Regardless of how close you are to your friends and family or how talented you may be when it comes time to purchase presents, the task of choosing gifts can be a stressful moment during the holiday season. To prep for the onslaught of White Elephants, Secret Santas, Hannukah parties, and more, I spent the morning with Jeannie Mai, a gal who knows her way around Marshalls and T.J. Maxx.
With a few friends in mind, Mai toured me through the stores, speeding up and down the aisles and quickly finding gems that I would have missed. With her expertise and affinity for creativity, I crossed four friends off my list - two of which are exceptionally hard to shop for when it comes to gifts. By providing Mai with just a few details about my friends, she was able to scan the shelves, dip into aisles, and unleash an array of tips and tricks I simply had to share with you.
- Take your smart phone with you. Though this seems obvious, your phone serves as a To Do list, its camera function provides a reminder of fun times you and your friends or family members have had together, and it allows you to scroll through their social media feeds for inspiration.
- Use Pinterest to your benefit. Type in words that describe your friend while shopping to jump start your brain, and lead to you their ideal, innovative present.
- Shop with sales ladies. Ask for tips and ideas - it's a good way to step out of your own head.
- Don't settle for the way products are sold. If you're buying a gift basket of culinary items, purchase a serving bowl and redesign the presentation. If you're buying a set of bracelets, also pick up a jewelry holder to show them off.
- Get creative with your delivery. If you're gifting a photo with a frame, wrap the frame and place it in your friend's home. It'll be a fun way for them to discover your present.
Though the morning was all about the idea of gifting, Mai also let us in on two of her favorite tips for dressing during the holiday season when it seems like there's just one party after another.
- Invest in key statement separates and layer over a little black dress.
- Don't be afraid to standout and look different. Smolder your eyes or opt for a rouge, dark lip, especially if it's out of your normal look.
In even more exciting news, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls are removing the pressure of Black Friday and Cyber Monday with their own shopping extravaganza. Beginning on December 3rd, the brand will bring together some of their favorite shopping personalities including Guiliana Rancic, Lilliana Vazquez, and Glam's own Michelle Madhok of She Finds and NicoleFeliciano of Momtrends to assist shoppers through a hotline ... 1-855-404-GIFT (4438). The hotline will be live for four days from 9 am to 5 pm EST, allowing individuals to call in and ask for specific advice from the talented professionals.