I didn't go to the house today; it's better to stay out of the way of the five cleaners, their sloshing buckets, and dripping rags. I'll be there on Thursday and Friday. And in the meantime, I've been throwing things out from my own medicine cabinet, my desk, my purse... It's a good habit to get into.
I've been catching up on my Christmas shopping today. In my family, most people have lists so I don't have to make many creative decisions. But if you have that opportunity, keep in mind that Anthropologie is offering an extra 30% off items already on sale, and there's good stuff. I love pre-holiday sales just as much as the January kind, because there's more inventory and some awfully good deals.
For example, for the domestic goddess on your list, here's the Snow Grid Tablecloth, in a versatile size that would fit many tables. I particularly like the tassel trim, which doubles as cat toys, making it a two-fer.
It was originally $198 and now it's $70. With its folkloric stitching and those crazy tassels, it would be perfect for somebody's Russian dacha. (If you don't have a dacha, you'd better put one at the top of your Christmas list, as I'm doing. A dacha is listed right below the 7-ton dumpster.)
If you're the type who can't resist buying sweaters as gifts (I plead guilty), including gifts for yourself (ditto), considering mixing it up with the Flared and Cabled Sweater Dress, which also comes in gold and "ivory" that's really pearl gray. But I like this rich orange-red. It's not as bright in person; it stands out without being loud.
It's wool, so it satisfies the sweater urge, and you can layer a cardigan over it. It's been getting great reviews from women of various shapes and sizes. And it's $70 now instead of $148. The website is out of most colors and sizes but the Boylston Street store still has lots.
For die-hard cardigan fans and work-at-homes, consider this Coiled Cableknit Sweatercoat, which has all the cozy, enveloping features of a good bathrobe but can go out for coffee without raising eyebrows:
This is just $35 now, a savings of more than $100. It comes in four colors, including a toasty caramel shade and this pink-red marled version. Again, you'll find a better selection in the store than on the website.
I love to give books, but hardly anyone in my family reads, and my friends all read more than I do, so they've already read whatever title I might come up with. That still leaves cookbooks, though, so I'm all set. But how nice it would be to give or receive these Embroidered Penguin Classics, with their artsy, embossed covers ($7, originally $16):
Holiday decor and gift wrap are also 30% off. I love Wendy Addison's old-fashioned Jars of Fancy. I bought one last year despite having no idea what I'd do with it. I just like having it around:
Think of it as a very special button jar, or some weird potion material from Professor Snape's cupboard ($11.20, down from $16). It also comes in a frosty silver and pearl version.
Tie these wooly Felt Pearls to packages, as the website directs, or do the right thing and make them into cat toys ($5.60, regularly $8):
Speaking of cats, Possum was looking over Anthropologie's ornament collection and noted that there are lots of owls, hedgehogs, squirrels, birds, and big goofy insects, but no cats or possums. He quieted down when I told him I'd consider splurging on this big, unbreakable Fireside Feelings Ornament that he and Wendy can safely smack off the lower branches of our tree to a location where they think it looks better, like halfway under the sofa ($19.60, regularly $28):
Keep in mind that I'm just dipping into the sale section; there are treasures at full price all over the store. While there isn't much targeted to men, you can browse their hardware collection for a statement coat hook, like this one ($48):
They have a staggering assortment of hooks, from elephants to dragonflies. If your guy is too macho for this sort of thing, give him a pack of heavy-duty iron Merchant Nails ($28):
For flannel-shirt types, there's also the Barky Turntable ($1,298):
How about giving your favorite foodie a stoneware Farmer's Market Basket ($14)? You can fill it with chocolate or gourmet treats now and it will come in handy for strawberries next June:
When you're not sure what to give and a gift card won't do the trick, think "consumables," like woodsy-scented candles and soaps. Drag yourself out of Anthropologie for chocolates and Champagne. Go to Kiehl's for superb hand lotions and posh shaving cream in tubes and tubs. Who wouldn't like good hardcover books, cashmere socks or a scarf, or best of all, something amazing from an antique shop. (If I'm on your list, I'd like old silver, please. Diamonds are great, too. I can dream, can't I, Santa?)
The glaring exceptional case on my gift list is my dad, 97, who would heartily reject all of the above, except for the chocolate, perhaps. He needs Velcro shoes with non-slip soles and Italian torrone. Time to stop fantasizing and get back to shopping.