December 17, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...

Joann Machura of Diamond Jewelers shows off Pandora charms, which
make an inexpensive yet impressive last-minute gift.
Union Leader Correspondent
A display of Hello Kitty Suntan -- with bikini-- and Hello Kitty, sans tan,
 at Sanrio in Rockingham Park Mall
SALEM -- By now you’ve probably realized it’s possible to do all your Christmas shopping while still in your pajamas, with little more than a credit card, a computer and a working gift list.
However, one thing technology can’t provide is that tangible shopping experience, said Emily Hoang, marketing director for The
 “Yes, there are a lot of people Internet shopping, but you’re always going to have those shoppers who want to touch and feel what they’re buying,” said Hoang, whose job includes making sure last-minute mall crashers have everything they need to find the best deals at the mall’s 140 department and specialty stores. 

Before shopping, you can go online and print out their Shop Smarter Sales packet, which is updated daily with in-store specials and promotions. 
“If you come into the mall, you’re pretty much guaranteed a deal. All our retailers are coming up with fresh offers and trying to change it up, to keep shoppers coming back,” Hoang said. 
With a little help from Hoang, we’ve compiled a short list of some great lastminute deals for everyone on your list: 
Diamond Jewelers has a wide selection of inventory, but sales clerk Joann Machuca said it’s been hard for shoppers to pass up the ever popular Pandora line of charm jewelry. 
“This line continues to be our top seller,” said Machuca. “I think it’s popular because you can personalize whatever you’re buying — every bracelet or necklace tells a story.” 
Beyond the seasonal holiday charms, including an eyecatching peppermint stripe Murano glass bead charm, there are endless combinations of colorful beads with gold or silver accents to commemorate just about any occasion, said Machuca. 
“You can get a starter bracelet for about $55. From there, the sky’s the limit,” she said. 
The Kitchen Place bustles with activity most days, thanks, in large part, to all the Food Network programming that inspires more than a few amateur cooks to stretch their gourmet wings. Here shoppers can find inexpensive gadgets perfect for stocking stuffing, or any kind of top-of-the-line pot, pan or small appliance. Sales clerk Tammy Chappell, who is working her 14th Christmas season at the mall, said the current hot deal is a $100 Viking immersion blender, which is packaged with a free chopper attachment in these last days before Christmas. 
“It’s an exceptional value, and these are selling like crazy — everyone who sees Martha Stewart and Emeril using these comes in looking for one,” said Chappell. 
Also trendy right now: raspstyle graters, useful for everything from micro-shredding cheese and spices to zesting an orange. 
If you like pink stuff that comes in cartoon shapes, then Sanrio is one store worth checking out for lastminute deals. Right now, if you spend $100 you get a free rhinestone Hello Kitty wristwatch, the kind of bling most tweenage girls can’t resist. 
Sales clerk Danielle Gerry said her store’s demographic is not limited to the young, Japanamation set. 
“Everyone can find something here — from little kids all the way up to adults,” said Gerry. 
Yes, even boys are smitten with some of the edger Hello Kitty characters, including spike-haird penguin Badtz Maru, Keroppi the hapless frog and Chococat – self explanatory. 
“Right now all our clothing and shoes are 70 percent off, and we have tons of things that would make great stocking stuffers,” Gerry said. 
If glamour is your bag, Sephora specializes in cosmetics and fragrances, and has packaged up several appealing options for last-minute shoppers, including a $48 Endless Color Blockbuster trifold makeup sampler, which provides a kaleidoscopic array of color options, advertised as a $435 value in a smart little fold-up box. 
You might also like the Mini-Glossette set of six lip glosses for $25, an OPI 18mini nail polish sampler for $48 or a men’s fragrance sampler for $50 that will provide Dad with a dozen topshelf colognes — and a gift certificate to come back for a free full-size bottle of his favorite sample. 
If you are in the market for some much-needed new furniture, there are few forward- thinking options that rival Lovesac, reviving the old bean bag chair and raising it to another level, said sales clerk Candayce McAllister. 
“Right now we’re having a spectacular promotion — you can buy our “Big One,” a six-foot sac in manor suede fabric, which comes with a sheepskin pillow, and a “soda sac” that attaches to the love handles on the Big Sac — and the sheep holds a blanket, or doubles as a pillow, all for $550,” said McAllister. 
As comfortable a deal as that may seem, she said people are loving the innovation of Lovesac modular furniture, which can be pulled apart and reassembled in just about any configuration. 
“If you buy a couch, you can make a loveseat, a chair, a twisty – it’s all washable, and is guaranteed for your lifetime, not the furniture’s,” McAllister said. 

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