With the holiday rush fast approaching, I was joined recently by Gifts.com editor-in-chief, Dana Holmes and men's gift editor, Dan Tower to discuss the must have gifts for men, women and kids! From finding great art and beautiful jewelry to tablet PC's for children, how to prevent identity theft when shopping online and much more!
Dana Holmes and Dan Tower of Gifts.com
Candace Rose: Dana, as editor-in-chief at Gifts.com, what are the first steps we need to take before holiday shopping this year?
Dana Holmes: "Well, definitely budget is more important than ever, so you want to make sure you make your list, write down everything: who you're shopping for and how much you want to spend on each of them. Stay focused on that sheet of paper, don't go anywhere without it and also if you're shopping online, make sure that you use one credit card and track all of your online purchases, that way it's much easier to see if your identity has been compromised."
Candace Rose: Why is having a holiday shopping plan so important?
Dana Holmes: "Well you want to just get started now."
Dan Tower: "Yeah, I mean the key is to get started. You know you don't want that feeling of having to be behind the eight ball; getting it done gives you peace of mind. One great tool we have at Gifts.com is called the 'personality profiler' and what that is it's a quick little quiz that you take and you answer a few questions about the people you're getting gifts for and then what we do is we generate some really unique gift ideas based on your answers, and then you can shop these ideas and they're great. They're super suggestions."
Dana Holmes: "Right, and you can pair it down by your budget too which makes it super easy; so whether they're a trendanista or a DIY guy or a hostess, we'll find the gifts that match them perfectly. And speaking of the trendanista- one of the biggest trends for ladies this year is sparkle and what sparkles more than fine jewelry? But if you're going to be one of the many who are expected to spend over 18 billion dollars this holiday season on fine jewelry, you also want to make sure you're one of the smart who looks into getting it insured.
Jewelers Mutual is the only exclusively jewelry insurance company based in the U.S. and Canada and they have a website: insureyourjewelry.com where you can log on and get a free estimate as to how much it would cost. And it starts around $10 a year to insure your jewelry, so that's a really great investment to protect your major investment in your jewelry."
Dan Tower: "And that's a super tip for guys who are actually going out and getting a lot of this jewelry. Another trend that we're seeing for guys is the DIY: the do-it-yourselfer. Guys are getting out there and trying to tackle all the home projects but what you want to do is probably steer clear of equipment and tools. It's kind of a mindfield, you don't know what he has; you don't know what he needs. A good way and a safe way to go about it is get some workwear. Now this is the Craftsman workwear jacket- it is a sherpa lined jacket that's got teflon coating in the material, so not only is the jacket really warm but it's very durable, very rugged. It repels water, it repels oil and the things it gets into. The jacket retails for around $100, it's available at Sears and Sears.com exclusively. But this will become his go-to jacket for years to come."
Craftsman Workwear Sherpa lined Teflon coated Jacket from Sears and Sears.com exclusively
Dana Holmes: "It's really soft too; it's not one of those really stiff work jackets."
Dan Tower: "Yeah, it's just has has that really kind of rough like workwear look to it. We love this one."
Dana Holmes: "And workwear is a trend for men's fashion right now too."
Dan Tower: "It sure is."
Candace Rose: And what are some of the other trends you're seeing especially for those on a budget?
Dana Holmes: "Well, for teenagers, you know you want to make sure that you're getting them something cool and what's in today is out tomorrow; but a really big trend for teenagers this year is that they're rebelling against technology. It's not that they're giving up their iPhones or their phones at all but they want to spend some time away from a screen, and so a big trend this year is the '90s. You'll see all these pop colors and you may even remember these slap bracelets from the '90s. It's really fun. Let me try to get this on Dan; so you slip them right on, they're only $25, they make a great gift for teens. They come in a rainbow of colors. They can swap them, trade them and it keeps their phone in their pocket for a minute so they can check the time on their wrist for a change."
Candace Rose: Well, as long as scrunchies aren't back, I'm okay with the '90s!
Dana Holmes: "Me too!"
Dan Tower: "You know, another huge trend that we've seen this year and from years past is Consumer Electronics gadgets have been huge. This year the kids are getting in on the action, this is the LeapPad from LeapFrog, this will be one of the hottest toys of the year, it's a tablet; touch screen tablet for kids (ages around four to nine). But you load it up with educational apps and a lot of fun games. They're going to love it because they have their own tablet; but the more important thing is parents are going to love it because they finally get their iPad back."
Dana Holmes: "And touch screens are everywhere this year. It seems like for everybody from kids to the seniors."
Candace Rose: And what are some of the biggest changes you've both seen in gift giving?
Dana Holmes: "Well, it's really all about being creative. People aren't quite spending as much as they used to and so they really want their gifts to mean something and that's what we've tried to show you here today. But on Gifts.com you can come and find a whole world of inspired gift ideas from our editors who spend all year round trying to find the best gifts."
Dan Tower: "Yeah, we really do ry to find stuff new and exciting like every single day and just the other day we found a really cool site called AmericanFlat.com. You may see this art print on the back of us? That's what they do, they curate some very cool art prints and limited editions and very affordable but still really good size prints. Now art can be intimidated, people can say 'well, I don't know what to get? I don't know. I kind of know what I like but I really don't know what to do.'"
Dana Holmes: "So true."
A close up of the print on set from AmericanFlat.com
Dan Tower: "American Flat makes it really easy to pick out a cool piece of artwork that's super accessible and really affordable."
Dana Holmes: "You can even look up by your favorite color and find artworks that surround that color, so they make it super simple to get high quality limited edition real art in your house. It's great for the new home, new apartment; new couple. A great gift!"
American Flat is a great website to find great prints and limited edition artwork!
Candace Rose: Are gift cards still as popular this year?
Dana Holmes: I think if you're going the gift card route you want to make sure that you don't look like you didn't put any thought into it, and the great way to get a gift card that doesn't look that way is to go with the gift of experience. There are so many options out there from race car driving school to chocolate tastings to a spa experience they can use around the world. There are plenty of options and Gifts.com has a really great tool to help you find those."
Dan Tower: "Yeah, we have an interactive map which lets you choose the city where the person you're buying the gift for lives, so they can see what's available in their kind of neck of the woods. One that I just saw that's kind of near me- there's a Ninja class where you can send someone to learn how to become a Ninja."
Candace Rose: Is Brian Wilson teaching it? (I'm a SF Giants fan, I had to ask!) 😉
Candace Rose: Do you both have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
Dana Holmes: "Well, for more gift ideas and for more gift inspiration, definitely check out Gifts.com."