My Holiday Gift Guide is a tad later than usual this year, but I know that many of you are always looking for last-minute gift ideas, so that makes it right on time.

And holiday gift-giving does not end with Christmas Day—there are always New Year’s presents, especially for hosts and hostesses, and for pals who don’t celebrate denominational holidays.  And guess what???  With life moving so fast these days, Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it!

So, I hope these suggestions help now, but if you can’t get them on time for Christmas, please mark this page to refer to throughout the year.

Let’s get started:

thumbnail_steamer-bamboo2Cuisine Natural Bamboo Steamer—As I’m assuming most of you may know by now, I’m not a big cook. Or even a little one, really. Yes, I do come up with the occasional fab recipe (which you can always check-out in my Recipes section of this e-zine,) but I’m mostly too busy (and, okay, too lazy) to do much cooking. But recently, a guy pal, who’s as clueless in the kitchen as I am, suggested this simple steamer, and because I’m such a fan of Asian dumplings, I figured I should check it out for myself. It’s easy enough, especially because it comes with its own sheets of separator parchment paper, which, trust me, really help. I can’t tell you any more about it now because I have to go steam some more dumplings!!! (And if I can do it, you can, for sure.)

48383629_592352480365_1008566708895481856_nEvan’s Scent Candles—I’ve long known photographer, and all-around creative artist, Eamonn Tracy, so when I learned that he is now making beautiful candles, I was thrilled.  They’re much in demand at this time of year in his native Ohio, but at the behest of many, he’s making a select few of the candles available to all of us! They’re hand-poured soy, in wonderful holiday scents like Apple Cinnamon, Pumpkin Chai, and my fave, Mistletoe! (I hope that last one works the same way as the real thing! I’ll try it out on Mr. X and let you know.) And every part of the presentation, including the glass, is made in the USA! Even better, they’re so affordable that you’ll want a few for yourself! The best part about gifting these handmade candles is that a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in memory of Eamonn’s late sister, the adorable Evan Tracy, after whom his company is named. (And, in case you didn’t figure this out for yourself, “Evan’s Scent” is a play on “Heaven Sent,” which is so appropriate for this angel.) He’s too busy to create a website at the moment, but you can order at this email address: And tell him that I sent you, so he knows you’re not some crazy stranger!

thumbnail_imageCailyn Make-up Primers/Serums—Face enhancers are always a welcome gift, for both sexes.  These make-up primers double as serums, so that eliminates a step from one’s beauty routine, which is a much-appreciated time-saver.  But the main reason that they’re in my Gift Guide is because of their beautiful packaging, which means they come camera-ready (as they’re hoping to make you be, at all times.)  The daytime one comes in a pink bottle adorned with white flowers, and the nighttime one is housed in a similarly embellished dramatic black bottle, with boxes to match.  This one is a no-brainer, except for which one to gift!

The exterior of the Pasadena Civic at holiday time. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The exterior of the Pasadena Civic at holiday time. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Theatre Tickets—These can be purchased in a nano-second, which makes them as appreciated by the givers as they are by the recipients.  I think that most people don’t even realize how expensive theatrical entertainments have become, so a gift of tickets can be a godsend to many.  And, if like Mr. X, your friends don’t want to have any more material items come into an already over-crowded house, tickets are the perfect present.  Especially during the holidays when there are so many choices of fun events to see.  No matter where your gift recipients live, I’m sure there’s something fabulous for them, especially in New York and Los Angeles.  I just reviewed three really special shows here in LA, which will be gone pretty quickly, so check-out my reviews to decide among them.  And maybe make a day or night of it, by grabbing a bite someplace close to the theatre before or after.  I can’t imagine a more fun treat to give someone you care about.  (Here are those review links: It’s a Wonderful Life at the Pasadena Playhouse: Wonderful Winter of Oz at the Pasadena Civic:; and Love Actually Live at the Wallis in Beverly Hills:

The Rhinestone Reindeer at Back on the Beach.  Photo courtesy of Fred Deni.

The Rhinestone Reindeer at Back on the Beach. Photo courtesy of Fred Deni.

Restaurant Gift Certificates—Who doesn’t love to dine-out at an eatery and not have to reach into one’s own wallet? So a restaurant gift is a great way to go. You can always take a friend out for a holiday meal, but it’s perhaps a tad more generous to gift someone a certificate so they can go on their own, with the dining companion of their choice. Either way you do it, for my fellow Angelenos, I still have the same two perennial faves that I have had for many years now, both in Santa Monica. First up is Back on the Beach, which is, as stated right in their title, on the beach! The other is Back on Broadway which is twenty blocks inland. Either way, you cannot go wrong.

Happy Gifting!!! (And perhaps save a thing or two for my January 14th birthday!)


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