox. This year we have high hopes for The Snowman and The Snow Dog on Christmas Day (Channel 4).
"One of the presents I will be giving is a Jessica Rath print from her Take Me To The Breeders series (jessicarath.com).
"I am not a massive consumer, so there is not much I am desperate to have myself, but tools always make me happy, so anything made by Festool (festool.co.uk) would be nice.
"I'd also like a weather station to fully indulge my nerdie weather obsessions. And a beautiful cup for my coffee would be good. I have my eye on a Yumiko Iihoshi one that can be bought over the internet (shop.the189.com) and some Teflon-coated steel scissors for precise snipping (bookbinding.co.uk).
"Treats I would love to have are some 12-year-old Lagavulin whisky, oysters from Moxon's (moxonsfreshfish.com) and Stilton with old-fashioned apple varieties from Franklins in East Dulwich. (franklinsrestaurant.com).
The arts and crafts expert
Janice Blackburn is a curator of contemporary arts and crafts at Sotheby's and at 10 Downing St, and is a former curator for art collector Charles Saatchi. Christmas is spent in Notting Hill where she lives with her husband, David, a lawyer and property developer. Between them they have four children and five grandchildren.
"Most of all I have fun planning for Christmas. I like my house to look festive but not in a contrived Martha Stewart-y way.
"I have a long, dark oak dining table made many years ago by Richard La Trobe-Bateman and a collection of beautiful table mats from Milan-based designer Luisa Cevese (designersguild.co.uk) with gold and dark red thread, which are perfect with napkins made from cheap cotton sari fabrics and ribbons and trimmings I buy in India. You can find similar fabrics on stalls in areas like Southall.
"My favourite florist is Scarlet and Violet in Kensal Rise (scarletandviolet.com). I'm also fortunate to have excellent shops on my doorstep: Kensington Fish for shellfish (kensingtonplace-restaurant.co.uk); Michanicou Brothers at 2 Clarendon Road, for fruit and vegetables and of course Portobello Market on Saturdays.
"Coco Maya (cocomaya.co.uk) is a wonderfully imaginative shop for chocolates in Connaught Street, W2, and I buy treats for everyone at the table.
"Scented candles are my indulgence, particularly Dyptique's Baies candles (diptyqueparis.co.uk), which have a gentle scent that doesn't overpower and which make the house smell quite delicious.
"The V&A Gift Shop sells lovely cards, wrapping paper and jewellery and I love browsing in Liberty and Selfridges. Also, Cockpit Studios, which is holding two festive pop-ups in early December (cockpitarts.com).
"Christmas for my family and me is really about the food and we all share a passion for eating and cooking. Every year we wonder whether we should have turkey or goose.
"We now compromise and alternate each year, but nothing beats roast turkey. I ignore all the professional advice about the perfect way to cook it and cook mine, organic bronze or black leg from either Waitrose or M&S, the way my mother did. It's unbeatable and my stuffing is divine.
"My Christmas present to myself will be from recent RCA design graduate Zemer Peled (zemerpeled.com), a gifted and innovative ceramicist, who is making me a wonderful sculptural pot. I'm giving my grandson, Sonny, who is 18 months old, two children's books that were given to me by my favourite uncle when I was tiny.
"They were almost falling apart but a book conservator has spent almost a year restoring them and they are now in good condition. They are Goops and How to Be Them: A Manual of Manners for Polite Infants, by Gelett Burgess, and What the Moon Brought, by Sadie Rose Weilerstein.
India Knight is a novelist and author. She lives in Primrose Hill (in a house where the interior is largely pink) where she spends Christmas with her two sons, her daughter and lots of extended family. Her latest book, Mutton, is out now.
"I start to prepare for Christmas in late November, with the ordering of our monstrous turkey from Lidgate's in W11 (lidgates.com). We got a new oven this year and I have just realised that the turkey won't fit in it, so there's that problem. Yay.
"I live in Primrose Hill, where the Christmas lights went on in the second week of November, which sounds — and is — ridiculous, but which does have the stealth-effect of focusing the mind.
"I've already got my new fairy lights up — they go all the way round the kitchen, by the cornicing, round the sitting room and round the flowerpots outside, all from Homebase, where I manfully resisted the strong temptation to buy a full-size Santa that said 'ho-ho-ho'. I love my neighbourhood, but the urge to give discreet good taste a horrid surprise is ever-present.
"I also have my eye on Bridget lights from Habitat — they're like a string of fat boiled sweets in jewel colours.
"This, along with the tree, from Pines and Needles (pinesandneedles.com), who are charming and carry it up the stairs, and a bauble wreath (paperchase.co.uk) on the front door, is the extent of my decorating. But when I say fairy lights I do mean 20 boxes of them, so that you can have dinner by their light alone.
"I try and shop locally as much as I can, so I head for Primrose Hill Books (everyone's getting You're All Invited, Margot Henderson's brilliant cookbook, and London, You're Beautiful, a collection of David Gentleman's wonderful drawings of the city).
"Then I go to Graham & Green (grahamandgreen.co.uk) because it's fantastic for presents at any time of year; to Cachao Toy Café (cachaotoycafe.com) for plentiful supplies of Sylvanian Families creatures, tutus for small girls and excellent arts and crafts materials, and to Anna for the best clothes.
"It's just a genius shop — brilliantly edited stock, fantastically helpful staff and, weirdly, clothes to suit anyone, regardless of their age or shape. You could kit out both a teenager and her granny there in one fell swoop.
"I'll supplement all this with one mega-trip to Marylebone High Street — to The Ginger Pig for everything meaty that isn't the turkey, to La Fromagerie next door for cheese and quinces and truffles and foody presents "Then I'll go to Skandium for presents for my minimalist mother; to Rachel Riley for an old-fashioned smocked dress for my niece; and finally to L'Entrecôte in Marylebone Lane for restorative steak and chips for me.
"I can't reveal what presents I'll be giving because they'll see it and I go whole hog on surprise. However, if I had a wife or mother or girlfriend who felt crap and wanted to look a zillion times better through the power and goodness of make-up, I'd buy them a consultation with my friend Sali Hughes (salihughes.com).
"The present I'd most like to be given is also an impossible question. If I were being modest I'd say a vegetable peeler from Caroline McGrath (carolinemcgrath.co.uk).
"Having said that, I am very keen on Ben Day's jewellery (benday.co.uk), and on tattoos from The Family Business in Exmouth Market (thefamilybusinesstattoo.com)."