red ostrich

I love the details. When Christmas merchandise starts appearing in stores around Halloween I cringe, but after the few sleepy days of Thanksgiving have passed, I am ready to welcome the holiday season with open arms. My favorite thing about Christmas is the details of decorating. I love the hustle and bustle of people rushing by while stores welcome you with warm interiors, cinnamon scents wafting through the open door and the twinkling of little lights as ornaments beckon you in.

After working on windows and displays for Anthropologie for a few years, I truly appreciate all the work and attention it takes to create a stunning display. In addition to large impactful presentations, I enjoy the little moments of discovery when you shop in a store with good merchandising and special attention to the details. Here are some local shops that did a beautiful job this season creating thoughtful holidays vignettes and displays:


Studio Choo recently open a new space in South San Francisco. On a sleepy side street, this gem of shop holds treasures tucked in every corner.  The Choos are known for their attention to the little things, so I wasn’t surprised to find little piles of snow holding collections of brass bells, miniature evergreen trees planted in tin cups, glass vials containing springs of greenery and little jars of german mushrooms, mosses and even downy feathers. You can also get some handsome items for the guys in your life, like silver pocket knives, local pottery and Japanese shears.


I was in Santa Cruz a few weekends ago and visited one of my favorite shops, Stripe. Their men’s store had an adorable window display for the holidays. I love the use of books as a tree (of course), and the tie tree was pretty cute too! When you walk into the shop, its so masculine and dark and has a lovely woodsy sent; the perfect place to find goodies for all the guys on your list.


Creativebug is nestled in the heart of the design district. On my way home last night, I pulled over to get a better look at this beautiful window at Coup. Coup always has something dramatic and eye catching in the window, but a pair if 10′ red ostriches were a first! They are spectacular.


Flora Grubb is a destination store for anyone who loves plants and outdoor decor. Their displays are always stunning and their holiday presentation was no exception. If you’re a succulent lover then you’d be in heaven here. Flora Grubb has half a dozen options for hanging plants as ornaments. From tiny succulent hooks, to locally forged prongs to these egg cup-shaped ornaments that shimmer with gold leaf interiors, you will most certainly find something for all your plant loving friends. In addition to living ornaments, Flora Grub also has a lovely display of various glass, felt and wood ornaments hung from strips of white cloth that swayed in the open air main room of the shop. Beautiful!


Just outside of the city lies a tiny tucked away town call Port Costa. In this town you can find an old hotel, a great dinner spot, a dive bar and a place called Theatre of Dreams, studio of Wendy Addison. If you need an excuse to pop out of the city this month, please, head over to Port Costa and visit the Theatre of Dreams. Wendy’s main shop and newly opened General Store are only open select weekends a year. As you drive down the gravel road to the train tracks and the bay just beyond, you can’t miss the old store front swathed in green boughs and silver tinsel. If you’re lucky you’ll encounter Bob, who sells spices nuts and greenery set up on the porch just outside the shop. The epitome of old time holiday displays, Wendy’s studio and store is a wonder of objects, imagery and sparkly things. Gleaning inspiration from Victorian paper crafts and imagery, Wendy combines paper elements, vintage ribbons, finding from France and her own German glass glitter into miniature objects of wonder and delight.


It’s those little touches that really warm my heart during the holiday season. I love this hand drawn pine bough on the window of our neighborhood Whole Foods and the Cable Car Bus decked out in lights and sporting a wreath made me smile. Hope you’re enjoying the little holiday moments in your neck of the woods.