I am living proof that major stress causes FBS—Fuzzy Brain Syndrome. For Thanksgiving, I started a column about my mother but didn’t finish it, because I decided to write something entirely different. Imagine my horror when I saw the unfinished column in print and realized I’d sent in the wrong column, not the new one I’d painstakingly written and rewritten. Though my mother has since broken her hip and my brain is short-circuiting again, I’ve made sure to send in the “right” column this time.
I started decorating for Christmas right after Thanksgiving, and I’ve already made the sugared peanuts I make every year for the holidays. Somehow, over the years, the peanuts have become a requirement in the gift bags we exchange with friends. I enjoy finding a variety of items for these bags, but I know from experience that if the peanuts are missing, nothing else counts.
One year I‘d been making weekly business trips to New York, and I just didn’t find the time to make cookies or peanuts. The looks on my friends’ faces as they dug through their gift bags looking for sugared peanuts told the story of what a mistake that was. I’ve learned my lesson and now make the peanuts without fail.
The bags for this year are complete, and they include items I found in May at the Dunwoody Arts Festival and in various shops while vacationing. I have the most fun finding different containers each year. Sometimes I do use an actual paper gift bag, but I’ve also filled a wooden sleigh, a metal snowman and a variety of whimsical cloth bags. I’ve stumbled across unique containers at Michael’s, at a roadside farm stand and as far away as Blowing Rock, N.C.
Because my sisters and I agreed a few years ago to make charitable donations instead of exchanging gifts, my shopping list is pretty much limited to my Mom, my husband , and a few girlfriends, plus a birthday gift for my youngest sister whose birthday is Dec. 23. Whatever I don’t find at festivals, I can easily find in the many shops in Dunwoody.
I agree with the women who responded to ShopSmart magazine’s national survey on shopping locally. The magazine found that women “liked supporting their neighborhood merchants an enjoyed browsing at local stores.” If you also enjoy shopping locally, then Dunwoody is the place for you.
Gift certificates to Dunwoody restaurants like Allison’s, Peter’s, O’Brian’s Tavern or the D’Vine Wine Bar would surely bring smiles. If your family delights in books, visit Peerless Book Store, an independent book store on Holcomb Bridge Road, or try Barnes & Noble. Even big box book stores could use some support these days.
Do the women on your list enjoy pampering? Pick up a gift certificate to Heavenly Foot Massage or Mary’s Nails. Find games for the entire family at Picayune Toys or choose a gift basket of food from Alon’s or the Dunwoody Bakery.
The women on your list may appreciate a bauble from one of our local jewelers: Lauderhill’s Fine Jewelry, Camelot Jewelry, Jewelry Artisans or H & A Jewelry. Or, perhaps they’d prefer costume jewelry, scarves, purses or other accessories from Bellisimo, Nancy’s Shoppe or Consigning Women. If you can’t come up with just the right thing, a gift certificate to any of these local shops is sure to fit the bill.
In the past, Santa has surprised me with items I’ve mentioned in my column, so I can’t wait to see what he brings me this Christmas.
Kathy Manos Penn is a Sandy Springs resident who has worked in corporate America for almost 30 years, primarily in communications and leadership development; firstname.lastname@example.org