holiday shopping goodies - Fred looks around at Anthropologie and wonders

Bona Sforza was the mother of Prince
Sigismund of Poland and is remembered
 for many dark deeds, including poisoning
 her son's new bride, the lovely Barbara Radziwill.
This post has a Background:
Mid-October, won't tell you how long ago, phone rings, it's Himself's mother, sometimes known as Bona Sforza.
She speaks: I'm at (store name) and they're having a terrific sale! Does my son need underwear?
Me: Um, I guess he could always stock up.
She: Everyone always needs clean underwear.
I was so happy she didn't announce she was coming over after she'd shopped that I forgot the conversation was about underwear.

And so we move to Christmas Day and the opening of presents.
Himself: Underpants? Underpants?
Bona Sforza: She said you needed underwear.
Me: Oh, look, it's a - um, housecoat?
Bona Sforza: Yes, when I was going through your closet I noticed you didn't have one. She says this in a chatty, conversational tone, as if it were normal behavior.
Me: (sputters)
Bona Sforza: Now you'll have something nice to wear while you're ironing!
Himself: I wanted toys, not clothes.

I think the best presents are something the gift-ee wanted all along without knowing it, but this is hard to achieve. Whimsy and daring and something the person hasn't tried before? like, let's get Grandma an ant farm? Maybe the reason your sister-in-law doesn't seem to own a black lace cami is not because she never thought of wearing one under her velvet blazer, but because in middle school she developed a baseless fear that she was, ahem, uneven?

So with malice toward none and charity toward all, here are some gifts that have caught my eye:


Like these! Have you noticed that once someone owns a cat, they always receive cat stuff gifts? A person could own a cat and have other interests. No matter what the cat says. So that's why I included the sheepie slippers, in case someone in your life is over-catted.
I know, from a distance, this just looks like it might be Interesting, but this is a fail on many levels before you even get to the price. I included a link so you can enlarge it yourselves. Then you can amuse yourselves wondering (i) if it really is a crafts project gone wrong, (ii) who is doing the buying here, and (iii) most importantly, what kind of flowers would look nice in this? Well, of course white roses look nice in anything, as do white peonies, which I wish someone would send me. since I already have a lot of vases. Really I do.

Now for my Christmas Day tee. I was first going to get the J.Crew factory stag tee after I saw how adorable it was on Ema. But honestly, everything is adorable on Ema. Me, not so much. So now the plan is to wear the Charging Hippopotamus Tee when Skype-ing with the teeny Gluttons, hoping that Skype-induced shyness will be overcome by the vision of Moi in the same shirt that they're all wearing... And for cooking and serving, no formalities. The days of the heirloom velvet-and-toile patchwork skirt with lace blouse are over. I loved that outfit, but hated how it made me a nervous wreck in the kitchen. A sweaty nervous wreck.

Look closely, they're deer! The shirt is lightweight and all cotton and I will wear it with my lightweight grey cords. First, of course, I had to get over the fatuous copy:
Well, we know who's doing a little seasonal moonlighting over at Anthro, don't we? And yes, that was an enlarged screen shot. I do not make this stuff up.

OK, right, malice toward none. Except I am also not going to wear that necklace.
Moving on, this is why gifts that encourage people to develop a new interest are not a good idea. It's actually but for the price what I was expecting and didn't see at the Target-Neiman Marcus holiday collaboration.
And who doesn't love hedgehogs?
of course, they're totally impractical and inaccurate, so I wouldn't give them to a beginning cook. You know, the kind who believes infomercials? But I'd use them to hold little things on a dresser or bathroom shelf.

Here are some more Christmas windows! These are from Bloomingdale's.

Bloomingdale's has done a "collaboration" with Cirque du Soleil this year. The animated little performers are entrancing. They won't stand still!
Every window has something that flies, runs, jumps, bounces, whatever!
I couldn't figure out what the guys (above) were doing, but they were doing a lot of it.
Also refusing to stand stll, or rather, lie still, are the mischievous little lavender sequins 
adorning this skirt displayed in the window of the J. Crew collection store. 
This picture is from their website, the window and traffic 
were causing too many reflections for a street shot.
Could it be meant to be multi-dimensional?
 Because if not, you'd think 
they'd smooth it out before photographing it 
or putting it in the window on Madison Avenue.


