Get Stuffing Those Stockings

I have a reputation for giving a lot of uniquely appropriate gifts to family and friends. For Christmas my approach is “three littles, three bigs.” That’s three stocking stuffers and three gifts that don’t fit in a stocking, per close relative. Mammals are incapable of focusing on more than three points of interest at one time. This is why lion tamers poke four-footed chairs at lions. It throws ‘em off.

Apparently six gifts per relative seems like a lot to the recipients. A “big” could just be a hat or a scarf or a toy boat, not expensive items. I think it’s the stocking stuffers that dazzle. Many people don’t bother with the small stuff. Think outside the gift box.

I buy goodies whenever I see them throughout the year, but I make a point of scouring the local church fairs for homemade preserves and and handmade ornaments and knitted things in December. And every new baby gets a tube of A & D Ointment and a stuffed animal from “Crazy Aunt Stacy.”  [expand]

I found really cool rose-scented soap petals at John Dillon’s salon in Southampton. Only $5 for a nice container of nifty “flowers” of delicate soap. The salon staff throws some of these petals into the footbath when you get a pedicure there. Love it.

I’ll definitely pop into Flowers & Company’s Antiques Center in Southampton for some Blossom Meadow beeswax candles from the North Fork. Disposable sort of gifts are ideal for people who already have everything. Plus candles make a great hostess gift.

I like to give nice dishcloths to cooks I know. It’s something that they rarely buy for themselves, despite the fact that they use them all the time. Williams-Sonoma in Bridgehampton is good for “little kitchen moments” like this.

I am hooked on the new Tasting Room’s (www.tastingroom.com) wine samplers! Tiny bottles of top wines. It’s great fun to have a tasting of multiple bottles—but also fun to give the bottles individually. Most people haven’t seen these miniatures yet. For years I’ve been stuffing a festively wrapped, tiny bottle of vodka into the back of our box at the post office. We get good service at our local post office.

As a restaurant reviewer, people often ask me for suggestions on where to eat. Where “bigger” gifts are in order, I give restaurant gift certificates to some of my favorite eateries. What the raccoons leave behind in our home’s dumpster can’t be pretty. Our garbage man probably deserves a dinner out at Race Lane in East Hampton.

In order to send out some East End love this season, I’m going to be shipping some local vinegars (Wolffer Estate Vineyard’s Rosé Vinegar, Shinn’s Red Wine Vinegar) and BBQ sauces (Iacono Farms, Pete’s Endless Summer, Action Jackson). Who doesn’t love a taste of the East End? I’ll also be sending out small jars of local salts from Amagansett Sea Salt Co. and Taste of the North Fork.

I am among the “impossible to buy for,” have been for years. I get a lot of free samples and stuff from producers—it’s not like I need ANY more stuff at all… but I do have one desire: Miu Miu’s Glitter & Suede Bow Peep Toe Ankle Boots, size 10. They are so gorgeous, so wild, so inappropriate for moi moi…My family wisely gives me a gift certificate to T.J. Maxx every year. ‘Stuffs my stocking!

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