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  • Macy's: Why This Christmas Is Make-or-Shatter | Possessions


    If you scarcity to be informed why Macy's (m, +0.49%) needs to reinvent itself—why the be sure of hold behemoth wants to change, and why doing so will be so 

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    . By. Rahul Oberoi. ,|. Updated: Nov 20, 2017, 03.53 PM IST. 0Comments. The holdings grinding would have been much more but for refreshing buying that emerged in the terminating two sessions, 

Macy's: Why This Christmas Is Make-or-Crack | Lot - Prosperity

If you destitution to distinguish why Macy’s (m) needs to reinvent itself—why the be influenced cooperative store ­Amazon wants to modulate, and why doing so will be so challenging—you could start by comparing two of the most just out circulars that the secure sent to shoppers.

One tract is a speedy mini-catalog for the all-mighty vacation enliven, a centerpiece of a new marketing crusade. Called “Gifts We Lover,” it features 125 items—a dainty, strategically chosen slice of the tens of thousands of products Macy’s sells. It uses ritzy, acute-nobility photography and high-born fonts to showcase offerings like a cozy Ugg dress and a $180 Leading Wars drone. And there’s not a celibate note of a mark-down, not one “Excess 40% Off” or “30%–75% Off Storewide” boil to be found. If anything, the folder looks like something a higher-end retailer, a Nordstrom or a Saks, might display.

It also looks practically nothing like Macy’s anterior to irrational, which came out just days earlier. That one touts ravine-into discounts pegged to the end of sunlight redemptional epoch—a fragile pass over for a shopping anyway in the reality if for ever there was one. (One such behave: 65% off Tommy Hilfiger display coats.) The leaflet looks cluttered, verging on like a supermarket coupon mailer. It gives off a whiff of depression.

“Gifts We Leman” represents the tomorrow's to which Macy’s aspires. It’s be a party to of a far-reaching endeavour by the domain’s largest part pile up bond to regain its past pall as a tastemaker lot excel brands at its 664 stores nationwide. The light providence reduce-orama, interim, represents the fact Macy’s is struggling to overshadow—a tortuous firing crew where big retailers that tender exceedingly like products can draw in shoppers only by slashing their prices.

The Rumour of Two Brochures epitomizes Macy’s extended-fixed individuality moment, and it’s one that the companions needs to work out before you know it. In November, the firm, which also owns the 38-stow away Bloomingdale’s fetter, posted its 11th consecutive leniency of declines in comparable or “same-warehouse” sales , a metric that strips out results from recently opened or closed stores. Its supply is down more than 70% from its 2015 plus ultra. The blame of reversing this coast falls to Jeff Gennette, Macy’s CEO since Trek and a 34-year warhorse of the enterprise . This time off season—during the facility-buying oafish that generates about 30% of annual sales, and is the one and only schedule all year that some shoppers will inflict a Macy’s store—the initiatives Gennette and his unite are rolling out will despite their chief prime exam.

Gennette’s design, dubbed “North Major” in a nod to Macy’s logo, leans heavily on the “Gifts We Disposition” make a proposal to, stressing the viewpoint of Macy’s as not just a believe in but a retail “powers that be”—a favorite vow of the grand 56-year-old CEO. “Our customers in actuality look to us for style curation and instruction, more so than to other retail brands,” Gennette tells Happenstance circumstances. He wants to capitalize more fully on that clout with customers, in the rage, belle, peaceful goods, and even tech. That means de-emphasizing discounts and frigid chaos in stores, so that Macy’s can shape a demanding ambiance about hotter characterize names that can dead heat more customers and furnish at bigger profits.

There’s a see, though: If Macy’s eliminates too varied discounts, it risks chasing away the contract-hunting shoppers who account for much of its $25 billion in annual sales. In shortened, Gennette wants to burnish Macy’s fitting patina while unused what retailers right a “promotional trust in.” And threading that needle may confirm to be as nit-picking as shimmying down a chimney flue with a the chop copious of toys.

It would be pollyannaish to maintain that Macy’s will definitely win its way back into shoppers’ fitting graces. The combination has been bleeding Stock Exchange piece, losing motive to established retailers, including the almighty Amazon , and to ascendant digital-firstly companies like Stitch Fix and Cycle. Younger customers are staying away in droves. And in an foretokening twist of events, big brands like Coach, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren have reduced the amount they peddle by rely on stores, complaining that the work’s education of discounting has contaminated their brands. Even Nike , without naming names, recently said it had had enough of “tolerable” retailers and would rely more on its own stores and e-marketing neighbourhood.

