Metro-East Living

It’s only November and you can already start shopping for Christmas

November has arrived, and with it comes the expected onslaught of Christmas gift ideas and decorations. (Thanksgiving pretty much gets the short shrift among retailers.)

Loyal readers who have been reading my column for 20 years know I believe in advance work, meaning buying gifts for family and friends should be well-contemplated and never rushed.

That said, I know there are readers who think it is too early to mention gift-buying. So, I will temper my desire to mention Christmas too much, but still offer shopping ideas to consider for yourself or as a nice present for someone else.

A fashion trend that has carried over from last winter is the loose-fitting woven or knit poncho. Ben’s in downtown Belleville has added a good selection of styles, with most meant to replace a sweater and not be too voluminous. I saw some lightweight soft ponchos in pale gray and cream (with a tiny bit of metallic thread) for $32.99. Perfect for work. Try a coordinating scarf for $14.99.

And, just in case you see the word “ruana” on a tag for clothing that looks like a poncho, the word means a poncho-style outer garment typical of the Andes region of Venezuela and Colombia. I saw the word used on fringed ponchos with a geometric pattern in blue and beige ($48) at Francesca’s at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights. Also, save 25 percent off a good selection of items during the Friends & Family event through Sunday.

Don’t miss the Holiday Open House on Friday and Saturday at the Belleville location of Basket Case. Enjoy drinks and appetizers while shopping. All Elan clothing is half off; Treska jewelry is 30 percent off; and Camille Beckman Bath and Body products are 75 percent off. On Friday, there will be a Brighton Trunk Show from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a drawing for a free handbag.

Don’t miss the Holiday Open House on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Fezziwig’s in O’Fallon. It’s also the grand opening of the shop’s Christmas Carriage House behind the shop. It’s a 1905 building that has been converted into a store featuring repurposed and renovated furniture by Peonies and Milk and with Fezziwig’s gifts and decor accessories.

Pier 1 Imports in Fairview Heights is holding a free Holiday Finds & Design demonstrations from 1 to 3 Sunday. You’ll see how-to holiday table settings and fireplace mantel ideas. Plus, there will be refreshments and a gift card raffle. The store asks that you RSVP online, though it’s not mandatory. Go to, click on My Pier 1 Rewards, then events. You don’t have to be a member of the rewards program to attend the demonstrations, but if you are, or sign up to be a member (it’s free), you’ll get 15 percent off your purchases that day.

Kirkland’s in Fairview Heights and Edwardsville have a trio of attractive metal wreath holders on sale. The white snowflake one is $8.29, while the glittery gold-tone Christmas tree and snowman versions are $5.99. A good variety of holiday wreaths are 25 percent off as well. Prices are good through Nov. 13.

Old Time Pottery in Fairview Heights now has nostalgic Fisher-Price toys at really reduced prices, from $6.99 and up. Plus, if you are ecologically minded, you’ll also find 100 percent recycled plastic toys, starting at $12.99. This is all part of the retailer’s Santa’s Toy Shop area.

If I were you, I’d RSVP now for the Glitz & Glam with Grimm & Gorly on Nov. 17 in New Baden. It’s at 7 p.m. at St. George Community Life Center, 318 E. Maple St. Enjoy holiday snacks and beverages while seeing demonstrations on decorating your home for the holidays. Plus, you’ll get a sneak peek at the amazing trees and wreaths that will be raffled off that weekend during the New Baden Festival of Trees. Cost for the decorating seminar is $10 and that includes a tree raffle ticket. To reserve a spot, email with quantity of seats needed, or call Leanne at 618-224-7825.

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