While Christmas at my house is absolutely covered in glitter I am most inspired by simpler. more organic holiday displays. These brown and white paper packages are my absolute favorites with just a few sprigs off the tree for color. I had also linked to the gorgeous twines from Terrain for tying them up. Candles in teacups held up by star anise pods make a beautiful side table light display. Simple olive or eucalyptus leaves strung with tiny lights make an elegant garland. Antique bells (like these) on a holiday wreath make every holiday visit a musical event!
Rather than recycling tons of holiday wrap and ribbon, try wrapping in a reusable gift- a tea towel. There are beautiful ones to be had (these from World Market cost less than some paper!) and make a considerate gift wherever you go!
You need a fairly large tea towel for a regular sized book or box, so keep a look out for jumbo dish cloths. Terrain has some beautiful tea towels that are the perfect size . Finish it off with a wooden spoon, whisk or a few cute cookie cutters. A bottle opener would work well with a bottle of wine or cocktail book. I love this wine chart towel for bottle gifts! Here’s how you do it:
Tea Towel Gift Wrapping
A tea towel about 3 times the height of your gift
A utensil for decoration (optional)
kitchen string (may be needed to secure the tea towel) (once again Terrain to the rescue with glorious colored twines and even frayed velvet ribbon for the boho look)
With your box at a slight angle, place it in the middle of a cotton tea towel. Take opposite corners and pull them to the center of the box. Tie a double knot.
Now grab the other two corners and tie another knot covering up the first. Tuck in any loose pieces for a cleaner look.
Amazing way to dress up a gift of wine or bubbly:
I spend some time each week looking at the FB Mom groups for local mom news and noticed a lot of chat around where the best Santas were setting up for their photo moment. I took a quick look around and here, IMHO (in my humble opinion), is a ranking of the local guys in red, when they arrive and what you can expect when you visit. At the end I also listed a few events where you and your little one can spend additional time with Santa.
Newport Center Mall– Santa arrived on 11/2 and reservations are availableuntil-December 21st- Photos from the mall were not available but the pic above and local mom buzz is that the set up and Santa at Newport are good looking and the online reservations make heading here relatively quick and simple! The mall offers extended Santa hours as well- photo packages start at $24.99 for a 5″x7″, a 3″ x 5″ and 2 wallet sized.
Santa’s already at Short Hills and will be there from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm (with a break daily from 12:45-1:15) He will even be available on Christmas Eve (until 1:15) The mall recommends that in order to assure your visit with Santa that you arrive no later than 2:oo pm. Photo packages start at $26.99 for two 4″ x 6″ prints.
Macy’s Herald Square has the Santa business locked down- they invented the concept of photos with Santa in a store in 1862! You can visit with the big guy in their ultra-styled Santa-land at the 34th Street store from Fri., Nov. 24th (he arrives with the Thanksgiving Day Parade) – until Christmas Eve Sat., Dec. 24, until 4 pm. NEW THIS YEAR: RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED and can be made up to 5 days in advance on any desktop or mobile device. You can begin making reservations on November 19th. You can reserve date and time and spend a lot less time on line. Admission is free! Professional photos are available for purchase, but they’re optional. Packages start at $20.99.
And the best Santa is…
I think that of all the Santas ABC Carpet and Home in Manhattan has the most glorious vintage one in a plush velvet costume with a genuine white beard set against a beautifully styled backdrop. Images are free (you take your own) but be prepared for a wait of an hour or more- and a very narrow window of access- just a few weekends: Saturdays and Sundays only- Saturdays 10 am-3 pm on Saturdays and 11:00 am- 3 pm on Sundays.
Santa CAUSE- Join a group that Mac and I truly believe in CASA of Hudson County at the W or Biergarten in Hoboken for photos with Santa on Sunday December 3rd and support their good works- $50 gets you 5-10 digital images and $150 gets you priority access and the great feeling you get from supporting a worthy cause.
Head over to the New York City Fire Museum to watch Santa get stranded on the New York City Fire Museum’s roof! Firefighters help him down and bring him inside for a party, where he gratefully poses for pics and accepts gift lists from 11:30-2:30pm on Sunday December 3rd. $10 for adults and $8 for children.
For an old-fashioned Santa, complete with cookies and cocoa, visit The Reeves Reed Arboretum Saturday morning, December 10th (10:00-2:00) and have your picture taken with Santa in the Arboretum’s beautifully decorated, historic Wisner House. Holiday portraits will be taken by a local photographer. Portraits are $10 per pose ($20 for Non-Members). Pre-registrations will not be taken. Photos will be available to by Thursday, December 14.