Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide

WTF?  How is it already almost Christmas Eve??  Every year I start the holiday season with the best intentions of getting ahead of the chaos curve and every single year, without fail, I find myself running in circles, chasing my own tail while trying to get it all done.

There always seems to be a neighbor, a colleague, a friend, or a hostess that I have forgotten to get a gift for and I simply cannot bring myself to give a box of pre-wrapped chocolates or worse, a sad little poinsettia.

Do not have a meltdown.  You absolutely can and will get it all done.  All you need to do is press the reset button and take a deep breath (maybe followed by a shot of peppermint vodka?).

Here are just a few quick last minute holiday ideas so you aren’t forced to re-gift or show up to a gathering empty-handed.


Rosemary:  festive, fragrant, and nearly impossible to kill.  Not to mention cheap!! These organic plants were $1.99 each at Trader Joe’s.


Plant in a simple pot.


Tie with a festive bow, a trinket (think: an ornament, a cinnamon stick, or a sprig of holly), a gift tag, and voila, hostess gift dilemma solved.


A small bouquet of holiday cheer will always be well-received.  Grab a pair of scissors, head outside, and cut some festive twigs, leaves, branches, holly, etc. from your yard or garden.  Pop them in a mason jar, wrap with twine, ribbon, and a cute gift tag.


If you live in Southern California like me and you don’t have access to much other than succulents and palm fronds, then swing by Trader Joe’s or Wholefoods and pick up some inexpensive white flowers and red berry branches.   Cut and assemble into little mason jars and tie with ribbon.


If arranging flowers/plants is not your thing, you can never go wrong with a scented holiday candle. These ones from Nordstrom are pretty enough that they don’t even need a box or wrapping paper.  I just stuck them in a clear plastic bag and tied them with ribbon and a gift tag.


And of course, tried and true, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong with a bottle of wine or booze (unless your recipient is pregnant or otherwise sober).  These reusable carrying bags were $3.99 each at Home Goods and I personalized them with gift tags.

While it is very true that it’s the thought that counts, I would argue that the presentation counts more.


And on that note, I’d like to end this post by sharing a picture of my signature holiday paper this year.  I am OBSESSED.  So different from the basic reds and greens of the holiday season.

Happiest Holidays to you and yours!







Gift Wrap: Inspiration

Who knew I had so many Leos and Virgos in my life????  WTF?  Don’t they have a visceral reaction to Pisces? Maybe it’s my gifts that keep us tight?  In any event, it has made for a hell of a gift wrapping session this weekend.  Not to mention my bestie’s baby girl that we are expecting in October … I can’t throw a stone without hitting an outfit she “needs.”  And we know that presentation is everything, so even if it did only cost $9.99 at Gap (plus the 40% off sale, in other words,  free), it must be beautifully wrapped to really feel special.  So this is what I’ve been up to this hot Sunday afternoon with no air conditioning:











That’s a Wrap!

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Maybe one day I’ll have a creative space to call my own.  Hey, some girls grow up dreaming of their wedding day.  Me?  As a child, I fantasized about a craft room, complete with rolls of wrapping paper bolted to the walls.  Sadly, I’m not making this up.

But for now, I’ll work with what I have, which is admittedly more than most in the world.


At the risk of sounding redundant,  I need stress again here, less is more.  When choosing papers, think of simple, but elegant patterns.

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And here’s a little secret worth sharing:  if you have a solid box, don’t even bother with paper.

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Tie a bow on it, affix a trinket and a gift tag…considered it wrapped.

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You would be surprised at the things in your house/yard that can serve this purpose. No need to actually pay for anything.  Cinnamon sticks, pine cones, leaves, berries, twigs…they’ll all do the trick.

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Last Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me a magnolia branch from her garden club and I wasted no time systematically pulling off the deeply colored green, waxy leaves.  I hole punched them and wrote on them with a gold pen.  Voila- instant gift tags, no additional charge or waste.


Now let’s talk about brown construction paper.

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I’m sorry, but it doesn’t get much better than that.  Target and Michael’s both have this in large rolls, at minimal cost.

And don’t think for a second you need fancy ribbons.  This twine, bought at Home Depot for $3.99, makes an equally strong statement.

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Au naturale just isn’t your thing?  Too boring?  I get it.  I don’t love vanilla ice cream either.  In that case, choose a fun paper, but keep the rest simple.

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Now what about gifts that don’t necessarily fit into a box? No worries, use a cellophane bag (sold at Michael’s, Target, & Paper Source in various sizes) and place in a tin pail.


Still tempted to use a cheesy gift bag and tissue???? FINE.  I give up.  But wouldn’t you want to open one of these?  After all, presentation is everything.

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It doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming.  Choose your wrapping materials wisely and don’t become overwhelmed by choices.  It’s not a big deal unless you make it one.

Merry Christmas & Happy Wrapping!

Stay tuned for holiday tablescapes.