December is traditionally associated with gift giving, as shoppers set out during the busy holiday season, eager to find something that is unique or special. This year, Northbrook area retailers are ready to help shoppers find that perfect gift for that hard-to-buy for someone special.
Karen Scott at Kovet in Willow Festival reports that a hot or trendy gift is fur hand warmers for $84. “They are amazing and come in 6 different colors; one size fits all for this luxurious gift!” Other versatile gifts are winter hats, scarves, jewelry, and handbags. “We have a ‘can’t always beat ‘em so why not join ‘em’ approach with regard to online sales and have our own online store at www.shopkovet.com.”
At Juniper, sparkles are still the rage, and the hot trend is the open “cold shoulder” on dressy tops. Bomber jackets are also a trend according to owner Liz Dunton, which can be worn with a tank top and jeans. Graphic tees that can be paired with a blazer are also trending. Cashmere gloves and hats make good gifts. A hot new gift is a Bandolier phone case that covers an iPhone, with an optional pouch that can be clipped, worn in cross body fashion replacing the need for a purse.
Area jewelers offer hand crafted gifts that have a personal touch. Jacqueline’s reports that clients like to repurpose their old jewelry and create a memorable gift for a daughter, son or grandchild. To counteract online competitors, Joel Kagan at Smart Jewelers offers custom jewelry designs “which definitely cannot be done online.” Customers can take care of repairs or repurpose jewelry in the store with the inhouse jeweler. The store has also expanded its watch and jewelry service department.
At downtown la de da!, “Love Your Melon” beanies are flying off the shelves according to owner Jill Carlisle. An added benefit is that for every beanie sold a donation is made to pediatric cancer patients. Monogrammed items are also popular.
Books and related items are a perennial favorite for holiday shopping. “Amid all the “stuff” surrounding us, when we gift a book, we show we’ve taken time to consider the things in which our friends and family are interested,” comments Book Bin owner Allison Mengarelli. She adds that all things Cubs and Hamilton as well as Chicago in general are in big demand. “We specialize in recommending great gifts to suit each person on your list, and it is our personal service that keeps customers coming back again and again. If you are thinking of topping off the stack of other holiday presents with a special item, come to the Book Bin and consider a book that will expand hearts and minds.”
Fitness devices, tablets, phones, cameras and even drones are more lightweight than in the past, are more powerful and are available at all price points, according to experts at Best Buy.
Some brands of fitness trackers, such as Fit Bit start at $100 and have a number of new accessories built in that track calories burned and sleeping patterns. High end devices resemble watches and can be programmed for personal training regimens and connect to GPS.
One of the hottest gifts is the Amazon Echo, a wireless voice activated personal assistant. “Alexa” can answer virtually any question, play music, order household products online and turn out lights on command. The cost is under $200. Google also has its own version called Google Assistant for $130.
Action cameras vary in features, ruggedness and price, many under $359. The GoPro Hero can capture videos in 4K as well as still images. Nikon has its own version with high quality photos.
Gaming systems are also hot this year with several new systems. The XBox One S, which includes an ultra HD Blu-ray player and built-in WiFi that can stream 4K content from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other services. The Nintendo NES, which launched last month, features 30 retro games.
Once considered a fringe gift, there is a wide range of drones ranging in price points from $300 – $400 for amateur use to over $1,000 for commercial use. Some include built-in cameras, that can shoot video as well as still shots.