37 comments:

  1. Oh WFF, this puts new meaning in MIL-ler Time. A number of our Canadian friends in NYC have mentioned the Bloomies' windows (soft nationalistic spot for Cirque) but thanks for first photos I've seen. And now you've come up with actually uses (they'd only get chipped as to-taste scoops in my kitchen and one does not need to help the DH pick chards of cup out of the lentils after a panic holler) those Anthro cups may return to my Xmas list. Happy weekend!

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    1. I wonder if anyone else remembers Nigella Lawson's first venture into kitchenware? She had the bad luck to put a line of really cute pale blue pottery measuring cups on the market at the same time as Cook's Illustrated was researching one of their testing articles. Her cute egg-shaped cups were Not Recommended, because the measurements were inaccurate. Hedgehog lady avoids this hazard by adding "appr" after the fraction.

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    2. WFF I do remember that robin egg blue line she did with Jasper Conran. Actually have some of the black and cream pieces, nesting serving bowls, a salt cellar and wooden salad hands. There are all kinds of charming so-called measuring sets (I've been gifted a matryoshka set from the Fred co.) But one wouldn't want to bake or calculate with them.

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  2. Interesting, my mother in law resembled Bona Sforza in both looks and personality!! Her taste in Christmas gifts was similiar as well...thanks for the memories :-/
    Have a beautiful weekend.

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    1. yes, sometimes a gift is so awful it just had to be deliberate.

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  3. LOL, you got me with Bona Sforza. For some reason I remember her mostly for popularizing some Italian vegetables in Poland... My MIL probably looks more like Prince Sigismund but as far as the personality she could compete with yours. I always get thick nude pantyhose in XL. This year I stuffed one of them with the 1o others to make a witch's face for Halloween front door decoration, how is this for revenge?

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    1. ajc, silent decor warfare, love it.

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    2. oh, I am dying over the witch decoration! Beyond brilliant!

      It seems after the lovely Barbara died, Bona became known in Poland for tolerance toward heretics and minorities and good works. This would explain why people from Himself's pre-Me days have nice memories of The Creature.

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    3. ajc, that is hilarious. Both the gift and what you did with it.

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    4. ajc how brilliant are you!

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    5. ajc, from now on all I need to think is thick nude pantyhose in XL if I receive what I think is a bad gift. Or need a giggle. Would suntan make a better witch's face? Your door decoration is priceless.

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  4. I saw that forest critters top and thought "Hey, I'm moving to the mountains next year. Wouldn't that be fun?"

    Then I wondered if that wouldn't be like showing up at shul in a t-shirt that says "Jew" with an arrow pointing straight up.

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    1. hmmm, well, I live in a town that has many temples where the members are horrified by anything "too ethnic." Of course, you could wear a woodland creatures tee to temple and get an "ethnic" tee for the woods?

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    2. See, you always have the answer.

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  5. Those windows! Wish I was coming down before the holidays; no windows were done when I was there in November.

    The IL's! When we had to visit, it was like a Seinfeld episode ( same town). Mr Lane and I had a code when it became unbearable-- the obligatory sending the soup back to heat etc-- we would start asking each other about the pen. Remember the space pen episode?

    Your littles will LOVE that shirt on you.

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    1. hi, Lane, sadly during his childhood Himself was in a family environment where his mother was explained away -- nervous, worrisome, high-strung, oh, she didn't really mean that. So he never really understood anything was seriously wrong until many years after we were married. By then it was way too late (1) to have saved me from years of atrociously cruel verbal assaults and (2) to get her proper help. His father's way of dealing with one of the outbursts/rants was to tuck a newspaper under his arm and head for the bathroom). Well, that all was pitiful, but it's in the past and I'm still here.

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    2. Sounds definitely in DSM territory, dreadful for Himself and you, sad she was not able to enjoy her life more.

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  6. Fred I love those hedgehogs! I would use them, I only really measure by weight anyway, I think impractical non-measuring measuring cups are so pretty, I have a set already.
    Funny I know I'm a minority but I don't really like Cirque images, I find the whole thing creepy.
    AND my real LOL during this post: "Himself: I wanted toys not clothes." !haha!

