Even we shopaholics feel angst when we stare down our long holiday gift lists. There is so much pressure to pick a perfect, thoughtful gift. It's easier if you know some of today's hottest gift items before you tackle the stores. Here are my favorite gift picks for this year. Mary Carol Garrity, Scripps Howard News Service
Everyone loves, and can use, lanterns. Because they come is such a wide variety of shapes, sizes, styles and prices, it's easy to find just the right one for everyone on your list. The lantern itself will make a wonderful gift, or take it one step further and fill it with home accents, like a pillar candle, holiday greens or Christmas tree ornaments.
Ornaments make sensational gifts. As you give them, you become part of your loved one's holiday traditions. You'll have a blast shopping for ornaments this year because anything goes: from traditional red and green, to all kinds of metallics, to playful and whimsical.
Apothecary jars. Give your loved one a set of three jars in different heights so they have the basis for a great display. Or spoil them by filling an apothecary jar full of holiday candy, dressed up with a plaid bow.
Have anyone on your list who loves to entertain? Treat them to some fun and festive holiday dishes to add sugar and spice to their table. You can start a collection for them by purchasing a few place settings. Or, select a few key serving pieces, like a platter, pitcher or bowl.
Treat the coffee or tea lover in your life to a fun new oversized mug. Perhaps add a coffee-themed basket filled with fresh ground coffee, biscotti and chocolate-dipped stirring spoons.
Candlesticks are another great pick for holiday gifts because everyone can use them somewhere.
The ABCs are big this year. Random letters and words decorate just about everything from lamp shades to pillows. The romantic in me is also drawn to home-decor items decorated with beautiful, flowing script.
How about a love affair with frogs — whether they are zany figurines doing yoga or sparkly holiday decorations.
For fun. If you're looking for fun little gifts, maybe for your child's teachers, your co-workers or your neighbors, try a festive tea towel that features a cheery holiday motif.
The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at www. nellhills.com.