Let's skip straight to the anxiety part. We love online gift shopping for its at-home ease, speed and variety, but hate the traffic jam of choices and incentives. Choosing who gets what and how much we spend is now driven by pushy discount incentives, “points,” code words for extra savings and alert warnings: Sale ends tonight! Only hours to go! Free samples with every purchase over $100!. Try to ignore all the noise and hoo-ha and focus on the gift-getters’ current situation. Aim for practical with an unexpected tweak. And yep, I stuck to a few sites for all of my presents — another speed-buying tip when you leave gift shopping to the last minute ... like I do. Here's some advice when buying for six specific types of friends, relations and associates:
1. An edgy hipster
Look for a statement gift — anything that adds a sharper focus to everyday outfits (even jeans, midi skirts and chambray shirts) and constantly evolving hipster haircuts and tattoos. Color is the key ingredient here so look for a need-to-have item and then amp it up. Good buys include dual-tone readers, crayon-bright sneakers and a trendy Instagram-worthy lipstick hue. It's guaranteed instant merry all around.
Maybelline Color Sensational Loaded Bold Lipstick ($5, target.com) in a trendy shade like Berry Bossy or Gone Greige.
Peepers Shine On Readers in Green ($25, peepers.com). Oprah loves these!
The Studio Readers in blue/tortoise ($15, readers.com) for surprise views!
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Nylon Low Top in Blue or Red ($47, nike.com) makes black jeans, a turtleneck and blazer that much cooler.
2. An environmentalist
Anyone into saving the planet craves clothes that combine style and sustainability. Stick to eco-friendly brands that upcycle by reusing old clothing or fabrics, recycle materials like plastic waste and bottles and work with ethically responsible factories in a transparent way. And, of course, stay with organic or natural beauty items for gifting, too.
H&M Conscious Knit Sweater ($25, hm.com). The Conscious brand is a chic feel-good buy.
Brainiac by Good Chemistry Body Mist Spray ($10, target.com) adds a head-to-toe hint of essential oils with energizing citrus, peppercorn and vanilla.
Alternative ApparelBaseball Eco-Jersey T-Shirt ($38, alternative apparel.com) in 13 colors of repurposed fabrics.
Duke Cannon Supply Co. Solid Cologne in Air/Open Skies ($25, target.com), an organic, natural crisp light balm in a tin, melts into skin on application.
3. A classic
Fashion smashion. Classics love their routines, timeless wardrobe and trustworthy Hall of Fame beauty brands. Disrupt aging with a touch of attitude and gifts that respect their choices but stir things up.
L.L. Bean Shaker-Stitch Sweater, V-Neck Pullover in Gray Heather Marl or Black ($50, llbean.com). This softly fitted hip-length cotton sweater has a longer drop-tail hem at the back — opt for a classic neutral.
Tahitian Gardenia by Pacifica Spray Perfume ($15, target.com), a twist on a very traditional floral, lighter with hints of citrus and tea — vegan and cruelty-free, too.
Goodfellow & Co. Men's Plaid Standard Fit Long Sleeve Pocket Flannel Button-Down Shirt in Alaskan Blue or Ac Blue ($25, target.com, also avail in Big & Tall sizes). Looks rugged, movie-star fabulous on everyone regardless of size.
Cremo Bourbon & Oak Spray Cologne ($23, target.com). With elegant vetiver-and-woods spicy notes, it smells just like a pricey designer scent. Pass it on.
4. The traveler
Whether they're check-everything types or carry-on-only devotees, add a little comfort during turbulence or waits at the gate with a cozy scarf long enough — a good 72 inches, please — to wrap up in or snooze on when folded as a pillow. Add a daily moisturizer with SPF 30 to nourish and protect en route.
Aveeno Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin SPF 30 ($14, target.com) babies and protects complexions even on cloudy cold days, when UV rays can still nab ya.
Old Navy Flannel Blanket Scarf for Women in Yellow Plaid ($7, oldnavy.com) is a luxurious 76 by 32 inches; tie it a zillion ways and brighten winter months to come.
L.L. Bean Ultralight Down Scarf ($50, llbean.com) snuggles up to his neck and chest over or under a coat or jacket, or solos with a sweater or fleece.
Harry's Men's Face Lotion SPF 15 ($9, target.com) hydrates his dry cold skin with shea butter and protects with non-greasy mineral sunscreen.
5. The walker
Trying to create or stick to a daily fitness regimen is a holiday promise we make and break every year. Give your chums and loved ones a reason to get moving with a can't-wait-to-wear-it hat, a bath soak to ease muscles at night, or a yummy sweatshirt to count your paces in.
Village Naturals Therapy Aches+Pains Nighttime Relief Concentrated Mineral Bath Soak ($5, target.com). Epsom salts, lavender, chamomile and a hint of menthol soothe away tension, stress and bloat for a workout reward.
Cable Knit Faux Fur Trapper Hat ($29, urbanoutfitters.com). Bet the faux fur at ear flaps and pom-poms will push her out the door.
Degrees Bluetooth Ear Warmer ($40, walmart.com). These sleek earmuffs come with charging cable so you can take calls or listen to music or an audiobook while keeping ears toasty.
Everlane “100% Human” Unisex French Terry Sweatshirt ($50, everlane.com).
6. The socializers
Selfie-ready and always on the go, they'll be posting a picture of your gift, for sure. If they're not at the movies, they're at a grandkid's play, community meetings, a new restaurant, or having drinks or hot chocolate with friends. Their self-confidence and humor call for fun socks or a cardigan for him and a shadow palette to enhance bright eyes or a stand-out-in-the-crowd sweater for her.
Old Navy Textured Crew-Neck Sweater for Women in Raspberry Twist ($20-32, size S to XXL, oldnavy.com). This easygoing beauty is hip-length with side vents and raglan sleeves.
e.l.f. Need It Nude Eyeshadow Palette ($10, target.com). Because whose eyes don't look bigger and better with a little neutral-toned shaping?
James Fiallo Men's 12-Pack Patterned Dress Socks ($27, amazon.com). One glance at stripes and patterns on his ankles is an all-day wake-up call.
Goodfellow & Co. Men's Lightweight Button-Up Cardigan ($30-$33, target.com, also available in Big & Tall). Tell him to treat a cardigan like a casual blazer, wear it open or closed, even under a quilted down vest or with a dress shirt and tie.
Happy shopping to all my AARP readers!
Prices and availability as of Dec. 13.