Best dressed

t’s not enough to dress yourself for a holiday gathering. Now you can dress the bottle of wine you’re bringing the hosts. You’ve likely spotted some options online or around town: A Merlot can sport a sweater and matching hat. A Sauvignon Blanc, a fluffy boa. Your Zinfandel can go black tie. § As Pier 1 points out on its website: “Everyone else shows up at the party with a plain old bottle of wine. You make a grand entrance holding a bottle decked out in hand-stitched velvet apron and sassy Santa hat. You win.”

Design tip

A cake stand is the perfect accessory this time of year, and it’s not just for cake. Dig it out from storage and use it to display fruit, Christmas cookies, cupcakes, cheeses, finger foods or your famous pecan pie. Or go purely decorative with ornaments, winter greenery, pine cones, wrapped party favors or a stack of holiday cards. Also spotted: A white cake stand used in a bathroom as a platform for pretty soaps and other toiletries.

Time to reconnect

We love this idea from the Washington Post: “Put aside an hour sometime during the holiday season to reconnect with a long-lost friend or relative or two. Think of someone with whom you’ve lost touch but who might be in need of some attention. Families can have a conversation about who would be a good person to reach out to. Ask children to recall former neighbors or faraway cousins they would like to chat with. Instead of just sending an e-mail, call the person or do a video chat on FaceTime or Skype to make the experience more meaningful.”

And finally …

“It’s important to work hard, enjoy little things.”

Country superstar Carrie Underwood, in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.