So here’s the deal. It’s job market season, which means I’m simultaneously finding new and interesting ways to describe my past research while trying to make progress on my second project. I’m paying Interfolio obscene amounts of money to send my letters of recommendation to sundry schools who may or may not be interested at all in hiring me, and I’m spending far too much time thumping my head against the desk because my phone isn’t ringing with an MLA interview request. I’m also wrapping up my three COMM sections while planning a new course for the Spring semester.
I am swamped.
Hence the blog delinquency. I’m only allowing myself this new post because I just finished grading 44 ad analysis papers, and if I attempt to jump right into planning Tuesday’s class on “planting a naysayer” I might lose it and start doing something inexplicable and possibly obscene, like watching Dancing with the Stars.
So here we are. Onward!
Now, I’m not someone who gets her Christmas shopping done in any sort of expedient manner, and I like to shake my fist in futile rage at the wreaths and bedazzled palm trees that have been displayed on Westheimer since before Halloween. Why is this happening?!? What happened to Thanksgiving? Let the turkeys have their day! They are SO DELICIOUS!
I will add one caveat, however. I love shopping for Christmas stockings. My mom was the Christmas stocking master, managing to balance the stocking staples (a miniature umbrella and a naval orange in the toe, a plastic candy cane filled with Hershey’s kisses) with inventive little gifts wrapped comically in the not-quite-big-enough scraps of wrapping paper left over from decorating the larger gifts under the tree. Stockings were — well — the highlight of Christmas morning.
I’m only responsible for Danny’s stocking, and I love it. But I today I thought I would post about various odds and ends that would be appropriate for stockings that don’t necessary belong to comic-book-loving golfer-artists. So, without further ado: The Official Carrots Guide to Stuffing Stockings, Limited to TEN AWESOME FINDS! (Note: some of the picks below would be what I call the “entrée” of the stocking, a largish stocking gift to be supplemented with the usual delicious candy goodness and socks.) I’ve saved my favorite for last!
Haiku Page Flags by Keen. I have a lot of graduate school friends, so I suspect that there are at least a few OCD office supply fans reading right now. These classy page flags are fun and surprisingly affordable when compared to other over-stylized office supplies: $5 for 375 flags (75 of each design). I particularly love the bright orange-red koi flag, but all five designs would make me smile as I tag a particularly evocative passage of Jane Eyre. Other styles are available, including a set based on classic title page designs, which may appeal particularly to my bookworm readers out there. Available on The Container Store’s website.
Vintage tie wheeler-dealer from Narwhal. This company makes wallets, passport covers, and bracelets out of old ties, and often the results are unexpected and vintage-y. (That’s a very technical term.) I like the wheeler-dealer, which reminds me of my college days and allows you to tote along a little cash and a few credit cards on those outings when you don’t want a bulky wallet or purse. The style shown here is called Chapelle, but the offerings, colors, and patterns change frequently depending, I suppose, on the ties in stock. Perhaps a little expensive for a stocking stuffer at $19.95, it could be perhaps the piece-de-resistance in a sister’s stocking.
Monster Hands temporary tattoos. I suppose these might be more appropriate for kids’ stockings, but we’re all kids at Christmas, no? Eight tattoos transform your hands into HOURS of MONSTER FUN! Other styles are available, namely animal tattoos, but I find the monsters much more fun. These are available on a number of websites, but I first found them at Amazon for $6.95/set.
Smith’s Rosebud Salve. Very useful balm in a very pretty tin. It smells wonderful, it’s a beautiful translucent pink color, and it works. I’ve used it as perfume behind my ears, to soothe chapped cuticles or elbows, and on my lips. I am slightly amused that the back of the tin reminds uses that it can also be used for detergent burns and diaper rash. I also like to keep it on my nightstand, because it looks classy and makes me feel luxurious. One tin will last forever, and it’s only $6. Usually stocked near the registers at Sephora.
Skull and Crossbones mug. Perhaps it is my love of Robert Louis Stevenson. Perhaps it is my desire to project the persona of a Mean Teacher. In any case, I love this skull and crossbones mug and want one for my very own, despite Danny’s mandate that we are not allowed to buy any more coffee mugs. (He has a point. Opening the cupboard is a dangerous endeavor these days.) Choose the black mug if you’re feeling ARRRRR and the pink if you’re feeling ARRRRRR(ish). $13.50 at Spoon Sisters.
Robot nesting dolls. Who doesn’t love robots? If you don’t love robots, they will come after you with their laser rays. I like this sci-fi, kid-nostalgia take on traditional nesting dolls, and I can see staging epic robot wars when I should be working on my lesson plans. Only downside: they’re made of plastic, not wood, which I find disappointing. Appropriate for the nerd in your life, these robots are available on Amazon for about $14.
2011 Paper Source Mini Desk Calendar. I love the simple designs on this calendar, which can be displayed on a desk easel or unfolded to display the entire year at once. A bicycle in July. Pears in September. Stacks of brightly colored bowls in November. Each month is colorful and almost frame-worthy. At $7.95, it’s not very expensive for a gift from a specialty stationery store like Paper Source. Houston readers: there’s a new location of this store on Westheimer, in Highland Village.
Nutella. Seriously. Nutella. Available at your grocery store. Probably less than $7 for a jar. It’s one of those luxuries that you want but don’t want to indulge in when you’re picking up a loaf of bread and a carton of eggs. I recommend accompanying this gift with an offer to cook up some nutella-and-banana crepes. Or, if you’re not kitchen-inclined, just have on hand a box of Eggo waffles, which are excellent with a nice, thick layer of Nutella.
Teardrop Peacock Ornament. Giving tree ornaments as gifts on Christmas day can be a little ridiculous, as just a few days or weeks later the Christmas decor will be packed up for the year. However, I like giving ornaments that can remain out for the entire year, and this ornament from Crate and Barrel is just such an ornament. Keep it on the tree in December and hang it from a drawer pull, windowsill, or jewelry tree for the remainder of the year. Crate and Barrel has a great selection of affordable ornaments every year, and this is just one of many that I think are stocking-worthy. Measuring almost 4 inches long, this ornament is only $2.95.
The Amazing Paper Cuttings of Hans Christian Andersen, by Beth Wagner Brust. An unexpected gift for a lover of fairy tales, art, or cool stuff. Hans Christian Andersen was a very talented paper cutter, snipping away while he told stories only to unfold amazingly intricate designs at the end of his tales. Many of his paper cuttings therefore contain fairy tale figures and romance motifs. This book is eighty pages and contains many of his more impressive works, as well as a final chapter on Andersen’s techniques and the history of the art form, all for $9.95. Want.