Nita Hauhia, a Helsinki-based interior stylist, social media influencer and big-time Christmas fan, chose seven timeless gifts for friends and family from Franckly, the online marketplace for pre-owned design.“I love it when items have a life history of their own and have maybe taken a few knocks here and there over the years, just like people,” says Nita.
Hi Nita! What have you been up to lately?
“Truly enjoying Christmastime, with no rush, and a cozy atmosphere every day with candles and the scent of conifers. I just completed a great design project for a client, and it turned out so well that I felt like staying there for a while after the finishing touches had been added to enjoy a cup of tea on the sofa with a Christmas hat on! It’s a fantastic way to start preparing for Christmas, when you’ve created an interior that genuinely delights everyone who works in the client’s premises.
I have a tradition of starting my Christmas in early November, and from then on I celebrate it in a small way every day. There are plenty of opportunities for this – admiring the Christmas decorations in the shops, having a Christmas lunch or just putting up the lights at home. Listening to Christmas radio in the car in early November always gives me a tingle of anticipation: it means the holiday season is just around the corner.”
What traditions do you or your family have for end-of-year celebrations?
“I have loved Christmas and birthdays since I was a child. The nights before Christmas Eve, I always wanted to sleep on the sofa in the living room. I still remember how magical it felt to set eyes on the huge pile of presents Santa had left under the tree. I also remember putting up Christmas lights and stars in my room. It created a truly magical atmosphere.
For the past few years, my partner, our son and I have spent Christmas Eve at home, just the three of us – we used to spend Christmas Eve at my parents’ house, but now we go there for dinner on Boxing Day. We don’t want Christmas Eve to be overly busy – we want to really take the time to enjoy it. Christmas day has always been what we call “pajama day”: we’ve all received pajamas as presents, and we lounge around in them, watching movies, enjoying treats and our gifts.
“Christmas day has always been what we call “pajama day”: we lounge around in pajamas, watching movies, enjoying treats and our gifts.”
Last year I started a wonderful new Christmas Eve tradition with a friend who had recently gotten divorced. She and our daughter brought along the most delicious all-white sponge cake, which our kids decorated together, and we made blood orange mimosa cocktails to go with the traditional rice pudding. I can’t wait to do it again this Christmas!
Our son absolutely loves presents, even more than I do. He gets to open all his Christmas gifts first thing in the morning, giving us the time to get everything ready for the festive family dinner that evening. Santa usually visits in the evening to leave a small parcel outside the door as a surprise, so that Christmas Eve is a magical experience all the way through.”
What is the best Christmas gift you have received or given?
“The best thing of all is definitely the Karuselli chair designed by Yrjö Kukkapuro! We had just moved into our new home, which used to be a factory building, and for years I had been dreaming of a particular kind of vintage Karuselli chair. There was the perfect spot in our home for this classic, if only it could be found.
We lived next door to an elderly couple, one of whom had been a distinguished architect and the other a distinguished glass designer. Their home was one of the most magical places I ever had the pleasure of visiting! On my first visit, I noticed that they had no less than four original Karuselli chairs in their living room. As they showed me around the house, I saw one more Karuselli in their loft, and it was just the type I had been dreaming of. The lady said they had put it out of sight up there as it wasn’t in great condition anymore. I wasted no time in telling her that if they were ever thinking of parting with it, they need look no further for a buyer!
When I got home, I couldn’t wait to tell my partner about all the marvelous design items our neighbors had, and above all about the Kukkapuro-designed treasure hidden away in their loft. Without a word to me about it, my partner set about buying the chair from our neighbor as a Christmas surprise for me, and on Christmas Eve I looked out the window in amazement to see that magnificent Karuselli chair being carried to our door! It still brings immense pleasure every time I sit in it. The chair also has an interesting history of its own, and I’ve been lucky enough to hear our neighbors’ fascinating stories from across the decades.
“I’m thrilled that so many people I’m close to appreciate vintage design. That makes it more than worth the time and effort it takes to make such fabulous finds.”
