holiday gift guide 2020

Choosing the perfect gift

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Stumped for gifts this year?

Lifestyle expert and interior designer Alessandra Maria Iavarone has suggestions.

“This is an exciting question,” said Iavarone, who is also the owner of The Velvet Maple lifestyle shop in Narrowsburg, NY.

The most important thing to keep in mind? “People are nesting,” she said. “People are doing home projects that they kept putting off.” Stores that sell building and renovation supplies have done very well during the pandemic.

But maybe you want to give something smaller than a truck-full of flooring.

An ideal gift this year would relate to “anything that has to do with keeping the home comfortable,” said Iavarone.

Much of Iavarone’s career has been devoted to interior design and hospitality, and she’s been able to keep going, creating an online store. “I had to think on my feet,” she said. But “my clients [are] so loyal.”

So, what gifts does Iavarone recommend this year?

  • Think soothing, think comfort. A silk sleep mask. A blanket. Bath products.
  • A new tablecloth or table setting. “You’re eating at home all the time,” whether it’s home-cooked food or takeout.
  • Kitchen equipment. “I’ve seen a rise in kitchen items.” People are cooking at home. And back in the spring, when grocery store shelves were empty as supply chains were reconfigured, people tried making food or ingredients they’d normally buy.
  • Office items, Iavarone suggested, for the person newly working from home. “Visit Tess in Narrowsburg,” she said. Among many home items, Tess sells stunning outlet converters: style and utility combined. “If you’re remote learning or remote working,” you probably need one.
  • Lighting. Because we’re home more, and working so much online demands quality lighting.
  • Home organization items. When you’re home more... well, let’s just say that it’s harder to ignore disorganization.
  • Keep the kids busy. “For kids, I’d say craft items,” Iavarone said. Give a project “that takes up a lot of time,” and parents can work on it with the children.
  • Think small, wonderful things. You can find little surprises at Narrowsburg Proper or the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance shop, both located on Main Street in Narrowsburg, she said. Consider “aromatherapy, candles, scent diffusers.”
  • Maybe it’s time for small changes to your interiors. Have you been home, staring at your grimy rug? Consider a new one. “Rugs get a lot of wear and tear,” Iavarone said. And replacing one is a great way to change the look of a room. “When you’re home for eight months, you realize you need a change,” she said.
  • And always, gift certificates. The Velvet Maple, for example, is offering one that will give back: buy over a certain amount of their items and the shop will give $20 to a charity of your choice. “It’s a commitment between you and me,” she said, “that one day this will be over.”

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