It’s Thanksgiving Week. I’m seriously the multi-tasking maniac this week, but I’m wouldn’t have it any other way. In our family we spend the WHOLE, and I do mean WHOLE, entire weekend having multiple Thanksgiving Day celebrations. So my main shopping experiences come before, online, and then after the weekend. I do know, however, that for many of you this weekend is filled with fun shopping excursions that have become traditions. I LOVE THE HECK OUT OF THE PICTURES I SEE WITH YOU CRAZIES WAITING IN LINE… and I’m so glad it’s not me!
My 10 Favorite things:
My first thing is to pick a theme. My Theme This YEAR:
I chose COZY HOME because I want my family, my friends, neighbors and even people that I don’t know to feel HOME when they’re around me. I want people to feel the spirit that my grandma gave to all of us: PURE JOY. When I think of home I think of my people, cozy blankets, my favorite coffee cups, long talks, warm drinks (sometimes cold drinks), books, movies, my bed, warmth and safety. With those thoughts in mind that is what I’ve focused my Christmas Shopping on this year. (I do have a few extra ideas, as well.)
You can’t get it back. There is nothing cozier, or more homey feeling, than YOU. Giving the gift of you to someone on your list is truly the best gift that you can give. Faith, time, and memories are TRULY all that we have. There is no greater gift than our time, and we don’t know how much we have, so don’t waste a single minute. Show people you love them by spending time with them. Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now and continue on.
I trend toward experiences. One of my favorite things to do is to give the person a few little gifts that correlate with the experience. So for instance if you are planning a weekend in the big city, wrap up a homemade spa gift certificate, play tickets, dinner reservations, or one that I would love- sign them up for a Saturday morning 5K and then wrap up little things that you will do the rest of the day. I believe in thinking outside of the box. We can spend oodles of money on THINGS… but when it comes down to it all we want is precious time.
#2 Local Business’
I love to support our local business’. Close to my home is a local handmade gift shop Moon Cookie Gallery. This place oozes good vibes and is a whimsical fairy land. More that 50 local artists are able to display their art, photography, jewelry, ceramics, glass work, iron work etc.
My Favs.. I picked up some handknit chunky scarves (they are sooooo soft) and they will custom make them with your colors, some handmade coffee mugs (I want to buy all of them- I think I may have), and cute dish towels with fun sayings (who doesn’t need a good laugh in the kitchen).
This idea can be applied no matter where you live!! Find your local shops. Meet the owners. Support their craft. It’s so fun!
I know I talked about this last year but BLANKETS. Gentleman if you are in need…. Nothing says that I love you like a beautiful blanket that will keep your lady warm and cozy. Ladies, giving your gents, a blanket, a bottle of wine, and some homemade ‘gift certificates.’ This gives them an almost guaranteed Christmas to remember (WINK)! I bought a few blankets for some special people in my life, just because I’d like to contribute to keeping them snug (doesn’t hurt that it will look great in their living room).
Blankets that I love: I’m crushing on the Anthropologie Blankets this year… who am I kidding, I’m always crushing on their stuff, mostly it’s the feeling that I feel when I’m in there! GOOD VIBES. This blanket is beautiful, neutral (which can be a good idea if you’re giving a gift) and reasonable for the quality (I bought this- it’s AHHHHMAZING).
This one is fun...The green houndstooth with a huge red bow and a cool coffee mug would be a super cool gift!
Can you get more Christmas than this Tartan Monogrammed Blanket from Mark & Graham? This screams hot cocoa and snuggles.
#4 ESSENTIAL OILS
I’m obsessed with essential oils. I love them for so many reasons but at this time of year diffusing amazing goodness exudes the feeling of HOME. I have some special combinations that I regularly diffuse so that when people enter my doors they are instantly transformed to that place of cozy warmth. These sweet treats have made their way into every facet of my home and heart. I rarely get a hug from someone and they don’t say “you smell good.” It is NOT my natural essence I swear- it’s the oils! I’m ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE with them. I’m always happy to help educate, excite, and experience their goodness with you!
#5. Italian Connection
My Italian Heart. So if you know anything about me you know that my dream is to go to Scotland and my joke is that I may never come home once I see my first big Redhead in a kilt… thank you OUTLANDER. (I’ve been assured that my dark headed dude will wear the kilt but he may not dye his hair- jury is still out.) The truth is that although I talk about Scotland all of the time, I love Italy. It’s hard not to fall in love with the countryside, but my heart belongs to the people. Some of my great friends own small businesses in and around my favorite medieval hill town Cortona, Italy.
Delbrenna Jewelry… need I say more? Jewelry is always a good idea! ALWAYS. My sweet friends Sebastian and Megan create more than just beautiful jewelry and shoes...THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL. Their hearts are filled with joy and goodness and these characteristics permeate into every single piece that they create. Their pieces are love because they are created in this image.
