where good deeds are rewarded with apples & the bad with lemons

The Christmas list

The Christmas list is out and it’s a few entries longer than last year’s. New acquaintances and business partners are perhaps the new additions to the list. Yes, it’s getting longer by the year.

But it doesn’t stop there— even your kids’ lists have been incorporated into yours. It’s become the family’s Christmas list.

Such is the case with Vanessa Ong and husband, Randal, both working for the family business while running their own restaurant business, Basti’s Brew.

 

Marks & Spencer Chrsitmas 2016 food gifts

Food is the most practical gift to give. It’s a gift than can be shared, and that is what Christmas is all about—sharing. On Randall & Vanessa: M&S Collection ensemble for men & women.

 

 

Seventeen years into the marriage gave them three daughters—Eliana Zoe, 10, Caelie Samira, 7, and Ylisha Isobel, 3, who just handed them their own Christmas lists for their own friends.

“The key phrase is “smart gifting”, everything has to work within the budget and keep the gift exciting. One has to be very innovative these days, and practical,” shared Vanessa.

 

Marks & Spencer Christmas 2016 food gifts

“The key phrase is “smart gifting”, everything has to work within the budget and keep the gift exciting. One has to be very innovative these days, and practical.”
On Randall: Blue Harbour shirt & M&S Collection sweater & jeans. On Vanessa: M&S Collection ensemble.

 

Although the ideal way may be to customize the presents to the recipient’s liking, there is a “bigger picture” to consider, meaning sometimes a single gift can be enjoyed by many, like a family.

Here, Vanessa shares her gift giving ritual for the holidays.

 

How early do you make the list and buy the gifts?

The list is on my notes in my phone permanently. Every year I plan to start buying the gifts early, but I always fail (she laughs with her admission). Usually I get to start early November, which I consider late, and I always manage to finish everything on the list.

 

What do you think is the perfect time to deliver the gifts?

The earlier, the better. I prefer to start giving out gifts on the first week of December so I won’t get stressed out with all the Christmas rush. Traffic is just horrible as the big date nears.

 

Marks & Spencer Christmas 2016 food gifts

“M&S foodstuff has never let us down. It’s always a winning gift to give,” said Vanessa.
On Randall & Vanessa: M&S Collection ensemble for men & women.

 

Is it a husband and wife tandem when deciding on the gifts to give?

Well, I decide on the gifts to give out to our friends, with my side of the family and godchildren.

Randall does get involved. He wants to have a free hand on choosing the presents for his side of the family. He knows best what will make them happy. But if he gets confused, I step in.

 

Marks & Spencer Christmas 2016 food gifts

Randall is also involved in the selection of Christmas gifts for everyone on their list.
On Randall: Blue Harbour shirt & M&S Collection sweater & jeans.

 

Do you personalize your presents?

Yes, I take into account what our very close friends and families are really into. That’s how I select their presents. There’s a certain fulfillment I get when the gifts I give make receiver glow with glee.

With our other friends, especially the foodies, I always give foodstuffs, treats I bake myself. The labor of love adds a personal touch to the gift. I feel it would make them feel more special because I made it myself.

 

Marks & Spencer Christmas 2016 food gifts

Aside from Vanessa’s baked treats, the M&S Holiday food selections are on top of her list. “They’re delicious and the packaging is always appropriate for the season- attractive and happy.”
On Randall: Blue Harbour top & M&S Collection chinos. On Vanessa: M&S Collection ensemble.

 

Why food?

I believe food is the most practical gift to give.

There is a certain joy in sharing food, both for the giver and the receiver. For the receiver, the gift can be enjoyed not only by one, but the rest of the family as well. That is what Christmas is all about—sharing.

 

Marks & Spencer Christmas 2016 food gifts

The Marks & Spencer Christmas food collection

 

So you can bake for everyone on the list?

I wish I could but I can only bake as much. I also shop for the food I like best— stuff that I love, which I know everyone will love as well.

I always plan what kind of food I will give out every year and I always head to one of my favorite stores, Marks and Spencer. The food section is always on top of the list. I love their selection of red wines and chocolates. I always have it on stock at home year round for personal consumption.

Although I give the same food sets to my friends and relatives each year, it has never let Randall and I down. The food basket always brings out the smiles from everyone who receives it.

Of course, presentation is key as well. There is an artful and appealing way to present the gifts, no matter how much it costs. I make sure each is wrapped with TLC, and that shows.

 

 

Marks & Spencer Christmas 2016 food gifts

“We always give what we have tried, tasted & fell in love with. M&S wines and chocolates are on our favorites list, and these indulgences we always give as gifts as well.”
On Randall & Vanessa: M&S Collection ensemble for men & women.

 

What about the kids, do the kids have their own lists as well?

Just last year, aside from their personal wish list, the two older ones gave us a list of teachers and close friends from school whom they want to give presents to. That has to be included in the budget as well. Undeniably, the M&S confections always do the trick.

 

Marks & Spencer Christmas 2016 food gifts

“For our kids’ list, which includes best friends, schoolmates and teachers, the M&S confections always do the trick.”
On Vanessa: M&S Collection ensemble.

 

 

Fashion: Marks & Spencer’s 2016 Winter Collection & Christmas Food Gifts are available at the M&S stores in Abreeza Mall & SM Lanang Premier

Photography: Brian Dexter Medija

Make-up & styling: Otoy Mercado

 

Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit ofapplesandlemons.com and www.jeepneyjinggoy.com.

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

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