Every year I think that if I wait long enough, inspiration will suddenly hit me and I’ll get perfect presents for everyone. It’s happened before! More often, however, waiting for inspiration turns into running out of time and then, at that point, any gift will do.
This year I decided to do it differently, even if I don’t find the elusive perfect gift (sorry to people receiving gifts from me). I started before Thanksgiving - so early that people keep asking why I’m rushing around. But I’m quite proud to say I’m almost finished. The new strategy does have its downsides though. I keep running off somewhere because something is “An Additional 30% OFF!” and I feel triumphant. Of course, a day or two later it’s “An Additional 50% OFF!” and of course I feel deflated. The trouble with being early is that you have time to think too much, to worry and also to keep buying. Now that it’s “An Additional 50% OFF!” I must buy something else.
So as I rush around this holiday season, I’d like to stop for a minute and see if I can be helpful to anyone else. I have always found it obnoxious how department stores have holiday trimmings up a minute after Thanksgiving. But now I’m right in there, soaking up the atmosphere ready for the season. (I don’t mean commercially, I mean the experience). And isn’t being helpful part of this experience? Here are some ideas I hope are helpful in case you’re stuck or haven’t started shopping yet.
SEPHORA VALUE SETS The holiday season is probably the biggest time of year to save on cosmetics. The extra value is not usually a discount but in getting more products for less (which can seem a little Costco-ish - probably you don't know need 10 lip glosses at the same time -but it’s about as good as it gets). Here are some favorites I recommend:
Lash Stash Sephora sells a set of 15 mascaras from all different brands in one box. For the last two years I’ve seen it and thought about buying it. The first year I went back to get it after the holidays and they told me it was gone and only there for the holidays. The next year I saw it, thought about buying it and then went back before the holidays but they sold out. This year I forgot about it…until I was writing this post and remembered it. And guess what? Because of my early holiday strategy, I finally got it! It’s called “Lash Stash,” and includes the following:
- Tarte Multiple Eye
- Clinique High Impact Mascara (LOVE)
- Smashbox Full Exposure
- Sephora Outrageous Volume
- Benefit They’re Real
- Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Volumizing Mascara
- Bare Essentials Buxom Lash
- Tarte Lights, Camera, Action
- Fiberwig Paint on False Lashes
- Lancome Hypnose Drama
- Tarte Lash Primer
- d.j.v beautenizer fiberwig LX
- A pair of Sephora false eye lashes with eyelash glue
An example of the considerable price difference is that one D.J.V. Beautenizer Mascara is $22; this whole set is $45. You may or may not need 15 different mascaras, but since they should be replaced frequently anyway, why not try different ones? They are not all full-sized but are more than little samples and should take you into a lot of mascara seasons. Plus you’ll be the most educated mascara-wearer around.
Makeup Palettes If you’d like to have different shades of makeup but can’t/don’t want to spend the $, this is another opportunity to try a variety. Palettes also make a great gift because they’re something someone may not buy for herself but would love as a gift. There are a lot of options right now but I can personally recommend:
LORAC Pro Palette I use this palette for work. I’ve whittled down my bags of eye shadow to two MAC, two Prescriptives shades and this palette. The packaging is very light so you can have a collection of shades without feeling like you’re carrying the 16 shades included in this one palette. The shadow itself is blendable and wears beautifully. $42 ($110 value)
LORAC Eye Candy Full Face Collection This seasonal collection includes six palettes for eyes, lips and cheeks packaged like sparkly chocolate candy bars. I have used the eye shadows, cream eyeliners and cheek color and they are all good. I haven’t tried anything LORAC for lips but will definitely give them the benefit of the doubt. $59 (value $360)
Sephora also has nice, sturdy boxes as free gift-wrapping. Don’t do as I did and think about the mascara set you didn't get for two years. Keep your eyes open for limited edition sets and get them now if you can.
ORIGINS Origins is one of the best places to get a holiday gift because:
a) Everyone likes Origins products. If you’ve not tried them, you just don’t know that yet. Put them on your wish list because you will.
b) They have something for everyone. It’s possible to do a one-stop shop for almost everyone on your list and be done with it.
c) They have beautiful free gift-wrapping. It’s so nice that the gift-wrapping looks like it could be a present on its own!
Origins Salt Rub I can’t tell you how happy someone is to get an Origins Salt Rub. I'd be happy to get one and I used to get them all the time for free. It has these chunky granules of salt mixed with a minty body oil. Rub it on, rinse off and skin is so soft and smooth. You'll feel like you’re in your own personal spa.
Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream Oprah Winfrey named this one of her favorite products years ago. Of course that made it exceptionally popular and it’s still everyone else’s top favorite today. I don’t even like ginger but I like this product.
Clear Head Mint Shampoo with Knot-Free Finishing Rinse Yes, getting shampoo and conditioner doesn’t sound like an amazing gift. But this is not any old shampoo – it’s a minty clean sensation shampoo and peachy-lemony conditioner. Again, trust me, people will love it.
I recommend that you go to an Origins store because you’ll get to try the products for the full experience. And those who work there will be able to give you a wider range of products I don’t even know about.
PHILOSOPHY Philosophy is a gift-giving brand. They have great skin care, but also many products that are quirky, whimsical and fun. And who doesn’t want a quirky, whimsical and fun present? This holiday season they have products such as “Gingerbread Man,” “Candy Cane,” “Eggnog,” “Snow Angel.” They have great pricing and, like Origins, the packaging itself looks like a gift.
Naturally, after writing all this I inspired myself right into going to Sephora. So a dear friend and I went to “have a look.” We both work in beauty and she said, “I have so much stuff I don’t need this (or that).” I laughed at her, asking if she’s ever not been excited about getting products. She agreed and we went on to buy ourselves a couple gifts. So if you’re shopping and think someone already has enough products and won’t want more, you’re probably wrong. They may not need more but I can tell you that they will want them.
I realize the spirit of the holidays is not about buying gifts. But since we’re all buying gifts I hope I’ve given you a few ideas, because part of the spirit of the holidays is also not being stressed.
(If you're still stressed, you can always visit an Origins store and ask them for some Peace of Mind.)