The utterly inessential shopping list: Christmas sushi, Shakespearean hand sanitiser and a lighter which will light any candle, any candle at all

Forget about the big things. You can keep the necessities. Don't tell us about the must-haves. Alexandra Fraser takes a look at a few little luxuries which, in a world too full of strife and woe, will help ease your way through life with a smile on your face.

 As the Christmas adverts hit TV last weekend, I heard my boyfriend’s brother remark that ‘there are 12 days of Christmas and none of them are in November’.

I really hope he doesn’t read this.

Ho Ho Chococo (sorry)

 Chococo’s 3 tiered Christmas Selection Box, Cascade of 50 fresh Christmas Chocolates, for £45

The only complaint I’ve heard about these chocolates is that one can’t get them out of the boxes fast enough to satiate one’s craving for Christmas-themed confectionary. As the three tiered box is joyously referred to as a ‘cascade’, may I suggest forgoing formalities and simply pouring them down one’s gullet?

Chococo’s Christmas Selection Box, Cascade of 50 fresh Christmas Chocolates, for £45,

Out, damned spot!

hand sanitiser lady macbeth

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The National Theatre Gift Shop is a modern marvel, a treasure trove of things you would never dream that you could ever need (probably because, quite frankly, you don’t). On the other hand, I think this would make a great secret Santa present for your resident office thespian. We’ll be keeping ours next to the Country Life office cake shelf, accessible from my desk via a three-foot-deep grove that has somehow been worn into the floor over the last few months.

Lady Macbeth’s Hand Sanitiser for £8 from the National Theatre Bookshop, find it online at

I spy with my gilded eye

Swarovski Optik CL Companion NOMAD for £2,070,

Don’t you hate it when you can’t see your yacht from your luxury hotel room in Saint Tropez / count all of your cars from your castle tower / see the revolutionaries, brandishing pitchforks, intent on breaking down your gates? Problem solved.

It even comes with a carrying strap for your butler’s convenience.

Swarovski Optik CL Companion NOMAD for £2,070,

This. This is what I meant by treasure trove.

Just when you were putting down the chopsticks and swapping Sticks’n’Sushi for Steak&Co, The National Theatre find a way to work raw fish seamlessly back into Christmas and may I say, bravo.

sushi bauble

This is so completely and utterly random that I’ve had no other choice than to fall completely and utterly in love with it. Truly. I don’t ask for an explanation. It shouldn’t exist, in a reasonable world it wouldn’t exist, my boss wishes it didn’t exist but it does and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Sushi Christmas Decoration for £16,

This little light of mine (which I will never own)


I can promise you, this will light any candle. Any candle you want lit, this will light it. Pinky promise.

The Wand brushed-gold candle lighter, £170, find at

If you purchased our entire shopping list this week, you would have spent £2,309 and either a) have very eclectic taste or b) more money than sense. Actually, both. Definitely both.