But once Thanksgiving's over, we're in the thick of the holiday season. Things to bake, gifts to buy, parties to attend or host, ugly holiday sweaters to wear (OK, I'm kidding on that last part--I'd rather run around naked than wear an ugly sweater...and if you, dear readers, love your tacky holiday sweaters, you may wish to keep that info to yourself, haha!). Are you prepared? I am...somewhat. But only somewhat. Today's Shop Talk focuses on various things you'll need to prepare for the holiday season...
GIFTS, GOODIES, AND GOOD-SMELLING STUFF
GOODIES. If you're hosting a holiday gathering, you need to have yummy things on hand. And if you're attending someone else's holiday gathering, you may wish to bring along a little something edible to contribute to the party or as a hostess gift. Or, if you have a potluck for work and you don't have the time to bake or cook, you're going to be in need of good food to bring along. Here are my recommendations for delicious goodies sure to make friends, family, and co-workers drool:
* Chocolate oranges. Why do these things always pop up around the holidays, and you cant find them any other time? Regardless, they're yummy (and they make great stocking stuffers).
* Holiday teas. This Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea is making my mouth water! And who doesn't love a good cup of Chai tea on a cold winter night (Stash always makes fantastic teas--I've never met one I didn't like).
* Sets of cheese, meat, and crackers. I can't resist those Hickory Farms types of displays in the mall (and now there's Hickory Farms stuff at Target, too...it's everywhere!). Stuck on what to bring to a potluck or family gathering? One of these sets will please even the pickiest eater; they feature something for everyone. They're also a good thing to mail to a loved one you won't be able to see over the holidays--they won't go bad in the mail, and you'll know the people you care about will have a very savory snack (or several!).
* Coffee. Duh--you need caffeine around the busy holidays! I am not a coffee drinker myself (I may be the only writer who doesn't drink coffee!), but everyone else I know does. This adorable 12 Coffees of Christmas set is cute enough to make even a devoted tea drinker wonder if perhaps she should try a cuppa...
* Cookies. Holidays are a great excuse to eat lots of cookies (you can make your New Year's resolution to avoid cookies in a couple months--so eat up while you can!). Plus, if you live in a house with small children, and those small children believe in the magic of Santa Claus, I hear Santa gives extra special attention to kids who leave out cookies for him on his busiest night of the year. ;) These Old-Fashioned Holiday Cookies offer a large variety for everyone...and they look absolutely delish!
GIFTS. Besides the gifts you always buy for friends and family, you're going to need to have some other gifts on hand, too. It's always good to have some relatively inexpensive but fun gifts around for those opportunities for which you never remember to buy gifts. For example: office pollyanna, neighbor, mailman, your child's teacher and/or bus driver, hostess gifts for parties, and your boss. I'd also recommend keeping a couple spare gifts on hand in case anyone unexpectedly gives you a present and you'd like to return the favor. Here are my recommendations for inexpensive, fun token gifts:
* Philosophy's "Share the Joy" set. At $36, this gives you 4 or 8 small gifts for friends or co-workers. It's a pack of 4 3-in-1s (shampoo/bubble bath/body wash) and 4 lip glosses (candy cane, peppermint bark, bubbly, and cinnamon buns). You can give 4 gifts (a 3-in-1 paired with its corresponding lip gloss) or 8 gifts (one lip gloss or one bottle of 3-in-1 per person). For the quality of Philosophy's stuff, this is an excellent bargain. (For my co-workers, I broke up a bunch of gift sets of Philosophy things and am putting the individual items in the cutest little holiday-themed treat bags--I know my female co-workers will love these gifts!)
* This Yankee Candle Company Holiday Jar Candle Set, a gift box containing 3 jar candles (Christmas Cookie, Home for the Holidays, and Balsam & Cedar) is also a great bargain. You can either give the entire set as a gift, or you can break the set apart to give three smaller gifts. (Can you tell I'm a huge fan of breaking gift sets up to create multiple gifts? There seems to be a theme here...)
* If you have no idea what to get someone, or just want to stash a few spare gender-neutral gifts around the house for those "just in case" moments, an Amazon.com gift card is a great idea. No matter what they like to read, listen to, play, etc, they'll be able to find something that meets their interests at Amazon. You can purchase gift cards in denominations from $10 to $1,000, so you can tailor this gift card to suit your budget at any level.
GOOD-SMELLING STUFF. Nothing puts me in a holiday state of mind more than smelling holiday-related scents. Gingerbread, evergreen, candy cane... The scents of the season will make even the Grinchiest of us smile. Below, my recommendations for products sure to stir your senses in December:
* Philosophy's Holiday Greetings set. At just $22, this is a bargain for all the delicious stuff packed inside the cute little mailbox-shaped box. Coconut macaroon body butter, brown butter cookie 3-in-1 (shampoo, body wash, bubble bath), and a sparkly and delicious Pink Frosted Cookie lip gloss make for a totally delicious but calorie-free combination!
* This candle features two of the best holiday scents, all in one jar: Cranberry Peppermint! Yum, yum, YUM.
* Both men and women will smile using this Holiday Gingerbread Man Glycerin Soap! He's just too cute...and he'll leave your skin smelling soft and scrumptious!
Happy shopping/baking/gifting/sniffing your delicious-smelling selves, everyone! :)