If news stories about pepper spraying shoppers have got you down, these cheery DIY Christmas trees are the perfect antidote to holiday blues. Looking around the Web, there's no shortage of ingenuity when it comes to creative holiday decor.

Here's a creative contest for Angelenos and non-Angelenos alike – gardening shop Potted in Atwater Village is hosting a competition to find great gardening ideas, just in time for Mother's Day. Owners Mary Gray and Annette Goliti Gutierrez are seeking the best container planting ideas you have to offer. Take a photo (as they say, "it can be anything...a pot, a shoe, your desk drawer"). The only rule is that it has to have at least one plant in it.

Last night marked the first night of Passover, and with it comes the traditional Seder feast, celebrated the first two nights of the holiday. At the center of every Seder's table is the Seder plate, a special centerpiece that displays six symbolic foods that represent different parts of the story of the exodus from Egypt. Yet just because it's traditional, it doesn't mean it has to be old-fashioned. In fact, there are plenty of great, modern options for a contemporary Seder.

The holidays continue to gallop towards us at an alarming pace. You've got to get a tree, decorate, attend countless parties (tough life!), and somewhere in there buy presents for all your nearest and dearest. So far I've got one gift down, countless to go. It seems every time I sit down to find the perfect gift, I wind up with 20 things for my own wish list, and not a dang thing for anybody else.

Bauer Pottery and their Russel Wright-designed American Modern collection are quintessential California—the perfect gifts for some poor former CA resident who now lives somewhere that's, sadly, not here. They can be a bit spendy for gifts though, so use your weekend wisely and head to Bauer's Holiday Sale in Atwater Village to stock up. They'll have their Bauer and Wright lines at discount, along with deals on seconds from the Home by Sunset collection. Bonus: Food trucks will be on hand should all that shopping leave your stomach growling.

Take a walk around downtown San Francisco and, along with many bustling holiday shoppers and decorated stores, you'll still find plenty of empty windows.

When is the last time you felt truly appreciated? If it's been a while, go ahead and shake your fist at all those ingrates around you. They could learn a thing or to about giving a little thanks. Happily, Alessi is here to show how it's done. The much-loved Italian home design company is letting you know they really care not with a Hallmark card, but with the best gifts of all: some bubbly and discount shopping.

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