Keep Calm and Start Your Christmas Shopping!
The holiday season is in full swing.
And the halls at Snowberry are decked.
I shared my simple holiday porch decor earlier this week.
And now it’s time for my second, annual holiday gift ideas … aka Snowberry Essentials.
Or, my favorite things.
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What I want for Christmas … and what someone on your list may want too!
Let me remind you that I’m a very practical gift giver.
So with that disclaimer.
Let’s go shopping!
First things first, a good milk frother. Super important for those of us (moi) who drink cocoa in the morning. A good frother is crucial for cappuccino and latte lovers as well. My favorite, but temperamental, frother is discontinued. Not to worry, a more dependable new model has taken its place.
Several friends and readers have told me that this is a good frother too.
If you’re a cocoa or mocha lover, I’m a fan of Starbuck’s Classic Cocoa powder.
It wouldn’t be a Christmas without a pair of slippers under the tree.
I also love an indoor/outdoor slipper.
These moccasins are great and I feel perfectly fine dashing into the store wearing them. I just ordered them in pewter.
Jim’s getting a similar pair in chestnut. Shhhhh.
Along the same lines … socks. Thick, house socks. If I’m at home I’m either wearing slippers or thick socks … often both. I have cold feet. Assuming everyone else has cold feet, I give socks as gifts. My nieces tease me about it. Apparently their feet don’t get cold. Anyhoo, because house socks are crucial to my happiness I can’t narrow it down to just one option.
Now that we have a cup of cocoa in hand and warm socks, and slippers, on our feet, let’s dig into more great gift ideas.
If you read the blog regularly, you know that pillows, trays and throws are the cornerstone of my year round decorating philosophy.
Yes, I have a decorating philosophy.
As such, pillows, trays and throws are high on my list of gift ideas for anyone who has a house, apartment, dorm room, bedroom …
You get the idea.
So, here we go … my favorite pillows, trays and throws for gifting ~
Animal print is a neutral, right? Therefore, an animal print pillow works (nearly) everywhere. I have these animal print lumbar pillows in the library.
This oversize neutral stripe lumbar pillow is a fixture in our foyer.
A leather pillow is tres chic and works with so many styles.
When buying pillows be sure to check that the pillow insert is included. Often you are buying the pillow cover and the pillow insert it is sold separately. Duh, you may say … but I’ve made this mistake more than once.
This rectangular rattan tray has been a staple at my house for years. When we first moved into Snowberry it was part of the coffee bar. It’s since relocated to the library. And, I recently borrowed it for the engagement dinner and wine tasting we hosted. It’s the workhorse of trays and every home needs at least one.
This trio of round trays was on my first annual holiday gift guide and it makes the list again this year. The mid-size, sky blue tray is on our great room coffee table and the small, navy tray is on our beverage bar. The larger, white tray went home with one of my nieces a few years ago.
This large, woven tray with faux leather handles is a fixture in my backyard outdoor entertaining arsenal. I don’t know what else to say about it except that if anything ever happens to it I will lose my mind.
Snowberry’s ‘house throws‘ come from Target and I keep a closet full of them. If you have pets, a good, basic throw is a
life furniture saver.
If you want to kick your throw game up a notch, here are a few elevated options that anyone and everyone will be happy to receive.
The most recent addition to Snowberry’s throw collection is thick, luxurious and completely fabulous. It comes in many colors. I just sent the weathered blue to my dad for Christmas. He moved into assisted living this year and I think it will be a nice touch of cozy, comfort for him.
Last year I bought this neutral plaid and faux fur throw for our porch bench holiday decor. This year it’s wintering in the foyer.
You can’t go wrong with cashmere. This cashmere throw comes in two size and tons of colors.
What’s a tray without a candle or vase
… always welcome gifts.
Here are a few that caught my eye ~
My Instagram friend, Pamela, of Salish Sea Cottage, started a candle company this year. Hood Canal Candle Company. Her fall candle … pumpkin, caramel, butter, smells like … well, pumpkin, caramel and butter. It’s divine. This week she debuted two new holiday candles – Winter Wonderland and Gingerbread Cottage. I’ve ordered both … for myself and for gifts. Hurry … her releases are limited and sell out fast.
This holiday botanical candle looks wonderful. I’m a sucker for anything pomegranate and orange.
Who wouldn’t welcome this holiday trio from Diptyque?!
And this Coastal Christmas candle from my very favorite store comes in two sizes.
Last but not least, these alphabet candles make a great stocking stuffer. I recently gave them as gifts at a girlfriend lunch.
While we’re on the subject of candles, these Dulce and Luna natural stone vessels from Wendy Bellisimo are one of my favorite purchases this year. They add amazing ambiance indoors or out with a tea light, real or flameless. I prefer a flameless votive because dripping candle wax may be harmful to the stone. Look how pretty they are …
Mary Ann is a talented flower arranger and carefully following her tutorial I’ve made several arrangements that weren’t terrible. Order the small size (it’s quite large).
This is another great vase.
And I love this caned vase too.
