Holiday Sparkle (Gift Guide Part 2)

I'm so glad that so many of you have found treats for yourself and gifts for others in the Holiday Gift Guide! It's so much fun to put together, and it makes me so happy see others enjoying it. If you buy something, or want to buy something, I'd love to hear about it so we can get excited together. 

Which brings me to today's post. There were some things I came across in my Gift Guide hunt that I thought were a lot of fun, but maybe not the best for gifts. I am such a sucker for seasonal decor: so, not that you couldn't give them as a gift, but maybe you just want to buy some things for yourself, and enjoy them all season long. Or maybe, like me, you just want to enjoy how festive it makes you feel. Come! Let's go window shopping!

(And while we're talking about shopping, do you use Ebates? It seems too good to be true, but I've been using it for years and I promise that it's not. All you have to do is create a free account, and when you shop online, click through to the site from Ebates and you get cash back. It really is that simple. You can still use other discount codes at those sites as well. I have saved literally hundreds of dollars using Ebates to shop at my regular places, like Nordstrom, Gap, Skinstore.com (not dirty! great prices on skincare, and they often have coupons!), Lands' End, Walgreens, etc. If you sign up via this link, I get a bonus in my account. And while I of course appreciate that, I really just want to make sure you know about it, so that you can can get some extra money in your pocket, too. (They're probably making their money by farming out your data but hey, CASH BACK.))

Onward, to the decor!

1. These pillows. Come ON. They'll go with all that Christmas bedding I'm obsessed with. 

Photo from GarnetHill.com.

Photo from GarnetHill.com.

2. Custom embroidered stockings. Lands' End and L.L. Bean have a wide variety. The first holiday season that Zach and I were together (*mumble* years ago), I bought us matching stockings and had them embroidered with our names. I smile every year when I pull them out. 

Photo from LandsEnd.com.

Photo from LandsEnd.com.

3. Suzanne Kasler Ornaments, via Ballard Designs. I've eyed these light gold ones for years, but can't justify them. Some day all the boring red and silver balls I bought when I was 22 will finally be broken, and these will be mine.

Photo from BallardDesigns.com.

Photo from BallardDesigns.com.

4. Merry Christmas banner. I got a similar one last year, along with a Hannukah one. I don't see much of anything Hanukkah related at Target.com yet, though. They have other fun banners and garland, too.

Photo from Target.com.

Photo from Target.com.

5. They do have this Curious George Happy Hanukkah book, which is pretty cute. 

Photo from Target.com.

Photo from Target.com.

6. And this Hanukkah Bear book!

Photo from Target.com.

Photo from Target.com.

7. Pottery Barn has a lot of fun pillows. I'm partial to this festive woody wagon.

Photo from PotteryBarn.com.

Photo from PotteryBarn.com.

Photo from nationalgeographic.com.

Photo from nationalgeographic.com.

9. A Christmas Carol (and other stories). (Full disclosure: I've done press releases for Canterbury Classics before, including this, but this recommendation is unaffiliated and purely my own. I love A Christmas Carol.)

Photo from Amazon.com  

Photo from Amazon.com

 

10. Spode Christmas Platter. I have a soft spot for this pattern, as I remember it from my childhood. The sentiment on it is perfect, to boot. Also, you can put cookies on it. Yay for cookies. 

Photo from macys.com.

Photo from macys.com.

11. See's Red Hot Swamp Goo. Inexplicably delicious seasonal retro weirdness.

Photo from seescandies.com.

Photo from seescandies.com.

12. See also: See's Hanukkah Gelt. Because anything See's does is delicious.

Photos from seescandies.com.

Photos from seescandies.com.

13. THIS TREE SKIRT! It would go perfectly with my decorations and my tree, but alas, I already have a perfectly lovely tree skirt. Otherwise, this would be MINE. Check for coupons & discounts - Ballard sometimes has them (as per this screenshot). 

Photo from ballarddesigns.com.

Photo from ballarddesigns.com.

