Veronica Hendrix

*Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

It’s not too early to send well wishes for a happy holiday season even though most of us still have Thanksgiving turkey in our refrigerators.  Retailers have done their part in coaxing us to get in the spending state of mind even before we squeezed the jellied cranberry sauce from the can.

But times are still tough for so many of us. However, last month corporate firms reported their highest profits in a single quarter since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago. Sadly, the benefits of their profits have yet to trickle down to Joe Q Public.

While corporate titians and their elaborate labyrinth of cohorts are poised to throw caution to the wind in terms of their holiday spending, the average employed, under employed and unemployed American cannot.

The 8th Annual Veronica’s Favorite Things list offers a few creative holiday gift ideas that won’t blow the budget and there’s something on this list for everyone.

SCRABBLE Flash – Who doesn’t love SCRABBLE?  Well SCRABBGLE Flash has a new and exciting electronic version of SCRABBLE for the family.  It uses five interactive SmartLink tiles to build words and the tiles will flash and beep with each correct word you make. SCRABBLE Flash automatically times your turns and it displays your score. It also has three different solo and competitive games. It’s fast-paced, addictive, and challenging. To make things easier for younger players, it can be played with only four tiles.  Suggested Retail Price: 29.99 for a whole lot of fun.

Lola by Marc Jacobs – It’s a sexy, sensual, feminine, playful and alluring fragrance. It has blooming midnotes of rose, fuschia peony, and geranium that make a feminine statement.  Layers of vanilla, warm tonka bean, and creamy musk exude sensuality.  The bottle’s exquisite, multi-layered cap is a bursting bouquet of  colors that pop against a matte black background and rope-inspired, gold metallic neck. You won’t be able to get enough of this fragrance and your special someone won’t be able to get enough of you wearing it. Suggested Retail Price: $65.00 for 1.7 oz  Eau de Parfum Spray.

Red Velvet Gourmet Spice Rub and Seasoning – Red Velvet Gourmet Spice Rub & Seasoning is the most versatile blend of herbs and spices you have ever used. It’s savory, smoky, mildly spicy, and touched with a hint of velvety sweetness. And when you open the heat-sealed pouch and smell this aromatic blend, you instinctively know you’ve got your hands on something special. This exotic blend of over 20 ingredients is a great way to spice up your holiday cooking. It’s great on roasted Cornish game hens, grilled salmon, roasted pork, ribs, duck, lamb, soups, stews and chowders. It’s low in sodium and big on flavor.  Available at http://bromontavefoods.com. Price: $3.99 for a 2.2oz pouch.

A Love No Less – Two Centuries of African American Love Letters by Pamela Newkirk – This book contains fifty love letters written by ordinary people and well known figures  such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, James Weldon Johnson, Charles Drew,  and Booker T. Washington to name a few.  The letters are tender, moving, and expository. They offer glimpses into the social, literary, and political lives of black Americans throughout the last two centuries. Frankie Beverly and Maze sing, “We need love to live.” This book brings love alive and who couldn’t use a little love and romance in their lives. The book is available at many online retailers. Price: Varies from $19.99 and below. A must have for your collection and a lovely gift.

Heavenly Delights – They have the market cornered on cobblers. You name it, they have it. Apple Delight with walnuts. Blackberry Delight with almonds. Blueberry Delight with almonds. Peach Delight with pecans.  Pineapple Coconut Delight with almonds. Caramel Apple Delight with walnuts (Veronica’s View favorite). These deserts will make your holidays special. A regular order serves 6 to 7; a larger order serves 15 to 17. They can be ordered on line at http://heavenlydelightscobblers.com/. If you live in Los Angeles eureka! Visit their site for information on where to purchase and pick up. Price: Regular from $27.50 to $32.50; Large from $55.00 to $65.00.

e-Readers – Amazon recently announced that digital e-books outsold hard cover books for the first time. Just as newspapers are dying a slow death because of the internet, paperback and hard cover books will soon follow.  Books certainly have their place. There’s nothing like curling up with a good book on a cold and blistery winter night. But e-Readers allow you to curl up with a plethora of books and periodicals at the touch of a key. You can download books for usually half the cost of purchasing the hard copy version and they reside on your device. There are a lot of e-Readers available. Kindle was among the first. Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader are new kids on the block. Price: they start at $139.00.

Louise d’ Estrée Sparkling Wine – Love red wine? ‘Tis the season for libations and merry making. It’s always the season to enjoy a great glass of wine and get the benefits of resveratrol found in red wine. Resveratrol is said to fight free radicals, boost the immune system and strengthen the cardiovascular system. But all that aside, a sparkling red wine? Now that just sounds festive. And Louis d’ Estrée Sparkling Wine is just that. It’s dry, smooth, has a medium level of sweetness, and is refreshing. It comes in a 750 ml bottle. It will surely spice up your holiday gatherings. It’s available at Trader Joe’s. Sparkling price: $6.99 a bottle. Stock up.

This annual list was a lot of fun to compile. It was given particular consideration and thought because the personal economies of some may have taken a big hit.  But times such as these make us appreciate what is really important in life. Take time to give thanks and appreciate what you have. Life is priceless. Love is enlivening. Surround yourself with lots of it this holiday season.

(If you have comments about Veronica’s View, email them to[email protected])