Holiday Hostess Gifts
By Karen Parr-Moody
There isn’t a fruitcake in the bunch with these hostesses gift finds from GasLamp for Christmas and New Year’s. So just say “nay” to a ho-ho-hum holiday, and head this way to deck the halls with boughs of jolly.
Vintage ornaments impart any setting with retro luster when packed into a simple vase. It’s easy to create a festive “flower” arrangement like the one seen at right, then hand it to your favorite hostess. Simply look through the booths at GasLamp to find a wide array of these traditional glass ball ornaments with a metallic finish. Then, to make the look truly exquisite, top it off with one unique item – in this case, a chicer-than-shabby vintage doll head.
This snowball elf ornament, left, is one of Jason Parker Counce’s creations. Known for his prowess in all things artisan, his Christmas creations are legendary. This elf sits on a papier-mâché“snowball,” trimmed in old bells and other vintage extras ($24; Booth B-309). Because all of his gifts are handmade by him, they are truly one-of-a-kind, and will make any recipient feel special.
A Christmas ornament is an easy item to keep on hand for gifting … especially for those occasions when just a little “something something” is in order ($9; B-217). These wonderful angel ornaments, right, by artist Thea Beasley are perfect for a few reasons. They tweak the traditional, with sayings letter pressed onto ribbons such as “Love, Always” or “Hope, Peace.” Another reason is their dramatic size – at 11 inches, they look good on a typically sized tree, but even better on an oversized tree. The third reason they are great is that they are flat, so ideal to pop into a large envelope with a post-party thank you note.
Carol Williams, proprietress of Aunt Enid’s Attic, Booth B-110, always has many items for gifting, from vintage hankies to pretty scarves to retro jewelry. She also has scads of monogrammed spreader knives, shown at left. “These make great hostess gifts,” she says, pointing out that they are relatively inexpensive, at $8 to $10 each. The monogram adds a special touch (and Williams has an extensive collection from which to choose), and they can be used for anything – cheese, pâté, spreads, and more.
In 2006, this Tord Boontje candelabra was the hot ticket when it came out at Target ($18; Booth B-2024). His chandeliers, often bedecked with Swarovski crystals, can run up to $25,000, and grace the homes of tastemakers such as Gwyneth Paltrow. However, like other popular industrial designers, he did a special collection – this one for holiday – just for the hipster retailer. It is a die-cut, five-candle piece, perfect for the hostess who has just about everything.
We are scampering up an unusual tree with this item, admittedly. But at GasLamp, if there’s one genre of items that is fun to explore, it’s that of figural toothpick holders. With a little digging, one can find something every bit as unique as this little squirrel that is putting away some pecans for winter($18, Booth B-2021). Fix one of these up for a hostess by filling it with a retro ornament, some peppermint candies, or a batch of miniature pinecones.
In a world dominated by the ordinary, it’s fun to gift a hostess something extraordinary. These diminutive spoons for salt cellars are just that ($15; Showcase B-512). Their classic forms harmonize with both traditional and modern cellars. But most importantly, they recall celebrations at well-laid, Victorian tables. Tie a tiny satin bow on one and gift that hostess who takes her entertaining most seriously.
It is the season for celebrating, and for busy shopping. There’s not a better place in Nashville than GasLamp for popping in, and within 15 minutes, finding an item that will surely wow them with uniqueness.