14. This is a lovely tree skirt alternative. 

Photo from BallardDesigns.com.

Photo from BallardDesigns.com.

15. I'm a pretty big fan of burlap. If I were craftier and had the inclination, I'm sure I could figure out how to make this.

Photo from GarnetHill.com.

Photo from GarnetHill.com.

Photo from crateandbarrel.com.

Photo from crateandbarrel.com.

17. These sweet birch gift boxes. Sleek, modern, simple. I love them. Slap a big ole bow on 'em, or wrap 'em in a ribbon, and you're ready to go.

Photo from crateandbarrel.com.

Photo from crateandbarrel.com.

18. Want to know a secret? The best, cheapest, and most fun tree topper you ever own will be a crappy old santa hat. I could never find a tree topper I liked or felt was worth the price, and one year in a fit of desperation I threw an old Santa hat on my tree. It's become one of my favorite things about my tree. People always comment on it, and it goes perfectly with every ornament. Pottery Barn is selling a Santa hat tree topper this year for $30. Are they serious? Buy one at CVS for $3 and laugh all the way to the bank. Or really go all out and splurge on this "deluxe" version for $7.99.

Photo from partycity.com.

Photo from partycity.com.

19. Lighted mercury glass tree. I am rather fond of mercury glass, and anything with extra sparkle and extra lights is okay by me.

Photo from VermontCountryStore.com.

Photo from VermontCountryStore.com.

20. Better yet, remember ceramic Christmas trees? I almost cried when I saw this last year, because my Grandmother always had one when I was growing up: It was such a specific part of my childhood, but somehow I'd forgotten all about it. When this came to my attention it was the best kind of nostalgic shock, and I've been eyeing it ever since. Maybe it's time to bite the bullet. Grandma had a green one, and I can't decide if I'd want the same, or the white ceramic one. 

Photo from VermontCountryStore.com.

Photo from VermontCountryStore.com.

21. These non-light-up mercury glass trees are pretty charming, too.

Photo from BallardDesigns.com.

Photo from BallardDesigns.com.

22. I've had my eye on these shell garlands the past few years.

Photo from BallardDesigns.com.

Photo from BallardDesigns.com.

23. I've also had my eye on red wooden beads for years. They go better with the ornaments I have (and my tree topper!), but they're pricey. However, a month or so ago I found these at World Market. The cheapest I've found, and perfectly fine quality. Not high-end, but a-okay, and I'm excited to hang them on the tree this year.

Photo from WorldMarket.com.

Photo from WorldMarket.com.

24. So, fun fact: I was a pretty weird kid. All kids are weird, but here's one of the ways I was weird: I dreamed of one day having my own apartment/home, so that I could put out a bowl of chocolate for visitors. I thought having a candy dish to offer guests was the height of freedom and independence, and the stuff dreams were made of. I've always been a homebody, and I think that's also why I was jealous of my friends who had electric candles in their windows come Christmas. They're so cozy, welcoming, and warm. I can't explain why, as an adult, I haven't bought my own yet, but maybe this is the year. There are lots of options everywhere, in stores and online. 

Photo from Brookstone.com.

Photo from Brookstone.com.

25. When I was a kid we had a German Santa smoker, that friends of ours who lived in Germany gave to my family. You'd put a cone of pine incense in the base, and it would curl out in rich, wafty tufts; it looked like he was smoking. There are some absolutely gorgeous ones out there, but they're also quite pricey. (I've only ever seen them in year-round Christmas shops, but this and this and this and this are good examples.) A few more affordable options are this sweet little log cabin and this jaunty, jolly fella.

Photos from PlowHearth.com.

Photos from PlowHearth.com.

26. I really need some nieces and nephews so I can spoil them with ridiculous things like these.

Photo from PotteryBarn.com.

Photo from PotteryBarn.com.

27. And these.

Photo from PotteryBarn.com.

Photo from PotteryBarn.com.

