sparkles with thousands of holiday lights. For some, this is a truly magical
time that has the power to make us forget all our troubles and embrace the joys
of life. For businesses, it can mean a make-or-break year, and so retailers are
desperately looking forward to this unique time of year. It is hard to resist
the call to ‘shop ‘til you drop,’ but Enrica Guidato has some suggestions for
choosing gifts in the spirit of the season.
Desire is the key word for business. Even those who are
usually quite responsible about shopping are attracted to anything that shines
at this time of year. We become obsessed with buying gifts, obsessed by the
search for the ‘perfect’ object that will make that one dear person smile.
During this extraordinary time we become kids again, associating happy feelings
with objects. We want that book or scarf or bracelet or gadget to generate a
warm feeling, a smile and a hug, and bring us closer to our family and friends.
can let yourself fall in love with the magical atmosphere of the holiday
marketplace without going overboard, however. In this sparkling city, tiny
artisan laboratories lie on every corner and flea markets are ready to surprise
you with vintage, recycled and ethnic products. For babies, avoid high-tech or
cheaply made toys and search out items that are playful, charming and cultural-and
locally made. For non-Italian visitors or residents, I suggest getting some
traditional Italian food items to send to relatives back home. And for Italians
I suggest the same exact thing. After all, in a time of economic crisis what is
better than supporting local businesses? (See page 19 for some of the food and
other ‘consumable’ gifts offered by various charities during the holiday
you want to give accessories, chose vintage for a unique charm. Or choose
something ironic and playful. This is the year of design gifts and the key word
is ‘surreal,’ including trompe l’oeil gloves with fingernails, earrings in the shape of headphones, and USB keys used
as rings. For women the key colors are powder pink, peacock blue and shiny
metals. Adornment ranges from studs to bows, depending on personal style.
Thinking ahead to spring, look for bright, beautiful garden colors, and
embellishments of flowers and butterflies. For men, technological items are, as
always, essential. In Italy, warm and fancy accessories are also perfectly
acceptable for men: choose purples and greens for an ‘old gentleman’ look.
Whether for men or women, this is the best time to get reasonably priced
cashmere items in a good choice of colors.
family and friends of any age, books and music make wonderful presents, as do
tickets to art exhibitions, museums, concerts, and dance performances. And for
something truly special, luxurious treats such as massages, spa days and beauty
treatments will take away stress and surely be appreciated.
remembering the true meaning of the season, a gift of charity in someone’s name
is a wonderful way to honor a person you love or admire.
stop reading and start shopping while the spirit is with you!