Posted in holiday guest blog

Days of Christmas: Holiday Have to Have-All About Henna

Today’s holiday tip comes courtesy of my friend Sarah Bhat, who tells us about the lovely handpainted art for your home, found in the All About Henna shop on Etsy.  Beautiful, unique, romantic items for gifts, or just because you fall in love with them yourself.

Deck the halls with balls of henna. So pretty!

One wonderful artist that has some lovely giftable items is my friend Surinder Marbha, with All About Henna.

If you’re unfamiliar with the tradition of henna art (also called “mehndi”), it’s commonly used to dye the skin on major occasions in India, especially weddings. As the tradition goes, a woman joining her husband’s household would not have to do any housework until her wedding mehndi faded away. (I learned too late that the sun, sand, and salt water of a honeymoon fades henna faster! Darn!)

I have loved all things henna since I discovered mehndi as a teenager, but the one problem is its impermanence. With the skin art, even a masterpiece fades away. That’s where All About Henna comes in, offering masterfully hand-painted home accents that are made to last. I personally have quite a few of Surinder’s items in my house and I am so thrilled with them.

What’s not to love? It’s romantic, a tad exotic, and most importantly, it’s gorgeous!

Some of my favorite items currently for sale are the opaque candle holders. (

I thought this one was particularly beautiful!

Some of them scream “India” more than others. This one is a great compromise between exotic and geometric:

I have a couple of these candle holders, and they do give off the lovely warm glow shown in the photos. So if you’re looking for a gift with the personal touch of being handcrafted, I can vouch for All About Henna as a great choice!

www.etsy.comWelcome to AllAboutHenna’s shop, where we’ve taken a century’s old body-art form to create spectacular & contemporary home décor items!


Thanks, Sarah!

Posted in parenting, Religion, Thor

There Goes Santa Claus


B and I are pretty honest and open with Thor, and even though we keep things light and on level with his maturity, we don’t really mince words.  So, it’s kind of funny that we’ve played Santa.  And Easter Bunny.  And Birthday Fairy.  Okay, that last one is me entirely.  All that changed tonight, though.

Thor came home from school very excited about a project his class is doing, collecting items for the needy, and very excited about us having chosen a little boy his age from an Angel tree.  He was chirping away in the back seat and said, “Our kid [the Angel tree boy]…I guess he’s the only kid Santa doesn’t care about?”  I asked him what he meant, thinking about the movie trailer we’d seen prior to the Muppet Movie (which is greatness!  go see it now!)  He said, “You know, Santa doesn’t care about him because he’s poor, so he can’t have presents.”

It was one of those moments I couldn’t have prepared for–who would expect that?!

I assured him that poverty had nothing to do with how much Santa cared for children, and he hummed his understanding.  “So Santa won’t bring him any presents because he’s a bad kid.  Is he a bad kid because he’s poor?”

All the logic of the Christmas mythology was suddenly cumbersome.

“No, no, no,” I promised.  “He’s not a bad boy.  No, no, no.”

“Then why isn’t Santa giving him anything?  You said he was on the Angel tree because he might not get any presents?”

And since he’s six, and since we’re honest, and since I didn’t want him thinking that Santa was a 1%’er (remind me to tell you about the talk we had about the difference between Democrats and Republicans the other day), I took a deep breath and said, “Thor, I’m going to tell you a big secret…”

I did, too.  I told my child that Santa is a wonderful character like Finn McMissile or Lightning McQueen, and that we like to tell stories about him to teach people about gift giving, and good cheer, but that he wasn’t a real person, and the reason children ended up on Angel trees was because their parents might be having a hard time finding a job, and the Spirit of Christmas is about sharing what we have with people who are doing without.

We ran into B in the parking lot, right about that time, and B agreed.  Thor said, “Great!  I’ll beat you to the front door!”  And took off.

Tomorrow, we’re going to go see Santa.

Why not?  We can all still pretend and enjoy.