Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stylish Stocking

Sometimes the best holiday gifts are the little odds and ends that come together randomly.  A little unexpected gift from a thoughtful friend or co-worker can make your day: one year in Vermont one of my "work wives" gave each of us ladies at the office a beautiful mug stuffed with a small assortment of different Tazo tea bags and a spot of chocolate and it was awesome.  I also love my husband's family's tradition of sharing a stocking filled with small presents to mark St. Nicholas day on December 6, which is part of their Eastern European family heritage.  St. Nicholas gifts run the gamut from the practical (we never run out of post-its thanks to that St. Nick) to the perfect (art supplies for the little man!  hooray!) but they are just the kind of little treat that sweeten your day and make life a little more fun.  The grand holiday gesture has a special kind of sparkle to it, of course, but the stocking stuffers have a little twinkle all their own.  And in my Jewish tradition, they are also just the thing to sprinkle across the eight nights of Hanukkah. 

An unexpected place to find perfect little treats like this is one of my favorites, Anthropologie.  Sure, Anthro also specializes in spectacularly overpriced t-shirts and bazillion dollar housewares, but among those larger treasures, they have some really lovely things for $20 or less, perfect for adding to an office gift swap, your sister's stocking, or just surprising that faithful girlfriend who has stood by your side through thick and thin for yet another year.  Here are some of my faves:
After bringing produce home, I like to store non-fridge items in colorful pottery on our counters.  I love the tongue-in-cheek element of these Farmer's Market Baskets.  They'd be perfect for storing beautiful cherry tomatoes, or fresh picked blueberries in the summer. ($14/each, and they come in 5 colors!)
I'm guilty of mug possessiveness, for sure.  Both in mine and my mom's kitchen, there are certain mugs I always gravitate towards for my morning coffee or afternoon tea.  These Homegrown Monogram Mugs are a beautiful twist on the classic monogram, and the perfect size and shape for coffee, in my opinion.  Branded proudly with your initial, there is no mistaking which mug is yours.  Perfect for the office for that reason too! ($8/each)
We always start with little bites when we entertain (or, let's be real, when it's just the two of us), so cocktail napkins are a must. I love the lime green color and the painted flowers on these Tahitian Vine napkins. Guaranteed they'll be used faithfully and  forever. ($16 for a set of four) 
Anthropologie latte bowls are a classic favorite far and wide, but these Mini Latte Bowls are the new kids on the block, and so adorable.  They're the perfect size for ice cream, snacks or dipping sauces, and I love the popping colors! ($20 for a set of 8)
You can't go wrong with a Spoon Rest.  Take it from the girl who spent twenty minutes scrubbing Bolognese sauce from her counters the other night. ($20, yet also pricessless).
Happy St. Nicholas Day!
What's your favorite little thing to give?

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