Nov 29, 2012

Gift Giving day four + A Giveaway

This is an eight part series on taking the stress out of thoughtful gift giving. If you have missed a post click HERE to see them all. 

Day Four - Think Outside the Box (yep, I have already given up on the xmas song titles, well technically I gave up yesterday - shameful.)

By now your secret pinterest board should be getting pretty long. Don't let that overwhelm you, remember - no stress! Start deleting items from your board and narrowing down your gifts. For my Dad, I narrowed the gifts down to these...

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I'm the type of person who likes to give more than one gift (if my budget allows). So the t-shirt is my perfect gift to give, I will have about half my budget left to get another small gift. I keep a little running tab (usually on the notepad on my phone) of each person's budget. You don't need to do this, it's just what I do. I plan on using every cent of my budget but no more, so I HAVE to keep track. Also, make sure you include the shipping and tax costs in your amount. 

Now, I actually bought the Walrus T-shirt for my Dad a few years ago. It WAS the perfect gift. He loves it and wears it all the time. It makes me happy every time I see it. But, a few things I did wrong with this purchase...

I didn't look at the shipping costs or where the shirt would be shipping from. The shipping was $5.99. Why so expensive? Well, because it was coming from England. Whoops! Once I knew that I realized it was two weeks till christmas and I probably wouldn't actually have a gift to wrap up for CHristmas. grrrr! If I had just looked to see where the gift was coming from that would have alerted me not to buy it this year but wait till next. Oh well, Dad got his shirt about 4 weeks after Christmas but he didn't care. And I still had a small little gift to give him under the tree, another great reason for smaller giftS versus one large gift. 

So, as you are narrowing down your options, take a second to look at shipping costs and the country they are coming from. That can help you narrow your options down. Here's another example...


I found the perfect gift idea (the above photo) for my friend, The Nester. I was so excited, it just reminded me of her so much. It's a perfect gift and the price was actually right! Well, it was until I looked that the shipping. $10 for shipping. boo! Now, I'm sure this cute little guy is delicate and it needs $10 worth of careful packaging and shipping but it makes it's too expensive for me. Oh well, maybe next year:)

Some friends are HAAAARD to shop for. They don't want anything or they already have everything or they are picky beyond belief. When you are trying to find a gift for them - think outside the box! Don't feel like you have to buy something that literally fits in a box. For example, if they love ice cream why not give them some gourmet ice cream from a local place or a gift certificate to their fav ice cream store. If they love live music consider getting them gift certificate to their favorite music venue. If they love wine - maybe a wine of the month club. Do they love beauty products - maybe a birchbox subscription. And last but not least if you know they love a certain store but can't find a good gift right now - get them a gift card. 

Another way to think outside the box - except theses gifts could actually fit into boxes, is to buy used. Why not shop your local thrift store, goodwill, restore, salvation army, etc. If you know that your friend loves stores like this then you know that they love a good deal so they will love that you saved money for their gifts. My friend Amanda is a huge fan of vintage things so clearly the best place to shop for her is a vintage store. I just got back from the ReStore near my house with a big bag full of goodies for her and I only spent 1/2 my budget for her. She always has more gifts than any of my other friends because I can afford to get her sooooo many gifts. I love shopping stores like these but be prepared to dig around and possibly get a little dusty. But it will pay off.

I don't feel like the stigma of "gift cards are impersonal" is true. I think a gift card to your fav store can speak millions! Last year my friend gifted me with a gift card to anthropologie for $100! I almost cried. I love that store so much but I normally don't allow myself to buy anything over $40 in there and usually I don't even allow myself to go in because I end up lusting after all the pretty stuff and it makes me sad. The day I went in to use my gift card was amazingly wonderful, I had the sense that I had won some sort of shopping spree. I think I walked around that store for an hour with the stupidest grin on my face. It was lovely. 

A few weeks ago I was gifted an etsy gift card. Did ya'll know those existed, cause I didn't. I mean, clearly that person knew me well. I love me some etsy. It's a great feeling know that you have etsy money. So today I thought I'd offer you a gift card to esty too! 

To enter simply leave a comment telling me about the most thoughtful and favorite gift you've received. I'll start...

My dad build me a guitar. I mean, come on - do I need to say more. He surprised me on my 16th birthday with the second guitar he had ever built. At this time in my life I knew how to play two chords and that was it. By the next morning I had already learned a song. Clearly he and his handiwork inspired me.

Winner will be announced on December 13th. 
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  1. My husband surprised me with a trip to Prince Edward Island for our 25th Anniversary. I was just finishing up a very busy year of homeschooling and cherished the break. To date, this is one of my favorite places in the world and a week there in June was heavenly.

  2. This might be my engagement ring from my husband. As if zi needed any more excitement that gift, he had planned a surprise party afterwards. He had contacted my closest friends and family from near and far. It was awesome! Good thing I said yes!

  3. Aside from my hub's proposal (which is a grand story, and feels like a gift), I'd have to say when we were dating, he bought me the DVD of a live performance of the Broadway musical "Sunday In The Park With George". That sounds random, but it's a rather obscure musical to non-musical types, and he surprised me with his thoughtfulness. He has given me a few other amazing gifts (he truly has the gift of gift-giving), but that was the first one, and so thoughtful, so I'm going with that. :) Great post, friend!
    (p.s. I sent you an email a week or so ago about guest-posting to the address you gave me in the last post's comments - did you receive it? If not, I will email you again today-thanks! :)

  4. For Christmas last year my parents gave my sister and I printouts of our family tree. They did the research and made printouts (designed to look like a tree) and framed them. They go back to the 1800's. It's totally original and kind of hand made, and it's so neat to look at the names. I really love it!
    Laura C.

  5. Great post! Loved your story about the sweet! My most thoughtful gift was a vintage first edition of a book (I'm a huge bookworm) that my mom bought for me because she knew I wanted it so bad even thought it was nearly $300. I definitely cried from happiness! (like I said, huge book lover...apparently! ha!)

    Thanks! :)
    shevilkenevil1 at aol dot com

  6. Jill Hartley -- missjill0521@yahoo.comNovember 30, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    My favorite is the calendar that we do every year... its filled with pictures of our year together. Over the next year, I love sitting there laughing at the wonderful memories we had.

  7. The most thoughtful gift I have received was a homemade quilt from a dear friend.
    family74014 at gmail dot com

  8. One of the best gifts I received was when I moved away from home after high school, two of my best friends made me an ABC friendship poem book with pictures. It was great to have with me in my new city :)

  9. My best gift was a photo album that my grandma made for me. She was a huge gifter but always in toys and clothes and this was the only thing she ever made for me, she died when I was 18. And get this, I'm 39 and I realized this year I cannot find it. *Panic* We've moved so many times I think it's just packed away someplace...

  10. One of the most thoughtful gifts I have received was a birthday present from my husband (then boyfriend). He had heard my story of how each year since my grandmother passed, I would have a rainbow on my birthday (and how it always made me think of her). He gave me a crystal prism to hang so the sun would catch it and I would always have a rainbow. I knew he was a keeper. I still have it hanging on my car rear view mirror, 9 years later.

  11. It's hard to pick just one. But in the spirit of your post about sticking to a budget... When my husband and I got married his son bought us a name plate for our front door, with both our last names on it (since I kept my name). It felt to me like a great affirmation of our new relationship, as well as being a thoughtful gift that didn't break the bank.

  12. I remember I cried when my husband gave me a palm pilot. It sounds dumb but it was a few years after they came out and they were still really expensive and it seemed so extravagant. It was thoughtful because I was still carrying around a giant paper planner that made my purse really heavy.