We are still very much in October over at my house, with pumpkins adorning the front stoop and a busy weekend of Halloween activities ahead of us. And yet, my thoughts this week have veered toward holiday shopping. Full disclosure: This is so not like me. Anyone who has lived (or worked) with me knows I love to push absolutely every deadline to the last possible minute — and that includes gift giving. But this year that feels particularly risky. The retail supply chain is a mess, with jammed ports causing unwieldy delays. What’s more, I hate filling the days just before Christmas by overspending on a bunch of frantic Amazon purchases.
My sister, Emily, texted recently asking for gift ideas for my kiddos in order to make the holidays “more manageable and in an effort to shop local.” YES! Those are two goals I have, too. Sisters always know best, right? But, given my track record, I knew I needed a plan if I have any hope of accomplishing this new goal. Here’s what I’m going to do (and would love for you to join me):
Make a list. I am in the process of writing down everyone I need to shop for and, if appropriate, asking for gift ideas. Not just family, but all those extra little gifts (remember your teachers!). I’m also starting to talk with my kids about what they want, so that as soon as Halloween is over they can write their letters to Santa.
Set a budget. You can determine one for the whole season or by recipient (I’m going to do the latter). I keep track of it in a spreadsheet, with both the amounts budgeted and spent.
Give yourself a deadline. Maybe this is just me, but I need a date to hold me accountable. Here's my bold (for me, LOL) declaration: I will be done shopping by Dec. 1. That means I can do some shopping now and a bit more on Black Friday — and still be done well before Christmas.
Also! I’m in the midst of planning my 2021 SMT Gift Guide. This will be the third year I’ve done one and, I have to say, I love it. (You can find last year’s here.) My goal is to get it out ASAP, so you can do your holiday shopping early, too.
But mostly: I would love your thoughts on what I should include. My faves are royal-inspired gifts (obviously), as well as sustainable suggestions and items from BIPOC brands. Also, I love to give shoutouts to small businesses in the SMT family.
Share your 2021 SMT Gift Guide suggestions in the comments of this newsletter — just hit “Join the discussion” at the bottom of this email — or send an email to email@example.com with the subject: Gift Guide. Stay tuned!
* * *
My Thoughts on Your Questions!
When tiny handbags first popped up in street style photographs a few years ago, my first thought was: well, isn’t this ridiculously delightful...or is it delightfully ridiculous? Fashion trends tend to swing on a pendulum, going from one extreme to the other. It takes a big shift to convince shoppers to buy something new, something that’s sufficiently different from what we already have in our closets. The tiny handbags, to me, were a response to the massive, overloaded totes that were popular for so long. My sad, slouching shoulders rejoiced at something smaller! It does take one’s eyes a minute to adjust. What you might see as a toy, I think of as an exclamation point. How light it looks, and feels, to be out in the world unencumbered by a big bag?
For Kate, I think the tiny handbags are part of an ongoing fashion evolution. Since the fall of 2018, when she returned from maternity leave, the duchess has been a bit bolder with her fashion. It's no coincidence that this aligns with Meghan joining the family, with her more modern take on royal fashion (i.e. trousers suits) and fashion-forward accessories (including more interesting bags). Kate has since branched out from her tried-and-true clutches into top-handle satchels. I love them!
What’s more, this trend feels especially appropriate for the royals because they don’t actually need to carry anything. When they step out for a public engagement, the duchesses will always have an aide with them to hold whatever they need. A handbag is there as a hand occupier, when meeting people or posting for photographs. And one big benefit to the top-handle satchels Kate has been carrying as of late? They don’t look empty like her clutches often do. ;)
Note: I use affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase I may get a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my work!
Have a question for me? I would love to answer it! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* * *
Five Things To Check Out This Week
LISTEN: The Daily had a fantastic episode earlier this month on the aforementioned supply chain disruption. It’s fascinating/appalling to hear how and why this started, and how complicated it is to fix. (The Daily)
Why have one wedding when you can have three? Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark married Nina Flohr for the third time last week, on the heels of a micro-wedding last winter and a party this summer. The bride wore custom Chanel. (Tatler)
READ: Do you watch Succession? Because this is that, but IRL. My friend Katie Rosman has the incredible story of the battle inside Scholastic. (New York Times)
LISTEN: One of my favorite things about Glennon Doyle’s podcast is hearing from her sister, Amanda. There’s a lot to think about in the first 15 minutes of an episode from last week called Creativity, Chemistry, & Claiming Your Joy, with Amanda’s thoughts on the fire within each of us. (We Can Do Hard Things)
WATCH: Coco. I know this movie is not new! But it is new to me. We watched it at my son’s elementary school movie night earlier this month and it had me sobbing. Highly recommend watching it, especially with Day of the Dead coming up. (Disney+)
And a quick programming note: I won’t be publishing a newsletter this Friday. It’s the anniversary of my mom’s death so I’ll be unplugging for a bit of self care with my family. I’ll see you back in your inboxes next Tuesday! Have a wonderful week, friends.