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Today I started my Christmas shopping.  Not the gift-getting, per say, but the actual shopping.  The a million-people, no parking spaces, empty shelves kind of shopping.

And what a day it was indeed…

After waiting in line 36 minutes to buy a $3 powdered sugar sifter, I walked to the parking lot, searching like an aimless lunatic for my car, forgetting I was in my sister’s car, and getting completely drenched by the stormy grays above.  After shoveling my stuff hurriedly in the back and fiddling with unfamiliar keys, I finally turned the lock hoping to hear the soft purr of an engine ready to get me the heck out of dodge.  What I heard instead was Eartha Kitt, blaring “Santa Baby” in a way that made me feel like I was in a Lifetime Christmas movie.  A bad, bad Christmas movie.

Soaking wet and lambasting crowds, I drove away plaintively intending to retreat to a hot cup of coffee and amazon.com… Driving down the road, I let my mind wander; wander to gifts I can’t wait to give, people I can’t wait to see, and, obvi, treats I can’t wait to bake.  The next thing I know I am singing along with my girl Eartha, begging Santa to slip a sable under the tree.  I’m such a pushover.

Here are: My favorite gift picks for her this Christmas season
Enjoy Perusing With: Pandora Christmas and a ceramic boot of eggnog

1. Original Wellies by Hunter; $125

2. Suede Invitation Clutch by J.Crew; $118

3. Layton Large Chronograph Watch by Michael Kors; $250

4. Acrylic Monogram Necklace by Poppy’s Closet; $58

5. Tortoise Sunglasses by Marc Jacobs; $98

6. Tweed Throw by Nordstrom; $58

7. Classic Trifold Wallet by Marc Jacobs; $198

8. Large Logo Studs by Tory Burch; $68

9. Lulu Frost Bangles by J.Crew; $68

10. Monogram iPhone Cover by daninotes; $55

11. Leopard Fringe Scarf by Michael Kors; $50

I’ve never been particularly good at keeping gifts a surprise.

It’s not that I intend to be this way, it just sort of, uh, happens.

I mean, I guess there were signs: rewind to 4-year-old Alice, begging my mom to tell me the contents of all the gifts under the tree. Knowing just.exactly what I was going to do, she would whisper secretively in my ear “It’s a purse, but don’t tell.” You can obviously tell where this is going- before she could even turn around, my curly-headed self would belt to the top of my lungs: “EMILY, YOU’RE GETTING A PURSE!”  She got a “purse” for 7 years straight.

Rewind to more recent times, like say, last year, when someone left the receipt for Bryan’s gifts at his house. Let me tell you, I did a great job explaining why I needed an 85″ projector screen. Guess not much has changed.

I am happy to report that this year no secrets have been leaked…. yet.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

To propel your inability to keep surprises, over the next few weeks I am going to be featuring a bevy of gift ideas for your perusing.  Because we all know boys/guys/men are the easiest to shop for, they’re up first… I had so much fun preparing this list, for when shopping for a gender that views gifts of cashmere and cheeseburgers with analogous excitement, the possibilities are endless.

Here are some ideas the sisters and I have had success with in the past and a few that our fellas will be surprised with this season:

1. Leather iPhone case by J.Crew; $38

2. Polarized Wayfarer by RayBan; $165

3. Howland Penny Loafer by Cole Haan; $148

4. Event Tickets by Ticketmaster; prices will vary

5. Watch by Luminox; $235

6. Home Theater Projector by Sony; $950

7. Vintage Handstamped Cufflinks by Cuffart; $95

8. Better Sweater Vest by Patagonia; $89

Festive decorating, to me, is one of the most fun parts of the holiday season.  I love to see personalities come out through the decorating styles of my friends and family: rustic, whimsical, nostalgic, chic… I seem to learn a little something about my loved ones each year through these uniquely personal touches.

Rather than sticking to one distinct holiday “style”, I like to mix a variety of pieces in coordinating tones, creating a look that is both put-together and inviting.  Metallics instantly add specialness to room without over-powering your year-round decor, making them the perfect {not so} neutrals for decorating your home.

Here are my favorite ways to get the look:

    • {1} Metallic glassware adds an instant touch of cheer to December dinners- no matter how low-key the menu.
    • {2} A simple mercury glass bowl filled with sparkly ornaments lends effortless charm to more formally decorated spaces, such as your living or dining rooms.
    • {3} A grouping of antique candle glasses brings warmth and dimension to small spaces without the stiffness of tall taper candles.
    • {4} Mixing unexpected textures- such as canvas and sequins- lends versatility to holiday entertaining without seeming stuffy.
    • {5} For those with limited space or time, a simple tree with white lights and glittery monochromatic ornaments can make a big impact with minimal effort.
    • {6} Make spontaneous holiday entertaining easy by serving store-bought hor dourves on pretty metallic cocktail napkins.
    • {7} Porcelain plates in whimsical patterns make dinner party decor as simple as setting the table.

1. Gold Chisel Glassware by Z Gallerie; $35

2. Mercury Glass Equinox Bowl by Z Gallerie; $36

3. Antique Glass Candle Holder by Crate&Barrel; $6

4. Sequined Pillow Cover by West Elm; $44

5. Glittered Silver Ornament by Pier 1; $6

6. Gold Cocktail Napkins by Plum Party; $5

7. Tinsel and Confetti Plates by Crate&Barrel; $8

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