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New york city is a special place during the holidays. Something about those snowflakes lit up on every lamp-post, the smell of christmas in the air, and the Duane Reade Holiday spirit, wafting through their mega stores does something to even the most jaded of residents. And for those who remain un-phased, not only is the holiday special, it’s especially awful, filled with crowds, tourists, lines, and the desire to just stay home. Which is why it’s also the perfect time to throw a big, festive party. Why do you think so many occur during this time? It’s not just the spirit of the season, it’s the desire to stay indoors.
In this town, the holidays are not so much a religious moment as they are a common gathering. A gathering of minds; clinking their glasses, filling their bellies, and ripping open carefully wrapped presents. We gather in restaurants, airports, and if you’re jewish, in chinese restaurants and movie theaters. Most importantly, as mentioned earlier, we gather in each-others homes for the year round, ubiquitous holiday party. Like us, they come in all different shapes, sizes, classes and genres, and serve, not only to benefit the guests, but as a reflection of the host as well.
I’m not always the most meticulous hostess in the world, although that has never gotten in the way of my love for planning a get- together. Somewhere between a detailed Martha Stewart, and a cynical, scattered Carrie Bradshaw, mixed with the hope from dozens of pinned items lies a would be hostess extraordinare. However, my ability to excel in another important area not only picks up the slack, but makes putting together the perfect holiday party a breeze.
Just like a million other times, Duane Reade would be my destination for almost everything I needed. Yes, there have been many ‘nistas that we’ve all crossed paths with. More then simply a superlative, or a media campaign being a something ..’nista ‘ is akin to being an expert of that field which moves you. It can be fashion, the talent for being frugal, or in this case the ability to turn a Duane Reade into a one stop destination for any essentials you need, no matter the reason, or in this case, the holiday season.
So it was no wonder that when I needed to prepare for my own holiday gathering, I only had to look to one place for everything to help me. Not only would I be able to put together the night in one stop, I might just pick up an extra boost of holiday confidence at checkout, free of charge.
Essential # 1- Decorations– I bought a box of shatter proof ornaments in a great mix of blue, silver and sparkly. Rather then adding them to my already congested tree, I threw them in a little china looking bowl, which I also bought at Duane Reade, and created a fun table centerpiece.shatterproof ornaments, $6. Glade Christmas Candle, table displays…
Essential # 2- Festive Snacks with style.
Essential # 3- Gift wrapping, decorations. Another example of where my desire and interest does not quite intersect with my actual abilities. Though I am sometimes able to disguise it, I have never perfected this art form. However, what I have perfected is the art of purchasing it. For under $20 I took care of all my wrapping needs for the season, including paper, bags, stuffers, ribbon, bows, and tape.Apt 5 transparent tape. Blue and silver bows. Bag of 10 different sized holiday gifts bags for $5 was a steal. No Peeking wrapping paper.
Essential # 4- Ornaments. Because no holiday party or tree is complete without them, but if you don’t celebrate with a tree, they make for some amazing decorations. The ornament collection at Duane Reade happens to be my absolute favorite for one very simple reason..New York. A tribute to the New York Holiday season; they come in a variety of selections and styles, highlighting different landmarks of the great city. My absolute favorite is the Duane Reade Taxi cab, which is hanging on my tree right now. Another fun, easy way to decorate with ornaments is personalizing them. I went to the Photo Kiosk inside the store, printed a few pictures, and instantly had 3 new decorations complete with memory inside. These can also serve as a great gift for Secret Santas, or ornament exchanges.Rockefeller center ornament on left, Duane Reade Christmas taxi, Photo ornaments made simple w/ photo printing in store.
Essential #5 – Great gifts & Stocking Stuffers. Whether a big or small gathering, informal, or fancy, it’s always nice to top everything off with some cute gifts, whether it be for an gift exchange, Secret Santa, or festive stocking stuffers. Not only can you get all your party essentials covered, but also leave chock full of amazing DIY presents for every type of person on your list.4 DIY gifts from Duane Reade. From top left, a spa/body kit, Makeup bag stuffed w/ goodies, Gift Card and Candy jar
Below are these 4 easy gift ideas sure to make any secret santa on your list happy.
For the Sweet Tooth ~ Candy. Not only will this satisfy any sweet tooth on your list, but packaging it in a mason jar looks colorful and festive. Top it off with a bow and stickers for some extra holiday flair.Delish Jellybeans, M&M’s chocolate
For the Beauty Maven~ Makeup bag filled w/ goodies. A fun and easy stocking stuffer for the beauty obsessed is made easy with one shopping trip to the Look Boutique at Duane Reade. Buy a makeup bag, and then fill it with fun, new brands and items.Mesh makeup bag. Sally Hansen Salon Effects, Cover Girl Wet Slicks gloss, Ramy pure water facial cleanswer, V beaute samples. All available at Look Boutique.
For the Work friend~ A Gift Card. A great gift for a co-worker, or add-on present. DR sells any gift card you can imagine and makes holiday shopping a breeze! Pick one, load it at the register, and done! I picked a Starbucks card, and bought a glittery box to gift it in.gift card box, $3. Starbucks gift card.
A Spa gift– For the overworked friend. As all city people know, our feet take a lot from us. Reward them with a perfect DIY stocking stuffer dedicated to rewarding our feet and body. The Vaseline Spray and Go moisturizer allows for less wait time, music to a city person’s ears, and is a rewarding little moment not to be undervalued. Keep feet cozy with Kushyfoot leopard flats, and comfy knee highs that massage your feet with wear. After moisturizing, and then hitting the town, the best way to end is with a aromatic bubble bath.Vaseline Spray and Go. I got two for a discounted price, and earned 3000 rewards points. Kushyfoot knee high tights, and slippers.
To check out all holiday deals, and more stocking stuffer ideas, check out the Circular online, or pick up a copy of the new Happy and Healthy gift guide in a Duane Reade location near you.
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All Photography by John Turck.