Monday, December 15, 2003

Super-Cool Christmas Gifts without the Stress!
Hello! Can you believe it’s the holiday season again? I can but that’s because I’ve been preparing for it as the Housewares buyer since Valentines’ Day! This is my third Christmas as buyer and I will venture to say it’s the best yet. Make sure you swing by the Housewares department and be astounded at how many things on your gift shopping list you can find.
For starters, Wheatsville has a generous supply of holiday candles. Barth’s Candles is a family business in Bastrop that hand-dips paraffin and beeswax candles, scented with patchouli, vanilla, frankincense or myrrh. Also, their special Bayberry wax candles are back. Other local candle makers are Ecolight, Soy Sisters, Soy Candle Garden, which offer delicious holiday scents like Christmas Cookie, Christmas Tree, Eggnog, Victorian Christmas, in clean burning soy-wax candles. Also, a small business from upstate New York, Cayuga Candles, sends us aromatherapy candles made with beeswax from their 420 beehives. For Chanukkah, we have a variety of unique menorahs and candles; many of them are perfectly sized for a dorm room or dining table. Handmade South African art tapers are back in time for the holidays in a variety of rich colors and intricate designs. Additionally, you can find large bags of tea lights, bulk white votives, Palm wax candles, scented votives, birthday/astrology candles and various styles of candle holders and lamps; plus a comeback of the tall glass plain white and religious candles.
Once you have loaded up on candles, take a look at the incense section.
Devonshire Apothecary, the local producers of our bulk incense have a special Christmas scents bundle with copal, temple, frankincense, and myrrh wand incense. In addition to the usual sage wands and small powdered incense packs, we are stocking one-pound bags of sage, frankincense, myrrh, copal and frankincense & myrrh blends specifically for the holiday season. As usual, we will be fully stocked on everyone’s favorites, Nag Champa, in sizes 15g-1000g; plus the usual best-sellers imported from China, India, and Japan. Look for my new favorite, New Morningstar, aqua scent.
An interesting new item that’s great for cold weather season is the Vinod brand Stainless Steel Cookware. Imported from India, the three interlocking pans are made to go directly on the stove separately for cooking. When each dish is complete, just re-stack the pans and secure the latch. The contents will stay hot and it even has a convenient handle; great for hot lunches or potlucks.
This year, Wheatsville has many new items for sale that help promote the co-op around the world. Be sure to notice the new long sleeve Wheatsville T-shirt, along with the short-sleeved tee, with the Keep Austin Weird Slogan on the back. It seems every small business in town has their own personal Keep Austin Weird shirt, so be sure to support team Wheatsville. We now have a Wheatsville cap made from a natural cotton/ hemp blend with green embroidery and natural shopping bags with green ink. But my favorite Wheatsville ‘gift that keeps on giving’ is the “Wheatsville Co-op: Keeping Austin Weird since 1976” coffee/chai/yerba mate mug.
Holiday cards are a must for the holiday season and this year we have a good variety of card images from cute to crazy. As always, Wheatsville is selling holiday cards from Extend-a-care for Kids, a local organization that assists low-income parents in paying for child care while they work or participate in work-training programs; offering after school and summer child care on-site at 69 elementary schools in the Austin area. With 10 cards & envelopes per pack, each card features an original design by Extend-a-care kids. At a cost of $5.95 (plus tax) per pack, 100% of the sale goes back to Extend-a-Care, making these cards a cheerful way to donate to a good cause. And be sure to note the cards by artist Anne Taintor. Using quirky phrases and vintage pictures, Miss Taintor has created a line of dishtowels, notepads, greeting cards, and postcards with an interesting insight into the joy of being a woman. Another notable woman artist, Stella Marrs, has new additions to her postcards/greeting cards line as well as T-shirts-including the ever popular “We’re all going to hell!” T-shirt. Smart Women is a brand new line to Wheatsville, offering clever slogans like “Smart Women light the way” on a slew of products from matchboxes to mugs to dishtowels and pop-up sponges. Speaking of dishtowels, look for new styles of holiday dishtowels, dishcloths and flour sack towels, plus snazzy oven mitts and potholders.
If you are a regular Wheatsville shopper, you have probably noticed the unusual variety of toys in the Housewares section. New toys that make fabulous gifts include: the Smoking Donkey, the Smoking Baby, the Pig Catapult, the Dashboard Monk, the Quad-cam, Monster Women salt & pepper shakers, Devil Duck ornaments, Black Cat & Pink Poodle Nodders. Making its second comeback, the Jesus Action Figure is joined by the Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Rosie the Riveter, Cleopatra, and Moses Action figures.
Near the Magic Gardens and Z-cards 3-D models, look for Fimo Party Lights and colored juggling balls. Also, we have new styles and old of finger puppets and the softest stuffed animals ever— including the Cat in the Hat & the Grinch!
This year’s 2004 calendar selection is various. For the kids, there are Curious George, Hello Kitty, Babar: Yoga for Elephants, Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh and a Series of Unfortunate Events Wall Calendars. Look for socially minded wall calendars from Cat Lovers Against the Bomb, the Progressive Magazine, Adbusters Magazine, Greenpeace, the Peace Calendar from Syracuse Cultural Workers, Amnesty Intl., and others. Back by overwhelming popular demand are the 2004 We’Moon Engagement and Wall Calendars. We’Moon ’04 Engagement Calendars are packed with full color art, poetry, essays & daily astrological aspects, moon phases, herbal lore, and more. Other datebooks include: Llewllyns’ Witches’ Datebook, Hello Kitty, M.C. Escher, Edward Gorey, the Sinners Datebook with art by Shag, the Worst Case Scenario Daily Planner and the Lonely Planet Datebook. I predict that the most popular calendar at Wheatsville, judging by sales of the G. W. Bush quote magnets, will be Presidential (Mis)Speak-The Very Curious Language of George W. Bush 2004 page-a-day desk calendar.
In the book section, we still have some copies of Harry Potter V: The Order Of The Phoenix book at a special low price and cult favorite Get Your War On by David Rees; both of which would make excellent gifts for the readers on your gift list. Look for special clearance prices in the book section as we make room for new titles, like the Garden of Vegan, and Censored 2003: The Top 25 Censored Stories. Wrap it or bag it all up with festive holiday sheet wrap, tissue paper, gift & wine bags or a colorful Wrapsack. Wrapsacks are reusable gift-wrap, made of hand-dyed 100% cotton fabric that can be gifted again and again. Each one has a serial number that, when tracked on the Internet, lets you follow the journey of any sack as it is given from person to person.
In conclusion, I hope you are as excited about the fun new items in the Housewares/ Gifts Department here at Wheatsville as I am! There are numerous gifties that I didn’t even mention and plenty of surprises daily. Stop by and see if there’s something you can’t live without. My gift list is completed, is yours? Have a safe and happy holidays-Niki

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