Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Holiday gift guide

I've always hated holiday gift guides. In magazines, they always took away from the fashion spreads and collages of clothes that I love in magazines. And, come on! A high school or college student is NOT going to spend $500 on a cashmere sweater, $125 on a pair of hot sunglasses, or even $75 for some cool gag item for a gift. It just isn't going to happen.

And, let's face it, with the economy the way it is, even the "under $100" gifts seem daunting. Soooo... I've compiled a list of some of my favorite low cost, somewhat local gift ideas. Use them if you want, but I PROMISE they will not detract from the fashion I would normally post. :-)

There aren't that many hot items this year. Last year it was the deep fryer. The year before that rotisseries, the year before that magic bullets, and the list goes on. This year is the year of the donut maker, but no one wants that, so here are my suggestions:

1. Jewelry and watches. Okay, I wouldn't normally be into jewelry, but the big, eye-catching jewelry that's so unique and hot right now, just gets me. It's so different and there's so much of it! And, you can get it cheap. If you have about $10-20 you can go to Loehman's (and probably TJ Maxx or Marshalls or even Ross) and pick up some great costume jewelry both on clearance and on the regular racks. At Loehmans, I saw some great stuff originally $40 down to $5 on clearance and the non-clearance stuff is great, too. I picked up some Betsey Johnson watches for $30 over Thanksgiving weekend and they had Anne Klein, too. Normally in the $100 range, there for about $20-30.

2. Handmade. I recommend making it yourself. Much cheaper and sometimes free if you recycle! Joann Fabrics and your local fabric stores (I recommend the $1.99 sale always on at Fabrics-R-Us in San Jose or the Fashion District in LA) have some great deals. Make a handbag, a pillow, an eye mask, a scarf, whatever. If you can't make it yourself check out They have pretty much everything. Some cheap, some not. You can also buy stuff I handmade from me here. And, if you know me, and want to commission me to knit a scarf, wristwarmers, or sew a handbag, I may do it!

3. Fragrance. This is the most expensive item here. Say you wanna get someone on your list perfume or cologne, but you don't know what they like. has this EPIC deal called a brand sampler. For $50 ($70 for the more expensive stuff) you get 10 samples of perfume or cologne (depending on if you get the men's or women's) and a voucher for a full sized bottle of one of the samples. So, you try all 10, pick the one you like, bring your voucher to the store and get a full-size of one of the samples you got! The full sized bottles can cost $70 or more, so you save $20, too. Pretty great, huh?! Men's is here. Women's here and here and here. There's more if you are a Sephora insider.

Websites and events to check out for more gift ideas:
1. - the front page always has great deals. You might be able to pick up something for $3 for all the people on your list. Or, if you are looking for something specific or coupon codes, search the forums. Very reputable.

2. This website (if you live in SF) for local craft and artisan events going on this month for handmade Christmas gifts.

3. Ready Made Holiday Party in San Francisco. My friend Katy Cheung is selling her jewelry there. She's head designer for a department store costume jewelry line so you know she's gonna be good! Here's her website. She's done some amazing stuff and for Desperate Housewives and the Red Carpet! In case you can't see the Ready Made webpage, here are the details for the event:

December 4th
Thursday, 6:30—9:30pm
Verdi Club
2424 Mariposa Street
(between Hampshire and Potrero)
San Francisco

with number of guests including yourself—the more the merrier