Let me start with some good news for a local retailer.
Ann Davis, longtime owner of Toots’ Cake & Candy Supply, moved to downtown Belleville late this fall. What a welcome addition to 314 E. Main St. On Saturday, she wants to celebrate with you during a Grand Re-opening. There will be a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. and cake-decorating demonstrations by Chef Jessie Bostick from SugarDoodles. Jessie teaches classes there at the new location. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be giveaways from Ann’s major vendors, Wilton, CK Products, Ateco, Satin Ice and LorAnn Oils. Those of you who do both professional and home baking will appreciate the big “new” store with added supplies.
Now, on to the eight days of shopping left before Christmas. According to retail experts, just a little more than half of shoppers have crossed everything off their lists.
I’m hoping you’re down to what I call the “finishing” gifts. They might be stocking stuffers or smaller presents to complete a bigger one. Think inexpensive, possibly humorous. Maybe something that catches your eye and speaks the name of a recipient. (If you’re still scratching your head over a big, “can’t live without it” item, I’m probably not going to be able to help you.)
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One of my co-workers is a cat-lover like I am. She demonstrated her fun holiday purchase: the Cat Paw. It’s a pretty realistic-looking tabby-cat leg with paw that’s attached to a trigger. Pull it and the paw curls under or the whole leg moves. It also emits a meow or a squawky “I’m irritated” feline sound. Cat owners will immediately see the silliness that can result: Stick it under a door or around a corner and watch the reaction from unaware cats at home. The Cat Paw is $7.99 at Walgreens on the west end of Belleville near the Target, but check other locations as well.
Show some sparkle
Girls can show their team spirit with help from the St. Louis Dugout at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights. The long-sleeve shirts come with a choice of 10 local public and Catholic schools spelled out in glittery bold letters on the back, with the mascot name underneath. On the front is a small embroidered logo and school initials. Shirts are $50.
At Charming Charlie in the Shoppes at St. Clair, rhinestone and other sparkling ornaments adorn hairpins, barrettes and combs. Perfect for a New Year’s Eve up-do. Prices range from $8 to $25.
Little boys can enjoy scaled-down big-boy toys at Gander Mountain in O’Fallon. The Tree House Kids Outdoor Adventure series ranges from a three-piece boxed set that includes a motocross bike, yellow Hummer and a fully-articulated rider ($14.99) to a horse trailer, horse, rider, dog and pickup ($24.99). You’ll also find hunting and fishing sets and more. All are 1/18th to scale and work together.
Yes, people still buy books. That’s pretty evident at Barnes & Noble in Fairview Heights. Very attractive oval totes with knitted edging and designs, plus pompons and bells attached to handles, are $12.95 with an in-store purchase. Choose from green, red or blue with tree, reindeer and snowflake design.
Some things never go out of style for practical reasons. Hot-water bottles, for example. Great for aches, pains or just keeping warm, they stay hot and soothe for a long time. But, their rubber bodies need to be covered for comfort. World Market in Shiloh has a handful of attractive felt-jacketed bottles for $19.99. Smaller versions in knitted covers (all removable) are $16.99.
Need another Christmas stocking? Target has merry red, white or green knitted ones with a cuff and embroidered initial for $13. I saw a good supply at the Fairview Heights store.
The force be with you
At GameStop at the mall you’ll find “Star Wars” figure-head USB charger packs, each $9.99.
Also, “Star Wars” fans of any age might appreciate the three-piece utensil set for $14.99 at Target.
Mark your calendar: This column will appear next week on Thursday, Christmas Eve day, for all you procrastinators who need last-minute gift ideas.