Tonight I am heading into the city with my friend Michael and partner Paul to enjoy a Christmas party at Fernando's tequila bar and then to a great little neighborhood bar Millie's for a peppermint shot or 2. No matter where you go in Chicago, a local dive bar, a Mexican restaurant, stores, hotels, museums, L stops, the German market...there are lights, wreaths, and holiday decorations. The City is just beautiful at this time of year and Chicagoans know to enjoy it before the sludge and gray of February arrives.
So readers, before I sign off for a few days of R&R here are a few of my favorite Christmas ideas for gifts or parties.
1. Books. Really....like this wouldn't have been on the top of my list? A few favorites of mine that surprisingly many people haven't read:
- The Stranger by Albert Camus. Haunting. What is the value of a life?
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. One of the most beautiful books ever written.
- The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde. Love his poetry. Loved that he was an Oxford man.
2. Herb infused olive oil. When I clean out my garden in the fall I dry my herbs, buy or reuse beautiful glass bottles and give the gift of rosemary or Italian herb olive oil.
3. Moleskin. I have been using and gifting these wonderful little books for years. I have a stack of used ones in my desk, everything from the calendars to the reporter notebook to a wine journal. Perfect for travel, perfect for writers and artists, great for list makers or the calendar addict.
4. Time. I'm sure you've noticed. We have less of it than ever. Sometimes what someone needs the most is more time. Time to stop by your home for a hot meal that they are too busy or too tired to make. Time for a night out. Time for a night in doing nothing. Find time and give it away.
5. Handmade presents. This year I vowed to avoid big boxes store and gift presents made in the USA by small business owners. I was almost 100% successful. For specialty items I did buy a few items from stores like Williams-Sonoma because of the amazing items crafted in France. My favorite places to shop, Etsy and antique stores. Amazing one of a kind gifts.