Gift with a holiday flourish

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Gifts under the tree are a beautiful sight indeed!

But what could make the one you give stand out from the rest?

If you’re a DIYer, there’s plenty of arts and crafts decorations you can make like embellish ornaments with rhinestones, crystals, glitter or other sparkly things or cozy, fuzzy socks attached to the top of a package.

There’s a plethora of ideas to soak up by strolling down the isles of 99 Cent store, Joann’s Fabrics or Michaels, if you’re just looking for a little accent.



For those who love to bake, prep your cookie with a hole at the top to thread a pretty ribbon and attached the blinged-out baked goodie to a package. But if you’re not a baker or handy with a glue gun or don’t want to just stick a run-of-the-mill ornament on top of your present, you can add a special “WOW!” factor by checking out the unusual and more personalized options offered by a few of our local retailers that will make your gift unique and a memory to be cherished.


Edible decor

It’s true when they say, “big gifts sometimes come in small packages,” but what about decorating them? That can be a challenge because they’re, well… small.

Here’s a place to solve that problem: Hide your gift inside a cupcake or cake! When I contacted Jill’s Cake Creations, Alissa Perez told me they were in the middle of constructing the Challenger space shuttle for the Netflix show, “Glow.”

“That’s nothing out of the ordinary” for this bakery, she explained. From a snowman, Christmas tree, Santa, Rudolph the reindeer to a cake shaped and decorated like a gift complete with holiday wrapping (edible, of course), they can pretty much bake your heart’s desire. Your gift can be placed in a specified area in the cake, with an adornment marking the spot where to cut and serve to your intended.

For an extra wild and special effect, they can even make part of the decoration light up. Not just with sparklers, but imagine a Christmas tree cake with the star at the stop that lights up and a gift hidden inside the tree. “We’re doing a candle (cake) with LED lights in it now,” Perez cheerfully adds. Picking your favorite design for the decoration, cake flavor, frosting and layer filling adds other dimensions to making this a treat for the senses.


Personalize it

For a very personalized gift embellishment, Things Remembered is a classic option at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.

There’s a treasure trove of choices here from personalizing stuffed animals to hundreds of special, yet useful items. There’s just as many engraving choices for logo designs — sports, love, holidays, animals, fonts for monograms that also come in a variety of textures (e.g., zebra, leopard).

Costs for engraving can add up quickly, however, Perez informs me the company offers a holiday “value message.”

From $15, you can choose from an assortment of over 30 pre-set message/phrases/designs such as, “All I want for Christmas is you,” with a heart design or a stackable word tree (engraved words stacked to look like a tree): Believe, Peace, Hope, Joy and a star at the top with a beautiful scroll design at the bottom ($25).

There are also Lenox bone china plates in various sizes or cups and mugs that can be embellished with a phrase, monogram or design on the face of the plate. Perfect to for those yummy holiday cookies to be displayed in cello wrapping with a festive ribbon.

Once the cookies are eaten, you still have an elegant keepsake gift for future holidays. Another memento is their “Together Forever” ceramic guest signature vase. Engravable heart in the center and includes a marker for everyone to sign their name or doodle artwork.


To top things off

And what holiday celebration could be complete without “oh soooo different” balloons?

Kim Kurowski, owner of A-1 Party, suggests a balloon-within-a-balloon or ones that are confetti-filled. There’s also mylar balloons shaped like trees, candy canes, Santa, snowmen and holographic snowflakes to create a winter wonderland theme. Kim points out they can even insert a small stuffed animal or other surprise inside their balloons. Shiny chrome finish looking balloons “are the newest balloons in town,” she adds. Because they use a special treatment that coats the inside of the helium balloons, A-1’s last much longer. And delivery is free inside the Santa Clarita Valley.

If you want to keep it simple, but with a bit of panache, add one of Edible Arrangement’s holiday “pops” to the bow on your gift.

“Nothing like a tasty treat of a pineapple star or dark chocolate-covered reindeer,” said Store manager Ben Perez, “or snowman covered in white chocolate or wreath-shaped apple ring.”


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