When I was growing up, Christmas stockings were meant for kids.
In my early elementary school years, my stocking was an oversize knee sock stuffed to the brim with fruit, candies and inexpensive toys.
As I got older, I tested a theory that the bigger the sock, the greater the reward, and hung increasingly larger footwear. My made a valiant effort to fill whatever they found at our makeshift fireside so as not to shatter my childhood fantasy of Santa's bottomless sack.
One Christmas, I put up a full pair of women's tights. I got a lot of oranges and unshelled nuts that year.
My parents never once hung a stocking for themselves - they considered them as kid's play and a frugal way to supplement their holiday gift giving.
Today, "stockings" have taken on a whole new meaning. Not only are the adults in the household putting up their own for "Santa" to fill, the contents of these
modern-day gift vessels are almost as dear as the bounty you'll find under the tree.
The other day, a co-worker told me he'd boughta pair of tickets to one of Mission Hill winery's fine culinary workshops to put in his wife's stocking.
It's a terrific idea, but at almost $80 each, it's not exactly a cheap way to stuff a sock.
In my home, my significant other owns the largest stocking and each year, he packs it full of treats himself - his favourite magazines, chocolates, lottery tickets, etc. I'm not sure why he feels so inclined to do so, but last Christmas, he jammed it so full, there was barely room for the few goodies I bought.
The fact that adults are now hanging their stockings by the chimney with care means wine accessories and related products are hot ticket items. So, I've compiled a list of last-minute stuffer ideas.
Architec Air Dry Wine Glass Drying System
I've broken more fine stemware by handwashing than dishwashing and typically it's because I've knocked them over on the counter or I've cracked them when trying to dry them by hand.
The Architec is a nifty little stainless steel wine glass drying stand that holds four wine glasses upside down between rubber grips. It's 12.5 inches high and breaks down for easy storage. $15
The one caveat of loving big, bold red wines is sporting teeth fit only for Dracula. These handy wipes will bring back the gleam to your pearly whites. They come in a purse-size jar for about $17.
Corkcicle wine chiller
I confess, I sometimes put ice cubes in my wine. It's not because I choose to dilute my wine, there are just times when I want a glass of white wine and there's nothing chilled - dammit!
Shaped like an icicle with a cork on one end - hence the name - Corkcicle ($25) is kept in the freezer like an ice pack. Then, you just drop it in your bottle and it will cool your wine just enough to make it palatable. Good in a pinch.
There are a number of gadgets on the market that claim to aerate your wine and instantly improve with no need for decanting. The two top sellers at the moment are the Nuance Wine Finer ($40-$50) and the Vinturi Wine Aerator ($50-$60). Both were demonstrated for me using the same wine and I noticed a discernable improvement with each of them.
Wine festival tickets
The annual Sun Peaks Winter Festival of Wine, put on by the Okanagan Wine Festival Society Jan. 12-20, is a great way to shake those after Christmas blues. Consider a daytrip to the mountain to enjoy wine, appies and art for $39 a person or splurge on a getaway package.
A Weekend Sampler package offers one-night's accommodation and tickets to two events starting at $145 per person.
The Festival Experience option is three night's and tickets to four events starting at $395.
Electric wine opener
While I still favour the old-fashioned waiter's corkscrew (or better yet, a wine with a twist-off cap and no opener
required), these openers are convenient and lightening quick, not to mention fun. Oster makes a rechargeable one for $20.
Ever try to get the cork back into a bottle of bubble? Impossible. I always end up putting the unfinished bottle back in the fridge with the top open, but I might as well dump it because it's always flat the next day.
These butterfly-shaped stoppers put an air-tight clamp on the bottle, helping to preserve your fizz for a little while. $5-10
Julianna Hayes' Grape Expectations runs weekly in The Okanagan Sunday. Reach her at