From locally made quality goods to festive accessories, these gifts, handpicked by Star-Advertiser staffers, are sure to get you into the spirit of the season.
I don’t often get manicures and it’s rare that I paint my own nails, but I was intrigued when I came across Kapa Nui Nails, a new company that makes nail polish and products in Hawaii. The cool factor is that all of the products are nontoxic, eco-friendly, vegan and cruelty-free.
Co-founders Terry and Dr. Lyn Lam built a health center to provide affordable health care for women on the Big Island 23 years ago. Their desire to help women and to live healthy lifestyles themselves eventually resulted in creating these quality products where health takes priority; beauty is the bonus.
The water-based polish comes in a rainbow of gorgeous colors, celebrating Hawaiian elements. I loved how quickly the polish dried. The application process takes a little patience, but the lasting results are worth it. I recommend the Personalized Polish Set ($65), which comes with three starter-size (9-milliliter) bottles of your color picks. (Kalapana from the Volcano collection is stunning!) The set also includes a 15-milliliter bottle of base/top coat, remover, five manicure sticks, 10 remover pads and a cosmetic bag. Or try the three-piece Starter Set ($30). Free shipping on orders over $20. Available at kapanuinails.com.
— E. Clarke Reilly
As a child, I loved getting lost in the fantastical worlds of adventure books. Add to that a heavy dose of Christmas spirit and you’ll find Christmas Carol, the fiery-haired, 12-year-old protagonist of this delightful duo of books. Written for children 8 to 12 (who might just still believe in Santa), “Christmas Carol & the Defenders of Claus” and the newly released sequel “Christmas Carol & the Shimmering Elf” follows Carol, who is obsessed with Christmas, on thrilling journeys where she must help save Santa and battle for Christmas. The books by Robert L. Fouch deliver fun, action-packed excitement to young readers (even nonbelievers). Perfect for this time of year. Each is $15.99 on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.
— E. Clarke Reilly
Who can resist the smell of freshly baked goods? Definitely not me. I was walking by Aloha Confectionery at Ala Moana Center and the sweet aroma drew me in. But despite the temptation I knew I should have something healthier.
On shelves along the perimeter of the store were a variety of cute plastic bags filled with novelty candies, boxes of shortbread cookies and something a little unexpected, dried lemon slices — exactly was I was looking for. The store offers three varieties — plain, spicy and li hing, all sugared but not too sweet, and full of natural flavor. The spicy lemon has flecks of chili, which gives a little kick, and the li hing adds local flavor. These little bags of sunshine could make great holiday stocking stuffers or gifts for co-workers. The 4.6-ounce bags of regular and spicy lemon are $4.99, li hing is $6.49.
— Chris Sykes
I’ve had a thing for eyeshadow kits ever since high school, when I caught sight of a massive 48-color set that came free with a purchase at the Liberty House cosmetics counter. It being the ’80s, I made heavy-handed use of the green, blue and purple shades, inspired by the aesthetic of the time.
Thankfully, aesthetics evolve, as have eyeshadows. Case in point: Urban Decay’s Naked series, which has revolutionized the neutral eyeshadow palette by proving that the right combination of hues can create limitless looks. Launched in 2010, the Naked palettes comprise 12 complementary matte, metallic and iridescent shades that can deliver everything from an understated look, my everyday wear, to the sultriest of smoky eyes.
A new palette is released each year. Last year’s Naked Cherry featured pinks, peaches and burgundies. This year’s installment is called Naked Honey, with golden, peachy, amber and rust shades. It has proved wildly popular. Find Naked palettes at stores that sell luxury cosmetics, such as Macy’s, Sephora and Ulta, or visit urbandecay.com. Prices range from $49 to $54.
— Joleen Oshiro
‘Saturday Night Live” waxed hilarious in its 2016 holiday skit about Christmas candles — the gift that keeps on regifting, recycled in a pinch as last-minute presents.
But judging from online reviews, it’s doubtful Anthropologie’s Capri Blue Fir and Firewood and Thymes’ Frasier Fir candles are a gift anyone would give up. They evoke a merry ambiance even before decorations are up, and will fulfill any scent shortcomings if you opt for an artificial tree.
Fir and Firewood, in a green jar with a distressed finish, has fruity and woody notes including apple, clove, fir, pine and musk. A 19-ounce vessel ($30) allows for a 54-hour burn time. Also available in a host-gift-worthy size. Find them at Anthropologie stores and Anthropologie.com.
