Where did 2009 go!? We've got your holiday gifts covered with the annual list of our picks for easy and affordable shopping.

This year's Holiday Bazaar is sponsored by Makinglifebetter.com. Be sure to click the banner above and sign up for 31 Days of Confection Perfection: 31 FREE dessert recipes delivered right to your inbox every day from December 1 - 31.

What with the perfect gifts and all of the yummy recipes, you are going to come through the holidays looking like a superstar!

Be sure to check out selections from our Classic Shows below


Every year we try to include one special wreath purveyor, as our mother is a year-round wreath lover. This year, we recommend Oregon Wreath at http://www.oregonwreath.com. Family owned, sustainable agriculture and free shipping! What more could you want in your holiday greenery? Oregon Wreath feature fresh and dried floral creations, as well as garlands, centerpieces, and boxed greens by the pound. We love the family pictures on the site, too. Our recommendation: Forest and Friend, an evergreen wreath that feature grains for the birds at under $50. This site makes us happy.

The Shop at the Jewish Museum online at http://shop.thejewishmuseum.org is a wonderful resource for Hanukkah gifts, including special Menorahs to fit every taste and budget, candles, and latke platters. And some of the dreidals are works of art themselves. The online store also features beautiful jewelry and house wares. We love the Pomegranate Dish, handcrafted with a deep red glaze for under $40. Perfect for any gift list or on any holiday table. Order early. Hanukkah begins December 11th.

Believe it or not, The National Geographic Store has a wonderful selection of unusual holiday gifts, from Egyptian glass ornaments to Russian Father Frost figures.

Shop here at http://shop.nationalgeographic.com.

And, it’s National Geographic so you can feel good about supporting their non-profit mission! We love the “Gift of the Kings” a hand-crafted box that feature resin of Frankincense and Myrrh, suitable to toss on holiday fires to add luscious scent or use as incense. Isn’t that a great idea for a gift? Ancient and fresh at the same time, for under $45. And while you are at the site, renew your magazine subscription! Or give one to your grandchildren.

House Wares

Julia and Julie would approve of http://risesouffle.com, the online store for the best French souffle restaurant in Texas, Rise No 1. The online store sells one-of-a-kind French kitchen items. Julie Dolan writes: I love their water and wine glasses ( $10 dollars a piece) made by recycling wine bottles. I also have my eye on the charming brass frog salt and pepper dishes at $30 dollars.

Another Texas favorite from Julie is http://wisteria.com. Julie is planning a road trip to visit their outlet store in Carollton, Texas. Three of her favorite gift items are the hand painted blue and white Dutch coasters for $29, the Glass Ornaments Beyond Comparison ( quite a name) also at $29 dollars and the personalized handprint wall art at $19 dollars for a single or $ 49 for a set of 4.

Earthy Chic  

Beautiful, artisan pendants and necklaces by Southern Californian artist Melissa Williams Netherton can be found at Zedena Designs.

Melissa works in enamel, stones, and metal to create unique pieces inspired by nature. Perfect for the soul-seeker or the Earth Mother on your list. Or maybe a friend who trying to get in touch with her elemental side. There is even a line for pet lovers ( Scotties, anyone?).

Prices for these pieces are reasonable in the $35 to $ 60 range and custom orders are available. Our faves? The Autumn Tree or the Itty Bitty Enamel heart. http://www.zedenadesigns.com/

Vivaterra.com is Julie’s pick for eco-international gift items for the home and garden. Julie loves the Ochre River stone place mats ( $49), the leaf night light ( $39) the ruffled cloud silk scarf ( $89) and the guardian stone cat for the garden ( $59).

OutWestcatalog.com is a recommendation from Sisterspotter Nancy. This beautiful website has fresh, unusual gifts from the Colorado Mountains. Food, handmade ceramics, jewelry—all with an authentic Out West flavor. Lian likes the handmade earthenware “Blessing Jar” from Montana. At $56, it is a wonderful way to count your blessings all year long.

Thanks for the recommendation Nancy!

