I’m a marketer’s dream when it comes to the holidays. A notorious shopper and passionate gifter, I possess a comically high threshold when it comes to holiday cheer. I clapped wildly when my Pottery Barn ‘decorate for the holidays’ catalog arrived in the mail in mid-October and even caught myself singing ‘Let it Snow’ in late August. Whether you’re a gleeful reveler or just prepping for the cosmic event that is this year’s Christmas and Hanukkah falling on the same day (it’s like Halley’s Comet or finding The Last Unicorn in a video store!), start shopping early.
The holidays have their own shopping rules. While a reindeer scarf might be wildly inappropriate for an early December birthday, it looks just fine coming out of a stocking. Head for open-air markets for such gifts, like the Union Square Holiday Fair, which opens November 23rd and offers holiday chintz (including an almost psychotic array of hats, gloves and scarves) along with old New York prints and hipster tees. If you’ve caught the department store bug, but are looking for something unique, try Takashimaya (693 Fifth Ave) This shrine to fancy housewares boasts a lobby filled with the most luscious flower arrangements and pots in the city, followed by floors of high-end treasures from glassware to kimonos and a tea salon in the basement.
For the women in your life who’ve earned more than a small trinket, Anthropologie (85 Fifth Ave) is a one-stop shopping experience to cover a variety of ages. It’s a chain, yes, but it’s tough to beat a place where you can find a funky pin for Grandma, a feminine-yet-not-girly cardigan for Mom and a sassy skirt for Sis. For the women who want more booze in their eggnog, try Destination (32-36 Little W. 12th St) in the Meatpacking District and pick up a chapeau with a bold silhouette. For the men you value, make a pit stop at either Thomas Pink (520 Madison Ave) or Paul Smith (108 Fifth Ave). While both are fabulously British, Thomas Pink is for the true gentleman: a dignified male with a taste for manners, a good pinot and, above all, cuff links. Paul Smith is that guy’s irresponsible brother: a fashionable fox who’d pair a velvet blazer with ripped jeans and a tuxedo shirt.
Two kinds of presents always bring me peals of excitement — chocolates and books. Visit Jacques Torres’ (68 Water St, DUMBO) chocolate factory to watch chocolates being made and choose from a decadent array of flavors. They even like people hanging around and drinking hot chocolate, which is more than I can say for Bergdorf Goodman.
Above all, strive to give people the gift they should receive — even if they haven’t earned it. The look on someone’s face when you get a gift just right makes dodging manic shoppers swinging bulky bags worth it.