Wrap It Up

Stuff it, Scrooge. As we head into the holiday season, shoppers are ready to put the recession out of mind and focus on the friends and family that keep our spirits up even when the stock market is up and down. So trim, don’t toss, your gift list and find meaningful presents for the people who matter most.

Recession or not, the holidays are happening. For most of us, that’s a good thing. After a tumultuous year, just about everyone is ready for a season to celebrate and the opportunity to express gratitude, love and good will. Because most of us still have a lot—and a lot of people—to be thankful for. So let the shopping commence!

2009 has been a more introspective year, and the season’s gift giving is bound to reflect society’s newly found thoughtfulness. At least that is what Krista Kolzik of Century House expects. “Because of the recession, people are putting more consideration into their gifts,” says the designer and salesperson at the modern and Scandinavian furniture, house wares, clothing and accessories store on Madison’s near-west side.

So instead of stocking up on one-size-fits-all presents, shoppers are carefully selecting items for individuals. Kolzik says that could mean picking up a Forlife teapot and pairing it with some loose tea leaves for the Darjeeling lover in your life. Or she recommends a pair of Heath Ceramics mugs (some are handle-free—perfect for warming cold Wisconsin hands in the wintertime) and a pound of coffee beans for the java junkie. Both Forlife and Heath Ceramics blend modern forms and bold contemporary colors for fresh but never aggressive contemporary looks.

Kolzik also recommends the NotNeutral line of house wares, including dishes, coffee sets and linens. The line’s graphic cutout trivets and tea lights blend bright colors and mod shapes for playful yet functional pieces.

Frank Lloyd Wright aficionados would love the namesake Architecture series Legos, which are good for kids and adults alike. There’s no Taliesin, but you could recreate the Guggenheim Museum or the famous house Fallingwater. Fans of industrial materials and forms would enjoy the Nuance cylindrical nutcrackers that literally put a twist on expectations. A turn of a cylinder is all it takes.

Even those pressed for time can find thoughtfully collected gift sets. For example, Marimekko combines a tea towel, cookie cutters and recipe in a reusable red and green tin.

And though the word means “tiny” in Finnish, Pikku calendars make a big impact. A paper calendar is attached to a birch wood base, which is screen-printed with an original design. When the year is over, either replace the calendar or allow the base to function as stand-alone artwork.

It’s this kind of clever, stylish and yet useful gift that Kolzik expects to be popular this year.

And despite any worries about a slow economic recovery, Kolzik believes the season will be a strong one. “A lot of people are really optimistic,” she says. “I think people are really excited to go out and shop and find things that have quality and purpose.”


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