For Kids
Fun, creative and very affordable adornments for bags, backpacks, Ugg Boots! Check out Paknaks at http://www.paknak.com. Lian loves the story of this Portland, Oregon based company started by two moms. And her kids love to collect, trade and get creative with the whole line of PakNak squishy, sticky characters. Each Paknak comes with a trading card and story—all the stuff that kids love. Holiday Specials and great prices make PakNaks a perfect stocking stuffer. Order lots! Then keep them on-hand for birthday gifts year round.
The cutest, sweetest, softest, most lovable dolls you will ever find: Bla Blas. The company was founded by two women with great personal stories; and the dolls are handcrafted by Peruvian artisans. You must go to the site to check out everything from the classic baby doll Bla Blas to the dogs, kitties and creature Bla Blas. Every boy or girl should have a Bla Bla to hold onto when the going gets tough. Lian sez.”I want one, too! Make mine the Froggy!http://www.blablakids.com/
In the spirit of one great gift, as opposed to lots of complicated electronics that require batteries, Lian recommends Bruder Trucks at http://brudertoys.com. German-made dump trucks, farm machinery, plows, horse trailers—that look juts like the real thing. The prices may seem high, but the quality, authenticity and durability of these classic trucks can not be beat. Lian’s boys still use the garbage truck they got from Santa in 1999!

For Hard to Please Teens and College Kids

Everybody needs a cool, practical, durable GontoBag! Love these, says Lian. Designed by a mom and sons, the Gonto bag is a high style duffle bag with tons of practical applications: from hauling sports gear to a great weekend bag. Great prices ( about $60) and one of a kind styling make this a perfect gift for either guys or girls at this age. The bags also come in smaller size for little hipsters. Lian loves the olive corduroy Gonto with the bright orange lining. She gets comments every time she takes it to the gym (now, if the Gonto could only do the elliptical trainer for her!) http://gontobags.com

Maybe you have a Grumpy Girl at home. Or maybe, you are a little bit grumpy today. Well, then check out http://www.grumpy-girl.com for tees and bottoms with a grumpy, but lovable attitude. It’s hard to stay grumpy when you see the funny, quirky tees created by Allison, a self- described Hawaiian accountant who wanted to explore her creative side. Tees start at $22 and feature the Grumpy Girl and messages like: "Don’t Make Me Start Skipping" and the simple, but elegant “Woot.” Love, love, love Grumpy Girl.

Great Gifts for Moms, Grandmothers, or Aunts to Give or Get

Julie’s Recommendations from Nanaland include Brenk Personalized Children's Book at http://ennekings.com which has an excellent selection of book titles and allows you to enter the child's name strategically throughout the book. I know Alice is going to enjoy having Nana read her own very special story.

Julie also recommends http://happykidspersonalized.com where anything from a sippy cup, to hair brushes to even baby wipe containers can be personalized. Don't forget personalized Christmas ornaments. Also Baby Benjamin has started to grab things so it won't be long before he needs his very own sippy cup.



For the Medical Professional On Your List

Scrub Med was founded by a nurse friend of Monica's and has been in business for 20 years. Scrub Med makes stylish, practical, fun scrub wear and accessories for the nurse, doctor, dentist or vet in your life. They have dozens of solid color and print tops, pants and lab jackets-they even have a stethoscope cozy. Monica's favorite patterns for gifting are the holiday prints like plum poinsettia and the penguin parade. http://www.scrubmed.com/

What every nurse longs for after a 12 shift in the ICU...Bliss.

http://www.blissworld.com/ has hundreds of delicious skin care products to pamper hard working women. MMMMM...Bliss softening sock salve for your tired feet or how about blood orange + white pepper soapy suds to rinse away the day.

Bliss also has lots of fun gift sets for $25 and more for every girl on your list.

Classic Show Holiday Bazaar
Our picks from years past:

The Maple Street Book Shop in New Orleans - Liz says if you're going to give a book, you may as well order it from here and help New Orleans business!

Tomboy Tools - Monica loves these tools

Benefit Cosemetics - Julie recommended the Kitten Goes to Paris Puff!

Duematernity.com - Sheila wished she'd known about this when she was pregnant with her daughter (Tummy Hunny gift set now called Momease)


Tobasco - Especially the Tipsy cooker chicken set and gumbo bowls

Metropolitan Museum of Art Gift Store

Subscription to Nat'l Geographic Magazine

Candlebee Farms