Who has time to buy birthday gifts for everyone?! I DO! But that wasn’t always the case. For years, gift buying/preparation had been a large source of anxiety. I had a large social network of geographically close people who threw birthday parties, weddings and baby showers for themselves, their kids, their grandmas, and their dogs. I found myself racing to expensive boutiques 10 minutes before they closed in order to find the perfect, overpriced luxury gift that would show my recipient that I was as honored by the invite as I was our friendship. If that didn’t pan out, I was racing to my other go-to stores the moment they opened the next day. I did develop some shortcuts but I always had this “robbing Peter to pay Paul” kind of feeling of not ever catching up. I would even show up late to events because I had been shopping moments prior!
Reasons to Plan Ahead:
1. You save tons of money: Those boutique stores often have a sale shelf. The sale shelf seldom has what you are looking for in a pinch but visit them often and stock up when you do find the right stuff. For some reason, sale items always felt like the wrong thing when I was in a hurry but the perfect thing when I purchased them 6 months in advance! Make time to comparison shop online for specific items so you can have time to order it if you choose.
2. Personal touch: Make time to customize cards, photo books, t-shirts, fly a flag over the U.S. Capitol for someone etc. These gifts mean so much and have the longest lasting effects!
3. The PERFECT gift: When I bought gifts in advance, they became “the perfect” gift. I wasn’t as attached to how the recipient received/reacted to gift. I was more into the feeling of choosing well.
4. The fun of it: Enjoy gift shopping at leisure. Get a lot done at once. Lessen your anxiety and get to the event on time.
Here are some tools for your gift arsenal:
1. A list of birthdays and occasions organized by month. Be sure to have each month prepared at least one month in advance…better yet, do most of your shopping for the year in January!
2. Generic female and male wrapping paper and/or gift bags. I go with pink themes and blue themes to keep it simple.
3. Cards for: Birthdays, Baby Showers, Weddings
4. Consumables: Bottles of wine in the neighborhood of $10-$15, a non-perishible food item (I get these amazing Pepper Jelly’s from Pike’s Market downtown-great with cream cheese on crackers). Food and wine gifts are so great because they can be shared and are easily re-giftable if not liked!
5. Genre gifts: a few things that many of your friends will enjoy (i.e. I have a lot of yuppie-hippie friends who love high-end, natural crafts so I pick up things at the Farmer’s Markets like hand made wooden cutting boards).
6. Checks: Money is a wonderful gift
7. Amazon PRIME: get anything mailed or a gift certificate emailed instantly!
8. Hostess type gifts (hostess gifts: things you give to the person throwing a party/dinner): These are things like tea towels, candles, soaps, chocolates, etc.
So this year, before we grow our family, I am the gift goddess, bringing cheer to all those on my Google calendar. I’m having so much fun planning ahead!