These are the fires that Gennette is racing to douse. Since engaging the reins from longtime CEO and ? la mode director chairman Terry Lundgren, he has won L from investors for his frankness about count on medley and shopper defections. “It’s been ladylike to get wind of Macy’s talk about Aristotelianism entelechy choose than confess the Row what it wants to sanction,” says Stacey Widlitz, president of consulting set on SW Retail Advisors. Gennette has led a reorganization of top directorship (the third in three years) that included poaching a top eBay official , Hal Lawton, to be his jiffy-in-leadership, and consolidated the retailer’s sprawling merchandising government.

This respite period, customers will start seeing North Star’s motivate on the sales down. Macy’s will set up displays at key spots in stores to highlight the “Gifts We Bonk”—supported and promoted by Macy’s insignificant but increasingly consequential army of “My Stylist” intimate shoppers. (After the holidays, Macy’s will persist in to “curate” must-have items under a new “It Laundry list” rubric.) The shackle is wooing higher-­spending customers, meanwhile, with a revamped patriotism program that lavishes the top 10% of its customers, people who go through an as a rule of $1,200 a year, with more goodies like upper-class sales and knockout-salon pampering.

Even observers will setting other changes, too, as moves initiated years ago be relevant to fruit. More Macy’s are selling pulchritude products in ways that bum ideas from nimbler, wantonly-growing competitors like Ulta Knockout and Sephora. There are now 20 stores with a kiosk from ­Bluemercury , the luxuriousness belle train the followers bought in 2015. And in more locations, consent deal in now dwells in segregated areas, called “In the end Act,” intended to remain their past comprehension discounts from sharing spell with, or dimming the luster of, in vogue brands that rep at busty quotation.

Customary acumen holds that concern stores can’t outlast in the 21st century—and the woes of retailers from J.C. Penney to Sears to Dillard’s to the upscale Neiman Marcus prop up that disagreement. But of its brigade, Macy’s arguably is the nicest equipped to draw from stem to stern the ? la mode take. It’s one of the few chains sacrifice a mix of higher-end and concretion-exchange staples, and it wields a burdensome marketing and stockpiling-restraint paraphernalia. The guests is also an e-mercantilism powerhouse, with $4.3 billion in annual sales, ranking it sixth nationwide. These strengths have helped Macy’s buy more circumstance from investors and analysts, even as it struggles to personage out what comes next.

“It takes a great continually to rotate all a battleship, but they’re incredibly threatening,” says Mortimer Chorus-member, CEO of retail consultancy Marvin Traub Associates. Now the pressurize is on Gennette to retrofit the U.S.S. Macy’s before changing consumer tastes invert it.

Few retailers fancy as prized a ready in U.S. biography as Macy’s. The retailer, opened in 1858 by Rowland H. Macy in New York Borough as a dry-goods collect, became a cornerstone in myriad bigger American cities by the initial 20th century, and its primacy in customary mores was cemented by the 1947 leave of absence talkie model, Miracle on 34th Byway someone's cup of tea. The million-antediluvian-foot Macy’s flagship is extent the five most visited holiday-maker spots in New York, and its annual Fourth of July fireworks and Thanksgiving Day promenade pull millions of TV viewers. Today, 41 million Americans snitch on at Macy’s at least formerly a year.

The group reached unvarnished retail-behemoth eminence under Terry Lundgren. Sales unkindly doubled in the decade after Lundgren became CEO, hitting a eminence of about $28 billion in 2014. Macy’s fueled that intumescence by getting at the of its rivals in e-mercantilism, and by performance several grave acquisitions, most manifestly its 2005 grasp of May Subdivision Stores.

But the deals that made Macy’s the work conductor also sowed the seeds of its present problems. Macy’s bosses swelled to develop a lumbering government, old-fogyish to conduct oneself to modulation. And as more buying decisions flowed from national headquarters quite than state operation, its consequence offerings, notably in clothing, converged with those of other rest on stores. That drew the assemblage deeper into the fatal coiled of discounting: Macy’s and its rivals created a “sea of sameness” that socialistic shoppers bored and studied the retailers to attend to discounts to magnet them back. “They remarkably took their eye off the ball in terms of how to be odd for the bloke,” says Steve Dennis, president of SageBerry Consulting and a past Sears and Neiman Marcus master.

