Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - March 29

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - Only $3.97, Was $16.95.

Click http://www.chinaberry.com to see today’s specially-discounted item.

Today (3/29/11) Only. Price goes back up tomorrow (3/30/11).

Limit one per customer.

Shop Now!

Words of Wisdom: Sydney Smith

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

”Resolve to make at least one person happy every day, and then in ten years you may have made three thousand, six hundred and fifty persons happy, or brightened a small town by your contribution to the fund of general enjoyment.” – Sydney Smith

New Arrivals for Spring!

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

New Arrivals for Spring! Be one of the first people to see the new items from our Spring 2011 Chinaberry catalog. Over 100 NEW items! http://www.chinaberry.com/new.cfm

Our Favorite Chinaberry Gifts to Give

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

We’ve heard from several customers that this year’s fall/holiday catalog has been one of their all-time favorites. I know it’s been mine. We asked everyone who works here to share their #1 favorite gift item from this year’s offerings, and here’s what they said:

Ann’s Favorite

Ann, Founder and VP Merchandising

15853 Tap Water Bottle

I know that every single person I give the Tap Water Bottle to will love it. Practical and “green,” it always gets comments when guests see it in my fridge or when I put it on the dinner table. The fact that there’s a wonderful story behind it (a portion of the proceeds goes to Water.org; watch the incredible video on Chinaberry.com) makes ME feel good about giving it, too.

Janet’s Favorite

Janet, Assistant Director of Merchandising

16668 Night Before Christmas Mug

16668 Night Before Christmas Mug

I’ve been buying every parent I know (well, okay, maybe four…) our Night Before Christmas Mug. There’s really nothing like it, and anything that gets the emphasis off of “me, me, me” gets MY vote. With “Thank You, Santa” written along the inside rim of the mug, it’s really a Gratitude Mug. This year, my daughter and grandson, Tristin, are spending the night Christmas Eve, and we’ve already talked about making peppermint hot chocolate for Santa (we hear it’s his favorite, along with Wassail) to thank him for all he does. While Tristin’s sleeping, my daughter and I will hide the removable Santa on the tree. Tristin knows we won’t begin opening presents until he finds Santa. (He loves doing stuff like this, and I’m hoping it will buy me some time to get the Christmas Morning Coffee Cake in the oven!) I’m excited to add this fun new tradition to our mix.

Mary Jo’s Favorite

Mary Jo, Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

10818 Wooden Advent Calendar

10818 Wooden Advent Calendar

My family has a tradition of giving advent calendars. When I saw our Wooden Advent Calendar, I thought that having a note for each day would be a fun thing to do, but I didn’t know if a child would like an Advent calendar with just notes and no presents. When I asked my niece if she would like it, she said yes, so I bought the calendar, dug out last year’s Christmas cards, and started writing notes on the back of the cards. On Thanksgiving Day, the calendar was in our dining room and my niece looked at it, looked at me, and said, “I can’t wait to start opening my calendar.” Well, she loves it so much that she has told her friends about it. Last night, my sister called to tell me that Dominique reads her card every morning, puts the card back into the calendar, and in the afternoon brings three of her friends over to read the card. All of her friends think it is the coolest Advent calendar they’ve ever seen. I will keep the tradition going and write different messages for next year.

Julie’s Favorite

Julie, Buyer

12020 Children's Room Blessing

12020 Children's Room Blessing

I’ve lost count of how many Children’s Room Blessings I’ve bought for each new baby born in my circle of friends and family. The plaque is such a sweet reminder to continue to pray and bless the children in your home. It’s a beautiful, elegant gift, and everyone I’ve given one to is always very touched by its significance. And I love going into their homes later and seeing the plaque hung in the child’s room!

Nancy’s Favorite

Nancy, Manager - Human Resources

12734 Hand-Dipped Bayberry Tapers

12734 Hand-Dipped Bayberry Tapers

This year, as in the past, I am purchasing bayberry tapers to give as gifts to friends and family. It has been my family’s tradition for many years to burn bayberry tapers on Solstice, Christmas or New Year’s to bring good luck in the coming year. As the saying goes, “A bayberry candle burned to the socket brings food to the larder and gold to the pocket.”

Leah’s Favorite

Leah, Quality Assurance Representative

15673 Veggichop

15673 Veggichop

The VeggiChop is amazing! I have already given this as a gift on several occasions — multiple weddings, housewarmings, and a birthday. Everyone loves it. It is easy to use and can speed up dinnertime with a lot less chopping to do. Kids love to help with dinner preparation and it’s nice to let them help without having to supervise chopping with a knife. I am giving a few more for Christmas, including to my step-mother, who loves to cook but has mobility and motor skills issues. I can’t tell you just how cool it is. You’re going to have to try it for yourself and then give one to all of your friends and family!

