Welcome to the Giving Season

Some of us relish the holiday-shopping quest. For others, it's about as pleasant as an eggnog hangover.
11/13/2012 07:15pm ET | Updated January 13, 2013
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You know the look. It’s the one on Ralphie’s face in A Christmas Story when his dad pulls out one last present: the Red Ryder BB gun he’s been coveting. Is there anything better than seeing that look of pure bliss when a loved one opens our gift, whether it’s something we took a gamble on or a sure bet? Bonus if they don’t shoot their eye out.

Finding those perfect gifts is never easy, and we all approach it in our own way. Some of us relish the holiday-shopping quest. For others, it’s about as pleasant as an eggnog hangover. Wherever you fall, we have you covered this year, with spectacular gifts of all price ranges for everyone on your list, from the trendsetter to the gadget geek to the kid who has it all.

Prefer gifts with a sense of place? We’ll take you on a cross-country holiday road trip spotlighting our favorite cities’ delicacies and treasures, from San Francisco’s award-winning artisanal cheeses to pearl shark earrings straight out of Miami. Shopping local has never been so convenient.

But this issue of Huffington isn’t just about great gifts. It’s also about seeing the holiday season as a time of reinvention. We introduce you to some of the visionaries behind the scenes of the holiday retail experience—people who are changing the way we give, browse and think about where our products come from. You’ll meet a woman whose New York store rotates its entire theme and product line every month or two; a man whose website is transforming gift certificates into luxe catalogs; and an Indian artisan whose handmade wares are upending tradition.

You’ll also discover how to wrap up those lovely gifts with unexpected do-it-yourself materials, tour the world’s best hotel gift shops and see how to fill stockings with pocket-sized pleasures. We even take a stab at guessing what your favorite stars will be gifting each other this holiday. And of course, after all this decadence, we’ll pass along some of the best ways to give back this year.

We’re so happy to give you, our readers, this guide to all your holiday retail dilemmas. Here’s to wishing you and yours a season filled with stress-free shopping and happy faces on the ones you love.

This story appears in the Holiday Gift Guide issue of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store.