Metro-East Living

As summer ends, are you ready to embrace Christmas shopping yet?

A new take on a Christmas tree from At Home in Shiloh.
A new take on a Christmas tree from At Home in Shiloh.

Boy, I’m gone a couple weeks across the pond and while the weather is still the same (hot), retailers have been moving steadily toward cool.

This is an abbreviated column (still jet-lagged), but the highlight of Wednesday’s window-shopping for me was the arrival of Christmas trees at At Home in O’Fallon. Yes, I know, way too early. But, it’s a fact of life now, so I’m kind of embracing it with a roll of my eyes.

Last year, the forest of artifical trees stood out in the giant store for its screaming-bright colors. This year, the eye-catcher was the somehow lovely but alien-looking white-wire dress mannequin with a skirt made of white evergreen branches. The top is covered in gray velour fabric and at the waist is a big white bedazzled bow. If I had an old-fashioned boudoir with a fainting couch and a dressing table, I’d put this “tree” there. Think how much fun a girl could have decorating that skirt. It comes at a cost, of course: $129.99. It’s 5-foot tall and called a Capriana Dress Tree. I only saw one on display, but I bet there are some back in the storeroom.

Paisley for fall

In case you just can’t handle Christmas talk this soon, check out the autumn paisley patterns in a collection of clay pots, bottles and candleholders also at At Home. Gold, bronze, green and tangerine swirls decorate these pieces, which range in price from $7.99 to $24.99 (larger pot).

Another round, wench!

I know it’s silly, but we dress up plastic geese, right? So, why not doll-up your beer bottles. In the spirit of Oktoberfest, World Market in Shiloh has miniature beer-hall server outfits (you know the wench style I’m talking about) that sell for $6.99. One is sure to be a conversation piece on a bottle of Bud.

Beautiful boards

I popped into Target in Shiloh while I was in the neighborhood and spotted some really attractive rectangular wood cheeseboards. By themselves, they are works of art from nature. Made from acacai wood, the board shapes and wood grains make each unique. Plus, you’ll also find round serving platters in wood, some with bark edging. Prices range from $14.99 to $16.99.

Saturday shopping benefits schools

Finally, don’t miss a special event in downtown Belleville on Saturday called Shop Local for Schools. Buy at participating businesses Saturday and 15 percent of your purchase will go to a participating school of your choice, including Districts 118, 119, 201, 175, Governor French Academy and Sister Thea Bowman. Participating businesses are: Ben's, Blanquart Jewelers, Circa Boutique and Gifts, Crystal & Spice Shoppe, Lucky Dog Barks and Recreation, Grimm & Gorly Florist & Gifts, eace By Piece Co., Pitchers Sports Pub, Righteous Pig Barbecue, Rising Stars Monogram Boutique, Tapestry of Community Offerings and Toot's Cake & Candy Supplies.