December Design Favorites

Our Favorite Holiday Shopping Experience


Whatever your passion or interest, you'll find it in one or more of the 50 great new shops that are part of the bold, exciting OpenSky. Experts and celebrities in the fields of cooking, parenting, crafts, knitting, decorating, sports, hobbies, gardening, wellness, beauty, fashion, and more have their own OpenSky specialty stores, and they've handpicked everything. Much of the merchandise is hard to find, and all items are personally endorsed by the experts. 

Design2Share has just opened our own Design2Share Store on OpenSky, and we have a select list of home decor items that will keep growing each week, like Sylvie's Scented Sachets. In fact, that's one of the fun things about all the OS shops; every time you check back, there are always new product postings, helpful recommendations, video demonstrations, or helpful tips. You can even vote if you like or don't like the products you see. And no matter which stores you shop within the network, there's always a HASSLE-FREE RETURNS POLICY. 

We made a video to show you the incredible assortment of gifts available at OpenSky. These are a few of our favorite gift items from the many that are available. Check out the Design2Share Store and all the other OpenSky shops.







Ho-Ho-Ho House Tours


Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany: Combine history and the holidays

This comes to us from Linda Gentile, the Historical Markers Travel Examiner on the wildly popular Examiner website.

In late November and December, many local historical societies orchestrate historic house tours. Owners of craftsman cottages and Victorian mansions decorate their homes to perfection and allow strangers in to see the interior of their beautiful places. Many of these homes have historical markers or are listed on historic registers; usually they are populated with docents or enthusiastic residents who are more than happy to share stories and details of the properties.

Historic house tours offer an alternative to endless commercialism.

In a season dominated by shopping, it is often a wonderful break from all the fuss to attend one of these events. To locate a historic house tour, contact your local historical society or museum to ask what is happening in your area. There is something quite magical about wandering from home to home on a crisp winter's night, seeing beautiful holiday lights and decorations.

Tickets vary in price but are usually no less than $10, with the more upmarket neighborhoods commanding bigger fees. Still, the price supports local historic preservation, keeping the character of an area intact and allowing the important work of historical societies to continue.

If you ever have an opportunity to take a historic house tour, this Examiner recommends it. For once, you will be seeing the inside of the historic landmarks, and that's truly worth the price of admission.

Selected historic home tours:

Photo credit: Michael Sohn/AP: Brandenburg Gate, Berlin and Christmas tree



Two Buttons Warehouse Reopens


Two Buttons is open again! Long story short, their former rented warehouse space was a bit of a hazard and the state shut it down, so the operation is now in a gorgeous (and large!) space. We love the eclectic mix of Asian antiques, new crafts, furniture, accessories, jewelry, clothing, sacred sculpture, and other items in this Frenchtown, NJ warehouse/superstore. Curators of everything beautiful, bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love and Committed) and her husband Jose Nunes make sure that your shopping experience is wonderful, right down to the ever-hospitable popcorn and wine. Be sure to check out the furniture made from recycled boats, heavenly wood bowls, beautiful stained glass medallions, great beaded necklaces and keychains, and magical mirrors made in India.



Luxe Sleep for Little Ones



We're in love with the Little Miss Liberty Round Crib Company! These exotic, luxurious wood and metal cribs will put any nursery or children's bedroom over the top. Go to their website for more information, including the fascinating story of the company's celebrity founders, Jeannie and Casey Kasem.



World's Record for Christmas Tree Chopping



The most Christmas trees chopped in two minutes is 27 by Erin Lavoie (USA) achieved on the set of Guinness World Records: Die GroBten Weltrekorde in Germany, on December 19, 2008.



Favorite Hannukah Dishes picked 8 top taste-tempting dishes for Hannukah, and they're all winners: Perfect Latkes, Plum-Spiced Beef Brisket, Sufganiyot, Honey-Roasted Applesauce, Apple Pie Spice Rugelach, Challah Bread, Oven Roasted Beets, and Broccoli and Cheddar Kugel. Click on the photo or link to nab recipes, and Happy Hannukah!



Kwanzaa Time



Kwanzaa is a cultural festival observed by many African Americans from December 26th through January 1st. Tasneem Grace Tewogbola and her daughter, Yemurai, 4, of Syracuse, NY share the lighting of the candles in this video. During Kwanzaa, candles are lit every day until all seven are lit. Each day a different principle is celebrated to give family and community strength for the coming year.

Jay JohnsonComment