At Viva we are in the middle of sorting our Christmas gift guide suggestions. This is like vicarious shopping, allowing us to see all the lovely things out there and to pass the word on to you. As well as checking out the shops we wade through a lot of emails and right know my inbox is barely coping with an influx of image files.

I'd rather be sorting out my Christmas cards - I like to stick with old-school rather than social media seasonal greetings - but unscrambling my computer will have to take precedence. Then it will to be side-tracked by another pre-Christmas panic, this about postal close-off dates for overseas parcels.

Luckily sometimes work and the personal coincide, so when it comes to deciding what to buy for those overseas or those visiting from there, I've already seen some lovely bits and pieces and know I will be choosing New Zealand-made items. In keeping with Viva's theme this week which is about entertaining (and with our gift guide due next week), a good place to start is by providing bodycare or home fragrance products with a Kiwi caress.

Here's just a handful of the many proudly local items which are ideal to display in your guest bathroom or to leave on the bedside table. Consider also packing these or similar items if you are travelling abroad this Christmas, because they will make thoughtful gifts for your hosts along the way.


Kio Kio Rosehip & Manuka Honey Hand & Body Lotion $29.90
New Zealand natural skincare is renowned, but does not always look as stylish as this, explaining how Kio Kio has found a place in spas and mentions in overseas magazines. The company uses New Zealand native botanical extracts and has four Pacific-inspired fragrances. For stockists see

Banks & Co Botanicals Pohutukawa Cleansing Hand & Body Wash $19.95
The cheery Christmas colours and delicate fragrance of this hand and body wash and a matching hand and body lotion are ideal for this time of year. Try the equally colourful Kowhai and Manuka themed ranges, including diffusers and soaps. There's also a Banks & Co Luxe line with Wild Clematis and Peony & Rata fragrances. For retail stockists or to buy online see

Verite Spa Organics Cypress & Mint Detox Bath Salts $33
This aromatherapy based range of products is packaged in luxurious looking dark violet glass containers which you can repurpose later. The colour was chosen by Verite founder Janin Dei-Conti to best preserve the plant essences and because she says violet has a vibration frequency that matches that of the human's central nervous system. Be at one with the world, by soaking in these salt crystals infused with essential oils. From Forme spas or see

Antipodes Delight Hand & Body Cream $42.90
The vintage-look blue tin tube encases a rich yet absorbent plant oil cream with a gardenia fragrance. Antipodes' hero ingredient, a antioxidant-rich extract from grapes, is included for its hydrating and regenerative properties. See
Apicare Lemon Verbena Nourishing Hand Cream $16.90
Verbena is a lovely old-fashioned aroma and here combines nicely in nourishing care for hands that won't weigh down your hand luggage or your wallet. It's made in Auckland and if you are looking for economical skincare gifts with honey as an ingredient make a beeline for the company's Onehunga store.