A few miscellaneous things I discovered this year and
can’t don’t want to live without ~
A hair dryer brush. Can I share an embarrassing secret? I bought this two years ago. It sat in the bathroom drawer, unopened, for a year. One full year. I was afraid to use it. Yes, afraid. I’m not good with styling my hair. In fact I’m a disaster. Anyway, during lockdown I summoned the courage to give it a try. It was so easy and I felt like I’d just walked out of a blow dry bar. Clearly its a foolproof tool. I. LOVE. IT.
These T-Bar Jewelry trees. Last year I undertook a closet organization project and decided to give them a try. I have the large t-bar for necklaces and the small t-bar for bracelets … in antique silver. They come in rose gold too. Tangled jewelry chains are a thing of the past. Who wouldn’t love that?!
In October we stayed at Shutters at the Beach in Santa Monica. Great hotel, magnificent location. While pursuing the gift shop at their sister hotel next door this travel wrap caught my eye. Jim encouraged me to buy it – I love that about him – and I wore it to The Rolling Stones concert that night. I’ve worn it at least a dozen times since. Wraps make really good gifts because one size fits all. The only dilemma … what color to choose?
This is another nice option in cashmere. It also comes in tons of colors and it’s like being wrapped in a soft, luxurious cloud. And it’s 40% off right now!
This striped nightshirt is another recent addition that I’m loving. ‘Family pajamas’ are a big thing for the holidays. Sadly Jim declines to participate. Pippa and Maggie give me the brush off too.
For cooks, entertainers, wine and cocktail lovers ~
Who doesn’t love (want) a good quality dutch oven? It’s a kitchen essential and fabulous gift. Not inexpensive, but has multiple uses and will stand the test of time. I cook with the 5.5 quart mostly and during the cold months mine’s in constant use for soups and stews.
These twisted wood handled salad servers are all the rage as my grandmother would say. I’m jumping on the band wagon.
I gave this oven-to-table serving dish to my middle niece. She recently asked for my World Famous Bean Dip recipe but didn’t have the right baking dish. Now she does … and it comes with a cute trivet for a nice presentation. Although the dip is amazing and disappears so fast no one cares what it’s served in (besides me).
You can never have enough of these.
Luxardo Maraschino Cherries are a must for any home bar. Don’t get caught using those neon red cherries … unless you’re making a Shirley Temple, Roy Rogers or ice cream sundae. And don’t forget cocktail picks
Drink coasters ~
I’m one of those people who chases guests around to slide a coaster under their drink.
I keep coasters within easy reach for the moment I spot a glass about to land on bare wood
… or worse, my marble countertop.
Sorry not sorry.
I also have this set in the library.
And I love a good cocktail napkin.
Don’t forget bottle coasters … nobody wants red wine stains on their table cloth.
A few ideas for the kiddos ~
Our family welcomed a new baby this year.
I asked my niece, the new mama, to recommend a few gift ideas.
This wrap carrier. A leather handled diaper caddy. This sound machine. She says she couldn’t take a shower if it weren’t for this portable bouncer. This mesh, all position baby carrier. And for baby entertainment, this cute activity center and this activity jumper.
She says this is the absolute best onesie.
Pre-teen and teen girls will have fun with this book by the Whitney & Westleigh Wood, the teen daughters of my blogging mentor, KariAnne of Thistlewood Farms.
Younger kids, and aspiring gardeners, will enjoy this book by Joanna Gaines and her kiddos.
The gift of art ~
This year I had the good fortune to meet and get to know several talented artists.
Heidi Michelle Art Studio. You probably already follow Heidi on Instagram. She’s a multi-talented artist and I have several of her paintings at Snowberry. Over the summer, I commissioned a piece from Heidi for our dining room. It’s a real show stopper. She also does pet portraits and painted Pippa and Maggie. Heidi’s created beautiful Christmas ornaments this year so be sure to take a look!
Meredith Raiford Akins. I met Meredith at a creative retreat in Sonoma. At the time she was working on a Victorian flower language series. Doesn’t that sound fascinating? She created this 2022 floriography desk calendar that makes a wonderful gift. I bought one for myself too.
Krista Kim Studio. I met Krista in Sonoma as well. The day we met I ordered this lemon print. You may have seen it framed in Snowberry’s kitchen. I love art in the kitchen. Krista has so many beautiful paintings and prints, including holiday oriented pieces, on her Etsy shop.
A silver lining to our recent supply chain woos is the light shone on local and small businesses.
Here are a few small, online businesses that I love and know you will too ~
Jansen Home. A new online home shop from Kate Knowles Home and her sister, Ashely. I’ve availed myself of their wares – generously. Hey, you have to gift yourself too. One of my favorite pieces is this rattan bowl which is always on my kitchen counter filled with fruit. I just added this gold loopty-loo piece to the library. These talented sisters have curated a wonderful selection of beautiful items for the home including gorgeous picture frames. And they just added pillows. It’s all so good … be sure to check it out!
