Helene Ravlich: 'Tis the Season...

We've all endured a momentous amount of stress, change, and adaptation during the year that was supposed to be easier than the last - and here we are, the festive season now officially upon us, bringing its own set of challenges, but hopefully also lots of joy and connection with loved ones.

I spoke to some of my favourite locals about what their plans are for the holiday season, what they are eyeing up for loved ones, and what they hope to see under their trees come Christmas morning.

Emma Lewisham, beauty industry game changer and founder of her namesake brand
“Christmas is such a special time of the year that I always look forward to,” says Emma, who has had quite the momentous year on a professional front as her brand went global and gained endorsement from none other than Dr. Jane Goodall. “I cherish the intimate, quality time spent with my husband and daughter over the holiday period.

"For me, it's about being present in the moment and finally winding down from the year.”

This year, Emma will be giving nearest and dearest vouchers to enjoy at their favourite local hospitality establishments, supporting an industry that has definitely done the hard yards.

The Emma Lewisham brand has released some beautiful gifting sets for the holidays as well as a limited edition (so get in quick) Illuminating Face and Body Oil. Unlike other cosmetic oils on the market, the Emma Lewisham complex utilises 'proprietary technology which has allowed us to create an oil formulation that incorporates hyaluronic acid, which is typically oil insoluble, for superior hydration benefits. Not only does the Oil deliver unparalleled hydration and moisturising skin health benefits, but it also offers antioxidant protection while granular minerals simultaneously wrap the skin for a sun-kissed glow'.

Also here for the holidays is the Emma Lewisham Essentials premium set of minis that can be refilled using their full size product refills.

Rickie Dee, co-founder of Superette
A business powerhouse as well as a mum of three, by the time the holidays roll around Rickie is more than ready for a relaxing break. "I’m so looking forward to a bit of a summer break with my family after our crazy Christmas trade, which started in November!”

She adds that she loves the festivities surrounding Christmas, “and I always look forward to the time I get to spend with my family on Christmas Day, and beach days full of sunshine. There’s nothing better than a day at the beach when the sun is out – it’s the best”. Also on Rickie’s Christmas wish list is some dinners out with friends. "I can’t wait to book in a dinner with my nearest and dearest at our favourite restaurants... pending lockdown restrictions of course!”

In store at Superette, you can’t go past their cute offering of minis that definitely won’t get returned come Boxing day. Whether you’re on the hunt for the perfect secret Santa gift, stocking stuffers, or a beauty boost for the beach bag, Superette’s Make It Mini Bar has it all.

And better still, for the months of November and December shoppers have the opportunity to get their gifts beautifully wrapped in custom Superette packaging for a donation while helping charity partner Everybody Eats tackle New Zealand’s food poverty problem through its open invitation dining spaces.

Maria Munkowits,yoga and barre teacher and retreat leader
A familiar face at studios around the neighbourhood, Maria originally trained as a professional dancer. She recently launched her own offering educating individuals on how you can incorporate strength and mobility into your home or work life, which you can find more about on Instagram at @ mariamunkowits.studio.

“Christmas time to me means long warmer days, so if I can get into the sun and sea, I’m happy” says the wellness educator. “I’m lucky enough to have my immediate family here with me in Auckland so Christmas Day will be spent with them. We always do Secret Santa and keep the gift giving to a minimum, although this will be my nephew Oscar’s first Christmas so I’m sure we’ll have fun spoiling him.”

She loves the challenge of sticking to spending limitations - “it means you can get creative and who knows, maybe I’ll get crafty and make or repurpose something. Failing that, it will involve choosing something locally made to support the community.” She’s also planning to travel to 'a few of the beautiful coastlines Te Ika-a-Māui has to offer - perhaps heading north or to the Coromandel'.

Tāne Tomoana, super stylist and Creative Director for Dry & Tea
Tāne is from a marae settlement in rural Hawkes Bay, and has had only had two Christmas's away from his grandparents’ home there in 40 years.

“All going to plan, I hope to be with my whānau. My mum is an archdeacon and the church is next door, so Christmas Eve service has been a tradition going back generations. We have a very merry celebration on Christmas Day with a hāngi and seafood feast and lots of singing and extended whānau visiting throughout the day.”

The creative believes the pandemic will have made a lot of people 'change the way we think towards gifting, what we buy and who we support'. "I think it is a good time to focus on being really intentional about where your money goes. Support friends’ businesses and buy local. I also like to buy Māori made where I can."

One of his favourites is Ponsonby’s Curionoir, 'from the tiny parfum bottles to the exquisite candles in blown glass vessels, you can always find something for someone special. Superette is fabulous too, I love shopping there'.

When it comes to what he is hoping for under the tree, Tāne says, “I'm easy to please and always grateful. I absolutely love beautiful fragrances! A Gardenia's Shadow candle from Curionoir, Le Labo Santal 33 from MECCA, Astier De Villatte Namche Bazar incense from Tessuti... and some scorched almonds will never go amiss!”

Vicki Taylor, designer and founder of The Shelter
“For Christmas Day we will be celebrating at home, with (hopefully) our family from throughout the North Island all joining us for a few days prior and post-Christmas,” says Vicki. “For New Year’s we will head away to Whangapoua in the Coromandel for some relaxed days of lazy mornings, sandy feet, freshly caught fish and shellfish, and of course sharing great summer food with our friends.”

When it comes to gifting, the designer says that her list is well underway as there has been plenty of time at home to plan.

"I am loving our Japanese boxed hats for summer. They are completely crushable and will bounce back into shape, which makes them ideal for summer packing! The amazing Taschen ‘art books’ from InBlack design at The Shelter are great for those discerning and hard to buy for gifts.

"At home I am leaving quite unsubtle hints for my husband as my favourite fragrance is running low and I am obsessed with the Neandertal fragrance. The design of the bottle is amazing, and the fact they have a smaller 30ml bottle makes it perfect for gifting. Their scented candle is also a wonderful gift idea; not only does it have a boutique crafted fragrance, the container shape is so beautiful it's like giving a small art piece.” (HELENE RAVLICH)

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Published 3 December 2021