Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday helpers

This year, I've been making a big effort to accomplish one Christmas-related task every day, so that I won't be overwhelmed and frantically ordering things on December 23 whilst wrapping into the wee hours of the morning like a crazy woman.  Even so, Christmas is just plain busy, even though most parts of it are lots of fun.  A few things that I keep around to help make getting things done more enjoyable and less worrisome:

Sharp scissors (wrapping gifts and opening boxes is so much easier if you're not attacking packages with your kitchen shears or car keys, and having pretty scissors doesn't hurt either).

Pop-up tape wrist dispenser.  It is incredible how amazing this makes wrapping (and how irritating you will start to find wrapping gifts without it).  
Gold sparkle nail polish for hiding nails chipped from all the aforementioned wrapping and other holiday tasks.

A Frasier Fir tree -- the absolute best-smelling and best-looking Christmas tree, in my humble opinion.  (My husband refers to them as "The Cadillac of All Christmas Trees.")  And if a tree isn't in the cards for you this year, this Thymes Frasier Fir candle is the best substitute!  The smell of Christmas tree makes me really happy.  
Christmas means mailing lots of things: holiday cards, thank you notes, and gifts.  Mailing means you need postage, and at Christmas time, the post office is typically a madhouse.  Save yourself the trouble and order your stamps online, ahead of time.  My favorites are these Love stamps (illustrated by Jessica Hische) and these holiday ornaments.

Keep a huge roll of baker's twine and plain hang tags around for dressing up little gifts and baked goods.
Love Actually never fails to put me in the holiday spirit.
And last, but most certainly not least: keep a couple of bottles of wine on hand.  You won't regret it. 
Do share, because I really want to know what helps you so I can steal them: what are you holiday lifesavers?

(Christmas tree photo by Tall and Salty; image from Love Actually via here; wine picture by Kate Mathis via The Seattle Times.)

A Christmas laugh-break

Hi readers!  I am taking a break from the gift-guiding for today, so you'll have to carry on your online shopping adventures without my counsel.  If you're like me, you could use a deep breath and a little break from the holiday mayhem.  In that spirit: enjoy the following.
I'm just dying.  The xylophone.  The kids.  Mariah.  Hilarious.  Merry Christmas!

(via I Suwannee.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gifts for fellows

For Day Two of the Tall and Salty holiday gift guide bonanza, it's the gentlemen's turn.  I always have the most trouble with the dudes on my list, don't you?  For your difficult-to-shop-for husbands, boyfriends, dads, brothers, and brothers-in-law, fifteen suggestions for things he might actually like:

Classic Ray-Ban sunglasses that fold up to fit in his pocket.
For the man who hates the actual process of shopping: a subscription to Trunk Club, the service that sends him a trunk of clothes to try on, and a promise to get him the first thing he loves.  You pay only for what you keep!

A shiny gold holder for his razor or toothbrush so you'll quit bugging him about leaving it out all the time.  And isn't peace and quiet one of the greatest gifts there is?
Hilarious needlepoint keychain for your favorite chick magnet.
Needlepoint Key Fob (more colors)
A cashmere forever sweater with elbow patches.
Cashmere Crew Sweater with Suede Patch
A 007-esque chrome lighter for starting fires (or, you know, lighting the Duraflame log wrapper, whatever the case may be).
The Chrome Bond Lighter available at
A grown-up looking backpack.
A set of plain, heavy, old-fashioned glasses for getting his Don Draper on.
A cool bottle opener.

Puppy bookends.  Because who doesn't smile at puppies?

Lambswool stripe hat
Naval-stripe socks
A new shirt for his team's national championship game (or perhaps tickets to the game -- a pair is only $2,400!).
Notre Dame Fighting Irish '47 Brand Fall Navy Vault ND Vintage Scrum T-Shirt
Membership in a wine-of-the-month club (or this service, if he's more of a whiskey man).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gifts for hosts and hostesses with the most(ess)

At long last, it's time to kick off the first series of Tall and Salty holiday gift guides.  To start things off, let's begin with the first people you'll want to buy for: the hosts and hostesses who invite you over for dinners, White Christmas viewing parties, tree-trimming, wassailing (we did in fact get invited to a wassail this year; I had to Google it to find out what it was!), and other forms of holiday revelry.  Some great ideas for gifts to have on hand so that you don't end up ducking into a 7-Eleven for a bottle of wine that you have to scratch the $9.99 price tag off of on your way over to the party:

A pretty cheese knife and spreader set from France.
Delicious seasoned salt (that you might recall from here).
Festive cocktail glasses so your hosts can enjoy a relaxing beverage . . .
. . . or a book of cocktail recipes for intense de-stressing!
Cleaning spray (it's great for countertops) that smells like a Christmas tree (Thymes has a whole line of Frasier Fir scented candles and home items -- they're all wonderful).
A gilded leaf tray for holding keys, soap, or other little odds and ends.
A board game (my favorite: Cranium).
A cool bottle opener.

(Mrs. Lilien Cocktail Swatchbook image via Oh Joy!; pickle ornament image via here.)
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