A Gift Guide for Everyone Else

December 18, 2009

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Here is the thing.  There are those people – we’ll call them “the gift recipient” – that really just want cash.  We could also call them “everybody”.  But you, as the gift giver, cannot just give the gift recipient (or everybody) a personal check.  This is where the phenomenon of plastic gift cards in decorative little envelopes will save you every time. Be advised, however, this gift is not the hero that retailers would have us believe.  There is a built in challenge to gift giving with gift cards.  How does one make this plastic, mass produced, gift card feel as good as cash but way more personal?

It’s all about the presentation.

Then again, isn’t it always?  Gift tags by the very talented bklyn stitch.

Maybe you know your babysitter loves Starbucks.  Easy way out?  Hand her some extra cash to go to Starbucks. BETTER answer?  A Starbucks gift card pre-loaded with some cash.  The BEST answer?  A Starbucks gift card presented in a thoughtful, personal manner.  Let me elaborate:

You don’t want anyone on your list to think you went out and bought a bunch of Starbucks gift cards at Costco (incidentally at Costco you can get $120 worth for $100) and thoughtlessly distributed them in leftover Christmas cards.  You want the people you buy for to know that some heart went into the gifts you gave.  So try this:  Spend a little less on the gift card and pair it with something thoughtful, interesting and unique.  A gift within a gift.

Depending on your price range and the gift recipient’s personality, wrap the gift card along with one of these:

Pantone Mug

Drop a gift card in this cool mug in her favorite color.  $12.  Also a very cool idea if you are buying for multiple people in the same home or office.  Everyone gets their own mug.  And if they are at all artsy, they will love that it’s in pantone colors.  Paricularly good with a Starbucks card or a gift card to an art store.

Eddie Bauer Down Ice Scraper Mitt

At $10, if it snows where you live, you should buy these by the dozen.  Good with any gift card.

Silver Apple Bookends

Perfect for the avid reader on your list.  $35.  Such a great gift for your son or daughter’s teacher, too (with or without a gift card).  Unless of course, all of the teacher’s parents read this blog.  Love it with a Barnes & Noble gift card.

Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Perfect for your, friend, sibling, babysitter, or neighbor who loves to cook, or even just dabbles in cooking a bit.  $40. Very appropriate for a work colleague, or your child’s teacher.  Books are beautiful and the subject matter is universally appealing.  Or at least it’s re-giftable.  And even though this particular book is instructional, it won’t come across as though you’re saying – “hey, you should really learn to cook…”.  Definitely good enough for most on its own but if your budget is higher, throw in a gift card to Williams – Sonoma, Sur la Table or Trader Joe’s.  By the way, if you have someone who really loves to cook, Sur La Table sells this book with the DVD Julie & Julia.  Creative.

LUXE European Tour Box

Are you stuck shopping for the person who has (or could afford) everything?  This gift is the daydreamer’s or traveler’s delight.  $55.  Still want to spend more?  Throw in a gift card to Magellan’s travel site or Starbucks (the go to when you draw a blank).  Cory and I received an airline gift card once.  Hands down one of the most fun (and generous) gifts we’ve received to date.  Just think if they had thought to wrap it with these travel guides.  (Did I seriously just say that?!  Wasn’t it an insanely generous gift as is?!).

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