Holiday Guide: Visions of sugarplums and shopping dancing in GW students’ heads

The sugarplum fairy won’t be the only one dusting dreams this year. Santa has a tall order to fill as holiday gift giving is expected to reach an all-time high. Those indications follow last year’s jump in Internet commerce and Americans’ increased spending power because of strong financial markets.

For college students, that’s good news.

Though students’ preferences in style and brand may range from Urban Outfitters to the Armani Exchange or Bath and Body Works to L’Occitane, some said they have definite gift ideas in mind – to give and receive.

Anything from Tiffany’s, freshman Kiersten Marino said. Lingerie from boyfriends, leather purses and Italian shoes from your parents are a good choice, she said.

Her roommate, Lia Testa, took a decidedly simpler approach.

I would rather have a thoughtful gift than an expensive gift, she said. Homemade gifts are fun.

For those strapped for time amid finals, local merchants offered some gift ideas that are sure to dazzle the person on the receiving end.

Messenger bags are really popular, said Andrea Thies, assistant manager at The Body Shop in Georgetown. The hemp moisturizer is really popular, as are the aroma jars and shower gels.

Men and women’s fashions constantly change, but cashmere continues to be a top seller for the likes of the Banana Republic and JCrew crowds. Merino wool is also quite popular, and stretch pants as well as square-toed shoes fit the bill for most young people, store representatives said. And for both sexes, pea coats seem to be the choice for outerwear at GW this winter.

For the more relaxed shopper, the Gap continues to market its tech-vest look but is emphasizing fleece this holiday.

Our most popular items are anything we make in the warmest material, said Gap manager April, who declined to give her last name. Fleece is really good.

For jewelry addicts, silver and power beads are in.

Power beads are popular, said Paula Blount, a salesperson in the jewelry department at the Metro Center Hecht’s. I thought silver would just be for the summer, but people are still buying it for the winter, she said.

Savvy shoppers for younger brothers and sisters said Pok?mon is the rage for the younger set. Parents can be entertained with classic gifts like books or other lasting items.

Freshman Rupa Sekhar said she enjoys functional gifts.

After you’ve passed the point of wanting toys, you want clothes, CDs and money, she said. I just want stuff that’s going to be realistic for me to use.

Freshman Corina Monagin agreed but said she always forgets what she wants when asked.

When people ask me what I want, I always forget, and then two days later I remember, and then I call, and they have already gotten me something, she said.

Whether your holiday list is already at the North Pole or still on the drawing table, the gift opportunities are endless. But with a little care, anyone can select the perfect gift to please even the most discerning person. And when all else fails, those simple gifts from the heart will brighten the holidays for everyone on the list.

So, best wishes in dusting the dreams of others this year with your own touch of holiday magic – whether from the heart or the nearest mall.

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