Or try the Frasier Fir series for its fresh bouquet of Siberian Fir needles, cedar and sandalwood. Cost is $10 to $90, depending on size and style. Available at SoHa Living, Red Pineapple, Amy’s Hallmark and Thymes.com.
— Ruby Mata-Viti
These beach-designed accessories were created by local couple Kris and Kim Marr. They use resin to flow color onto slabs of polished acacia wood, ceramic dishes and other items, creating images of ocean wash that are realistically representational, yet beautifully abstract as well.
The serving boards come in two sizes and are priced at $40 (8 inches) and $65 (12-inch square). A 3-3/4-inch ceramic dish is $15. Available at Magnolia Boutique & Gallery in Kahala Mall. To find other retail locations and see other creations by the Marrs, go to marrartworks.com.
— Steven Mark
Brother-and-sister team Chanzen and Shannon Loo design and handcraft their graceful line of Mise Kimono bags with vintage and contemporary Japanese fabric; made on Maui, pieces made with vintage fabric are crafted in limited editions of only three to eight pieces. Mise Kimono will be part of Honolulu pop-ups in the coming days: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Art + Flea’s holiday pop-up at Mori in the South Shore Market, Ward Villages; and 9 a.m.to 2 p.m. Dec. 8 at Aloha Home market, 340 Uluniu St., Kailua.
An original Tomi clutch (named for the Loos’ grandmother Tomiko) is $80, a larger clutch is $85 and an oversized tote is $200, all handcrafted with obi (kimono belt) material. Shop online at misekimono.com.
— Elizabeth Kieszkowski
The holiday spirit swooped in midsummer when a colleague wiped down the crumb-laden communal snack table and the scent of freshly cut fir trees commanded attention: “What IS that?” “It smells like Christmas!”
Whiffs of pine with hints of cedar, cinnamon, patchouli and citrus lingered for days just from the few spritzes of counter spray she used; and while some fragrances can be overwhelming in a headache-inducing, feel-it-in-your-throat way, I had no such reaction. The next day I scooped up boxes of Winter Forest Kitchen Essentials Kit ($19.95).
The seasonal item, made in the U.S. of essential oils exclusively for Williams Sonoma, contains 8 ounces each of hand soap, dish soap and countertop cleaner packed in a festive box. Available at Williams Sonoma at Ala Moana Center and WilliamsSonoma.com.
— Ruby Mata-Viti
Several years ago Pier 1 added adorable baby reindeer to its huge array of Christmas decorations, adorned with festive touches like Christmas scarves or berry sprigs. They came in sitting or standing (about 16 inches high) poses, perfect for a table or mantel centerpiece. Made with a lightweight polystyrene foam base, their coats were natural sisal, a nice alternative to the glittery, shiny look of most ornaments.
This year I succumbed to the Natural Deer with Faux Fur, for $19.99, with little antlers. Its light brown sisal coat contrasts with a furry white chest and legs, and a red-and-green wreath circles its neck. If you want something more elaborate, other deer come in gray, white and capiz shell from $35 to $80. Available at Pier 1 stores or pier1.com.
— Pat Gee
If you are a fan of the humble, homey and handmade, the gift shop at Hawaii’s Plantation Village is the mother lode. Just about everything here is made by volunteers and all of it is sold to benefit the village.
Find hot pads, pillows and aprons in old plantation style; wooden plant stands and ceramic display pieces; ornaments and toys. In that last category, most irresistible are these cute and cuddly crocheted items made by Lynn Gok, a veteran of the crochet hook. Gok finds patterns online and introduced her latest creations, hedgehogs, to use up a donation of eyelash yarn, which makes great hair. It takes her several days to make one, she says, yet they sell for just $8. Also adorable: big-eyed monsters in a rainbow of colors (also somewhat hairy), owls, elephants, fish, bears — and pineapples. Prices start at $2. The plantation village, 94-695 Waipahu St., is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily except Sunday. Call 677-0110.
— Betty Shimabukuro
When I was a teen, I loved wearing those clanky Hawaiian gold bracelets, and the matching engraved rings, necklaces and earrings.
I haven’t worn that signature style since back in the day, but I’ve recently become obsessed with Tahitian pearl bangles, after seeing seemingly everyone, including my daughter and her cousins, wearing those eye-catching iridescent pearls.
After researching real Tahitian pearls and high-quality materials, I found Yay Hawaii, a local jewelry maker that made me exactly what I asked for — Tahitian pearl hoop earrings and matching gold-filled bangles with baroque pearls. I was so happy with my find, I felt like a teenager again! Tahitian pearl bangles start at $60, with the matching earrings at $55. Go to yayhawaiijewelry.com.