Gifts to buy in bulk (so you’re pre­pared)

The Denver Post - - LIFE&CULTURE - Hen House Holiday Linens. Wish­bone Paper­weight. by Marni Jame­son, Spe­cial to The Den­ver Post Fresh Scents of Fir. Stem­less Sparkling Wine­glasses. Syn­di­cated colum­nist Marni Jame­son’s web­site is marni­jame­son.com

We’ve all been there. You’re headed to a party, or a friend drops by with a gift, and there you are, empty handed as a Ve­gas loser. Next, you’re tap danc­ing, or dash­ing like Dancer to the back of a cup­board rum­mag­ing for that dis­liked gift you got last year to regift. You try to con­vince your­self that the next re­cip­i­ent will truly love the snow­man with a snow-globe stom­ach fea­tur­ing a scene of ice skaters, or that red­nose rein­deer apron with the antlers and lit­tle red light high­light­ing awk­ward places.

Let me help you out. This time of year, you need to come bear­ing gifts. Chances are you will for­get some­one or some oc­ca­sion, so stock up! I have learned the hard way. Now ev­ery year at this time I start surf­ing the web look­ing for gifts I can buy in bulk for hostesses, teach­ers, col­leagues and friends. I aim to have a hand­ful of allpur­pose holiday gifts wrapped and ready.

Since I pre­fer not to con­trib­ute to the con­sump­tive ex­cess al­ready go­ing on, I avoid gifts of candy or al­co­hol. Rather, I seek out items for the home that are use­ful, dec­o­ra­tive, fes­tive, and that I like, too, in case I have any gifts left over.

Donna Gar­lough, style di­rec­tor for Joss & Main, a Bos­ton-based on­line re­tailer, adds one more con­di­tion. When buy­ing a home dé­cor gift, stay “style ag­nos­tic,” she says. That is, steer clear of a spe­cific look, like shabby chic, French coun­try, old world or rus­tic, and don’t pick a po­lar­iz­ing color, like hot pink.

“You want to make sure the host­ess doesn’t have to fake lik­ing it,” she adds.

So this year I checked into some old fa­vorites and some new finds. Here are a few of my fa­vorite things:

I stum­bled across Jenny David’s linen line (www.hen­house­li­nens.com) a few years ago, and her cock­tail nap­kins have since be­come my fa­vorite go-to host­ess gift. At home I use her din­ner nap­kins and place­mats al­most daily. The fab­ric soft­ens with age and wash­ings, but it holds its great look. I don’t think you can go wrong with her line of holiday guest tow­els, $12 each. I spoke with David the other day and she told me her per­sonal fa­vorites this year are the holiday kitchen towel sets: merry and bright, and mix and min­gle. En­ter pro­mo­tion code Marnifriends for 30 per­cent off all items.

Who can’t use a touch of good luck? When Gar­lough shared her list of fa­vorite holiday gifts from Joss & Main (www.jos­sand­main.com) with me, the Wish­bone Paper­weight jumped out of the lineup. This item, an un­ex­pected touch of whimsy, is style neu­tral, sculp­tural and up­beat. I like how the ac­cent piece el­e­vates the com­mon wish­bone, a light-hearted sym­bol of hope, by en­larg­ing it and gild­ing the iron base in an­tique goldleaf. “Metal­lic fin­ishes are al­ways a safe bet,” says Gar­lough, whose com­pany, an off­spring of Way­fair, tar­gets mil­len­ni­als. Avail­able in three sizes, the small­est one, at fiveinches ($28.95), makes a great desk ac­ces­sory. Any­one who has brought home a batch of pines­cented pot­pourri that smells like Pi­nesol knows: Not all home fra­grance prod­ucts are cre­ated equal. Some trip an in­stant headache, or a gag re­flex. (Can­dles that smell like mashed po­ta­toes? Ugh.) How­ever, all the scents from Thymes (www.thymes.com) pass my finicky smell test — noth­ing cloy­ing or nau­se­at­ing. This time of year, the Frasier Fir home fra­grance prod­ucts, which Thymes spokes­woman Amy Banks de­scribes as “just-cut for­est,” strikes the per­fect nasal notes. Thymes of­fers the sig­na­ture sea­sonal scent in can­dles (the com­pany’s num­ber one seller, $29), soaps and, my fa­vorite, reed dif­fusers ($50). The triple-milled hand soap with white ce­ramic wood grain soap dish ($20) is per­fect for the pow­der room. If you shop at thymes.com, use the Marni10 pro­mo­tion code for 10 per­cent off.

“If you want to bring the gift of cheer, these are per­fect,” says Mered­ith Ma­honey, founder and de­sign di­rec­tor of Birch Lane (www.birch­lane.com), a Bos­ton-based on­line re­tailer of tra­di­tional home decor. I like these stem­less glasses not only for their gold-star sparkles, but also for their en­ter­tain­ment-friendly shape. Un­like tra­di­tional wine­glasses, these are not top heavy, and thus more likely to stay up­right when the party gets hop­ping. A set of four costs $32. Cheers!

Pro­vided by Birch­Lane.com

Stem­less wine glasses.

Pro­vided by Joss & Main

Pro­vided by Hen House

Holiday tow­els.

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