UPDATED 23 DECEMBER 2006 look for NEW! 20/12
Buying Christmas presents is a special challenge if you have family and friends who live outside Switzerland or if you’re new to the country or if you have a new family – or for a thousand other reasons, starting with "I can’t think of anything to buy."
The GenevaLunch Christmas shopping list is a community effort, designed to make the holiday season a little easier and a lot more fun. Share your idea with the rest of us! If we like it we’ll dress it up a bit and put it on the list. There is something for everyone, from kids with small allowances to the lover who knows no limits.
NEW! 23 December – For shoppers in Geneva, two last-minute suggestions: if you have little people with little budgets, one of the stalls in the area running downhill from the train station, in front of McDonalds, sells charming little SFr2 mittens for individual fingers. A little higher on the price scale but perfect for women who love one-of-a-kind artisanal jewelry is Jill Wolf’s shop at 39, Grand-rue in the old town. Earrings, necklaces and cell phone jewelry from SFr50-10,000, mostly in the SFr200-300 range. A beautiful collection, open during the holidays. Tel: (022) 312 0084.
20 Dec –
Last minute shopping for gifts from all over the world without leaving the centre of Nyon
As Christmas day approaches, if you have run out of ideas for gifts and can’t think further than chocolates or perfume, maybe you will find a bit of last-minute inspiration in presents from around the world, all available on Nyon’s doorstep.
Tea sets from Asia. Bags from Thailand and a varied collection of incense are only a small part of what is on offer in this large shop on two levels. Along with cards, calendars and brightly coloured children’s items there is a selection of music from around the world.
Alternatively you could walk just a few streets to the "Magasin du Monde" shop, opposite the post office. They have a selection of percussion instruments. The drums at SFr44 are beautiful to look at even if you never play them. Woven bags from Palestine and mini nativity scenes from South America and beautiful scarfs and jewellry could be the answer to your gift buying at this late stage.
Community shopping list
Note: the images in thumbnail size here can be viewed large in the photo gallery, or just click on them.
- from overthemoon, new shop in Lausanne called Bead Box, rue Haldimand, has a vast assortment of beads for all kinds of homemade gifts
- from Hester Maconald of WRG’s "Dig it!" garden show, Pic a pomme, spike for apple to feed birds. At Nature et Découvertes, Thoiry shopping centre (also online, but delivers in France only), also at Botanic, €7.50.
- from Hester Macdonald, lovely ceramic labels for gardeners, Nature et Découverte, Thoiry shopping centre, five couleurs for €6.50.
- from Hester Macdonald, garden gloves for children, Nature et Découverte, Thoiry shopping centre as well as Botanic and Jardiland in France, €6.95.
- from Overthemoon, "designer teas," Kalk Bay foods, S Africa, little balls or bullets of dried tea leaves. You put them in a tall glass or glass teapot, fill with almost boiling water and they open out – inside each one is a flower, orange, white or yellow. Globus, Lausanne, box, all the same or a mixture SFr13.80
- Wonderfully delicate scent, peche a la vigne blocks of pale peach-coloured (of course) soap, Schilliger, Gland, SFr4.50.
- Starting price for several excellent teas, Darjeeling and Chinese green, Le T, Gland, Sfr8.50.
- Tree-ornaments: hand-blown glass balls and tree-toppers made while you watch, with personalized trim, Schilliger, Gland. SFr8 for 6cm, up to SFr24.
- (from overthemoon) Favourite treasure trove little shops, north end of the lake: for children’s gifts and toys – Vivishop, Rue Courtat, Lausanne, everything is set out by age and you get excellent advice, and Anderson’s toy shop in rue Pichard, which has the advantage of being owned by a Brit. It is much bigger than it looks from outside, but has a lot of steps up and down and is not easily negotiable by pushchair (stroller). Nice decorative objects, rings and necklaces made from buttons, toys, all a bit different as they come from France, at La Bricotine, boulevard de Grancy, Lausanne. L’Aubaine antiquités, rue du Simplon 45-47 in Lausanne for antiques.
- (from the editor) Touring Geneva Wine Country: The Only Guide to Geneva’s Countryside, places to stay, where to eat, cultural activities, farmers markets, outings with kids, and more in the updated edition. Book by Gail Mangold-Vine, available at FNAC, Payot and other bookstores, SFr19.
- (from Overthemoon) grat’ail, small round earthenware garlic grater from Provence, "couldn’t live without mine," sold at chalet no 92, quai de Noël, Montreux, SFr16.
Cyclamen flowering plants, several shades, beautiful flowers. These are annuals and will continue to bloom for several weeks if kept in a light, slightly cool area, or for some weeks if kept in a warmer spot. Schilliger, Gland, SFr16.50.
