It is officially holiday season! There are so many elements that make the holidays special. if you enjoy giving something thoughtful to your loved ones during this season, I am sure you’ll find this gift list inspiring.
We chatted with Karen McClelland, owner of Mantel, an incredible lifestyle store in the Kenton neighbourhood, in North Portland. During a short interview in the back of her brilliantly curated boutique, Karen shared a bit about the holidays at Mantel and the nine pieces from her store she would undoubtedly gift to her loved ones.
Whether you stop by Mantel after a cup of coffee in North Portland, or you daydream of visiting while scrolling down their newly built online shop, I am sure you will love Karen´s curation.
What is Mantel’s purpose?
Moving into Mantel for me is a continuation of my previous job as an art teacher, I am still working with young artists and new makers and supporting their growth and journey, that’s the main purpose behind Mantel, to help these new people get started. That’s what I really enjoy doing, finding ways to build the confidence in my customers that I’m bringing in new makers that do great work, and that it’s work they’ll really like.
I wanted to bring that to North Portland, I wanted to bring that to Kenton. I didn’t feel there were enough stores that were featuring ceramics with a modern, fresh aesthetic . I have a strong community that helped me along the way, I have the support system, Portland is great for that!
What does holiday giving mean to you?
Honestly, at our house, holiday giving last year was very last minute, we were behind schedule and kind of stressed out about just having something to put under the tree. Last year was our first Christmas at Mantel, and I had only been open for about 4 months so I was really focused on the store and on making sure everyone else’s Christmas was wonderful. It was all about the customers for me, which was a little hard on my family. So this year I’m making some changes and I’m hoping everything will be a bit more relaxed at home.
That said, the holiday spirit at home comes right away I’ve been listening to Christmas music in my car for at least two weeks!
What do the holidays look like at Mantel?
It’s definitely festive in the store and it gets really busy! Last year we had a line to the door around the holidays and I was not expecting that at all. This year I feel holiday shopping started earlier, from now until Christmas Eve it will probably be busy, then after that we get a chance to catch up.
What are your thoughts on gift-wrapping?
At Mantel, our gift wrapping matches our aesthetic. On a personal level, I am spoiled, my husband has a great eye for design and every time he gifts me something it is perfectly wrapped. I’m not going to lie, I do love the wrapping! Because of my focus on Mantel, I don’t always have the time to be as thoughtful and detailed about my presentation, but when I do have the time, I like thinking of gift wrapping that fits the receiver’s personality and taste.
Karen McClelland's perfect Holiday Gift List
My husband and I both swoon over Pawena's work. I know he would love the bold, minimalist design on this piece. Plus we are desperate for more planters in our house!
Seek and Swoon
This one is a “me” present. Well… I am going to be real and confess that it will actually be stolen by my 10 year old son in a split second. Our house is always fighting over the coziest throws!
Sandbox Pet Bowl
Um, hello! This is totally going to my dog, Walter. It would make my cat so jealous of his new hipster lifestyle!
This piece has the most beautiful inlay and striking overall shape. I can picture my mom piling snacks on top to offer to her friends when they stop by, being the great host she is!
I imagine my step-dad savoring every drop! And I’m certain he would love that it is hand-blown with a removable cork coaster
Black Strap Bowl
My dad is a great cook, he loves sharing his creations with others, and I’m going to make him take his style to another level with this gorgeous handmade bowl!
Open Habit Black
and White Clutch
This clutch is all business until you pop it open and discover the electrifying blue inside! It would fit my sister so well, since she’s sooo professional now but we all know she's a party waiting to explode!
These modern handmade candle holders seem perfect for my old roomate, she always had better taste than essentially anyone, ever. Plus the price is right!
Barrow Knot Necklace
This is a true me gift! Choosing one piece of jewelry to gift myself out of everything in the store is next to impossible! But I have been dying to have this necklace since we started carrying it.