Standing in the middle of one of the busiest and glamorous shopping centers in the heart of London, I couldn’t feel more frustrated.
Christmas decorations are hung in windows on every street corner, yet no caught my eye.
I already had the perfect gift for every man in my life, from my boyfriend to my father to my grandfather.
A customized tie here, a cufflink there, two tickets for a football game, and I was certain I found the perfect Christmas presents with little headache.
Yet, for the women in my family, I was lost.
I knew my mother’s taste, my sister’s preference and my friend’s obsession with the color pink.
But finding them Christmas gifts? That was my definition of a nightmare.
I was stuck, and I damn well knew it. The worst part?
You can’t exactly call them up and ask them what they want, where’s the fun in that?
Ironically, this was also the day I met Amber: personal shopper, shop manager and my knight in shining armor.
She must have seen my frustration while I was searching for the ideal gift in Selfridge’s clothing department.
“Can I help you?” she asked. “Anything in particular you’re looking for?”
This was the moment she picked out the perfect sweater for my sister in a matter of seconds.
“I am a personal shopper” she then explained. “Anything you need, call this number” she said as she extended her card.
And, seeing as I was truly desperate, we met the very next day for coffee.
Her advice, from the ideal gift for every occasion to the perfect present for every type of woman, is one I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
So, if you are clueless when it comes to gifts for all the women in your life, follow this advice and you will never be lost again:
1. For your mother:
Anyone can get a woman a gift. Roses, perfume, candles -- anything that she may use.
But how many of these gifts actually mean something?
These days, you can pretty much get anything engraved. From a perfume bottle with her initials to a necklace with her and your initials, you don’t need to look further than that.
Mothers dedicate their time and resources to their kids, while caring and loving them until they are no longer completely dependent (and far beyond that for some).
Funny thing is, she’ll still be there for you when you’re on your own. That is true love.
She’ll probably be thrilled just to be spending Christmas with you, but a gift that took time and effort to make will really wow her.
2. For your sisters:
This is the trickiest one. How do you find a present for the person who has been by your side and your best friend since you were born?
How do you say thank you for all the times she cancelled her plans to spend time on the couch over the only two men who will truly understand women, Ben & Jerry?
So, for your sister, get her something she may actually use for a lifetime.
For mine, I opt for a skincare device that cleanse your face for you under four minutes.
Or, as accessories are always a girl’s best friend, try getting her a trendy birthstone locket necklace.
3. For that one friend eager to lose the Freshman 15:
We all have that one friend whose conversations about holidays end up with the phrases, “Too many latkes” or “too many desserts to resist.”
Now, for this friend, the answer is simple. I would know, since the girl I’m describing sounds very much like my best friend. The perfect gift?
Yes, you heard me, and this particular idea was referred from Amy Lewis, marketing director at Orchard Corsets.
“A corset is actually the perfect way to prevent weight gain during the holidays. Because of it, your posture changes and pressure is applied to you abdominal. This consequently prevents the wearer from overeating," she explained when I purchased one for my friend.
Waist training has become a global phenomenon with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian posting selfies showing off their perfect figures.
And, it’s just the beginning.
4. For your dear grandmother:
This is actually the most entertaining aspect of Christmas shopping. Because let’s face it: What gift will your grandmother not like?
She’s been there for you since birth, always making you your favorite food and on your side even when you weren’t so lovable.
So for your grandmother, the answer is pretty simple.
Coming from a Russian background, food in my culture is pretty sacred. Seriously, try coming into my house and not trying a single of my family’s recipe, I dare you.
So, when it comes to your grandmother, there’s no need to look further than her kitchen.
From kitchen cookbooks to a new blender to kitchen knives, the list is endless.
Every woman is as unique as her taste in wine.
So instead of getting her something you bought the day before Christmas, get her something she will truly love and cherish.
You know her best, so let your instinct guide you.
Because at the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts.