Before you kick off your holiday shopping escapades, we caught up with Heather Hannan, PR Director for Macy’s Central region, to get her top shopping tips for holiday gift giving. Hannan, whose background includes a stint as a fashion writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, before landing her gig at Macy’s, offers her take on what’s trendy, what’s hot and what won’t cost you a lot of green this season.
Readers, take note: You can’t go wrong with cashmere! Read on to find out why.
Cincy Chic: Which gift trends do you think women will be excited about this holiday season?
Heather Hannan: Definitely, updated cold weather clothing and accessories. There is so much newness in boots this season that even the chic woman, who already owns a closet full, will find a fresh design or pattern this year. Boots go way beyond the traditional black leather knee-high style. Peep-toe grey suede booties, brown slouchy ankle boots and colorful print sweater style boots are just a few of the new must-have styles. But a classic that always proves a great chic gift is the cashmere sweater.
Cincy Chic: Is there one particular item or collection that stands out from the rest?
Hannan: Cashmere. Last year, we really saw an explosion of the traditional cashmere sweaters. This year, cardigans add newness to this classic fabrication. Cashmere is also a great investment for those shoppers looking for value-added gifts.
Cincy Chic: For the person on a budget, what’s the best gift to give for $20 or less?
Hannan: Scarves are the hottest accessory of the season and they are very affordable. Give someone a scarf in a hot new color, something that goes beyond their basic black and brown. There are tons of great prints and patterns that are great too.
Cincy Chic: What is the ideal gift for immediate family memebers?
Hannan: The greatest gifts aren’t the biggest or most expensive items, but ones that reflect some imagination and thought. If your sister likes to shop, buy her a new wallet and stick a Macy’s gift card in, too. If mom enjoys cooking, buy her Martha Stewart’s Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook cookbook and some fun Martha Stewart Collection holiday spatulas and bakeware. If dad is always on the go, how about a great pair of wrinkle-free pants or dress shirt and a new piece of luggage. And if brother likes to watch the latest movies on DVD, get him a few of his favorites and [pair them] with our Pro kettle popcorn maker. I look at gifts the same way I look at fashion, layering is very important.
Cincy Chic: Describe the best strategy for getting the best price on holiday gifts, knowing that this is a tighter economy.
Hannan: Look for ways to get more bang for your buck. Macy’s has a program this time of year called “Thanks for Sharing” that allows you to give back to your community and earn gift certificates. There is a one-time $25 enrollment fee charged to your Macy’s card. You earn 10 percent rewards on most of your Macy’s card purchases from now through Dec. 31, 2008. And $10 of the enrollment fee benefits these charities: The American Heart Association, March of Dimes and Make-A-Wish. Beginning in February 2009, we’ll mail your accumulated Rewards in the form of a Macy’s Gift Card that you can use at Macy’s stores nationwide or at www.macys.com.
Cincy Chic: With going green being such a big trend, can you recommend any eco-friendly gifts?
Hannan: Macy’s has a bath and bedding collection, called “Haven,” that offers sheets and towels made of 100 percent organic cotton. The genetically unaltered seeds are gown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers and the mature cotton is harvested in a sustainable manner. And its all done without sacrificing softness or style.
Cincy Chic: Best gift for someone who has everything?
Hannan: I don’t think the person with everything exists. You can’t have enough cashmere.
Cincy Chic: How about that last-minute gift-giver. Any advice for her?
Hannan: Don’t be afraid to ask one of our sales associates for advice. They have likely observed holiday shoppers all season and are very savvy to what the greatest holiday gifts are this year.
Cincy Chic: What are your holiday gift shopping tips?
- Make a list and create a strategy before you hit the store.
- Start early!
Cincy Chic: What are your gift giving tips?
- Stay away from items that are too trendy. You want a gift that has some longevity.
- Find ways to personalize and show that you care. Research the gift recipient’s favorite color, hobby and interests and then buy something that integrates one of these in it.
- Always have an “extra” gift at home for that person who you didn’t think you would receive a gift from, but did.
Hannan also shared that gift cards are also a great option, considering that they are always “one size fits all.” So, shop smart this holiday season, and enjoy all the free time you’ll have by following these hip tips.
Photo: Courtesy of Heather Hannan