A Guide to the Most Expensive (and Useless) Holiday Items in the Crate and Barrel Catalog

While driving around my neighborhood over the last week, I’ve noticed that all of the Halloween decorations have finally been taken down from everyone’s houses. There are a few rogue pumpkins, but for the most part, people have packed away their witches, ghosts, and spider webs until next year.

Some truly excited and impatient neighbors have already begun decorating for the most festive holiday of the year: Christmas! Nevermind that we have Thanksgiving to contend with first. Forget that we have to cook turkeys, bake pies, and argue over politics and religion after a few too many cocktails. On to Christmas we go!

If you get any catalogs in the mail, then you most certainly have already been bombarded with the Christmas theme. All of the kids clothing catalogs I receive are filled to the brim with Santa Claus pajamas and snowman sweaters. And the home decor catalogs don’t disappoint either. They are chock-full of gilded wreaths, bowls with embossed Christmas trees and tree skirts that can be personalized with your family’s name. Christmas is in less than 8 weeks. It’s time to prepare, buy all of your accessories and decorate decorate decorate!

While I can get behind hanging a string of lights before Thanksgiving, the idea of adorning my home in red, green, and silver just yet seems a bit silly. But what is even more unimaginable is spending boatloads of hard-earned cash on some of the things I have seen in the catalogs. And that brings me to Crate and Barrel.

Sure, I would love a new set of dishes or a nice throw pillow for my couch. But some of the holiday items in the catalog are excessive, to put it mildly.


I have absolutely nothing against reindeer. Poor ol’ Santa wouldn’t be able to get to our houses without them. But I would bet that buying an actual reindeer might be more cost effective than purchasing one of C&B’s new “zinc reindeer.” For a cool $99.95, you could be the proud owner of a 25-inch Blitzen. But buying just one would be silly. You should consider a little reindeer family. How about $69.95 for the 21-inch wife, and perhaps $16.95 each for a couple of 10.5-inch kids? For just over $200, this herd can sit next to your fireplace for 3 weeks of the year.


I get it. Everyone loves nutcrackers because they’re reminded of Tchaikovsky’s ballet and they can be pretty cute when you use them to crack all of those walnuts that you have lying around. But I can’t for the life of me imagine a situation where a $399 nutcracker would be necessary. If I had one, I’d keep it behind tamper-proof glass so that no one damages it with a Brazil nut shell.

Advent Calendar

When I was a kid, we had a little cardboard advent calendar and every morning we would use our nails to pry open another little door. It was fun, and I didn’t care that my parents spent $5 on it at a local store. But don’t my own children deserve so much more than that? I strongly feel that the Christmas season wouldn’t be complete without a $99.95 Fireplace Scene advent calendar. What’s worse is that it comes with little cloth “elements” in the shapes of ornaments, candles, and presents — small items that my children are guaranteed to lose three minutes after handling them. But that’s good for Crate and Barrel because then I’ll just buy a new one next year!

Lit Trees

I’m all for a beautiful mantle, and there are countless elements that can be added to one to make it feel festive for the holiday season. But what I don’t need to do is spend $224.75 on a set of five “Antique Glass Gold Lit Trees.” How antique are they, really, since they’re coming from Crate and Barrel? And they light up? Great! So does my real tree, which is decorated with $10 strings of lights. I only need one Christmas tree, and that one at least makes the room smell good.

Throw Pillow

As I mentioned above, I love a good throw pillow or two. They add a festive element to any room, and they can make even an older couch seem renewed. But $69.95 for a pillow with a reindeer on it? Really? Come on C&B, you’re killin’ me.