Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stuff your Stockings!

So this being the twenty second day of December I would assume most of you out there have been to your Christmas parties, done your cookie exchanges (ive been to 2), bought your gifts, and are now just waiting for the twenty fifth so this Christmas can just be another great memory... so lets talk about something fun- stocking stuffer. I think in the past 5 years, especially with the economic decline, stocking stuffers have become a bigger deal because the items are generally inexpensive. Every store out there has a table or area that is dedicated to stocking stuffers. So here are a few of my favorites!
First- the Mayfair Lane Light Ups. I did not have a store turn these down! They are easy to use- the flashlight is magnetic and when you break it away the light turns on... honestly i could sit there and click it on all day...

Second- Paper. Yes you knew I was going to say that (at least it wasn't number 1) I think there are so many easy paper items to throw in someones stocking! I think that Olivia Mullins does some great initial pads that are super cute and easy to grab and go. With all the fantastic initial programs out there it is so easy to find something personalized to give that extra touch!
Third- I love to cook. I found these great mini cookie flipping spatulas that came in great bright colors! Even if you don't like to cook they are so dang cute that everyone will love to receive them!

Forth- I love gadgets and toys as stocking stuffers. Restoration Hardware always has some great finds for these and I think that for the men in your life especially it a fun pick me up. I picked up these silly straw glasses for my 4 year old niece (mainly because i wanted to see if they worked!) It will provide plenty of entertainment for a 4 year old!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas that is full of Family, friends, Great memories, and lots of great Gifts!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Time for Teachers

Ok, for all you people out there with children in school... this blog is for you. After years in the gift business it amazes me how much gift revolves around the "teacher gift." At market stores buy things completely with the mindset of "This will make a great teacher gift." I have enlisted the help of my dear friend Kristin who is a 2nd grade teacher and gets loads of bad gifts.

First, do not, i repeat DO NOT give your teacher a mug. I don't care how cute you think your mug is, she does not want another mug. There are a couple of questions that will allow you to rule the mug out- Have you ever even seen your teacher drink coffee? How many mugs do you think he/she owns already? Also while we are talking about coffee- unless you see your teacher drinking Starbucks- they do NOT want a Starbucks gift card (and they re gift it to people like me!)
Second, no generic bath product. Yes I know it is already wrapped. Yes I know it is an easy thing to pick up at WalMart that you think looks more expensive than it really it. Scents is such a personal thing- you have no idea if she likes to smell like vanilla... now with that being said, I still think soap is a great gift. Think about the person though- maybe they don't need bubble bath, bubble confetti, lotion, and everything thing else included in the basket. Maybe just a nice triple milled soap in a neutral scent on a great dish is better (and not expensive.)
Third, nothing that scream or says HOLIDAY. Working in the stores this past week it amazes me how many people give something with a Christmas theme- do you realize the Holiday is almost over? Then what do you do with it? No teacher wants notepad that says "Ho,Ho,Ho" what do they do with that in March? With that being said, they also do not want a Holiday scented candle either. I know that people get into time restraints on looking for teacher presents but why not pickup something in October when you have that free day off and you are out?
So now on to the most important part of this blog. What to get your teacher. There really are so many great items out there that work on small budgets (we understand that you have a lot of people to buy for!) Here are my ideas...

The easy first, something for their desk. Yes this may seem obvious but take it to the next level. I love the new pencil holders from the line SuzyJack- talk about a chic way to hold pencils. Why not pair that with a great notepad or something for their chalk board? I am mildly obsessed with Mayfair Lane. The clips and everything that goes along with it are adorable- and they stick to stainless steel! Another great idea, how about a great desk calendar? If you have a favorite teach you want to do a little more for- get her a Karen Adams Calendar and she will think about you guys all year!

Secondly, and this goes completely against this blog, a gift card. Now really I am not a fan of gift cards, but i do see their purpose especially with Teachers. I think a gift card to their favorite restaurant or store is a very thoughtful idea. Why not treat them to dinner as a way of saying thank you for enriching my kids life? One year Kristin's room mom collected $10 from each child who wanted to give a gift, and combined the money into a gift card to her favorite store, Ann Taylor Loft- what a thoughtful idea!
Third, why not think outside the box? There was a customer in one of my stores this week with Triplets and another child... so they needed a lot of gifts! I suggested why not give them cocktail napkins? They went with Curly Girl Design napkins that had sweet saying on them and I believe they were around $5.95. If you wanted to add a little extra you could throw in some initial Styrofoam cups or coasters. All very affordable, and really not what they are expect!

I realize that money is tight for a lot of people this year, but I have to say that I think thoughtfulness goes a lot further than spending lots will!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's a Wrap!

Oh what a season! The stores are buzzing, new product is shipping to me daily, I am busy booking up January and doing fill ins! I thought in this busy season I would share one passion of mine that fits right along with what I love most gift.... what I love most about gifts is giving them. I think about people and what they love or need and I hope that when they open a present from me that they feel like I have put in the time and the effort that their friendship and love deserves. What I enjoy most about the gift giving process though is wrapping. Yes, I said it- Wrapping. Christmas is my favorite time of the year because I get to buy for my loved ones, and... I get to buy new wrapping paper. Wrapping paper is sort of like dress buying for me- I really don't like to have to reuse Christmas paper from the year before. I love the process of finding several papers that go and then finding ribbon that coordinate. I usually have all my paper by Thanksgiving and I wrap the gift the day I get it. I hate gift bags (even though I do have to use one this year because I didn't have a box!) I love to read Real Simple and Martha Stewart and see what the new trends are in gift wrapping. This year I used lots of wraps and ribbon (this is new for me) and I am in the process of really learning how to tie bows! Please enjoy the pictures of my wrappings and I hope that it inspires you to want to wrap too :)

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