Watson Kennedy – When we lived on Fidalgo Island I discovered Ted Watson Kennedy’s shops in Seattle. Ted’s book, Style & Simplicity, has been one of my go-to gifts for years. During the pandemic he expanded his shop online. Lucky us! He carries so many interesting and unique things for the home … particularly fun things for entertainers.
Mother Myrick’s Confectionery in Vermont makes the most scrumptious Lemon LuLu Cake … and it travels well. The small cake serves eight and is perfect for two. Just kidding. It really does serve 8 … or 2 over 4 days. Don’t judge.
If you live in the Bay Area, these are some of my favorite local shops ~
- Buttercup Home Shop in Novato
- Elsie Green in Concord
- Chateau Sonoma in Sonoma
- Flaunt Boutique in Danville
- Lazy K House at Orchard Nursery & Orchard Nursery in Lafayette
- reCHIC in Orinda
- Wish in Walnut Creek
It’s a little outside the Bay Area … but I’m excited to make a trip to the Mercantile by Boxwood Avenue recently opened in Reno.
Last but not least … books!
My favorite things to give and receive.
Cook books, decor books, garden books, how to books, book books.
I had a hard time narrowing down my favorites.
This is one instance where less-is-more doesn’t apply.
How-to Books ~
Laundry Love – Finding Joy in a Common Chore by Patric Richardson (aka The Laundry Guy). Ok, this may seem like a strange gift reminiscent of the clueless guy giving his partner a vacuum cleaner. But … Patric is the most delightful story teller and his book reads like a memoir by very humorous best friend. Not only that, it’s an eye opener. It was for me anyway. And I’m completely revamping my laundry routine. I know, you’re rolling your eyes. But seriously, he’s such a charming and engaging teacher … learning about laundry, ironing, and stain removal becomes fascinating and fun. Really!
Maman: The Cookbook by Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte, founders of Maman Bakery and Cafe in New York . If you love coffee (cocoa or tea), pastries and blue and white this is the cookbook for you. Their stores (there are at least three locations in NYC) could be Nancy Meyer movie sets. Blue and white floral and toile to-go cups, vintage serve ware … a table linen partnership with Sarah Flint. Need I say more?
This Must be the Place by Rachael Ray. Written after a very traumatic year (her house burned down), Rachael and her husband, John, keep smiling, cooking and mixing cocktails.
Gobble: The Quintessential Thanksgiving Playbook by Nadine, PK & Christopher Isacs. Not so much a cookbook as a roadmap for hosting a most marvelous holiday gatherings. Focused on Thanksgiving it easily translates to Christmas. Written in memory of their beloved husband/father to share their family’s love of entertaining. Lots of great wine and cocktail guidance in here as well. A perfect gift for singles, couples and family’s alike.
Oh, and did I mention the authors are the sister/nephews of one of our favorite bloggers, the Preppy Empty Nester!
Super Simple by Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest.
The latest bestseller from the uber popular food blog author.Such a popular food blog.
A Bake for All Seasons from the Great British Bake Off. Everybody loves The Great British Bake Off and everybody will love this cookbook including recipes from current season contestants.
The Lush Life – Food & Drinks from the Garden by Valerie Rice – I’ve been following Valerie’s blog, Eat Drink Garden, for years and I’m so excited for her first (I think it’s her first) cook book.
Garden, Decor & Lifestyle ~
Rattan: A World of Elegance and Charm by Lulu Lytle.
They had me at rattan.
Hill House Living: The Art of Creating a Joyful Life by Paula Sutton.
As a huge fan of Paula’s blog and Instagram I was so excited to receive her book as a gift from Kim at Northern California Style. The book is every bit as cheerful and delightful as Paula herself.
Home A Celebration edited by Charlotte Moss benefitting No Kid Hungry. With contributions from many of the biggest names in the art, design and culinary worlds, including my favorite writer, the late Julia Reed.
Fiction Etc. ~
Let’s start with a couple of Christmas themed escapes …
Christmas in Peachtree Bluff by Kiristy Woodson Harvey. A continuation of Kristy’s Peachtree Bluff series … I cannot wait. But I’m saving it for our trip to Coronado next week.
A Christmas Legacy by Anne Perry. Another Christmas novel from the author of the popular Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mystery series.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. My niece gave this to me after seeing it recommended on several of her favorite Instagram accounts. I love to receive books I’m not yet aware of. This one looks intriguing.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. An uplifting book for readers of all ages. And, who doesn’t need an uplifting book?
And, finally … give experiences ~
- Gift cards for local restaurants are always appreciated … not only by the recipient but the restaurant too.
- Spas, cooking classes, dance lessons … the possibilities are endless.
- Tickets to concerts, sporting events, plays, exhibits …
New Year’s Eve will be here before we know it.
My niece gave me this Let’s Clink & Drink dish towel. Wouldn’t it make the best NYE hostess gift wrapped around a bottle of bubbles and tied with a pretty ribbon?!
And, there you have it, my second annual holiday gift ideas!
As always, I appreciate your visit and welcome your thoughts in the comments below.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy Holiday Season to you and your loved ones.
Cheers from Snowberry!
Shop gift ideas by clicking on the below images ~
Photography by Monica Vargas Photography