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Treasures for the Holiday Season



I have been meaning to share with you about these wonderful treasures I have found for a while, and, now that we have reached the Holiday season, I thought this was the perfect time.

Just to be clear, this post is not sponsored in any way. I am sharing these products with you because I love and enjoy them all personally, and I think that you might, too.




A few weeks ago I was browsing around for a new scarf when I found the gorgeous tartan scarves by House of Brooke. I fell in love with the Pumpkin Plaid and the Ginger Plaid scarves you see in these images, and I placed my order. The scarves arrived in the mail about a week later, safely packaged and beautifully presented. Take a peek, aren’t they just luscious?



Ginger Plaid Scarf by House of Brooke


The scarves are exquisite, soft and warm, and a couple of weeks ago, when the temperature dropped here in the Bay Area, they became an essential part of my daily wardrobe.

With their glorious fall colors, I thought I would style them with a pumpkin, which enhanced the colors of both.



Pumpkin Plaid Scarf by House of Brooke


The Pumpkin Plaid is an oversized square blanket-style scarf, while the Ginger Plaid is an oversize 74″ x 34″ scarf. Both are handmade by Brooke Marie using the softest and warmest acrylic material I have ever felt.

The scarves are also affordably priced at $36 for the Ginger and $32 for the pumpkin. And there are many other beautiful colors available in her shop. I just saw a new one in a dark purple/blue and green color combination called Mistletoe Plaid, and I am very tempted.



Ginger Plaid Scarf by House of Brooke


Ginger and Pumpkin Plaid Scarves by House of Brooke


Brooke only makes a few of these scarves per color/batch, so if you fall in love with one, you definitely want to grab it while it is available.
Needless to say – but I am saying it nonetheless – these beautiful scarves are perfect for yourself, and as birthday and/or Christmas presents for family and friends.



Pumpkin Plaid Scarf by House of Brooke


House of Brooke on Etsy




A few years ago, when Sara Smith realized that she had become the person at the party who insisted on smoothing out crumpled wrapping paper so it could be used again, she decided that there had to be a better solution to the incredible waste of paper that occurs over presents, especially during the Holiday season.

And here I will skip over all the convoluted twists and turns of starting a new business, and jump to the part where I tell you that Sara came up with a brilliant solution, and Wrappily was born in 2013.




Wrappily “offers a new take on wrapping paper. With the help of neighborhood newspaper presses, we take great patterns and print them on 100% recyclable newsprint. Emboldened with fresh designs, renewable newsprint is an answer to the millions of tons of trash generated by wrapping paper each year.”




Besides beautiful gift wrapping papers for all seasons, on their website you will also find paper ribbons, gift tags, basket fillers and decorating kits. I chose to feature their Holiday designs for obvious reasons, but there is so much more.

Made entirely on Maui, Wrappily paper is 100% recyclable, compostable, and printed with soy-based inks. Not only that, but each sheet is reversible, and all their patterns are created by independent designers.






Holiday papers and accessories are currently on sale on the Wrappily website, and Sara has asked me to share with you their Cyber Monday special deal + free shipping code shipit2me.


Wrappily – American Made Chic Gift Wrap with an Eco-Friendly Twist

photography © Kristy Copperfield




And continuing along the eco-friendly path, here is my third and final treasure.

About ten or twelve years ago I discovered the most wonderful e-cards on the planet created by a very talented English illustrator. I now do not remember how that happened, though it is likely that a friend sent me one, and got me hooked.

I am talking about Jacquie Lawson and her exquisite, heart warming, animated, interactive e-cards. These e-cards are like mini stories that, for a minute or two, take you to an idyllic place and provide you with a delightful time-out from your day.




Once more, because of the season, I am choosing to feature screen shots of their Christmas cards, but the Jacquie Lawson website features e-cards for all seasons and occasions. I love them all, but – besides the Holiday ones – my absolute favorites are the Halloween cards!


For $14 a year (or $20 for two years), you can send as many cards as you like, and you can also keep an address book (private to you) with names and e-mail addresses of your usual recipients. If you insert the date of their birthday, JL will send you reminders a couple of weeks before the due date.





Then, a few years ago, JL went beyond cards and created the most wonderful Advent Calendars for your computer’s desktop. The Advent Calendars are interactive and musical and with all the beautiful graphics you are spoiled with through the cards.

I have all of them, and this year is number six: the JL Victorian Calendar (see below).




The Advent Calendar shows a Winter/Christmas scene along with twenty-five numbered red Christmas balls. The Calendar coordinates with your computer’s date and time, and starting on December 1st, and only on December 1st, you get to click on one ball a day, in sequence. That will lead to an animation, a scene, an interaction, or all three, and then finish with a relevant addition to the whole town scene. Once the animation is complete, the ball that has been clicked on will change color to green so you will know which ones you have already clicked and which ones remain.



Last Year’s Edwardian Advent Calendar by Jacquie Lawson


Also, the scenes follow the dawn/day/dusk/night sequence of wherever you are, so if you are looking at the calendar at, say, ten in the morning, it will be daylight, while if you are looking at it at ten at night, the whole scene will have shifted to a night time image. It is quite magical.

Every year, the JL Advent Calendars are one of the little/big pleasures of the Holiday season. I get one for me, I send one to my brother.



The Christmas Market Advent Calendar by Jacquie Lawson of a few years ago


The calendars work on both Mac and Pc and the JL site provides instructions for download and installation, both of which are quite easy. You can purchase a calendar for yourself, but also gift them to others by inserting their e-mail address in the appropriate box. Advent calendars start at $4.00 for one copy, but there are discounts if you buy more. For example: 2 are $3.75 each, 3 are $3.50 each and so forth. You can find all Advent Calendar details at this page.


A friend recently shared with me how she loves receiving these cards, and she feels a tingle of delight whenever she sees a notification from Jacquie Lawson in her inbox.


Jacquie Lawson – West Sussex, UK

all illustrations © Jacquie Lawson 2001-2015. All rights reserved.




This concludes my presentation, and I hope you have enjoyed the treasures I have shared with you.

I would just like to add that, should you be inspired to purchase from these three businesses, you will not be sending your money to big greedy corporations. Instead you will be supporting small businesses created by talented and courageous people who do things locally and with love.


Happy Holidays!



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  • Vanessa12/03/2015 - 12:14 am

    Just bought three House of Brooke scarves for Christmas gifts! (one is for me). Thank you for the recommendation.
    Lovely photos!ReplyCancel

    • Monica Schwartz12/03/2015 - 1:53 pm

      You are very welcome, Vanessa! I am thrilled you found inspiration in the post, and I am sure you will enjoy the scarves. I am so enjoying mine. 🙂ReplyCancel

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