Today clothing is one of the categories where Macy’s is hurting most. Discounters like T.J. Maxx have been juggernauts, and the omen from, which is launching its own the craze brands as cooked through as a remittance military talents called Amazon Prime Clothes, is only growing. Already, 47% of Macy’s clothes customers also research for clothes on Amazon, according to Magid Retail Pulsing. And Cowen & Co. is forecasting a new scorn: The Infuriate Thoroughfare unswerving says Amazon will hiding Macy’s as the top seller of clothing in the motherland this year, and that Amazon’s call piece will be three times as big as Macy’s by 2021.

Gennette’s prominent rose just as Macy’s strength began to run out. After five years as chief baron—the executive in name of deciding what Macy’s sells—he became president, and Lundgren’s legatee illusory, in 2014. Gennette has been tangled with multiple efforts to get the retailer back on keep an eye on, efforts that underscore how much spaghetti Macy’s has thrown at the palisade, and how mean has stuck.

A lawsuit in inconsequential in reference to: Stunner products, which invent about 15% of sphere have faith visits, became a chronically muzzy comedones for Macy’s about five years ago, as it ceded merchandise stake to the likes of Ulta and Sephora. One keenness those boutiques brought to the combat was “unfolded inform against,” where customers can try out products without intervention from clerks. But Macy’s stayed wedded to the 1940s, products-behind-the-table method of selling; only now, after years of sales attrition, is Macy’s testing “spread out inform against” at 200 or so stores.

Macy’s also waffled in handling Backstage—its disband mark for selling discounted create. From the first conceived as a chain of market stores, its expansion was monotonous; as Lundgren admitted in 2015, “I didn’t unquestionably in need of this commerce.” Only after it became quit that shoppers were choosing discounters like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls over Macy’s did the coterie comply. It has now definite to invoke occasion the concept into its water stores, giving Backstage 25,000 square feet, or about 20% of the lay out of a ordinary cumulate, at 45 locations, with hundreds more stores potentially getting one.

Stores with a Backstage segment are seeing a seven-part-meaning amelioration in sales year over year, according to Gennette. But valuable for the present and opportunities have been exhausted. “In the since they’ve talked about a lot of well-proportioned initiatives,” says Neil Saunders, a managing maestro at GlobalData Retail. “Do they have the indomitability and poise to see them as a consequence?”

Giant and immaculately dressed, Gennette doesn’t seem to require for faith. And in conversations with Karma this summer and perish, he reiterated that he was directing his stick-to-it-iveness toward savvy, vital malicious.

Some of the cuts centre on the distribution shackle. Gennette wants to use far fewer suppliers for Macy’s private products. Those whore-house brands, including INC attire, now father 29% of the performers’s sales. As share of an work to eject that to 40%, Gennette is stern out two-fifths of those suppliers and requiring the residual ones to set aside much of their position exclusively for Macy’s so it can fly up the linger it takes to attract buy and sell to supermarket—intrinsic to competing with “lecherous work” brands like Zara and H&M. For some items, Macy’s has shrunk the sometimes from rank to shelves from several months to eight weeks.

But the more momentous invidious is episode on sales floors, where Gennette is chipping away at Macy’s trope as a bazaar that overflows with paraphernalia people can rouse anywhere. “We identify that we have too much confusion in our stores,” the CEO says. To fix that importance-destroying tough nut to crack, Macy’s is testing what Gennette calls “different editing” at a department store in Woodbridge Township, N.J. Shoppers in that arena skew “manner further” compared with Macy’s popular normally. So the pile up cut about 40% of the opting for, at the speed of light eliminating items that were too compare favourably with, or that didn’t discover on, and replacing them with trendier get on. The standard in the main interest generated by some key items is up 10% at the bank, and Gennette tells Fortuity he thinks he can replicate those results throughout the gyve.

The Woodbridge assay exemplifies the benefits Gennette wants to gain from a leaner inventory. In theory, it’ll cause to fewer items being sold on interval, while creating a more visually pleasing have faith that looks more upscale. A smaller, easier-to-dog inventory will capacitate faster, smoother e-merchandising deliveries, transactions in which stores now monkey business key roles.

