By Wayne Bell
Well it’s that time of year again. Time to break out the Christmas trees or menorahs or whatever you put up in your living room. However, with the festivities come the great trepidations about getting the perfect holiday gifts for everyone on your list. I would never profess to being an expert on the subject, but I can say…I know what makes a great gift. Therefore I present to you, my IT list for 2007.
These items, which range in price, reflect some of the trends this holiday season. I’m confident that somewhere within this list will be just what you are looking for. So here we go (in no particular order)…
Find: Speakeasy off Dickson
Perfect for: Friend
Unless you have been living under a rock, then you probably already know how hot Speakeasy has become. First off, the bar is really beautiful. The guys who work there are hot and the music is fantastic. Go any given night and the club is packed with the most stunning people in Fayetteville (I’m not kidding, where the hell do these people live during the rest of the week?). Now that they are charging an annual membership, why not give one as a gift?
Philosophy Memory Sage Scented Candle
Find: Glo or Sephora
Perfect for: Sister or Brother
The rich scent of sage fills your home and has been shown as a natural stress reliever. This candle is a lovely green color and will hopefully live up to its promise to remind you of memories of holidays past.
Ozark Natural Foods Gift Card
Price: You name it!
Find: Ozark Natural Foods
Perfect for: Any Foodie
Ozark Natural Foods in Evelyn Hills Shopping Center consistently surprises me. I used to go there to get Granola. Then I took a fondness for their gift section. Of course, I often go for produce and recently I discovered how fantastic their prepared food is. If you’re a “single” such as I, sometimes the idea of frequenting a snooty restaurant by yourself is daunting, but the cafeteria-style self-service at Ozark is inviting and the food is fantastic. A gift card to Ozark Natural Foods would make a great stocking stuffer for just about anybody.
Alicia Keys’ “As I Am”
Price: Around $15
Find: Sound Warehouse
Perfect for: Family
Alicia Keys’ hadn’t put out a CD in three years before her recently released “As I Am.” Its mellow sound and beautiful lyrics would make it a perfect gift for the most devoted fan or beginning listener. With songs like “Wreckless Love,” “High School Romance” and the John Mayer duet “Lessons Learned,” this is bound to become a huge seller. It recently debuted at the top of the charts beating Britney, Celine, Duran Duran, and other high profile releases.
Gap Heritage Striped Scarf
Find: Gap or Gap.com
Perfect for: Boyfriend
I’m not going to lie; this may be a really hard item to find. These things have been flying out of Gap stores since that ad with super-hot actor John Krasinski (The Office) surfaced. It is a mix of cotton, nylon and lambs wool. It features finely ribbed heritage stripes in a variety of both bright and muted colors. It is the perfect scarf as it goes with everything. This item is HOT HOT HOT. If you want one, be prepared to scout the internet. And yes, I already have mine.
Bath and Body Works Winter Scented Home Collection
Find: Bath and Body Works or Bathandbodyworks.com
Perfect for: Hostess Gift
Last Christmas, Bath and Body Work’s new fragrance “Winter” flew off the shelves. I saw grown women going crazy to buy up the scented oils and candles. The reason is the scent. It may be the perfect sophisticated holiday scent. It features a blend of pine, bay leafs, and red cinnamon. I’m not lying…if you imagine what Aspen smells like, this candle truly reflects it. Get it while you still can.
Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black”
Price: Around $15
Find: Sound Warehouse
Perfect for: Brother
This girl is a straight up train wreck. I’m not kidding. The casual “E” viewer is probably aware of her drug problems, marital problems and occasional black eyes. She shot to fame in the states earlier this year with her huge hit “Rehab” and the album features some really interesting music like the haunting “Wake Up Alone.” Yes, this girl is a train wreck and she will understandably be nominated for the Grammy for Record, Album, and Best New Artist of the year. (Note: Wayne Bell made this prediction before the Grammy nominations were announced last week).
Sprinkle’s Cupcake Mixes
Find: sprinklescupcakes.com or Williams-sonoma.com
Perfect for: Anyone
Sprinkles, the celebrated Beverly Hills (and Dallas) cupcake shop has become so popular since the mighty Oprah endorsed them a few years ago, it can be impossible to get into the actual shop. However, they have now sell their mixes online. The cupcakes come in fantastic flavors like Natural lemon, Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, Double Dark Chocolate and their famous Red Velvet. Make sure to pick up their seasonal offerings of Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Peppermint.
Jones New York Sodas-Holiday Dinner
Perfect for: Office gag gift
These sodas have become popular year round. However, the holiday collection is especially pursued every November and December. With soda flavors like Turkey and Dressing, Green Bean Casserole, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Pie, and Mashed Potatoes…they truly make a great conversation piece that doesn’t break the bank.
Malco Gift Cards
Price: Around $10
Find: Malco Theatres
Perfect for: Any film lover
With the completion of Christmas, I actually begin to get sort of excited. I enter a new holiday season that is referred to as OSCAR season. From the Golden Globes and National Review up until the Academy Awards in late February, I relish enjoying some of the best films of the previous year. Because we live outside of a major city, it sometimes takes us longer to get the contenders, but everyone will be running to see Atonement, There Will Be Blood, Sweeny Todd and No Country for Old Men.Why not help out a movie lover with some gift cards to the beautiful new Malcos in NWA.
Marc Jacob’s Daisy
Perfect for: Sister
Marc Jacob’s fragrances never go out of style. His men’s fragrance continues to be a huge seller and still proves to be my go-to autumnal fragrance. His newest women’s entry is the popular “Daisy.” With its mix of violet, strawberry, Jasmine and vanilla, it’s a soon to be a classic.
