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E-tailers look to fill holiday wish lists

NEW YORK -With the holidays around the corner, it was time for a certain someone's naked table to get dressed for the season. Hence, an on-line search was orchestrated to see what retail sites had to offer in the way of tablecloths.

As expected, the number of holiday table linens was limited-some retailers only offering one or two-but one noticed that the table has truly trended away from true Christmas. Few Santas were seen. Instead, snowmen and snowflakes were popular motifs, and blue, white and silver were prominent colors. Christmas has expanded beyond Christmas for a longer use time.

Many sites offered holiday shops and such, but surprisingly, only one site made any mention of holiday shipping (and that was to note the site doesn't offer it).

Quite a few sites require the customer to register with the site before proceeding to checkout, which could be a reason for some to bail. One site did give the option of purchasing without registering.

The search was for a 60 by 84 tablecloth only; several sites offered holiday patterns in place mats, napkins and runners with no cloths, and are not included here.

And though more sites were visited than are listed, these are the ones that had cloths:

Browsing the Internet

SITE: Bedbathandbeyond.com

selection/presentation:

It took only one click from the home page to find the holiday tablecloths at the Bed Bath & Beyond site, which were placed with the non-seasonal cloths. Totaling three pages, the tablecloth selection listed the eight holiday cloths first, which included wovens, damasks, solids and prints. There was also an online guide on how to choose table linens. Though there was also a section for seasonal merchandise, the holiday cloths were not there.

product example:

  • Vera's Wreath print, cotton/poly $19.99

  • Poinsettia Bloom Garden solid, cotton/poly $9.99

prices/shipping cost:

For orders up to $25, $5.95 standard shipping, shipped within 3 to 7 business days

SITE: Bloomingdales.com

selection/presentation:

The Bloomingdale's site was very festive in red and falling snowflakes. Four holiday cloths were found in the Set the Table section, under Trimmings in the Home Store. The Set the Table section mixed in all different products and was easy to page through, though there was no notification on how long the section was. This being Bloomingdale's, there were no novelties here. The formal-looking cloths consisted of an organza cloth, an exclusive embroidered, a satin finish stripe and a damask. Except for the embroidered cloth, they were also found in the Table Linen section under Dining In.

product example:

  • Royal Court damask, 68 by 84, $35.99

  • Nutcracker embroidered cotton cloth, 68 by 84, $35.99 (though on order at the time)

prices/shipping cost:

For orders totaling $25.01 to $50.00, standard shipping costs $7.95, most shipped up to seven days

SITE:Crateandbarrel.comThis site offered a Holiday section divided into Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas. Christmas was 14 pages long, which is a lot to sort through when you're looking for one particular item, and all of the product categories were mixed together. Four cloths were offered for the holidays, and Crate & Barrel was big on red tablecloths this year: a scarlet red cotton blend sateen cloth with an attached pine green border; a solid red jacquard; and two prints on a red ground. A quick search through the Table Linen section in Textiles came up with a Snowflake jacquard that didn't appear in the holiday selection-maybe because it wasn't red.

product example:

  • Garland gold printed on red cotton cloth, $39.99

  • Red jacquard heavyweight cotton solid, $32.95

prices/shipping cost:

For orders between $31.00 and $50.99, standard shipping costs $7.95, within seven to 10 days. Tax is also added.

SITE: ihome.com

Holiday table linens are easily found in both the Holiday Boutique and the Home Decor sections, both under Table Linens. Vendors are listed with the patterns, which in cloths were Bardwil (spelled Bardwill on the site) and Ex-Cell. All of the holiday cloths had patterns, including novelty and traditional looks. One didn't learn more by clicking on a pattern however; the fiber content wasn't given, though one was told if it was washable.

product example:

  • Bardwil's Let It Snow cloth, $12.78 on sale from $16.99

  • Ex-Cell's Winterberry cloth, $19.99

prices/shipping cost:

Free shipping for a limited time, five days to New York

SITE: JCPenney.com

Cloths here were found under For the Home's Holiday at Home section. Four pages of merchandise included all types of product, including four seasonal cloths, one of a solid for banquet tables. The site was having a Pre-Holiday Sale, and it seemed like some of the cloths were included. Once the pattern was selected, however, one had to click on type of product desired (cloth, napkin, etc.) and then click again for the size before being able to add to cart, which elongated the process. Information was basic.

product example:

  • Too Cool poly/cotton print cloth, $9.99 on sale from $19.99

  • Lodge Plaid woven cotton cloth, 62 by 86, $14.99, special promotion from $19.99

prices/shipping cost:

Shipping cost, $6.50 for each individual item. Couldn't find additional shopping data

SITE: Linensnthings.com

At the Linens 'n Things site, a section called Holiday Things is further divided into Entertaining, Holiday Decorating and Home Decorating. But a lot of the same products were in all three categories, so it was hard to tell what made each different. There were two solid damask cloths offered-one from Bardwil (spelled Bardwill here), which wasn't necessarily holiday, and another from Brownstone. Shipping Information had its own tab at top-which was convenient because other sites made one hunt for it-and was the only site in this survey that mentioned anything about holiday or weekend delivery. That doesn't mean others don't offer it, but at least they were upfront about it.

product example:

  • Ribbon Poinsettia solid cloth, no fabric content given, $9.99

  • Brussels solid cotton/poly, $19.99

prices/shipping cost:

For items under $25.00, standard shipping costs were $5.80, and within three to five business days

SITE: Macys.com

Macy's had one cloth for the holidays, which was found both in the Fine Dining section under At Home, as well as the Holiday Planner. In one area, however, the Fieldcrest cloth was, incorrectly one assumes, listed at $2 million.

product example:

Fieldcrest Ice Palace cotton/poly jac with embroidered flakes, $24.99

prices/shipping cost:

$8.00 ground shipping, within one to 10 working days (no price minimums or limits given)

SITE: Strouds.com

Strouds highlighted several holiday home items on its home page, including the Snow Capade tablecloth. A Holiday Decorating tab brought up small pictures of related merchandise, including five holiday cloths. These were also found in the Tabletop section, along with an additional seasonal cloth of a reindeer print design.

product example:

Elrene Reindeer cotton, $9.99, on sale from $14.99

product example:

  • Lintex Christmas Patch white solid cotton/poly cloth, $29.99

prices/shipping cost:

For orders up to $50, $6.00 added for standard shipping, shipped between seven to 10 days

SITE: Target.com

It was easy to find the table linen in this site by clicking into the Holiday section on the home page and then into Dining. Four pages of product popped up, including two solid cloths. These two were also found in the Home section, under Dining's Holiday Table Linens.

product example:

  • Silver damask cotton/poly cloth, $14.99

  • White Snowflake Damask cotton/poly cloth, $14.99

prices/shipping cost:

For totals up to $14.99, shipping costs are $3.95 delivered in seven to 10 days

SITE: Williams-sonoma.com

Though Williams-Sonoma doesn't have a lot of linens, it did have a section titled Linens on the site. Clicking on it brought up a list of pattern names, though pictures or descriptions would have been more helpful. The site had one holiday cloth, an engineered white cloth with an embroidered deer pattern on top. But this is not for everyone-a 70 by 90 cloth goes for $249. Tax was given at checkout, but no delivery charges came up, which was unusual.

product example:

  • White cotton embroidered deer cloth, 70 by 90, $249

prices/shipping cost:

Shipping costs: not made clear to the customer

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