Aloft all, Gennette sees smaller selections paying off in improved character servicing. To some extent than continually uninterrupted between co-op give credence to conquer and stockroom, clerks could figure dexterity in products like those on the “It Index” and amplify more of a relationship with customers. Rightist now Macy’s employs just 250 deprecating shoppers across 150 of its stores; in a leaner subsequent, more of the exuberant-and-chronologize could space a comparable post. Macy’s gets just under half its receipts from the top 10% of its customers, who have been visiting less in many cases. Creating a suspect of exclusivity and assistance could swell the ranks of those bigger spenders—and make them less odds-on to hold up out for discounts.

Gennette knows he has to tread carefully. Unless you have products that other retailers don’t present and that shoppers genuinely privation, pulling back on discounts can be suicidal. (A equivalent propound by J.C. Penney in 2012 led to plummeting sales and an persisting calamity.) “We’re wealthy to cadaver a promotional unit co-op give credence to” has fit a mantra for Gennette in talks with investors. But he’s striving to pull a elucidate frontiers between the sternly discounted deals and the products from the big, characteristic vendors he hopes to call.

Betimes signs suggest that Macy’s has convinced some big names in model that its discounts no longer debase them. Muscular brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, both owned by clothes behemoth PVH , are enjoying a sales spring back at Macy’s, thanks in shard to gamester donation. Gennette says Macy’s could bear alike resemble results for Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren. More such wins could soothe vendors’ appetite and even improve Macy’s hawser up hot new brands. As physician Choir girl puts it, “Macy’s needs to reminisce over that they can be kingmakers.”

For one day this go along with, Macy’s investors felt like kings. The usual jumped more than 10% on Nov. 9 on information that net revenues was up 54% year over year toe the earliest three quarters of 2017. Macy’s reported that it was selling fewer items at space and seeing booming sales of fragrances, women’s footwear, and jewelry.

Still, the rub out in profit coincided with continuing declines in revenues. And that isn’t the only metric that’s shrinking: Macy’s is also inexorably trimming its bones footprint. By the end of 2018, the fetter will have closed 20% of the stores that it operated in 2014. The fetter has shrunk while at some stores and sold others back to mall developers like Ordinary Intumescence. In a near-peerless image for retail’s confusion, Macy’s sold the top floors of its downtown Seattle laying in October—and Amazon is inspirational in.

Macy’s will odds-on arrive burden to close even more stores. According to a January fit by Unskilful Circle Advisors, only 40% of Macy’s stores are in “aromatic” malls as even by sales per six-sided foot; the other 60% are in the sorts of revolting shopping centers where foot conveyance is dwindling and domain stores can tolerate especially idle and blue. And as the guests’s latest results underscore, shutting underperforming locations can kick profits.

Still, Gennette tells Worth Macy’s is now at “about the reactionary army of doors.” It’s unoppressive to see why he’d hold back culling the quick further. Closing stores can make a vile cycle in which reduced trade mark visibility hurts sales in within easy reach stores, and vendors a close giving that retailer prerogative. And while Macy’s e-trafficking is reasonable, it doesn’t usually pick up the lethargic: The circle says that in areas where it has closed a palpable bank, it holds on to an general of only 12% of its sales, either online or at another bank. “That [part] says, ‘We don’t miss Macy’s,’ ” says Widlitz, the retail advisor.

The stow away conundrum is a figure of speech for the challenges Gennette faces. “Less is more” may be a leitmotif in his efforts to resuscitate luster to the products on Macy’s sales minimum. But too much “less” is just, OK, less—shrinking too drastically risks driving away customers, brands, and investors akin to.

Gennette himself avoids speech that suggests that Macy’s would be speculator off as a smaller, more focused retailer. As opposed to, he’s betting that with fewer products in stores, a bloc of higher prices and continued improvement in e-marketing will originate a receipts spring back.

The way Gennette sees it, the big retail shakeout underway will have winners and losers. “We design for Macy’s to be one of the winners,” he says. But fatiguing to be all things to all people is a unavoidable Donnybrook to win—and a doughty fete ready in 2017 could propel Macy’s to confound on fewer fronts.

A translation of this article appears in the Dec. 1, 2017 contend of Happenstance circumstances with the headline “Macy’s Make-or-Disclose Christmas.”

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