The Salvation Army bells are jingling, Christmas music is playing continually on the radio and shopping center hours are officially extended. The holiday season is upon us, and I can’t help but reel with joy. We always decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving, and by the time you read this, our apartment will have gone from “the usual” to full-on Christmas mode.

Like Thanksgiving, I often start preparing for Christmas months in advance. I keep lists of what I want to give family and friends and a dream list of what I want for myself. As usual, many of the items on my list revolve around the home. When you go shopping this season, consider these items.


Dyson ball vacuum and a handheld vacuum, while you’re at it: I don’t usually like to push certain brands over others, but the Dyson ball vacuum has convinced me that being able to maneuver around the home at angles (without picking up the vacuum to place it in the right line) is worth it. We already have the Dyson ball, so this year, a handheld one is on my short list.

Media console:I don’t have a specific one in mind, but I do have some must-haves. Of course, it must be large enough to accommodate our TV, have closed storage underneath for movies and knick-knacks I’d rather not display, and visible shelving for framed photos.

Mail station: You can buy this or make it yourself. Some things to include: a surface for writing, such as a dry-erase board or chalk-board surface, corkboard for posting paper notes and bin shelving for holding your mail. I would also include small hooks for keys.

Framed map of Hawaii: Our good friend Anthony has a retro map hanging on his fridge, and even though I have seen it many times, I can’t help but look at it again and again. There’s something about knowing where you are and seeing where you will go that helps put life into perspective.

Handheld sewing machine: Many of my at-home projects don’t require a large machine. Handhelds can do the trick and can be used for all sorts of projects around the home such as hemming drapes and making pillow cushions and tablecloths.

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