I give a lot of pre-owned items as gifts, and I’m thrilled that so many people I’m close to appreciate vintage design. That makes it more than worth the time and effort it takes to make such fabulous finds. I build up my stash of presents throughout the year: when the perfect item comes along, I jump at the chance to buy it as a gift, whatever the season. It’s lovely to dig out a beautiful present for a friend when Christmas finally arrives!
Few things need to be bought brand new – nowadays buying quality pre-owned items as gifts is easier than ever. I love it when items have a life history of their own and have maybe taken a few knocks here and there over the years, just like people. And just as with people, the years certainly don’t make precious items any less valuable. The ups and downs of life and all the experience it brings have only enriched me, and I’ve noticed the same in the things I love most.”
Nita’s gift tips from Franckly:
Vieno vase by Katriina Nuutinen
“I adore gifts, and I’m a big believer in treating myself from time to time, so every year I also buy myself something beautiful that I’ve been dreaming of! I’ve been a huge admirer of Katriina Nuutinen’s gorgeous glasswork for a long time. This mouth-blown Vieno vase the color of eggplant would be perfect for our table settings, which tend to favor pink and burgundy, perhaps with pine and golden eucalyptus twigs for added decoration.”
Aalto stool 60 by Artek
“There is probably no more iconic item of Finnish design than the Artek stool – I have yet to come across anyone who isn’t won over by its elegant simplicity. And I love that there are several versions of it, to suit all tastes. This special version of Artek’s Monocle stool, upholstered with Finnish moose leather, will age beautifully in use. It is stylishly finished with black iron nails and brass screws on the seat. A superb gift for any design lover!”
Tumbler 1725 by Iittala
“Like many of my friends, I simply love vintage glass, and the Franckly online marketplace has pre-owned vintage glass items galore. There you have a very good chance of finding just the right item as a gift for someone to add to their design collection, or for someone eager to start collecting a particular design series. And I don’t think you need to give the entire set; a gift of one or two glasses makes a great starter pack!
For a friend who loves vintage brown glass, Iittala’s timelessly beautiful 1725 glasses designed by Kaj Franck would be the perfect gift. The trumpet-like design of the 1725 glass is just so delightful, and would be perfect for our traditional blood orange mimosa cocktails together on Christmas Eve.”
Drawing 7 poster by The Wrong Shop
“I’m an aficionado of colorful art, and French designer Ronan Bouroullec’s Drawing 7 poster has some really fun brushwork shapes. This poster would be an excellent gift for someone who wants to experiment with bold colors in their home, for instance, or as an addition to a frequently changing gallery collection. And these posters can be easily rolled up for storage in a cardboard tube when you want to change the mood now and then to something in a different style.”
Tris candleholder by Iittala
“To my mind, candles and candleholders are an essential part of the enchantment of Christmas. The light from the Iittala Tris candleholder flickers exquisitely. The color palette is glorious too, making the Tris a perfect gift for anyone who loves a timeless atmosphere. This would be ideal for my grandmother, who loves the scent of fine candles.”
Maxi Elephant moneybox by Palaset
“The Maxi Fantti piggy bank is hands down one of the most recognizable Finnish classics, and they are still made in Finland! It would be an inspired Christmas present for my dearest friend, who’s expecting a child – this would be the perfect savings bank for a little one. And of course, it would be a great gift for an older child too, adding a cute touch of design to their room.”
Tableware by Arabia
“Many people I know collect vintage tableware made by Arabia – it would be fabulous to receive such a gift for the Christmas table from a loved one. I think all of Arabia’s tableware is terrific for a more modern setting, adding some much-needed soul and character to the look. My mother collects Arabia plates with different floral designs, and whenever I come across one I buy it and wrap it beautifully with other little design elements, such as Christmas tree candles and a few decorations.”
Nita’s top three this Christmas:
- Taking it easy
- Diptyque’s Christmas fragrances
- A traditional trip to Estonia to take in the Christmas vibe in Tallinn
Text: Sarianna Määttänen Portrait: Juhana Tuomi Images: Manufacturers