Our guide to buying the perfect gift for the woman in your life

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 December, 2014, 2:20pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 December, 2014, 11:37am

The most stressful event of the holiday season must be shopping for Christmas gifts. While men and children are easier to please (the simpler the better), it's a bit complicated when it comes to the woman - or women - in your life.

Women like to be surprised, but they are also extremely fussy, which is why there are few tried and tested rules you can follow. First, avoid buying anything where size is involved. No matter what size you get, it's bound to be wrong, or worse, offensive.

Accessories are more forgiving, so opt for leather goods and jewellery (extra points for diamonds, since this is the luxury page).

While most women are practical at heart, there is nothing exciting about receiving a new kitchen appliance, or a flat-screen television (and let's be honest, it's more for you, than her). Gift vouchers are also out - they are a sign of pure laziness.

Thinking outside the box and getting creative is essential. Although women adore decorative gifts, form and function rate high on our list, too, so think towards stylish tech for your gifts. Customisation and bespoke are huge trends in the luxury world, so almost anything out there can be personalised.

Lane Crawford, for example, has teamed up with several designers, including Giambattista Valli and Delpozo to create bespoke pieces for the women in your life. Brands like Smythson can monogram anything from sketchbooks to passport holders.

If she likes cooking, arrange a lesson with a private chef. No matter what item you chose, it will show that you went that extra mile to make it special.

And there's nothing better than being the first to own an exclusive item.

Take Christian Louboutin - most women own a pair of his shoes, but do they know about his newly launched nail polish collection? The harder it is to procure the item, the bigger the bragging rights.

While it's tempting to buy straight off the rack, it's also worth seeking out smaller, niche brands that few people know about. These brands are all about the artisans, techniques, or rare materials you can't find elsewhere. Many are sustainable or give back to the community in some way, so it shows you have a heart, too.

Finally, never buy her an item that's on sale. Returns are a pain (most local retailers don't give refunds, or allow exchanges beyond a date) and you'll look cheap. Instead, pick something from the newly launched cruise or pre-spring collections, which have just landed in stores.

They are more reasonably priced than runway items, and chances are she can use it until autumn. What could be more practical than that?