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    1. Hi, Dani, yes, I still remember that pitiful little whimper. Of course, naturally, it was all my fault. But really, how was I supposed to know that She would buy marked-down underwear in October and hang on to it until the end of December to make a joyous presentation? I mean, really, divine inspiration wouldn't have led me there.

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  7. Oh MILs ... I totally used to have a neighbor like that.

    Those little tea cups are too cute, as long as tell me not to try to define what those critters are supposed to be. They're like parrot rams or something ...

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    1. Hi, Lisa, you know what? if everybody can decide for themselves whether or not they're measuring cups, you may absolutely decide what animal they are. Or might be.

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  8. I think the hedgehog cups are adorable. And while I'm nearly all catted out those slippers look mighty cozy

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  9. I knew you would love those hedgehogs!! They are sweet!

    Did you do the drawing on top? It is enchanting!!

    MY MIL nows gives cash. We see them on boxing day. We have never spent Christmas Day with them as even DH describes his mother as a "funsucker"! Better to leave the catty comments to boxing day!

    Love the windows - still my bucket list to be in NYC in December!!

    Charging Hippos! You also need a barricade tshirt with a 3D trebochet for when she visits! :-)


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    1. Hi, WMM, thank you! the drawing is shamelessly copied from a mercantile site, I just loved it so it'll be the Blog's holiday card for a little while.

      My ILs are gone, and fortunately without me having to risk a felony conviction, although it was close.

      Farley the Unemployed Medievalist visits the blog every year around the holidays. Although his life is not like the lives of his old friends, he is generally amusing.

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  10. We are utterly pragmatic in tbe family, MIL gives money to son and lets me pick my gifts. I remember the blue measuring cups by Nigella (strangely because I am not a good cook and I am what could be the furthest from a domestic fair). Sometimes she packs "funny" presents with a message, like a rack to clean the shower glass.
    I am sorry that the tee didn't work and thank you for the compliment (but it isn't entirely true, I only chose to show what looks good!)

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  11. Hi, Ema, sounds like your MIL knows what works!

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  12. I love the hedgehogs and would gift them to DH but they are too expensive for a "silly" gift. I tried the top in the same sequins as the skirt-hoping to splurge on something fabulous. It went back 2 days later :-( A DVF wrap dress is on the way instead :-)
    Love the windows! I'm heading into San Francisco on Monday to see the decoration and lunch with friends-such fun!

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    1. Hi, JulieStyles! The JC Collection Store has the lavender sequin skirt and top together on a mannequin in the window. With the sequins on both pieces pointing in all different directions, it looked like a Project Runway mistake.

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  13. Wait. Wait! Are you saying that a framed photo of themselves and a cast-iron cat are not the best gift from the in-laws who told your husband not to marry you and that they were boycotting the wedding?

    The photo came with one of two frames. We got to pick.

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  14. Was that a wedding gift? Yuk. The largesse I described was Christmas gifts whichhad to be opened in front of people.
    Anyway, it's the thought that counts, and my MIL never thought anything kind or nice.Although she did worry constantly that I was plotting to poison Himself. Sometimes at dinner she would warn him not to eat something.

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  15. Dearest WFF, If I put an Ipad Mini under the Christmas tree addressed to me from Santa Claus, then surely no one can misinterpret the fact that it is in fact from me to me, right? And who knows what better one wants than one Herself, n'est-ce pas?

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    1. Absolutely! But just to be on the safe side, I'd leave out an exquisite little plate of cookies for Santa. You never know.

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  16. WFF - either you know who has been moonlighting or - shudder - she's taught a workshop or took on interns who are off on their own careers ...

    After these tales, my ILs are not half bad at all.

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    1. Hi, tiffany rose, interns? Be afraid, be very afraid....

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  17. Hilarious. One of my faves was our moonlighter. It's a scary thought that s/he might be teaching workshop as Tiffany rose suggests.

    I like the new header, too :)

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  18. Thanks, Gigi! I couldn't believe that copy. Overwritten and fatuous doesn't begin - well, shame on Anthro. I'd love to get my hands on a really old JC catalog, and do a line-by-line comparison on some of the offerings . Or maybe I wouldn't.
    Anyway, the header is our little Christmas card to the lovely readers!

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