Pottery Barn’s Swedish House pillow cover
Price: Starting at $29
Perfect for: Host or Hostess
I’ve been in love with this showstopper since I got my Pottery Barn catalog around Halloween. The Pottery Barn exclusive features a graphic of a small town scene in a super chic Scandinavian palette. These are so trendy, they’re almost kitschy. Get yours now.
American Apparel California Slim Sweats
Price: Pant $36.99/ Zip Hoodie $41
Perfect for: Boyfriend
I went to LA last year and fell in love with American Apparel. If you have ten minutes, just check out their website. I particularly fell for their California Sweats. I’m not a big fan of sweats. They pretty much make everyone look about 50 lbs. heaver and messy. However, these fashion forward pieces are slim cut and made out of light-weight premium fabrics. They are a little expensive but are the perfect replacement for those slumpy weekend clothes that many men wear around.
Planet Earth DVD
Perfect for: The Parents
I’m afraid I will have to agree with Oprah, Time, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly and everyone else…this is a fantastic gift. It is perhaps one of the most beautiful series to ever been shown on TV. As of its release in early 2007, Planet Earth is quite simply the greatest nature/wildlife series ever produced. Following the similarly monumental achievement of The Blue Planet: Seas of Life, this astonishing 11-part BBC series is brilliantly narrated by Sir David Attenborough and sensibly organized so that each 50-minute episode covers a specific geographical region or wildlife habitat (mountains, caves, deserts, shallow seas, seasonal forests, etc.) until the entire planet has been magnificently represented by the most astonishing sights and sounds you’ll ever experience from the comforts of home.
Ugly Betty DVD
Perfect for: Sister-in-law, gay cousin
Well this would be the perfect time to catch what all the hype was about last season. Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG award winner America Ferrera is brilliant in the title role of a young girl trying to make it as a business professional in the brutal fashion industry. Based on a Mexican Telonovela, it mixes comedy, tragedy, and drama in a smooth effort. Vanessa Williams is amazing and Judith Light has found a great role in the second half of her career. If you prefer straight drama, check out Brothers and Sisters which has quietly become a huge hit for Sunday nights.
Maceral University of Arkansas Polo
Find: University of Arkansas Stores
Perfect for: Dad, Alumni
I am a University of Arkansas Alumni. I received my MA from the University of Arkansas in 2005 and am very proud of it. However, until recently (when forced), I didn’t own a single piece of Razorback clothing. I realize that I am in the minority in this town. The problem is, it used to be very expensive, and very well…old looking. However, the University of Arkansas Stores are now showcasing a lot of reasonably priced merchandise in more flattering styles. The new Maceral Polo line is both fashion forward and comfortable.
Price: Around $50 a month
Find: Pulse Fitness at Evelyn Hills Shopping Center, Fayetteville
Perfect for: Anyone who ate during the holidays
Everybody who knows me knows that on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, I’m almost always at my gym taking in some spinning classes. Typically the classes last around an hour and burn anywhere from 400-600 calories. I know that many gyms in NWA offer the classes, but I can only speak from my gym’s reference. They would make a fantastic gift as many people want to shape up as their New Year’s Resolution. Pulse has a variety of qualified instructors and it’s a great way to spend an hour.
Narciso Rodriguez for Him
Perfect for: Any man
Every year there seems to be the hot new men’s fragrance. The classics like Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Prada and Issey Miyake are staples. However, if you are looking for the new go-to men’s fragrance, look no farther than Narciso Rodriguez for Him. It combines lavender, wood and amber. If it is at all as popular as the female version, it will fly off the shelves. Plus, it’s currently only available at Bloomingdales, so you don’t run the risk of running into countless people wearing it. If you are looking for another alternative, try Tom Ford’s new fragrance.
$99 AND UP
Williams-Sonoma Twelve Days of Christmas Plates
Price: $99.95 (set of 12)
Find: Williams-Sonoma in the Promenade or Williams-sonoma.com
Perfect for: Mom
This fantastic gift set, which was inspired by the holiday song, illustrates the entire list of gifts. Each plate features a Parisian artist painted over each of the 12 storybook images. These plates are exclusive to Williams-Somoma and are truly beautiful.
The ARTISAN® Stand Mixer From Kitchenaid Home Appliances
Find: Crate and Barrel or Williams-Sonoma
Perfect for: Wayne Bell
This is the perfect gift for anyone who bakes or fancies baking. It comes in a variety of colors like Koleman Pink, Tangerine, Cornflower, Lime Green, and Brass. It is a necessity for any kitchen. This thing does everything but clean itself.
The Betseyville Collection
Find: Signature Style, Fayetteville
Perfect for: Girlfriend
It wasn’t that long ago that you couldn’t find name brand fashion in Northwest Arkansas. However that is quickly changing. Stop by Signature Style to check out their new line of Betsey Johnson accessories. Betsey has been hugely popular on both coasts for years, but her funky fashions are now making it into Northwest Arkansas. Known for her eccentric taste and bold patterns, Johnson’s collection should please any young woman in your life.
Well you have made it through the list. I hope this list gives you some creative ideas to give this holiday season. These are just some of my favorite things and I stress that, because everyone and every family are different. However, hopefully this will inspire you. I wish you all a happy holiday season. Remember, when in doubt, a subscription to the Free Weekly never goes out of style!