The Best of Holiday 2010

Here are recommendations for some of ‘the best of’ on the net for holiday 2010:

The Best Place for Black Friday Ads:

The Best Books:

The Best Toys:

The Best Technology Gifts:

The Best Wines:

The Best Luxury Lists:


Great Christmas Gifts Under $10

Gift giving on a budget has gotten even easier this year with more great options than ever at every price range.  As in past years, there are hundreds of great high-quality gift options to choose from in the $10 and under price range.  I continue to be amazed at how easy it is to find incredible gift choices online, in stores and if you’re willing to brave the crowds, on Black Friday here in the US.

Here is a short list of fantastic items in the $10 or under price range that will surely bring a little joy to the hearts of the special recipients on your gift list this year.

Tree CandleOslo Small Candleholder Bling CandleholderJilly Small CandleholderSanta Candle, Small, Green

1. Candles and candle holders are available in a variety of sizes and styles for the holiday season and beyond.  A great scented, sparkling or whimsical candle adds beauty and whimsy to any decor.  Find the candle and holders shown above at Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and Sur La Table, all under $10.

Skating Reindeer Plate Viv FluteSnowman Ceramic MugNostalgic Carol MugsTilly Wine GlassPoinsettia Napkin Ring

2. It’s exciting to see what dinnerware and accessories will show up each holiday season.  This year my favorite stores did not disappoint.  I couldn’t pass up the faux fur mink stole and Santa hat and scarf from Pottery Barn for my beverage bottles.  Crate and Barrel put our beloved little reindeer on ice skates and she’s cuter than ever!  This photo does Pottery Barn’s porcelain carol mugs no justice, they’re beautiful and a steal at just $6.50 each.  Similar and varied options are available at large and small retailers nationwide.  Gorgeous!

DEAN & DELUCA Keemun Tea BagsHerbs For PoultryFleur De Sel Caramel Corn

Sour Cherry Preserves

3. Spices and food gifts just might be the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Penzeys Spices has brought back the sampler gift box this holiday season along with a baking and grilling sampler for $7.95 each.   Dean and Deluca offer an awesome selection of teas, spices and snacks for under $10.  American Spoon, Stonewall Kitchen, Nikki’s Cookies and East Shore Foods are just a few of the names offering tasty treats at prices so good you just might have to stock up.

Madeline's Christmas (Picture Puffin Books) Cover Have Yourself a Furry Little Christmas (Sesame Street)A Christmas Carol

Christmas in Wellsworth (Thomas and Friends) (Thomas In Town)

4. Books glorious books!  What a great way to make someone happy.  Books have the power to inspire, teach and transport children of all ages to worlds far beyond those imagined.  Book stores are filled with shelf after shelf and row after row of great gift options in hard cover and paperback.  Even great magazine subscriptions are available for under $10.  This is one of my favorite gifts to give and receive and one that keeps on giving!

Set of 3 Snowmen Dishtowels Berries & Birds Dishtowel Joy DishtowelEmbroidered Snowman Holiday Kitchen Towel

5. Christmas themed towels for the kitchen make great gifts or additions to baskets and goody bags.  They even make pretty cool gift wrapping!  These towels are available at Crate and Barrel and Sur La Table .

Red Glossy 4"x6" Frame Eliza 4"x6" Frame

6. Photos are a great gift for moms, dads, grandmoms and granddads.  I love the idea of  giving a family, pet or personal photo to someone special this Christmas.  Capture your own special moments in time in a great frame like the red glossy or Eliza frame from Crate and Barrel wrapped in a big silver or gold bow.  Oh the sweetness of cherished moments!

7. Oprah Winfrey, an American icon, will be stepping away from hosting her daily television show after 25 years.  The Oprah 25 pewter ornament is special way to commemorate the gifts that she has shared with the world for the last 25 years.  The ornament and more fantastic gifts under $10 can be found at the Oprah Store online.

8. Old Navy offers fleece in abundance every year at great prices.  Slippers, hats, gloves and scarves for the entire family are available for $5-$10 each.  Items like these make great gifts and don’t fall apart when you wash them, woo hoo!

9. A classic pair of pearl studs or a little bling for the holidays makes a great gift and can be found in surprising places like Nordstrom for under $10. 

