The Halloween costumes are packed away and stores are piping in the carols, it is a signal: Get ready for the busiest shopping season of the year.
Consumers plan to spend an average of $704.18 on gifts this year, down 2.1 percent from a year ago, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer survey.
To make those dollars count, shoppers want to know they’re buying the right gift.
“In 2009, it was all about personal, practical gifts, and last year consumers wanted to treat their loved ones to something special,” said Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director at BIGresearch. “This year, it’s a little bit of both.”
According to the research, exactly half of the respondents picked accessories and apparel as their choice of gift for the holiday. Others chose electronics, jewelry, or personal-care items.
To make your shopping easier, here’s a guide that offers up ideas that should suit you if you want to give something trendy or something practical, or a little of both.
By Sally Shin
Posted 08 November 2011
J. Crew Edie Purse
J. Crew’s Edie purse is a bag for women of all ages. Boxy bags are very popular, and this bag’s vintage look was inspired by Grace Kelly’s chic style. It has all the right touches to make it a necessity for women of any age, whether in her 20s or her 60s.
The poppy red is a festive color that suits the winter season, but the leopard print makes a statement of sophisticated style.
We are continuing to see the trend of layered accessories, but rather than stacked chunky bangles, we are seeing more creative layers. This Miansai bracelet, donned by celebrities such as Freida Pinto and Miley Cyrus, has been inspired by a rustic-nautical theme. Its eclectic style goes well with many styles ranging from “grungy” to “preppy.”
Celine Clutch Pouch
The 21st century women wants to look like the Renaissance man, and fashion is just one part of it. So why not give her a gift that fits her stature, but still has a feminine touch.
While the Celine Luggage tote was the “it” bag last season, these colorful but simple pouches have been seen making a statement in the workplace.
Navajo Sweater, Urban Outfitters
Navajo prints first hit the runway back in February. Designers from Proenza Schouler to Balenciaga drew inspiration from Native American designs, and that has trickled down to mid-tier stores.
This Native American motif sweater from Urban Outfitters is an example of this fashion-forward look. It combines trend, comfort, and style, and the price is pretty affordable, as well.
It’s also an example of how runway fashion can steer us into the right direction in terms of style, but affordability is important when it comes to gifts.
Yves Saint Laurent Y-Mail iPad Sleeve
Although electronics sales are expected to see growth of barely 1 percent this holiday season, accessories will be very popular, according to retail consultants Customer Growth Partners.
Since iPads are the iPods of a decade ago, why not dress up the tech gadgets that she already owns?
Nearly every designer has jumped on the iPad cover bandwagon. Designers from Chanel to Diane von Furstenberg to Tod’s have all rolled out slick covers for your handy gadget.
The Yves Saint Laurent is one that is subtle and classic, but still stylish.
Moleskine Large Storyboard Notebook
Will 2012 be the year of travel or life changes? Whatever year lies ahead for the New Year, why not document it? Moleskine notebooks could be a great gift for those who love to scrapbook. The storyboard notebook can fit in most pocketbooks and it comes in variety of colors. May 2012 be the year of great memories.
Eddie Ballet Flat by Tory Burch
Price: $149 to $178, depending on materials
Tory Burch came out with iconic logo-flats couple years ago. The shoes were an instant success, blending style, color, and comfort. This season, the company is out with a new touch, revealing a more sophisticated look with colors to compliment what is in style this season. Whether you pick maroon flats in suede or mustard yellow in patent leather, there is a color for any woman.
Tom Ford Lipstick — Wild Ginger
We got a sneak preview of Tom Ford’s cosmetics line during Fashion’s Night Out back in September. Lipsticks flew off the shelves, and getting your hands on one was a challenge. But brace yourselves: Tom Ford launched a collection in November that is the “it” makeup for this season.
“Wild Ginger” is a bright red hue; perfect for the confident strides she will be taking this winter to brace the cold.
Price: $450 to $625
Nathan Myhrvold, once a chief technical officer at Microsoft, quit his job more than 10 years ago to pursue his true passion — cooking and food science. He teamed up with Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, who both worked at The Fat Duck, a restaurant famous for its experimental kitchen — to create the book of all modern cookbooks, “Modernist Cuisine.”
The trio built a state-of-the-art kitchen and spent many years studying the art and science of it. The result is this six volume, 2,438-page masterpiece that tackles everything from the fundamentals of cooking to artistic craftsmanship.
I’ll warn you, these volumes are heavy, but for true foodies this is a staple for the kitchen.
Anthropolgie Monogrammed Mugs
It was a warm summer. But as the winter chills set in, a monogrammed cup would fit perfectly by the fireplace. The lettering gives it a personal touch, yet it is elegant and the perfect size for anyone’s stocking.