For sale: a bunch of sticks for £12

Mary Kate And Ashley Olsen

You can burn Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s smudging sticks in your home to rid it of negative energy – and your wallet of cash

Stuck for Christmas gift ideas? Look no further than high-end American store The Row. This Christmas it is encouraging customers to spend $20 (£12) on a bundle of sticks.

Free People's Happiness Sticks.
Free People’s Happiness Sticks. Photograph: Free people

Palo Santo sticks – after the Spanish for “holy tree” – are burned in your home to rid it of negative energy. This is called smudging, and negativve energy can be anything from an “ex” (as seen in Sex and the City) to “bad vibes” (The Row’s product description). Smudging is thought to stem from a Native American practice that involves burning bundles of herbs, usually sage. This Christmas though, it’s gone so upmarket you can literally burn your money, a not unusual practice for The Row, a hugely expensive fashion label owned by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, child stars turned respected designers whose stock is predominantly price-on-request. Last year, they collaborated with Damien Hirst, who glued some prescription pills on to a $39,000 rucksack, bumping the price up to $55,000. Someone did buy one (but that someone was Lady Gaga).

While smudging has yet to take off here (The Astrology Shop in central London says sales of their £1.99 smudge sticks are “pretty consistent”), stateside it is having a moment. Though not specifically designed for smudging, Free People, an American new-age shop, is selling its own ribbon-wrapped Happiness Sticks, made by the mysterious Catherine, for a whopping $28, which makes the Olsens’ seem reasonable.

Last summer, an industrious Londoner was selling “six premium twigs” on eBay collected in De Beauvoir Square, an upmarket east London address. This was a joke, of course, although mostly on whoever paid £60 for them.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Morwenna Ferrier, for The Guardian on Wednesday 26th November 2014 18.40 Europe/London

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