28. And this.

Photo from potterybarn.com

Photo from potterybarn.com

29. Felt (?) Snowflake Table Runner. I pet this every time I walk by it in my Navy Exchange. It's thick and pretty and would look lovely in the middle of your holiday table, over a white tablecloth, with some of those mercury glass trees, lots of candles, balsam, pinecones, and hollyberries. I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to tablescapes, but in general I find that if I combine candles + fabric + something natural + sparkle + different heights I can cobble together something that looks halfway decent.

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 10.27.11 AM.png

30. Oh, maybe with some of these bottlebrush trees? They come in white and turquoise, too.

Photo from Target.com.

Photo from Target.com.

31. I'm also partial to this classic plaid runner. That's a lot of table runners, but they're so versatile. Throw them on a buffet, chest, dresser, side table, bookcase, coffee table, or anywhere you want a festive touch. 

Photo from SurLaTable.com.

Photo from SurLaTable.com.

32. This roll of paper runner is intriguing. Cut to any length, put it wherever. You could easily pull the decor together at your holiday cookie party by putting some on the bar, some underneath the bowls of sprinkles & frosting, and some on the snack table. Or cut individual placemats and add to your Christmas table.

Photo from SurLaTable.com.

Photo from SurLaTable.com.

33. I also like this sweet peppermint platter.

Photo from surlatable.com.

Photo from surlatable.com.

34. And these peppermint mugs. (Though I need more mugs like I need a hole in the head.)

Photo from surlatable.com.

Photo from surlatable.com.

35. Sleigh tealight holders. Maybe a little cheesey, but entirely cute! Put them on your table, your bar, or just somewhere you can stare at them while marveling over how fun and silly the holidays can be. 

Photo from SurLaTable.com.

Photo from SurLaTable.com.

36. How pretty are these candles? In silver, too.

Photo from WorldMarket.com.

Photo from WorldMarket.com.

37. Sur La Table has such fun ornaments every year. Fair warning: They can be much larger than expected in person. Check the dimensions when ordering online.

Photos from SurLaTable.com.

Photos from SurLaTable.com.

38. Let's talk candles. I really like these Voluspa scents, but my go-to for holiday scent has always been Yankee Candle. They have a ton of options, but Balsam & Cedar is one that my husband and I can both agree on.

Photo from YankeeCandle.com.

Photo from YankeeCandle.com.

39. Reindeer kitchen towels.

Photo from CompanyStore.com.

Photo from CompanyStore.com.

40. How adorable is this Santa candy dish?! Picture it filled with red and green M&Ms...that you eat for breakfast while you drink coffee spiked with Baileys.

Photo from WilliamsSonoma.com.

Photo from WilliamsSonoma.com.

41. Reindeer or tree bell door hanger. (Made in Iowa!)

Photo from WilliamsSonoma.com.

Photo from WilliamsSonoma.com.

42. It's not on their website yet, but every year Target sells big rolls of quality, plain brown kraft wrapping paper for about $5. I absolutely love it. Any ribbon looks great on it, and it can so easily be dressed up with tags, stamps, paint pen, bows, or anything you'd like. It's a rustic blank canvas, and it's just my style. One year Crate & Barrel had this ribbon on super sale, and it was the perfect touch; and very nice quality. They have a red and green version, too.

Photo from CrateAndBarrel.com.

Photo from CrateAndBarrel.com.

43. Someone pointed me to this last year, and it found its way into my stocking Christmas morning. It looks just like our cat, Kona. They have other animals, too. 

Photo from PotteryBarn.com.

Photo from PotteryBarn.com.

44. This fox ornament somehow looks an awful lot like our other cat, Murphy, but I don't own it because the price tag is a bit absurd. I do love Jonathan Adler, though.

Photo from JonathanAdler.com.

Photo from JonathanAdler.com.

45. I've been wanting a wreath for several years now, but I haven't found one I'm in love with. I do love a red winterberry wreath, but on the other hand, there is this. Ding dong, hallo. 

Photo from thecompanystore.com.

Photo from thecompanystore.com.

