From Our Lips to Santa’s Ears

Seven tips for better holiday gift-giving

Dear Santa,

I’ve been so good this year. Last year, I really wanted the Louis Vuitton Monogram Mahina handbag. I’m not sure if you received my letter, because instead I got a universal remote. My husband was really excited, but me, not so much. He said it was practical and it would help us get along better because I wouldn’t be yelling anymore about which remote goes to what. I was wondering if maybe I could put that back out for you with the cookies and milk in exchange for the Christian Louboutin jewel-encrusted Fife? That seems to be a little more my speed, and I’m sure there is someone else that has the remote on their list. Also, can you please let my grandma know to stop giving me lingerie? I still haven’t worn the last five Miss Elaine nightgowns that she sent me. I think I have enough.

Love, Jenna


I find myself reflecting this holiday season about the good old days, a time where my wish list to the North Pole was the biggest project on my agenda. Then I start thinking about my gift list and what I am going to get my peeps. We try so hard to get it right, but sometimes we miss the mark entirely. (Like the time I gave my first boyfriend an 8-by-10 glossy photo of me. Thanks, Glamour Shots!).

Here are seven tips to make sure that your gift-giving season is the most stellar yet.

1. Attention couples talking marriage: Be careful what you select. Any package that might look remotely like it could be a ring that isn’t might cause trouble. One year, a friend was waiting for her proposal. She received a stocking, and her heart started to pitter-patter with excitement that it was finally the day. Inside was a one-year gym membership.

2. Leave all of the blenders, vacuums, etc., on the shelves. 3. Give a gift that you think they will love, not something that you would love for yourself.

4. An experience gift keeps on giving. Whether you choose cooking classes or working with a stylist or a professional organizer, this is a gift that will be memorable and keep giving even after the experience is over. 5. Just say no to Christmas sweaters.

6. Buy the real thing. If she wants a FENDI, don’t think a FREINDY (fake) is going to make her happy.

7. Give the gift of pampering. Most of us don’t take out enough time for ourselves, especially during the holidays. Make it extra special by getting pampered together.

In an age when communicating with people has turned into sound bites on Twitter or via Facebook and texting, take a step back to more simple days. If only we took as much time with our friends as we do reading the latest celebrity gossip, shopping online or rearranging our fantasy football team.

This year I vow to put human contact back into my life. I will spend time with my loved ones and let them know how important they are to me. I commit to never pull out my phone and see who else or what else there is to distract me. We spend our lives trying to find love and share the love we have to give, so give the greatest gift that you have to give: you.

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Jon Gray

The Look

Jon Gray

Style icons: Frank Sinatra, Sam Rothstein and Tom Ford. What he’s wearing now: Custom-made jacket, pants and shirt, Neiman Marcus cashmere sweater, Saks Fifth Avenue bow tie, American Apparel underwear, RVCA socks and Esquivel shoes.