Consumers are cutting back and doing without. Lately, so much seems so frivolous and unnecessary. Holiday gifts
are less extravagant but more carefully considered. Many are foregoing any visual signs of joy. But Christmas is about feelings and memories, many of which are sparked by simple adornments: lights, greenery, and images. The Los Angeles Times
recently sent designer Phillippe Starck to a discount store for a how-to in IDing simple, appealing designs. "The trick." he says, "is to buy all the same color. It's not an urgent purchase, but even if we are in an economic crisis, we must not be sad."
Courtesy of PriceGrabber
Kurt Adler's simple-yet-elegant snowflake design is featured in a few holiday products that bear the designer's name. Among them: A 35-snowflake light set, with each snowflake measuring 12 inches high by 12 inches wide and with a cord that measures 479 inches.
© Grandin Road
The good thing about one of these urns is that you don't have to pack it (or them) away after the holidays: they can decorate your entry all year long. Depending on the holiday, just change-out the greenery or decor that fills the urn. During Christmas, you might want to decorate it with a miniature pine or fir tree, poinsettias, holly berries or ornaments. For fall and Halloween: stacked Cinderella pumpkins or other fall-blooming plants.
The Lucas Urn (pictured)(Compare prices), is 17-3/4 inches in diameter at the "mouth" of the urn, stands 23 inches tall and weighs 12 pounds.
Courtesy of Bronner's
What I like about these pathway markers is their resemblance to those old big-bulbed Christmas lights (the C7 and C9 sizes) from my childhood. Only bigger, more high-tech and eco. You see, they have that newfangled LED technology that makes them change colors -- it's kind of mesmerizing. The set, sold through Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan, comes with eight markers, spaces 15 inches apart with eight color-changing functions and a controller. Made for indoor/outdoor use.
What makes these so versatile is that they are battery-operated, so you can put them wherever you desire, like by your driveway, along a pathway, on the lawn or patio, or even stuck in a window box. No need to worry about turning them off: a self-timer has them on for six hours and off for 18.
Photo courtesy of Frontgate
You know how it's been the cool thing in recent years to come up with something different
for your outdoor holiday display? One such trend and great idea is to hang large lighted ornaments from bare tree branches, above decks and patios, or from wood beams -- basically, any place outdoors you can hang something from.
If it's a large ornament made of glass, though, you have to worry about it breaking. Not so with Frontgate's Hanging Finial Fiber Optic Reflector Ornament, which is a noticeable 26 inches long, 11 inches wide, 10 inches deep. The sculpted ornament features jewel-like embellishments and made of shatterproof, hand-painted, all-weather resin. Internal, low-voltage fiber-optic lights sparkle in changing colors.
It's made for indoor use also, but why would you want to display it inside when you finally have a spectacular outdoor ornament?
Other shapes and colors are available, and include 4-foot cords. Ornament weighs 5 pounds.
Photo Courtesy of Bronner's Christmas Wonderland
A confession: as I took these flat, clear-plastic panels out of the flat box in which they arrived, I was skeptical. Following the instructions, I dutifully inserted tabs into slots. After the tabs quickly freed themselves from their slots, I donned my thinking cap and grabbed some tape to secure each tab once it was tackled. A half-hour later, I had three colorful cellophane-like boxes. Oops...I forgot to insert the lights. So, I untaped, put the lights in their appropriate boxes, retaped, connected everything, twirled around three times, clicked my heels, and plugged it in.
The result: a twinkling, mirror-like, holographic vision to behold! Seriously. Moral of the story: Don't judge a box by its broken-down self; it may have star power!
Photo Courtesy of Pottery Barn
I was at an outdoor holiday party last week, and among the decorations were colorful luminarias. These were paper bags with tealights. No sand was in the bags to weigh them down, and kids and dogs in costumes were dancing around. It could have been a recipe for disaster. I love the warm glow along a pathway or at an entryway just like the next guy, but feel a sturdy iron lantern like the Capri from Pottery Barn is a safer and stylish choice. The Capri is modeled after the functional and festive lanterns used in old New England. The frame -- red or bronze -- is made of sturdy iron and has a red-lacquer or antique bronze-metal finish. It also has a round handle, glass sides and hinged door. Better yet, you can use it on the patio year 'round.