Oprah Shmoprah. Who needs the Queen of Talk when it comes to holiday gift ideas? Sure, the big O may have the connections to shower her audience with iPads and cruises, but in real life most of us can’t afford to spend hundreds -or thousands- of dollars on gifts for our family and friends (not that we wouldn’t love to).
You can pine away thinking about all the great gifts you’d get for your loved ones if you ever won the lottery, or you can buy meaningful gifts that you can afford now. Either way, Christmas is a comin’ so check out my Favorite Things for real people on a real budget:
Bananagrams . Yes, I know Oprah doled out iPads complete with a snazzy Scrabble app. For a budget friendly and unplugged twist to O’s beloved electronic Scrabble, check out Bananagrams. It comes in a banana -shaped pouch and it’s an individual anagram game that’s played against other players. Tons of fun, easily portable and totally addictive. I’ve given out a “bunch” of these! (department stores,$14.99).
Seda France Japanese Quince Candle . Okay, now this one I did first learn about from Oprah (although I don’t think it was ever on her Favorite Things list) and I’ve been hooked ever since. This hand poured candle smells divine. If you are sensitive to most candles, this is one of the rare scented candles that doesn’t come on too strong. You will love the fresh, delectable smell of the Japanese Quince. (sedafrance.com, $32).
“Wintersong” CD- Sarah McLachlan Not your ordinary holiday CD, Sarah McLachlan sings like an angel on songs like “The First Noel/Mary Mary” and “Song for a Winter’s Night”. This CD is second only to George Winston’s “December” as my favorite wintertime CD. And at $7.98 a pop these CDs are cheap enough that you can gift both! (amazon.com, $7.98)
Kitras Art Glass . These hand blown glass witch’s balls are gorgeous! Inside the colorful hand blown glass balls is a tree formation. Each one is different and they are available by birth month and themes such as Tree of Life, Tree of Enchantment and Tree of Family. (kitras.com, from $42)
Pottery Barn Ornaments, Wine Stoppers (from $6). I don’t know what it is about Pottery Barn, but I can’t get enough of their gorgeous holiday décor. Their mercury Christmas ornaments are to die for, as are the glitter ornaments. And at holiday time, most of their ornaments ship free. For another gift idea, pair a nice bottle of wine with one of Pottery Barn’s pretty wine bottle stoppers (potterybarn.com,from $12).
“Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham. For a humorous book to enjoy during the holiday season, “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham is a favorite. I like to give this book early so my friends can enjoy it during the holiday season. Don’t be misled by the movie version of this (“Christmas With the Kranks”). The book is so much better. I re-read it every year (amazon.com, $10)
Fat Witch Brownies . I know Oprah likes to give out her $100 tubs of Garrett’s popcorn and overpriced mini croissants and chicken pies. Hey, I’m a foodie too! I was recently given a gift of Fat Witch Bakery brownies and now they are one of my favorite things! Definitely the best brownies I’ve ever eaten. You can order an assortment of these gems (my fave is the Caramel Witch) and have them gift boxed or sent in a cute tin. Of course, while researching the Fat Witch website for this article I now see that Oprah beat me to it- she had these puppies on her Favorite Things list back in 2002. Darn Oprah- always beating me to the punch! Guess that’s why she gets paid the big bucks. (fatwitch.com, $2.95 each)