L’Arte Dell’Olivo is both delicious and supports good health. We literally use this every single day in our home. Keith and Tania’s olive oil speaks for itself, but their balsamic’s are a true surprise! They tend the land and produce every single drop. First of all they look cool on the countertop because they are stackable and fun. They taste FREAKING amazing. My kids don’t eat salad dressing anymore because of these!! That’s a gift in and of itself. We get orders every few months and it’s one of my favorite things to give as gifts!
Leuta Wine is a small tuscan winery that is full of passion and heart. Their Cab Franc is killer. I believe that a bottle of wine is like a piece of art. It’s meant to be experienced and enjoyed for its complexity and beauty over sweet conversation, alone with your thoughts, or in a gathering of your people. My friend Denis produces unforgettable wine that is a true gift.
#6 Alex and Ani
I love Alex and Ani for so many different reasons. #1. The bracelets are totally reasonable. #2. You don’t have to choose- you can wear a lot of them. You can wear 1, 3, 5, 7 at a time!! (Word of advice- never wear even number accessories, unless you’re wearing earings, it doesn't look right. I digress.) #3. The beauty with Alex and Ani is that they are so applicable and you have so many choices. You can really customize how you feel about someone, who they are, or something that they love! This Christmas I’m giving my special ladies these FANTABULOUS (it’s a real word- trust me) Elf Inspired Bracelets… pretend you aren’t reading this girls! Smiling's my Favorite- it is our favorite when we are together so they’re getting a piece of us.
#7 Pottery- Mugs
Those favorite mugs that I referenced before are handmade by Courtney Zimmerman. My sister gave me one last year and seriously I love the heck out of it!! Her work is beautiful, durable, and personal. Here is what I love...giving a gift like a handmade coffee mug not only is a piece of artwork, its functional AND it is guaranteed to bring that person fond memories of you in the quiet moments of the early morning. It’s like a special moment between you and the person you gave the gift to even when you’re not with them. Kinda perfect don’t you think?
#8 Dopp Kit
My boys travel A LOT. Even the thirteen year old brings his Dopp Kit everywhere with him! My mom had given him one a few years ago, and it’s something that he can have for a lifetime. It’s practical and meaningful. I gave one of my favorites this for graduation this year. I absolutely LOVE this monogrammed one from Mark & Graham. (HINT- if you ‘re giving him an experience a Dopp Kit would be super cute wrapped up with tickets in it!)
Another Idea to go in the Dopp Kit is the Burst Oral Care Toothbrush. They are pretty (and that’s important right), they come with a traveling case, and they freaking work!! Your smile will be pearly white!
#9 Retro Vest- SWOON
Most of the men in my life love the outdoors. (Even if yours doesn’t you can’t beat a man with a rugged flare- just make them dress that way occasionally.) This vest is probably one of my favorite things EVAAAAA. It screams manly and it’s just AHHHHHH. I love the retro feel. The idea that it will keep them warm but they’re going to look damn good in it doesn’t hurt either.
Uhm hello I have no idea why I waited until #10 because FOOOOOOD is actually what makes the world go ‘round! (At least my world.)
Can’t think of what to give someone? Take them out to eat DUH. You had me at…
Do you want to go out to eat? YES, YES I DO.
ROMANCE in ABUNDANCE. It’s down a little alleyway in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago. It plays to every part of my hallmark movie loving self. The twinkle of the lights, the softness of the glasses…I melt.
I don’t even drink cocktails and I love this place. Both the cocktail experience and the eats are turned into true art. The people, the vibe, and the all around atmosphere are a delight. If you want to splurge nothing beats the Kitchen Table Experience. You get to see the chefs in motion and appreciate their brilliance!
I love this place. The food!!! OMG, the shaved fois gras… my tastebuds just started watering and it’s 6AM. SOOO good. They are known for their Oyster Pie, a fun treat with a full ounce of ostera caviar. The striped bass was my favorite! You can not beat brown butter and chanterelle mushrooms! Spare yourself some shopping time and make reservations to take your loved ones to Bellemore- you can thank me later!
(I have sooooo many others in the US and Europe, feel free to reach out as I’m happy to help!)
I was standing in line yesterday at a store that sold Christmas Stuff. They weren’t in a hurry to check people out and people were REALLY agitated. I kept smiling, thinking in my head, this isn’t what it’s about. Remember that giving a gift is giving a person a piece of your heart. The stress and anxiety that we have affiliated with this process is unnecessary and should be reevaluated. The act of giving is an expression of love….it’s a piece of you. It should reflect how you feel and what you want for and because of that person. That’s why I chose my theme this year, I want my people to feel all the goodness that comes with being in a COZY HOME.