It’s not unusual this time of year for me to be stopped by fans of the website and show and get asked for gift suggestions. The day after Thanksgiving I was taking a stroll with Corky through Main Street in Westport, and no fewer than four people stopped me to say hello – and then ask for gift advice! I realized: Aha! It must be time for my annual Must Haves List.

Wondering what you should be wrapping to put under the tree this year? Not to worry – just in time for holiday shopping I’m revealing this years Mar’s Must Haves. This is always a fun way to showcase my favorite discoveries throughout the year. These are my top gift-picks and creative stocking stuffer ideas that offer a variety of price points that everyone can take part in. And for those of you who really know me, no, I didn’t put the Sex and the City Movie DVD on the list – although I love the movie, the fashion, the shoes and the d̩cor, I’m afraid it’s “Sorry, Carrie Bradshaw, you won my heart but not a place on my Top 5 list!”


1) iMac Computer

Apple did it again, this time converting me from a PC to a Mac. After years of dealing with my PC’s and then, finally, receiving a virus that completely ruined my computer, I was ready to make the change. I was no stranger to a Mac as I already had a lap top that I loved using and an iPhone that has changed the way I connect with family, friends, and business colleagues.

I don’t need to tell you a lot about the product itself, but I will tell you what I wasn’t prepared for and was pleasantly surprised by: the ease I can now manage and use all the multimedia items for my website, speaking engagements, and television appearances. Moving photos, mini-movies, and graphics around is easier than ever, which makes me more productive. (As I keep working on my next book I know I will find even more great things…) www.apple.com/imac


2) My official LED MAR-LIGHT

Moonlight, twilight, and now Marlight, with these veritable LED lights that are perfect for so many different home and garden projects. Ever since I first started working with them and posted my MAR-light project on my website I have come up with several more uses… They’re just plain fun to have as well!

My LED light brand of choice is Submersible Flora Lyte. They are available in amber, orange, red, blue, green, teal, white, pink and purple; as well as color-changing units that gradually change from red to blue to green on their own. As a “think-ahead host” I will never be without some stashed away.

They company does not have it’s own website, but they are available from this reliable party supply house: C.O.D. Wholesale


3) Box of Questions

Want to turn any dinner-time (or cocktail time) into a place of easy conversation and fun for all? I strongly recommend a game that features pre-written conversation questions. I recently tried this out at Thanksgiving, and the table of 12 (all ages) truly enjoyed it.

The Box Girls is a lifestyle brand that designs, markets and distributes fun, whimsical, and meaningful gift products with exceptional packaging. They make games to create great conversations for any and every occasion!

Designed by a psychotherapist and an actress, over 250,000 boxes in this successful series have been enjoyed by families and friends across the globe. What makes these different than other “conversation games” or book that you might have seen? These clever games are both age-appropriate, but also party and holiday themed – with many specific games to choose from. They are designed to instantly unite any group while re-establishing the art of storytelling.

The Box Girls now have over 24 different Box of Questions games and since 2001, through the sale of the Box of Questions, The Box Girls team have also raised over $85,000 for various charitable organizations including the ones listed on their website. 

Be sure to check them out at www.theboxgirls.com


4) Handcrafted Cufflinks

While covering fashion week for Better TV in New York City, I was taking a much-needed break at the Bryant Park restaurant when a well-dressed gentleman recognized me from my book. That said, I was honored to say hello, but no sooner after that I notice the unique cufflinks that he was wearing. These fun coke bottle caps were both cleaver and resourceful. His name is Gene Seidman, and I quickly asked him where I could purchase them. In 1984, while he was working in a tie-less office and wanted to spice up his look, he started fashioning cufflinks from myriad found objects, leading to a now-successful business using renewable resources (so not only a great idea but green too!) I was hooked and needed to make an order fast; that cemented their place on my list of must-haves for every man and even women you know. Fun, and totally unexpected, these cufflinks will make a statement like no other. Perfect for any occasion!

Cufflinks are priced individually. For more information and to view a huge selection check out his website: www.on-the-cuff.com.


5) Secret Storage Boxes

For those of you who have been visiting my website for years know that I always include a book on my list every year. But it was time for a twist! What a “novel” idea: never judge a book by it’s cover again. These are not books, but they were once. Made from recycled books, soaked in baths of glue to create a solid block of papier-m̢ch̩, this clever catchall features pages that have been hollowed out, leaving just enough room to conceal a remote or any other treasure you may have. No need to keep them stored in a bookcase in order to be concealed. They are prefect on a bedside table or on a desk or my favorite way, in a car for added security in plain sight!www.secretstoragebooks.com


Because I have christened this holiday season as being about “doing more with less,” my 2008 suggestions were chosen to offer ideas that are perfect for anytime or any occasion, and almost every budget. I’m just delighted to have discovered them to share with you.

And there you have it.