Holiday Gift Ideas and Tips

gifts

Chanukah came so early this year that it was here before I had time to think of gifts for the people on my list. So I had to think fast, and some of the deliverables were such a massive hit that I offer them up here as possibilities that might help you get some friends and family “crossed off” your list. Others are good standbys to have in mind, items that might trigger thoughts about that perfect gift you’ve been struggling to find.

Go West. Try pink rhinestone-studded cowgirl boots with a removable harness from Durango, which carries a whole line for the “I-love-pink set. Prices in the $30s and $40s. They score high on comfort and durability from reviewers besides me, and I know one little girl who would sleep in them if she could.

Continue the theme with a $20 fringy suede skirt from Calamity that is remarkably high in quality given its price. To determine size, measure the widest part of the child between knees and waist because it’s a pull-on without elastic. A tie belt at the waist is what holds it onto the child, and for splurgers, there’s a matching vest, too.

Go sharp. For the chopping, dicing foodie in your life choose from among a selection of Shun knives, pricey gifts available anywhere from Bed, Bath & Beyond to Amazon.com to the most exclusive kitchen stores. You can spend anywhere from $40 to hundreds of dollars on one implement knowing that he or she who knows the kitchen will also know and appreciate the gift of Shun. Key in Shun knives on sale, because they are on sale all over the place.

Go personal. Whatever NBA or NFL team the kids on your list favor, you can order one with his or her name on the back where the player’s would be along with the player number of your choice. I just bought a Jets jersey for a little guy whose turning seven so that’s the number I put on his. Time is running short, but lots of other items from makeup cases to sweaters to bathrobes to towels can have names or monograms applied. Gifts that show you thought ahead!

Go family. Still in personalization mode, a fun, cost-effective gift for everyone in a family is a set of plates, each personalized with a family member’s name or monograms. Sites like LaPlates.com make it easy for you to get each family member the same plate in different colors or different plates all in the same color or a matched set with many designs to choose from. Include plates for Grandma and Grandpa so they’ll have their own when they are over for dinner.

Go colorful and smelly, stinky or fragrant. No, I’m not thinking of cheese, although a gourmet cheese plus other edibles are a spectacular gift (just look at the selection at this site). I am thinking about colored pencils and markers – skinny and fat – many of which do come in a choice of fragrances. A big new box of crayons and a pad full of clean white drawing paper will do the trick as well. No matter how many plastic containers filled with markers (many of which don’t work), crayons (many peeled down or broken) there is in a home where there are children, a brand new set holds great appeal for any age budding or would-be artist. An inexpensive way to bring great pleasure.

Go practical. My daughter-in-law suggested I get gloves for my son-in-law and like scarves, belts and socks for men, my first reaction was b-o-r-i-n-g. Then on an especially cold pre-winter day, I reached into my glove drawer to discover that my good leather gloves were nearly destroyed last season when, without any implements in my car to deal with unexpected snow, my gloves became window cleaners. Then there were the knits, the ones I have to fight through the “strings” in the fingers to get on. Gloves. Same theory as crayons and markers for kids. A new pair is always appreciated.

Go black. Not sure of someone’s taste but want to buy something wearable. Go black and basic whether it’s a sweater, a tee shirt, sweatpants, socks, underwear, leggings, gloves, boots, hats, ski silks or anything else. No one will be horrified opening up a simple black garment.

Go easy on yourself. My son-in-law is a music maniac. I think Apple will have to invent a new device to hold the insane number of songs he’d download if he could. Nothing better than an iTunes gift card for anyone including kids for whom music is oxygen. This year, embarrassed to yet again offer up the same gift, I got him the knife, but I know he would have been pleased with another iTunes gift card. I don’t know of a teenage kid who wouldn’t appreciate a gift card more than anything other than cash itself. Big favorites in the East – Anthropology, amazon.com, Urban Outfitters, Barnes & Noble, The Gap, Banana Republic or any major department store. Teenage girls on your list? Sephora will be a hit. Gift card producers have taken a hit for too-soon expiration dates, so check how long any gift card you buy will be good.

Go literary. There truly is a GREAT book for everyone on your list. Even those who you think might not get excited by the thought of a book can surprise you if you find the right one. Think of their interests – fly fishing, golf, interior design, novels – and play to those interests in your selection. A go-to choice for an important person on your list, or even is color, is The Complete New Yorker Book of Cartoons or one of the smaller specialized volumes for dog lovers, attorneys, business men, wine lovers and a host of other niche categories. And the all-out can’t-go-wrong-if-they-don’t-have-it is the new, smaller, less expensive Kindle.

On a tight budget? Watch this blog for cool inexpensive gifts people will love.

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