10. I love Blue Q products.  Just surfing the site and reading the sayings on their zipper coin purses, soaps and breath sprays are enough to laugh you right out of your chair. Founded by brothers Mitch and Seth Nash, the company has been around since 1988.  Blue Q makes a wide range of products from bags to chewing gum.  They use post-consumer materials on many products and have been the largest private employer of individuals with disabilities in Western Massachusetts for over 10 years.  Funny, useful, affordable products and socially responsible.  It doesn’t get much better than that! See to find out where products are sold in your area.

Sing-a-ma-jigs™ 4-Pack Set -

11. Sing-a-ma-jigs are one of the hottest toys of the 2010 holiday season, period!  I knew the moment I laid eyes on these cute and colorful little lyrical characters that they’d take the 2010 holiday season by storm.  If you’re lucky, you might still be able to find them for under $10.  Simply press their tummies and their mouths come alive with melodious harmony alone or with the other sing-a-ma-jigs.  Even their chatter is cute!  A dream gift for the little ones.

12. The Body Shop has become one of my absolute favorite stores.  Perhaps best known around the world for their award-winning body butters and Community Fair Trade ingredients, they sell a nice range of body and home products.  The linen sprays can be used as a body and room spray and is one of my favorite items in the entire store at exactly $10!  The incredible Cranberry Joy fragrance is back this year in products for the body and home.  The 1.6 oz body butter sells for just $8 and makes a great gift or stocking stuffer.  Really good stuff!

Christmas Gifts and Decor

I am enjoying searching my favorite retail sites for Christmas gifts this year.  After last year’s somewhat ho hum choices it’s great to see that retailers have stepped up gift options and quality for 2010.  If nothing else the ‘cute factor’ is much higher this year.  Some holiday gift choices are affordable and others are pure luxe.  Whether you’re hoping to spruce up your holiday decor or are looking for the perfect hostess gift, spend well, give well and always give what you would want to receive.  Options abound and below are a few of the best I’ve come across this season.

Happy Decorating and Shopping!!


5-Piece Skating Reindeer Platter and Plate Set            Skating Reindeer Doormat

1.  Crate and Barrel has done it again!  The skating reindeer is their signature ‘cute’ item of the season.  This little cutie shows up on ornaments, placemats and more.  My favorites are the five piece platter and plate set and coir doormat.  Whimsical and fun, this little reindeer will bring a smile to lots of faces this holiday season.

2.   Frontgate’s gold and platinum Christmas tree is simply splendid!  I’ve never come across anything quite like it.   This beauty stands 7 1/2 feet high, features platinum and gold branches, sits on a gold tone stand and is illuminated with 900 clear lights.  I love the smell of fresh pine but I’m certain I can find a place for an unusual beauty like this this holiday season.

MacKenzie-Childs Harlequin Double Drop Christmas Ornament  MacKenzie-Childs "My Cup of Tea" Snowglobe

3.  Mackenzie-Child’s harlequin double drop Christmas ornament and “my cup of tea” snowglobe will become instant family heirlooms.  Beautiful, stylish and whimsical, why not keep these lovely items around all year long.  Find these special gifts at Neiman Marcus and select retailers.

Winter Greetings Everyday  

4.  What could be more festive and useful than a great set of holiday dinnerware.  The Cardinal or Redbird holds special significance for many during the holiday season.  Lenox Winter Greetings everyday 12-piece dinnerware is a bright and cheery way to start holiday mornings at 99.95 for a 12-piece set.  Winter Greetings fine bone china dinnerware is an heirloom classic trimmed intricately with birds, bows and holly.  The 12-piece set sells for 189.95, both are available at

Poinsettia Diamonds Needlepoint PillowChristmas Tree Throw PillowHolly Splendor Needlepoint PillowPartidge in Pear Tree Needlepoint PillowMerrie 12" Pillow

5.  Pillows, pillows everywhere!  If you want to perk up your holiday decor without a lot of fuss, add a festive holiday pillow.  Take your pick, go whimsical, fun or traditional.  There are great options to fit every budget from outlet stores to high-end retailers.  Instead of an expensive floral arrangement pair a great set of pillows with festive picks normally reserved for the Christmas tree in a vase and add glittered willow from Pier 1 Imports.  Create your own unique style this holiday season.  Pillows featured start at 24.95 and are available at Frontgate, Pier 1 Imports and Crate and Barrel.  Lovely!

Santa's Sleigh Scatter Rug

6.  Scatter joy and welcome all with this delightful indoor sleigh rug from Ballard Designs.  Prices start at 19.95.