Mary’s Favorite

Mary, Catalog Production

16361 Christmas with the Mousekins

16361 Christmas with the Mousekins

I’ve been giving Christmas books to all the children in my large, extended family for years now, and there have been many favorites along the way. Now that I’m a
grandmother — to 3-year-old Willow — it’s especially heartwarming to bring out the Christmas books and pore over them with her. Last night I brought home Christmas with the Mousekins to share with her, and Willow was enthralled! She wanted to make every project in the book right then and there! And as soon as we finished reading it, she wanted to start all over again. Though it was too late to start any projects last night, you can guess what we’ll be doing next time she’s over. This book is brimming with the warmth and coziness of family and holiday cheer.

Sheila’s Favorite

Sheila, Web Marketing

17078 Silver Snowflake Ornaments

17078 Silver Snowflake Ornaments

This year I decided that less is more, so when I took down my Christmas boxes, I only chose to use the decorations I really loved best. The crowning touch was hanging these delicate snowflakes on the tree, the mantle, and even over a mirror. They added such a festive touch and bit of sparkle.

One-Day Tuesday Featured Item

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - Only $4.97

Click http://www.chinaberry.com/ to see today’s specially-discounted item.

Was $24.95, Today (12/07/10) Only $4.97.

Price goes back up tomorrow (12/08/10). Shop Now! One per customer.

Lessons From Feral Kitty

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Real FK - Feral Kitty

The Real FK - Feral Kitty

Dear Friends,

I’ve never been a cat person, but all that changed when ‘Feral Kitty’ came on the scene. Over the past year I’ve watched this creature transform from a hissing flash of white fur darting through my yard to a welcoming, purring presence on my doormat. In exchange for some kibble and a lot of space, I’ve learned more about relationships from this feisty tomcat than from a year of couples’ therapy with my ex!

Prior to being Feral Kitty, F.K. lived life as a domesticated cat in training with my grown daughter who had adopted him as a feral kitten. Despite her love for him and all her best efforts, she could not socialize this cat whose feral roots ran deep. No longer willing to put up with scratches on her son’s face, and knowing that no one else would ever adopt this surly, scratching mean machine, she finally gave up trying to change him. She decided to accept his feral nature and set him free — in my yard.

Although the food I left out for him every day would disappear, I didn’t see him for months, nor did I really expect to. I accepted his wildness and supported him in it. And here I am, a year later, in love with my good buddy who greets me at my door step every morning.

It’s funny how when we let go of our own agendas and just love someone unconditionally for who they are (as opposed to who we want them to be!), we end up getting the love we’d hoped for in the first place! It’s such a simple concept, but I think a lot of our resistance has to do with giving up what is actually more just an illusion of control. When we let go and let people be themselves, everybody wins.

Because F.K. is a feral cat, he doesn’t need a litter box or cute little cat toys. He does, however, need food, wide open spaces, and a covered place to sleep each night (underneath my house). F.K.’s happy; I’m happy. He has total freedom, and I don’t have to deal with litter boxes or fleas in my house. How much happier we’d all be if we supported each other in our uniqueness like this. Why do we insist on turning our night owl friend into a morning lark or Mr. Life-of-the-Party into a stay-at-home recluse? We can either accept and support each other’s unique needs or we can release our loved one ‘into the wild,’ but wishing for someone to change his basic makeup rarely has a happy ending.

During the holidays we’ll find ourselves at gatherings with all kinds of ‘unique’ people — the niece who refuses to go to college, the 56-year-old cousin who still isn’t married, or the uncle who dropped out of law school to become a clown. Each of them has the right to live life according to his or her own desires, as long as it’s not harming anyone else (speaking of which, yes, F.K. is neutered!). This holiday season (if not the whole year or the rest of our lives!), my hope is that we can suspend our need to change or control others and just enjoy them for the one-of-a-kind people they are. Who knows what lessons or love might be in store for us by practicing a little more acceptance?

One-Day Tuesday Featured Item

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - Only $2.97

Click http://www.chinaberry.com/ to see today’s specially-discounted item.

Was $14.95, Today (11/23/10) Only $2.97.

Price goes back up tomorrow (11/24/10). Shop Now! One per customer.

