Gifts

Homemade sweaters as gifts tend to evoke the same disdain as a sticky brick of fruitcake. We envision handcrafted knitwear as ill-fitting and scratchy, in musty-colored yarn with multihued crocheted granny squares. But the ladies of Loopy Mango, a couture knitting company, have managed to shed this tired cliché with their trademark megachunky yarns and knitting kits. Dyed in candy pastels and brights, their woolly products yield creations that look like high-fashion cocoons.

Loopy Mango knits

A shawl from the Loopy Mango Merino No. 5 knit kit now at Nordstrom.

Waejong Kim and Anna Pulvermakher, the effervescent duo at the helm of Loopy Mango, merged their love for fashion and art with the DIY movement. Fashion devotees with a fondness for anything one of a kind, they’ve spent time on both coasts, curating eclectic goods for boutiques that combine vintage with new, practical with precious. Their love for needlework eventually led from establishing a small yarn section to a massive yarn line, which has appeared in Vogue and been used by knitting circles around the world. The whimsically large accessories even caught the eye of the late roving fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, a day the Loopy ladies call “a life highlight.”

We spoke with Anna about Loopy Mango’s macro-gauge designs, her favorite TV shows to knit to, their celebrity fans and tips for new knitters who may pick up one of their super-popular knitting kits–the Merino No. 5 is now available in our new Pop-In shop.

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A pretty plate of homemade cookies is just about the nicest gift one can give or receive during the holidays. But if you’re the type of giver that isn’t satisfied with just nice, you might want to skip the traditional frosted Christmas cookies this year and step it up with a batch of traditional European macarons. As colorful and lovely as your sprinkle-topped snowmen cutouts, these meringue confections aren’t as difficult as their preceding reputation.

How to Make Macarons

We met with expert macaron maker Megan Gordon, aka Lady Yum, for an encouraging tutorial on creating these comely cookies. Her guidance breaks the recipe down in simple steps that even novice bakers can accomplish.

How to Make Macarons

THESE COOKIES MAKE GOOD(IE) GIFTS: GET THE RECIPE

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We all know the holidays are a time for giving. But it’s pretty clear, from the countless commercials that start in October, this season is also about shopping and spending, sometimes a lot. Finding a personal and financial balance can be something of a struggle. Fortunately, this year, Treasure&Bond is making it a little easier to feel good about the gifts you give others–and yourself–with their latest giveback partnership.

Treasure & Bond

Photos by Manuela Insixiengmay

Continuing the brand’s tradition of philanthropy, this season the Americana clothier is donating 2.5% of net sales to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. It’s nice to feel wholesome about the holidays–perhaps especially this year–and not only is Treasure&Bond’s impeccably crafted collection of casual clothes the perfect uniform for a household gathering of you and yours, but through January the label is also helping to foster bonds in communities. That’s pretty great.

Treasure & Bond Leather Jacket

Pam Iorio, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, told us: “These partnerships are very important; they help build awareness for our work. When customers see a Nordstrom and Big Brothers Big Sisters partnership, they have confidence in it because they respect both institutions.”

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Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 8, but don’t panic! We’ve got you covered with unique gifts perfect for any mom out there. We’ve rounded up 12 ideas ready to provide all the pampering she deserves. What mom wouldn’t love the gift of an at-home spa day?

THOUGHTFUL GIFTS MOM WILL NEVER KNOW YOU GOT LAST-MINUTE

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Hermès Carre at Nordstrom Seattle
Our Seattle flagship store recently received the happy addition of Hermès Carré, a little shop dedicated to the luxurious fragrances of Hermès. Just in time for Christmas season, this counter carrying lovely bottles of perfumes and lotions, scented candles and perfectly packaged soaps is a gift containing endless elegant gifting options—all like pretty orange nested parcels.

Nathan Rubin, Hermès executive directorWe took this opportunity to explore the Carré and to speak with Nathan Rubin, Hermès executive director of retail and training, about how to select a scent for someone and the perfect Hermès gifts for everyone on your list.

What makes a good gift?

I think the best gifts are the ones that are thoughtful and personal. A great gift also reflects the personality and desires of the person for whom it is intended. Fragrance is a gift that perfectly fits all of these requirements but I frequently hear that people are hesitant to give fragrance as a gift because it is “too personal.” They are afraid they will make a mistake.

This is where the Hermès Carré can really help. Our staff are expertly trained and can help you pick a fragrance for someone if you tell them a little bit about the person you are buying for. Every perfume has a personality and a story at Hermès. We are experts at connecting people with our perfumes and making them at home at the Hermès Carré.

GIFTS FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST: READ ON

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For the second season in a row, we’re counting down the crucial pre-Christmas shopping days with a series called Gifted Givers, in which friends old and new share their thoughts on stylishly spirited giving and receiving.

