Christmas shopping guide for success

New York City is the epicenter of all things fashion, music, and art. It’s no doubt that some of the most unique and extravagant holiday gifts can be found here. The only problem? Sometimes, the high prices and our nominal college student budgets can get in the way of the perfect present. However, a little creativity and knowing where to look can go a long way in this city. Here are some options that are sure to make your gifts stand out on Christmas morning.

Vintage clothing and accessories create one-of-a-kind looks and define a style. They also make great gifts for the fashionista who loves feeling unique. New York is one of the best places to find high quality vintage pieces.

The best place to visit for your nostalgic gifts is Cheap Jack’s Vintage Clothing ( located at 5th Ave. and 31st St. The store holds everything from 1980s rock band tees to fedoras and jewelry. Most items are usually found with some discount off the regular price. Don’t be worried, all of Cheap Jack’s authentic items must meet the store’s high level of quality standards before hitting the floor. You’ll also know that you won’t be giving someone the same-old, blasé sweater or socks that they’ll be dreading.

If there is a fan of the arts that you are shopping for, gifts of experience will no doubt be greatly appreciated. Is someone a fan of the visual arts? Purchase tickets to the Museum of Modern Art’s latest exhibit ( and buy some prints at the gift shop to include in the package.

Do you know a Glee fan who would love to see live theatrics? Head to the tkts booth in Times Square to purchase tickets to a Broadway show at a highly discounted price or grab a gift certificate so they can choose the show at a later date. The music lover will love tickets to one of the countless shows in New York City.

Even better, Xperience Days ( allows you to pre-purchase tickets to a walking tour of Greenwich Village, which stops at famous joints such as CBGB’s.

The holiday season is definitely the time to take advantage of the seasonal shops in New York. Both Bryant Park and Grand Central Terminal put up seasonal shops that feature items ranging from local art and homemade jewelry to luscious, gourmet chocolates made by New York’s Max Brenner. Some items do get pricey so look for something small but personal. Choosing an organic soap for mom, hand made by Sabon (, adds a personal touch that doesn’t cost more than $30.00.

If you are looking to stay in Queens to do your shopping, your best bet is to head to Queens Center Mall. This four-story emporium carries typical retailers and also specialty stores such as jewelry and cosmetic boutiques. Urban Outfitters carries a wide array of gifts for men, women, hipsters and trendsetters. How about a coffee table book about surviving a garden gnome attack? Maybe you’d rather give someone a giant Eiffel Tower to put on the wall. Urban Outfitters loves to create entertaining pop culture merchandise and retro remakes that take the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Modell’s in the Queens Center Mall holds everything the sports fan could wish for. Buy someone a jersey or sweats with their favorite team logo on it. If they’d rather be out on the field, giving athletic gear is not only thoughtful, but they will actually put it to use. Running shorts, Under Armour and track jackets make stylish and useful gifts starting at $30.00.

Call of Duty fans or those gamer fans want the most recent video games, controllers and platforms. GameStop carries all of the major consoles, games and accessories to go with it. Those looking for a new spin on old-school hobbies will find both children and grown-up gifts at the LEGO Store. The kids will love building and playing with their favorite Toy Story characters with sets costing no more than $20.00. Want your own Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center? Grown-ups (kids at heart) will love constructing their own ($19.99, $39.99).

The best advice for creating a shopping list this year is to think small, unique and personal. No one wants to feel as though you’re handing out the same gift to 30 of your “closest” friends. Instead, take time to put some thought into it. The more thought you put in, the less money you have to shell out.

Finally, take advantage of living in the city of over 8 million people. Get out and check out the local scene, specialty stores and seasonal shops. Make your gifts as creative as the great city we live in.