It's Christmas time again, and with the arrival of twinkling lights in trees and festive decorations comes the frenzied search for the perfect Christmas present. All too often it's a struggle to find a gift that properly pays tribute to the most important people in your life; a card is enough for a colleague or your Great Aunt Susan, but for the women who taught you to walk or are always on hand with career and life advice, it's a different story.
So instead of handing over cheap chocolate boxes and generic gift sets this Christmas, up your gift giving game. After all, these are the women who shaped you. Here are 25 extra-special gift ideas for the most important women in your life, including Max Mara's elegant, timeless designs.
1. For the one who's always there
Your best friend, your older sister… no matter your relationship, the woman who's always there for you deserves a gift as precious as your friendship. She'll be overjoyed to unwrap the architectural Whitney Bag or a bedazzled choker and pair of pendant earrings – perfect accessories for your evening adventures together. If what she really needs is a little luxury in her life, a fragrance will mean she'll always have you on her mind. Try Penhaligon's Luna scent set, or No. 22's ceramic candle in Woodstove.
2. For your travel companion
You've accumulated endless experiences together, from frantic check-ins after turbulent journeys to pocketing fancy hotel toiletries. This Christmas, treat her to something out of this world like a hot air balloon experience, or something practical to save space in her suitcase like Diptyque's travel pouch of mini products. If she's used to carting around all her worldly possessions in a backpack, a clutch bag will see her through the festive season in style, while a cashmere cape is another little luxury she'll appreciate on those long-haul flights.
3. For those with new additions
A baby is for life, not just for Christmas, so treat any new mums with something really special this year. Dropping a tablet under their Christmas tree will mean grandparents can video chat with their new grandchildren and capture those cute moments, while Selfridges' Baby Hamper is a sweet gift in itself. After months of buying for baby, don't forget to treat your friend with something special just for her; think an oversized pair of sunglasses, a bejewelled bow belt or a clutch bag.
4. For the woman who's like family
Whether you're related by blood or bonds that have strengthened over time, a present that harks back to this woman's own youth will be very much appreciated. Wrap up a pair of cat-eye sunglasses (designed with a modern twist) or ballerina flats to hark back to the 60s. For a gift you can enjoy together, invest in a stay in a luxury resort after the hectic festive season, or a set of marble-based bar tools.
5. For the woman you are today
After all that selfless shopping, you deserve a timeless gift just for you. If you've just moved house, treat yourself to that piece of furniture you've had your eye on for months, or spoil yourself by booking that holiday you've always wanted to take. If you're all out of holiday, pick out an investment piece to add to your wardrobe. One of Max Mara's iconic coats, like the 101801, Manuela or Teddy Bear, will feel like a sartorial cuddle every single day.
West Elm Curved Terrace Bedside Table, £199; Max Mara 101801 Icon Coat, £1,605; Max Mara Teddy Bear Icon Coat, £1,740; Max Mara Manuela Icon Coat, £1,305; Half Day Spa Discovery Pass at The Royal Mansour, £321
For a present that pays tribute to all of your special relationships, head to Max Mara for the ultimate Christmas gift