Buying gifts for others sends me into a tizzy. If I’m spending cash on you, I want you to like what I’m getting, but I also hate the idea of blatantly asking what you want and then buying the exact item. Thankfully, experts abound who have suggestions for sleuthing the perfect present so the recipient will be surprised and you’ll be satisfied.
T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods teamed together with gifting expert Julie Kenney this season, and I legitimately followed her around a Manhattan Marshalls, typing notes on my iPhone while she handed out gems of wisdom. If you see basic items that work would well for a hostess or colleague (like a candle or prettily packaged hand lotion), buy multiples. Don’t be afraid to purchase a three-pack of items either, completely intending to open it up and gift as separate pieces.
But my favorite genius tip from Julie? Before you start shopping for someone, check out her Pinterest account: It’s basically a gold mine of items the person loves. Whether or not you track down an exact item she has pinned, you can still get a clear understanding of the sort of items she likes and the stores she frequents.
Before you start shopping, arm yourself with some general ideas of what’s set to be big this season. I consulted with Dria Murphy, style director of shopping app Keep, to see what items she’s noticed popping up again and again. “Statement earrings, blanket scarves, and cozy sweaters have all been huge,” she said. Next, I tried to stump her with an always tough-to-buy for person: your boss. “Holiday candles are always a good gift for a boss, and I personally love fresh flowers in a unique vase.”
And, finally, if you’re completely unsure about what to get (or know someone particularly clueless who will be shopping for you), write down the number 1-855-404-GIFT. It’s a special gifting hotline from T.J.Maxx and Marshalls, open Dec. 4 through Dec. 7, and manned by experts ready to help shoppers find the perfect gift.