Creative alternatives to boring gifts

- This time of year should be exciting and cheerful, but for so many New Yorkers it is just nerve-wracking.

"It's just really difficult to come up with a good gift idea for each of your family and friends," said one shopper on the streets of SoHo.

Another shopper told us, "I think holiday gifts are really stressful because I like buying quality over quantity, so finding a bunch of quality items for a bunch of people is expensive."

So Art Sutley has an idea. The publisher for Bar Business Magazine, Art says forget about the gifts and rent a space at a bar or restaurant. You can work with the owners to create special cocktails just for your event.

"Everybody is out there shopping, and the hustle and bustle," Sutley said. "This slows everyone down, brings everyone together into one environment and one location."

And if you really want gifts, you can find a way to still give and receive them, but in an easier, cheaper way. Just buy one gift instead of several.

"You can actually do small little gift-giving events while you're at these locations, maybe like a secret Santa," Sutley said. "There are other games where you can trade gifts and pass them around."

Articles of Style is a custom clothing company in SoHo where men can design their own head-to-toe outfits. The owner told us he knows firsthand that clothing is one of the toughest gifts to buy for friends and family.

"It often doesn't fit, or it's not exactly what you want, so my advice is to do something custom," said Dan Trepanier, CEO and founder of Articles of Style. "What we do is provide an experience for people, whether it's husband and wife or best friends."

So whether you love buying gifts or if the experience is just too stressful, retail experts say there's no doubt the industry is changing. The best thing to remember is to communicate with your family and friends so that you're all on the same page.

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