A wreath for all seasons
We agree: the one thing Southern California seems to lack is a true fall season, complete with the color-changing leaves that always herald the beginning of the holiday season. Garden Memories provides a good alternative with the autumn wreath, a collection of warm-hued maple leaves forever preserved in glycerin to remind us just what fall is supposed to look like (while we're crying all the way to the beach, of course). Garden Memories, 424 E. Main St., Ventura. Call 641-1070.
Festival of light
Whatever little piece of California you've staked out as home, the folks at Trinity River have most likely designed the ideal piece to illuminate it. Shown here, the Mission Lamp's salute to wine country provides a golden glow with a craftsman’s wrought iron touch; other luminous creations remind us of home on the open range, with native mustangs running across a brilliant landscape. Ojai House, 304 N. Montgomery St., Ojai. Call 640-1656.
Casa California's stunning wine cabinet reminds us of our state's early history, but its charm is hardly outdated and anything but seasonal: Whether providing the proper accompanying glass for dinner during a 70-degree California Thanksgiving, or offering up ideas for a midsummer sip of Chardonnay, this ruddy wine armoire stows your fine collection in old-world style. Casa California, 2415 E. Main St., Ventura. Call 643-3333.
Long viewed as a fixture of old age, the rocking chair was definitely up for a good revamp. Luckily, craftsman Greg Aanes was up to the challenge and gave it a sleek face lift when he created the Brendan Rocker, in honor of his infant son. The ergonomic chair is available in cherry, walnut, jatoba, figured maple and mango woods, and its organic lines are a comfortably rustic addition to any home, allowing the rocking chair to come out from next to the fireplace and take center stage in any fashionable living room. Human Arts Home, 246 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai. Call 646-8245.
Aside from the hearth, is there anything that says “home” more clearly than a comfy sofa? Fusion Home's Seventeen Sectional is the perfect blend of contemporary style and comfort; while squeezing your entire family in for the holidays can be a challenge, we're willing to bet this sofa will give everyone a cushioned place to sit (or sleep — size and function are made-to-order with this local line). Whether holiday plans include catching up with extended family or hibernating with a few good films, this sofa makes an ideal meeting place. Fusion Home, 418 E. Main St., Ventura.Call 652-7017.
Tabling the discussion
The rustic beauty of P.J. Milligan & Co.'s Galleon coffee table brings to mind the mountain cabin we'd like to escape to. While we're stuck in the city, however, it provides us with the perfect gathering space for marathon sessions of Scrabble with the family ... or just a great place to set a cooling plate of cookies, a toasty mug of tea or the Christmas morning cup of joe. P.J. Milligan & Co., 64 Daily Dr., Camarillo. Call 484-8787.
Embracing your comfort zone
When you're tired of playing host or hostess, simply slipping on this Barefoot Dreams CozyChic robe is like popping off to a day spa ... or, more appropriately, like being hugged by a blown-dry chenille sheep. OK, maybe that's stretching the sleepytime imagery a bit but, seriously, these robes are comfortable on a therapeutic level. And considering that CozyChic robes come in a variety of colors — even holiday-appropriate hues — you just might be tempted to sport one to gatherings outside the home. Jones and Company, 307 N. Montgomery St., Ojai. Call 646-8179.
Gilding the lily
Maybe an ostrich in a Santa suit isn't what immediately comes to mind as a traditional tree trimming, but we love Patience Brewster's Christmas Krinkles line because it reminds us of bygone Christmases when we believed that anything we wanted to materialize under the tree, could. And, hey, if pipecleaner angels were permissible on a tree when we were kids, this whimsical line of gorgeous glass critters can certainly stake out a branch. Savannah West Fine Gifts & Antiques, 2235 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo. Call 383-6836.