It is early December,when I think, “This year, I am going to get all my holiday errands and lists completed. I will be able to curl up on the couch, reading a Christmas Carol and sipping a hot chocolate with a homemade peppermint marshmallow on top in front of the fire.”
Today, I can still pretend it will all get done. The reality of untangling the lights and trying to find those boxes of holiday cards I packed away has not set in for me. I am still looking though cooking magazines with Post It notes marking which Christmas cookies I will be baking, then in my head, I am packing an assortment of them into decorative boxes, tied with ribbon and cute little gift tags to hand deliver to our friends.
I am completely blocking out that one year I was sitting up at 11:30 pm on Christmas Eve sweating, while shoving random things into gift bags and wrapping paper, using a Sharpie to write the “to and from” right on the bag because I couldn’t find the gift tags. That year, my nephews would open a gift and hold it up asking, “Were the glittery socks meant for me?” “No, hand those to your Aunt.” Do you know how hard it is to get your husband to give up the Hot Wheel set meant for your 8-year-old nephew? Welcome to our holidays.
We still have time. Time to head to Reno’s best locally-owned stores for the perfect gift and wrap it just so. Time to find out where the tape is and time to address those holiday cards. Here is a list of some of my favorite stores in Reno where I will be doing some holiday shopping, but probably not until sometime around the 23rd of December, if I am being completely truthful.
Midtown is full of some of my favorite stores. Micano Home & Garden has an amazing collection of art and home goods that I covet every time I walk in the store. Baskets, decorative boxes, furniture, metal sculptures, fountains and more fill the walls and shelves of the store, much of it made by local artists.
Mandala Massage Supply & Apothecary just moved a few doors down from MidTown Eats on South Virginia. The store has a full supply of natural and organic products that make great gifts. Or you can stock up on essential oils, jars and lotions you need to mix up your own signature lotions, soaps and bath oils.
Happy Happy Joy Joy is Midtown’s store for toys, games and memorabilia. Located next to Sippees, you will find some classic toys from your youth, mixed in with great collectables and a million stocking stuffer ideas. I would pay them for just saving me from having to go to Toys R Us. Sippee’s New and Used Kid’s Clothes has some of the cutest kids clothes, a wall full of tutus and is offering pictures with Santa on the weekends leading up to Christmas. Check their Facebook page for the schedule.
If you are at Happy Happy Joy Joy or Sippees, take a walk across the street to Craft. I can’t tell you the number of times I have walked in saying, “I know he likes Blanton’s Bourbon,” only to walk out with a small-batch bottle of amazing. The friendly staff will help you choose the perfect bottle from their wide selection of wines, beers and spirits at great prices. Then you are ready with something other than the typical bottle of Chardonnay at that holiday party you are going to next weekend…because don’t forget about that party next weekend!
I will confess; I married an Italian, so the holidays mean panettone, the Feast of the Seven Fishes, biscotti and a bottle of really nice olive oil. I am so lucky that Bella Italia Gourmet Foods and Italian Gifts takes care of all of those traditional holiday gift needs. Located in the Arlington Gardens Mall, the owners handpick and import everything for the perfect Italian-inspired table for the holidays. They even have gorgeous table linens and custom gift basket filled with best from Italy. And, they post weekly recipes on their Facebook page.
Each year, I have a plan to mail Christmas cards. It is a good plan, a chance to drop a note to our friends and family all over the globe wishing them a wonderful holiday season. It really is such a good plan. Each year we go to Paper Moon and pick from boxes of incredible cards, anything from vintage-y designs to simple holiday messages. Their staff can even help you design a personalize card that says just what you want it to. If only they would come to my house and sit at the table in the dining room and make me actually finish all those cards. And, maybe lick the envelopes for me.
I have a question this Christmas: when did bark become the go-to sweet for the holiday? It seems like near every cash register this season you will see little cellophane bags filled with white chocolate candy bark of some sort. Sierra Nevada Chocolate Company has 15 types of bark! Pretzel bark, apple pie bark, banana walnut bark and pineapple bark join with peppermint bark, chocolate bark and a huge selection of hand-dipped candies, truffles and treats. If you must have bark, stop by the Virginia Street store and pick up a bag or two.
Now, I need to go, I have lists to write, Christmas cards to write, cookies to bake and I have to run over to Sundance Books on California Avenue to buy a copy of A Christmas Carol. But, before I go, do you have any local Reno stores that you will be shopping at this year? Tell me down in the comments.