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December 22, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Finishing touches: Festive flourishes and hostess gifts for your Christmas parties


By Kristin Kalning / Special to Sunday Market

Are you hosting this year’s holiday dinner? You worry about the meal; we’ve got you covered on last-minute décor and edibles.

And if you’re headed to someone else’s house, we have suggestions for gifts that are sure to make your host or hostess feel merry.


You’ve got the baked Brie, holiday ham and scalloped potatoes. Now add some little touches that turn a typical holiday dinner into an elegant and festive party.

Start with a scent, such as the rich, fresh-smelling Thymes Frasier Fir Reed Diffuser ($36 at Stuhlberg’s, Queen Anne). Dim the lights and set some worry-free Pottery Barn Flameless Wax Pillar Candles ($10–$62) on your mantel or hearth.

In the bathroom, replace your hand soap with the Castelbel Vintage Christmas Poinsettia Bar Soap ($7 at Cost Plus World Market) and put out the cute St. Nicholas Square Mistletoe Hand Towel (on sale for $4 at Kohl’s) for your guests.

Looking for a last-minute centerpiece idea? Fresh blooms from the nearest fine grocery store look lovely in Crate and Barrel’s Mini Bud Vases ($3 each). Alternate the vases with Flameless LED Votive Candles ($6 for four) in sophisticated Silver Mercury Glass Votive Candleholders ($9 for three, both at Cost Plus World Market).

For a very Seattle centerpiece, place colorful Glass Pond Floats ($15–$20 each at Glasshouse Studio, Pioneer Square) in a simple glass bowl filled with water.

Turn to flower shop London Plane for a spectacular floral arrangement in a glass vase — but be sure to give them a little advance notice ($50–$125 at London Place, Pioneer Square, or

Have enough wine? Pick up a couple more bottles, just in case. Milbrandt 2013 Traditions Riesling ($11 at Metropolitan Market), from the Columbia Valley, pairs great with ham. And for after dinner, serve up some of Snoqualmie Ice Cream’s Peppermint Stick Gelato ($4.49 at grocery stores).


Give the usual flowers-and-wine gift a Seattle twist by bringing coffee and chocolates. Pair Café Ladro’s Vacuum Double-Walled Travel Mug ($18.50) with a 10-ounce tin of Fireside Roast ($14, both at Café Ladro), with notes of molasses, allspice and roasted chestnut. Add Seattle Chocolates’ Kris Kringle Crackle Bars ($3.50 each at grocery stores), which are a mix of dark chocolate and local company Halfpops’ crunchy popcorn pieces.

Baby, it’s cold outside, so give stylish warmth with wool Jeanne Simmons Fingerless Gloves ($19 at Take 2, Capitol Hill).  Another good cold-weather option: the shimmery Steve Madden Metal Detector Metallic Infinity Scarf ($27 at Nordstrom).

For the hostess who loves to cook, pick up the new “A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus” ($40 at booksellers) by Renee Erickson, owner of Boat Street Café and several other local restaurants. The Cupcake Royale Home Cupcaking Kit ($43.50 at Cupcake Royale) includes mix, sprinkles, a pint of buttercream frosting and a box for sharing the sweet treats.

At Metropolitan Market, you’ll find all sorts of gifts befitting a foodie, including Italian Balsamic Vinegar ($20) and Twin Brook Egg Nog ($4), made in Lynden, Wash. You can download The Seattle Times’ Quintessential Cookies Recipe Collection ($4 at to pair with some sweet ingredients.

Rifle Paper’s The Bon Voyage Coaster Set ($16 at Stuhlberg’s) features illustrated pictures of cosmopolitan cities — perfect for the jet-setting hostess. The beautiful Glasshouse Studio Votives ($20 each) are unique keepsakes. And for a gift that gives back, there’s Tacoma-based Claro Candles ($15 at Purpose Boutique, Kirkland and Bremerton), which helps someone in need with every candle sold.

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