Let’s face it, not everyone enjoys the work that comes with the holidays. It can be a very stressful time where you’re playing a guessing game of what the people on your list would want. I, for one, love holiday shopping. This might have something to do with the fact that I have a game plan at the beginning of every year; or the fact that I enjoy hunting for the perfect gift. I recognize that this makes me the exception, not the rule.
What I’m trying to say that holiday shopping doesn’t have to be that hard or stressful. I was one of the lucky ones who worked in retail during my teens, and have seen everything humanly possible. I’ve seen people get really stressed, and pick up whatever they can get hands on, or show up Christmas eve and demand products that we don’t have in stock. Malls are interesting places to people watch, and I love being there this time of year, which is why I jumped at the chance to take part in Art of Gifting Challenge at Fairview Mall.
How to be a gift giving superstar:
Think of the stores that your giftee would shop at: This is about the people on your list. Notice that your giftee buys things from Aldo? Make sure you add that store to your list. If everything they wear is from JCrew, then you better pop in there, and see what you can get that is still somewhat personal.
Think of brands that they love but can’t afford: Michael Kors, and Rebecca Minkoff aren’t things that you can afford to give everyone, but finding things on sale can help keep your budget in the ball park. I found JCrew iPhone 5 cases on sale ($4-20), and picked those up for stocking stuffers.
Think of things that they are interested in, or hobbies that they are heavily involved in: This doesn’t have to be hobbies around the holidays. My brother LOVES soccer, so I know that I can get anything related to soccer and he’ll be over the moon.
How to make shopping less stressful:
Have a game plan when entering a mall: It’s easy to get lost or wander when you get in the mall. There are lots of pretty lights everywhere, but having a list makes it that much easier.
Take breaks- lot of breaks: Treat yourself. Remember- start early so you don’t feel the need to finish everything the same day. I popped into the mall 3 times over the last 3 days, and tackled my list one item at a time.
Go early in the morning on weekends, or during the weekday: Evenings and weekends are somewhat crazy most places especially when you get closer to the holidays.
Ask for help: The people working in the store are there to help you. Trust me, it makes their day go by faster when they are able to help you find that perfect gift. The ladies at JCrew, and Zara were phenomenal.
Sales are your friend. Never discount (pun intended) an item because it’s on sale. This is where you get to stretch your dollar and get the most bang for you buck.
Know what your strengths are: Can’t wrap a present? No worries, most malls have the feature for you. I had 3 presents wrapped during my last visit to Fairveiw Mall, and couldn’t believe how amazing the attendants at the kiosk were.
I understand that even with the advice above, some may have a hard time thinking of the perfect idea so I pulled together a few suggestions that should make your life easier, and your time in at Fairview Mall, a lot more fun!
Gift Ideas for the Traveler:
Four years ago, a friend and I took off and wandered around Europe and Asia for 9 months. And as any traveler would tell you, being able to adapt to different environments is a challenge. Our goal for that trip was to be foreigners rather than tourists. Tourists are easy to spot, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Just because we travel doesn’t mean that it has be in tights, hoodies, sneakers, and backpacks.
Having options that are versatile are just as important as having a map. Think about it- a maxi dress, for example, can be dressed up or down, and is just as comfortable to wander around Rome in. I lived in maxi dresses, ballet flats, and cross body bag. Not only was that extremely comfortable, but I was able to blend and not look too much like a tourist. My black maxi dress is still the only thing I wear on long travel days.
That said, I want to share ideas for the traveler in your life. Keep in mind that you have to think outside the box to see it work:
Benefit Cosmetics Little Love Potions ($43) Sephora: No girl wants to lug around her entire makeup bag when she’s on the road. This is the PERFECT package to have in your carry-on. When we took off on our backpacking adventure, we had the smallest containers of all the essentials, so when we wanted to dress up, we had the tools to do so. People underestimate how much of a different under eye makeup can make!
Leather-Like Buckle Ankle Boot ($29) Le Chateau: Not only are they comfortable, but they are super stylish. My travel list always has a pair of heels and either ballet flats or ankle boots (depending on the weather)!
Crossbody bag ($89) Danier Leather: There are so many pockets, and zippers on this that we’re sure your things will stay safe. Plus, it’s super cute.
Notebook ($20) JCrew: I don’t care what anyone says, there is something magical about writing things down on the road. And this notebook has glitter! I still have mine, and go through it once in a while. It’s a great place to store little momentos on the road.
Headphones & Charger ($50-80) Best Buy: You need these. Traveling can take it’s toll really quickly so having the ability to escape with music or books was needed for my sanity. It also helps you from not getting really angry with your travel companion.
Gift Ideas for the Fashionista:
The tricky thing when defining “fashionistas” is the no 2 are the same. Everyone has their own unique style so what works for one style maven might not work for another. I tried our best to pull together a few staples that I feel would be a gift that almost everyone will enjoy:
Statement Necklace: Zara (range from $40-$90) Every girl needs one of these in her wardrobe. I have 9. EVERY SINGLE one of my girlfriends have at least 2 or 3. Plus, it’s one of those things you can never have enough of.
Shoes: Nine West. Not only are these comfy, but they have a great sale going on right now so you can pick one for yourself, too! This can get tricky unless you know the size and tastes (get a gift card if you’re not sure) but if you’ve done your research then you’ll know exactly what style will work. For example- I know my baby sister loves riding boots, and had been eyeing a pair of brown ones, so I picked those up. My other sister is in med school in Cali, and doesn’t think of things like heels, even she needs them for presentations now, so I picked up a pair of stunning yet comfy ones for her.
Bag: Zara. Fell in love with this bag. It’s black, white, and tan so it can be worn with everything. Not every girl can fit her life in a clutch, so having something slightly bigger yet still stylish is the perfect purse. (I picked this one for myself- BONUS: It fits my Macbook Air!)
Fur Stole: Le Chateau. This is the item this season.
Embellished Hat: Club Monaco. I love how you can add a bit of bling to an otherwise boring item. One of my all time favourite presents is a hat from 4 years ago. I wear that hat every winter.
Charmed bracelet: Pandora. This is on every girl’s wishlist, and getting them one will skyrocket you to the top of her favourite people’s list.