Lubov Azria, CCO of BCBG Max Azria and Herve Leger

Understandably, the designer, wife, mother of five and chief creative officer Lubov Azria is busy every time of year. Aiding the vision of multiple fashion houses (BCBGMAXAZRIA and Herve Leger), running the Bon Chic Blog and managing several impressively active social-media accounts while preparing a bustling household for the holiday is an extraordinary charge. But, as with every opportunity, Azria approaches it with elegance. (On that note, have you seen her outfits of the day on Facebook?)

So, can you blame us for asking Azria for a few tips on graceful giving?

Fornasetti 'Flora' large candleWhat’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

I think the gift of experience is the best gift I have ever received. My best friends once gave me ten things that they knew were on my bucket list. I will always cherish that.

What is “the perfect gift” anyway?

To me, the perfect gift is something versatile, something they can wear and use all the time. I like to really sit down and ask myself, “What do they love? What do they need?” When you pick out a gift based on your knowledge of the person, it makes it all the more special.

What’s your go-to host or hostess gift, either for a party or for a weekend or extended stay?

I typically do the hosting, especially around the holidays, but my go-to gift would be a nice candle. For a holiday party, maybe a bottle of champagne or a dessert. You can never have too many desserts.

Pictured at right, the Fornasseti Flora candle.

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For the second season in a row, we’re counting down the crucial pre-Christmas shopping days with a series called Gifted Givers, in which friends old and new share their thoughts on stylishly spirited giving and receiving. New this year: the Pop-In@Nordstrom x Opening Ceremony Holiday Shop edition.

SelmanSelfportrait

Adam Selman self portrait

Perhaps you know fashion designer Adam Selman from his his much-ballyhooed position on Rihanna’s speed dial. Or maybe you’ve been shopping his all-purpose capsule collection on our site.

For the uninitiated, Selman occupies a Warhol-esque place in pop culture, has designed costumes for Britney Spears and Michael Jackson (RIP the K.o.P.) and imbues his work with a natural sense of play which is refreshing without being hokey.

He has an unusually straightforward approach to gifting. Here he is talking about Jenga, Brita filters and the fruitful agony of self-sacrifice.

Shop: Pop-In@Nordstrom x Opening Ceremony Holiday Shop

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Gifts for Dad: Pop Rocks

Whether he sang you Beatles songs as lullabies, introduced you to Jagger’s swagger, bought you Michael Jackson’s Thriller or went with you to your first concert—Dad deserves a chart-topping gift this Christmas.

Gifts for Dad this holiday

Here are some suggestions to make your pop look like the rock star he really is.

He has always been able to belt out a power ballad in the shower/car/most embarrassing setting. An Allen Edmonds leather belt will keep his diaphragm looking good regardless of how he sounds.

Thankfully he wasn’t a “Cosby Sweater” wearing type of dad, but he’ll still appreciate suiting up for “Sweater Weather.” A shawl collar cardigan will have him looking hip. but with a wrinkle-free Nordstrom dress shirt, his coolness won’t go to his head.

Although his rhythm may be wanting, he can keep time with this Burberry leather-strap watch.

READ ON FOR MORE POP HITS

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Gifts for Kids: Child’s Play

Whether they’re your own or someone else’s, little ones are the most fun to shop for. Children look cute in everything. Miniature anything looks cute. And just try not to buy the adorable stuffed animals that seem to plead with their plastic eyes for a loving cuddle.

Nordstrom Gifts for Kids

Check out the items (shown above) that we couldn’t help but purchase this season—now we just have to find some pint-size recipients.

Any little girl would be pleased as punch to slip her paws into a pair of pink eyelash mittens. (If only our hands were small enough to squeeze into these.)

A sweet sweater from Tucker + Tate should warm the heart of any little or big girl. Pair it with some equally cute dotted jeans.

CONTINUE WITH THE CUTENESS: READ ON

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Gifts for Him: Internet Shopping

We’re not suggesting you check his search history, but you can tell a lot about a man by the websites he visits–what he reads, listens to, watches or just ogles. So let his bookmarked webpages guide your gift-giving this holiday season.

Nordstrom gifts for men

matadornetwork.com: This guy lives to go. He’s always planning his next vacation, road trip or hike. Get him a lightweight Herschel backpack to carry all his (and some of your) travel necessities.

radaronline.com: Though he may not readily admit it, he knows which starlets Bieber and Drake have been spotted with. A pair of Classic Clubmaster Ray-Bans will let him consume the latest celebrity gossip and Twitter blunder with zeal, while incognito.

pitchfork.com: He’s got opinions on albums before they’re released. (But can he tell us when Rihanna’s ANTI is landing?) Get him a pair of Bose headphones and he’ll definitely give you a 10 out of 10.

STILL SEARCHING? READ ON

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