By Jennifer barnett reed
Although it's not as fun as it used to be — because most retailers jump the gun on it these days, just like they do with pre-Thanksgiving Christmas sales — I'm a big fan of the Dec. 26 slashing of prices on all things holiday. Half-price boxes, paper, bows, ornaments, whatever. Buy too much, forget you have it, then get a nice little surprise when you open up the plastic bins next December.
There's usually plenty to choose from at Target and the other big boxes, but one place I don't miss is what I think of as the Dr. Seuss tree, and what an employee called the Willy Wonka tree, at Lakewood Gardens. The store, on North Hills Boulevard in North Little Rock, sets up six or eight themed trees every year, mostly formal and elegant affairs. But the Dr. Seuss tree is decked with more offbeat fare — bright colors, irregular shapes, stuff that just makes me smile. And at 50 percent off after Christmas, they'll all be under $10.
More goings-on around town:
• Just in time to help with the inevitable New-Year's-resolution-exercise-induced rash of pulls and strains, Relax the Back has opened at Midtowne Little Rock. The store carries all manner of products and contraptions geared toward the achy of spine: shoulder bags ($85), zero-gravity recliners ($2,000 and up), hand-held massagers, and my own personal favorite self-torture device, the Backnobber ($40). This is a plastic S-shaped thing with knobs at both ends that allows you to wreak all kinds of havoc on the knots in your back muscles. Not quite as good as a real massage, but much better than the hand-held vibrating things. Ahem.
• Bombay Co. continues its going out of business sale. The end is apparently nigh, so get on over there if you need any desk accessories, tartan-patterned dishes or a giant nutcracker statue.
• Jewelry retailer Faux Pas has opened at the Pleasant Ridge Town Center, but unlike other Heights transplants to the Highway 10 development, this one's keeping its original location open as well.
• Speaking of, Posh, the furniture/decor store farther west on Highway 10, will be moving to Pleasant too. They're having a sale now at the current location; it should last until around Jan. 10. The new location should be open by Feb. 1.
• Newly minted fiancees, take note: Proposals, the Heights bridal boutique, is having an after-Christmas sale.
• And finally: If you're hosting the New Year's bash this year, check out the Sauce Co. in the Heights. They've got all kinds of party-food goodies — some locally made, like My Brother's Salsa. I'm a fan of Stonewall Kitchens' roasted-garlic-and-onion jam poured on top of a hunk of soft cheese. Mmmm. And for New Year's Day brunch, if you're capable of eating anything, Stonewall Kitchens also has a line of pancake mixes and syrups. Might as well get the resolution-blowing over with, I say.