Growing up, my house had a Gift Drawer: a top-shelf affair containing cards, candles, soaps, and the odd nice bottle of olive oil, all put there by my mother. That she was always prepared with a last-minute gift — that she had so many opportunities for gift-giving, struck 9-year-old me as impossibly glamorous, and I resolved to have something similar in my own house as an adult. That plan hasn’t quite panned out — my apartment has barely enough space for my own possessions, let alone the future possessions of others — but I am nevertheless my mother’s daughter and a gifter through and through. Which is why, absent a dedicated drawer, I was thrilled to find a flat-pack solution in Octaevo’s paper vases. These simple sleeves of water-resistant paper that wrap around jars, old vases (or, in a pinch, cut-open milk cartons) are the perfect low-fuss, high-impact gift (no offence to a nice bottle of olive oil).
I first found them while browsing at Search & Rescue, an upscale gift drawer of a store on Stoke Newington Church Street, and was immediately charmed by the concept and the price point. While I couldn’t blow my budget on a million different ceramic and glass vases, these would allow me to change up how my home looked, or customize the vessel to the flowers in it, at a fraction of the cost of a more traditional option. Since buying my first on Church Street, I’ve sought out Barcelona-based Octaevo’s website for access to further sizes, colours, and styles, grabbing a few and keeping them on hand in case a gift-giving occasion should strike last minute. There are dozens of options for personalization: vases come colour-blocked or heavily patterned, laser-cut or accented with gold foil.
I like them as gifts, especially because they don’t make more work for the receiver: If given out of the house, they’re not encumbered with a huge package for the rest of their day; if presented at home, as a hosting gift, it can easily be stored for later use or immediately slipped around whatever vases are on hand. But the best part of the paper vase during these socially distant times is that it is as easy to mail as a card, but so much more impactful. For the cost of oversized letter postage and a bottle of mid-tier off-license wine, you can surprise a friend with a beautiful, customizable, low-hassle piece of home decor.
The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.