Four little high-quality fresh teas, one especially for Christmas, in pretty tins, Le T, Gland, Sfr18.50.
- NEW! 20/12 (from Henry Muller) Globus in Lausanne. (The one in Geneva is presumably equally good.) Whether it’s coffees or chocolates or pastas or cooking gadgets, they have something for everyone but the most extreme foodophobe. Our favorite this year: the giant pepper mills (filled with an exotic selection) from Kalk Bay Foods in South Africa.
- (from Glenn O’Neil) For the gourmet in your life, with the l’assiette Genevoise card, you pay SFr80 and can eat in some 70 restaurants for half price during a year.
- Dr. Seuss birdhouses, tall and not quite straight, bright and cheerful, Schilliger, Gland. To hang or set on ground (more expensive models on poles), SFr79.
SFr151-sky’s the limit
- from Hester Macdonald, WRG’s "Dig it!" garden expert, English Gardening School based next door to London’s famous Chelsea show ground, where the flower show is held. Many one-day garden courses such as Gardening in Containers (27 February 2007) or Summer Flowers from Seeds (28 February); Easyjet to Gatwick and back is possible on the same day. Course registration: £125, includes lunch.
- (from she-won’t-say-who) Favorite wine at a tasting session this weekend with Bacchus Wines, who import from a magical little Piedmont vineyard: Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese Cré Marcaleone 2004, SFr20 a bottle, minimum of 12 shipped (price includes shipping).
- (from Glenn O’Neil) For men looking for presents for partners/wives, you can’t go wrong with a gift certificate from one of the spas downtown: try After the Rain or Spatio. Most gift certificates start from CHF 200 upwards
- Looking for something for a sports-loving person? Try one of the sports shops in the region: Sport137 in Versoix or SB Sport in Gland both have great selections of winter sports equipment. Recommended is the "snowskate" that is like a skateboard for snow, retails from CHF 150 upwards – fun for kids and adults!
Glass teardrop chandelier, Schilliger, Gland, SFr1,490.
Online shopping with a Swiss connection, all prices (see sites for shipping information):
- NEW! 20/12 (from Henry Muller) We do almost all our shopping on the Internet. Our favorite site is Red Envelope which among other advantages accepts non-US credit cards. The site is very well organized, by occasion (Birthday, Valentine’s Day, etc.), by recipient (him, her, couples, etc.) – and the shipping is quick so they’re great for that last minute item.
- Red Alert: if you order 6 items or more by Wednesday 13 December from www.allforkids.ch the shipping in Switzerland is free!
- (from Glenn O’Neil) For Ipods and accessories, try the Swiss online Mac shop. They often have web only specials and deliveries take between 2 – 4 days.
(from Glenn O’Neil) Why not look at upcoming concerts or events? Both www.ticketcorner.ch and www.fnac.ch are easy to use and are a safe online experience.
- (from she-won’t say who) Rugs, bookends, curiosities such as cork cutters and artwork to warm your heart and gain in value (speaking from experience, having just found two wonders there), at Village Antiques
- (from Joy Tong) All for kids
is a great shopping and swapping online source year-round, and December is no exception!
- (from Joy Tong) A special CD for dyslexic kids might be just the positive reinforcement secretly wanted. ASK, which is the Lake Geneva region group for special kids, has permission from Dyslexia International Tools and Technology to sell the CD. Description: "In The Mystery Of The Lost Letters. Users accompany Tintin and his dog Snowy on a quest to find Professor Calculus. The engaging adventure masks a sophisticated diagnostic tool that builds a profile of how the user learns best cognitively, environmentally and socially. It offers feedback on how to build on strengths and cope with weaknesses." SFr30.
- Wenger-Victorinox small Swiss Army knife, new May 2006 model (20,000 sold!) with nail clipper, UK site, £15.95, includes VAT and shipping
- Basel Laeckerli, 1kg bags of the gingerbread-like cookies, in tins for SFr32 or paper for SFr21.
- Rouvinez "Accords Gourmands" package: 6 bottles of some of the best domaine wine from the Valais, with a set of recipes that are perfect for the wine, from Gault-Millau’s 2006 chef of the year, Didier de Courten. Price: SFr150 (or SFr250 for 12 bottles).
Online shopping, other all prices (see sites for shipping information):
- (from the editor), Lonely Planet holiday theme pack books, a great selection – my pick would be California + San Francisco city map + California World Food Guide, but Estonia and Morocco also have appeal and you can choose from three currencies with shipping around the world; California set, including shipping, £30.
- (from editor Barbara) for English-speaking "literary people," a year’s subscription to Slightly Foxed, a fabulous magazine, nice to receive as a gift, £32-42 depending on UK, US or European address.