(Photos: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; Desert Botanical Garden; Powell Gardens)
At this point in December, gifts are on everyone’s mind. If you’re shopping this weekend, at home or outside, godspeed. And may you subscribe healthily to my favorite gifting philosophy: for every one for them, at least the dream of one for me.
Cool Gifts at Pop-ups and holiday markets
Refinery 29 pointed readers to the holiday pop-up shops at 73 Spring Shop, Tictail at 90 Orchard Street, and Cuyana at 311 West Broadway, plus its own Tinseltown brick-and-mortar pop-up bazaar, open through Sunday at Nolita’s open house at 200 Mulberry Street. If you’re not in New York, their online Tinseltown holiday guide is a fun read with lots of ideas for gifts, parties, style–all the seasonal fun stuff. DC’s Brightest Young Things has the most comprehensive holiday market and pop-up shop guide I’ve seen for this city. My picks this weekend would be the Del Ray Artisans Holiday Market in Arlington, and Georgetown Glow, with a focus on local stores including the actual Moleskine store–a pop-up that will remain in place, selling the best little notebooks in all the land. Sure I could order them online, but just the thought of being among all of those journals? That’s present heaven enough for me.
The Gift of Light
When I visited the Southwest after a lifetime on the East Coast, I fell in love the landscape and the traditions. If I were in Austin this weekend, I’d want to go to Luminations, and Las Noches de Las Luminerias at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix looks beautiful, too. The Santa Fe Botanical Garden has a Winter Lights event–a great weekend pick in one of my favorite cities in the world–with the beautiful luminated Farolito Walk coming up on Christmas Eve Over in Kingsville, the luminary walk at Powell Gardens.
I am among the masses who loves Cheryl Strayed, and seeing Wild is tops on my agenda this weekend. I’ve worn the profanity off of my “Write Like a Motherf*cker” mug ($13 at The Rumpus) that is among her merchandise from her “Dear Sugar” days at The Rumpus, so think I’ll be heading back there to pick up a travel version. There’s a “Write like a mother” onesie ($10 at The Rumpus) for your writer mom friend, and a full Sugar gift set ($55 at The Rumpus) for the Strayed devotee in your life. Or just pass along a movie theater gift card hefty enough to cover an evening show and snacks–plus one for you so you and your recipient can have some quality time.
The Gift of Time
I’ve felt really luckier than usual lately when I kick back in my mind and think about all of the simply amazing people in my life, both friends and family. And this year it seems more important than ever to not just carve out time in the busyness for my people, but to start there and build other stuff around it. There is cool, festive, and often free stuff going on in every part of the country this weekend, so hit up your favorite search engine, type in your holiday preference–mine would be music. See what pops up, grab your friends, and go. Just reading this list of holiday activities in New Orleans made me want to teleport there, most notably the St. James Festival of the Bonfires, free Christmas concerts at St. Louis Cathedral, and the performances of Handel’s Messiah by the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra.
And if you never want to have to leave your house again? I’m putting in a plug for a Roku. I bought one for myself on Black Friday, and even the regular price of $49 for the basic model means movies, TV shows, and music all the time, any time–for me and whomever is coming over to hang out, eat, talk, and dream up our next plans for world domination. Gifts can be wonderful, but hanging out and listening to music (I have Mary J. Blige’s new release The London Sessions on repeat right now) is usually really all I need.