Labour & Wait, top Christmas gifts
If there was a fairy godmother in my personal Christmas pantomime, she would appear in a cloud of smoke waving one of these brushes from Labour & Wait and in a trice all the seasonal washing up would vanish into thin air. I think the brushes look very handsome in this pot, like a vase of flowers in a still life painted by Vanessa Bell. Before I discovered them, I used the plastic equivalents from the supermarket but then I would use them to clean a hot frying pan under the tap and the bristles would bend out of shape in the heat. Very quickly they became useless and I had to keep replacing them, until this summer when I bought one of these brushes manufactured in Germany by Redecker for £3. The bristles are of natural fibre and do not melt, so after many months of use my brush is still in good shape and ready to tackle the Christmas dishes. I wish my mother had given me one of these years ago. Maybe I would not have been immediately overjoyed, at first glance, to discover a washing up brush under the tree on Christmas morning with a ribbon round its neck, but like all the very best presents it would prove its worth over time and become a treasured possession, as my brush is today. That is why this is one of my top Christmas presents, buy a washing up brush for the one you love and they will never forget your thoughtful generosity.
My father used to give me money at Christmas, he would produce some bank notes from his back pocket once my mother was out of the room and offer them to me in a sheaf with the instruction “Here’s some money, now don’t spend it!” So in these straightened times, I know he would approve of my other gift recommendation from Labour & Wait, this perversely attractive wooden piggy bank (with a slot large enough for £2 coins) manufactured in France by Vilac. Deep in the heart of Jura, surrounded by high mountains, wide lakes and huge forests, between Champagnole and Sainte-Claude, Vilac has been manufacturing toys since 1911. Quoted on Vilac’s website, Roland Barthes, the snobby structuralist writer and philosopher says of the carved wood Vilac uses to manufacture their toys,“It is a familiar yet poetic material that establishes in children a sense of continuity between a tree, a table and floor. Wood is not damaging or unsettling. It does not smash, it wears away. It is durable and remains so as a child grows old.” And there was I just liking this little piggy’s cute smile.