Photo from PotteryBarn.com.

Photo from PotteryBarn.com.

47. When I was little, my Gram made us a calendar a lot like this one. Every day you take a sweet, intricate ornament out of a pocket, and snap it on the tree. Pretty amazing in the pre-Pinterest era. (I remember thinking even as a kid that the paperclip Gram used as a blade on the ice skate was so smart. Same with the toothpicks used as drumsticks.) If you aren't crafty, you could just straight-up buy this one instead. Or this one.

Photo from etsy.com/shop/HatchlingsbyRachel

Photo from etsy.com/shop/HatchlingsbyRachel

48. I have a soft spot for tall skinny Santas, and I'm also into beachy Christmas stuff this year. In other words, this is perfect.

Photo from plowhearth.com.

Photo from plowhearth.com.

49. These are so, so lovely, and would be great year-round. 

Photo from BallardDesigns.com.

Photo from BallardDesigns.com.

50. Santa always brings me a Christmas book. I have some fond memories of Christmas afternoons spent curled up with a new Christmas book and candy from my stocking. Here are a few contemporary choices that look good this year.

My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

Image from amazon.com.

Image from amazon.com.

Photo from Amazon.com.

Photo from Amazon.com.

This Year It Will Be Different. My friend Swistle sent me this last year when I won her Merry Swistmas package (BEST), but I didn't have time to read/savor last year (I blame the Great Christmas Flu of 2013), and so I have been saving it. I plan on drinking a Rusty Nail while reading it by the light of the Christmas tree. 

Photos from amazon.com.

Photos from amazon.com.

51. This old-school wooden sleigh. Under the tree, on a table, as part of a centerpiece: think of the possibilities. 

Photo from BallardDesigns.com.

Photo from BallardDesigns.com.

52. These felt Christmas trees. They'd be equally charming on a buffet or in a kid's bedroom. 

Photo from thecompanystore.com.

Photo from thecompanystore.com.

53. I moved to DC in 2008. I have a White House Historical Association Christmas ornament for every year since. It's such a nice souvenir, and the ornaments are truly beautiful. They also come with a history lesson and make great gifts. (Please be careful about where you buy them from, to ensure the proceeds go to the right place, and that you don't pay too much.)

Photo from whitehousehistory.org. 

Photo from whitehousehistory.org. 

54. I could do about 75 posts on ornaments. I am always drawn to them, and love buying them as souvenirs. How much would your favorite kid like to find one of these in their stocking Christmas morning?

Kitty or poodle.

Target's website is hard to navigate, but I was in a store this week, and they had so much great holiday stuff. Including the lady who shrieked "PEPPERMINT BARK! YAYYYY IT'S THE SEASON!".

55. These nutcrackers were lovely. I thought they were a great deal for $10, there were a lot to choose from, and they'd be a great way to freshen up decor.

Photos from target.com.

Photos from target.com.

56. I enjoyed petting this pillow. I like that it would actually work all winter long. Maybe even year-round.

Photo from Target.com.

Photo from Target.com.

57. I'd like two of these, one on each end of a buffet covered in desserts.

Photo from target.com.

Photo from target.com.

58. Let's say that above the buffet is a big mirror. Let's hang this wreath in the middle of it, strung from some beautiful ribbon.

Photo from target.com.

Photo from target.com.

59. This guy is pretty sweet. I do enjoy neutrals in my decor.

Photo from target.com.

Photo from target.com.

60. And look at this jaunty fella with the saucy muff.

Photo from target.com.

Photo from target.com.

61. Love this classic-meets-coastal-meets-forest glitter twig tree.

Photo from target.com.

Photo from target.com.

That's just a taste. There's a lot more in store, including seasonal candy and treats, which of course I also love. 

Whew! That's a lot of holiday decor, but there's so much good stuff out there. Even when I'm not buying, I love window shopping. It gets me in the spirit. Have you found anything good lately? Feel free to share in the comments. Thank you so much for stopping by and indulging me as I get in the holiday spirit!