The Art of Imperfection

Friday, November 12th, 2010

No matter how hard I try, the perfection I strive for seems to be just out of reach. As soon as the floors are mopped, a little tuft of dog hair inevitably appears in the corner. No matter how many hours of tender care I give my roses, the critters that forage in the yard at night leave nibbled petals and an occasional broken branch for me to find in the morning. Then, there are those personal life ‘experiences’ that burst the perfection bubble. Let me explain.

It was a picture perfect (nature can be perfect!), sunny afternoon, and my husband, our two sons, and I were at a high school graduation party for one of the nicest kids you could ever hope to meet. He and his beautiful mom (also one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet) live in a gorgeous home on a hill with an absolutely stunning view. I felt pretty confident that I looked nearly perfect: my hair was up, my dress was cute, and everything about my outfit said ‘this woman has got it together.’ Little groups of people were scattered about, chatting and munching on the yummy food, enjoying the whole setting. As I was chatting and munching, a soft breeze came up and blew a couple of pieces of lettuce off of my plate. Being the conscientious guest that I am, I stepped back so that I could pick up the lettuce. Did I mention we were outside? So, I stepped back — and directly into the Jacuzzi. Way in, to the middle, completely submerged. When the need to breathe overpowered my feelings of utter humiliation, I surfaced and slowly opened my eyes to see a row of surprised faces and my oldest son sitting on the steps and holding his head in his hands in total mortification. As I retrieved the piece of pizza bobbing on the churning surface of the water, all I could do was laugh. My stunned husband helped me out of the water, the really nice kid brought me a big towel, and his even nicer mom asked what, if anything, she could do for me.

Well, there wasn’t anything she could do; it was up to me to own the moment. So, I wrapped the towel around my dripping dress, apologized to my embarrassed 18-year-old son, removed the clip from my hair and fluffed it a little so it could dry, accepted the new plate of food my darling husband brought me, and enjoyed the rest of the party. Did I still look nearly perfect? Not a chance. My hair was frizzy, my dress was a little wrinkled, although it was completely dry by the time we left, and my mascara had settled into dark smudges beneath my eyes.

So, as you are frantically cleaning, decorating, baking, and wrapping this holiday season, remember that the little mishaps in life make it interesting. Your friends and family are not coming to your home to check whether your cloth napkins are expertly pressed, or whether or not all the candles in the centerpiece are perfectly straight. They are coming to see you, to share your warmth and laughter, because they love you and want to be with you just as you want to share yourself with them. Relax and own the moment, imperfections and all. Who knows, you may just end up with a great story to share.

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - Only $4.97

Click http://www.chinaberry.com/ to see today’s specially-discounted item.

Was $21.95, Today (11/02/10) Only $4.97.

Price goes back up tomorrow (11/03/10). Shop Now! One per customer.

Ghoulish Goodies

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Here’s a couple haunting recipes from Ghoulish Goodies by Sharon Bowers.

Chocolate Spider Clusters

Chocolate candy with an arachnid vibe, these spidery clusters get their creepy appeal from gleaming red candy eyes. If you have time before the chocolate sets up, pull a few chow mein noodle legs upward in each cluster to wave around.

Makes about 2 dozen

1 6-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips

2 cups chow mein noodles

1/4 cup red hots or red mini M&Ms

1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

2. Melt the chocolate on top of a double-boiler or in a microwave, in 10-second bursts, stirring frequently and being careful not to overheat.

3. Stir in the chow mein noodles and drop by tablespoons onto the baking sheet. Press two red candies on one edge of each cluster to make eyes and lift a few chow mein legs up to give a spidery impression. Allow to cool and harden in the refrigerator and serve chilled.

Screaming Red Punch with a Hand

Kids love the icy hand floating in the punch. Freeze a couple in case you break the fingers pulling off the glove. The trick is to use scissors and slit alongside each finger. You can not pull the glove off the ice hand as if you were pulling it off a real hand. If you find it too difficult, you can always put the hand in the punch with the glove still on.

Makes 24 servings

New rubber surgical or food service glove

2 quarts apple juice

2 quarts cranberry juice

2 liters ginger ale

1. Rinse the glove inside and out several times with cold water to make sure it doesn’t have any powder. Fill with water and tie the wrist tightly with a twist tie. Freeze solid.

2. Mix the juices and ginger ale ingredients in a large punch bowl. Peel the glove carefully off the hand and float it in the punch.

Find more wonderfully frightful recipes in Ghoulish Goodies.