December 10, 2012

Ask Allie: Holiday Gift Advice

Dear Allie, I was wondering if you could help me, my best friend is really fashionable and I have no clue what to get her as a present. I was thinking you may be able to help me and suggest some gifts that fashionable women would like thank you.

I must admit it's hard to buy someone a  "fashionable" gift. What is considered fashionable to one may be seen as tacky or against their personal style to another. We fashionistas are usually pretty self-sufficient folk and buy that which we desire or need to complete our personal style.  However, it's sweet to buy a gift that shows you listen to and know your loved one.

I find luxury or pampering gifts to be good choices for fashionistas -a pair of leather gloves in a signature color, a fancy candle, a pashmina or scarf.  Also accessories are great that don't have to be part of an ensemble - makeup bags and glasses cases in unique textiles or prints, monogrammed or personalized pieces, a winter scarf or earmuffs.  Fashion books are always a great choice, as are pieces from designer collections for non-fashion brands (Rodarte for Starbucks, Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection, etc.).  I also recommend checking out the gift guides on other blogs - while I don't do gift guides, most other fashion bloggers do and have their finger on the pulse of small, unique, and fashionable gifts.

Essentially, you want to get something that shows you know your friend and respect her passion, but doesn't force her to sacrifice her style to wear it.  Think in terms of accents instead of the main dish, and you can't really go wrong. 

My new husband has five nieces and nephews ranging in age from 2 - 8, any suggestions on a good Christmas gift for them? I'm at a loss and haven't met most of them.

Books. You can't go wrong with books. While a gift of books won't give you the title of Coolest Aunt on the Planet, it will be used, enjoyed, and won't get you dirty looks from their parents. As a parent, I am thrilled for any gift that doesn't make noise, isn't plastic, and doesn't eat batteries. And as a parent, I know how quickly Emerson goes through books and a fresh story is always welcome.  A great thing about gifts for little kids is that even if it's a duplicate it will be welcomed - kids up to five can trash books, and I know I love having second copies of Emerson's favorites in the car or my mom's house.  As for finding appropriate books for the age group, ask your local bookstore staff, or check out the Listmania on Amazon.

Joel D. Smith, my friend since college and now a newscaster in Baltimore recently wrote a children's book called Santa's Secret Deal, and it's a great gift for kids. Joel's book is about AnTas, an elf who gets upset over kids throwing their toys around and not respecting them. The story is engaging enough that Emerson made me read it to her for over seven nights in a row, with adorable cartoons and rhymes that stick with you. Not only that, there's a pact at the end that one can do with the book recipient, making it personal and interactive. This book would be great for kids ages four and up. Santa's Secret Deal is available on the book's website (allow at least a week for delivery), many national and Baltimore book stores; the eBook version is available via Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

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