Lifestyles, Galas and Gaiety from St. Charles Avenue Magazine's Morgan Packard
Finding the best present all year long
The best advice I’ve ever found for gift-giving came from (no surprise) Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple: 1. Create a gift space to store gifts as well as everything you’ll need to wrap them and send them; 2. Purchase gifts year-round to avoid the dreaded “Christmas Crunch.”
I’ve taken that advice to heart, much to my husband’s chagrin, and I’ve got a bookshelf of cubbies filled with gifts I’ve purchased with certain people in mind, along with curling ribbon, multicolored washi tape, wrapping paper and stickers with our names on them left over from our wedding. Also in those cubbies are presents I’ve bought with no one in particular in mind … and those just seem to keep growing.
Purchasing gifts in advance has saved me some money; when I see something that’s just perfect for someone, I buy it and store it away. Unfortunately, that means that when it’s time for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas, I have more gifts for some people than others – this isn’t my fault; some people are just easier to purchase for than others … cough, cough, Mom!
For instance, my husband’s birthday is coming up in a couple months, and while I do have something for him, I was reminded that it’s not the perfect gift and that I was supposed to still be looking when one of my mother’s best friends called to tell me to expect a package for him while he’s out of town. But the birthday of one of my best friends in December? That’s done.
There are also those presents that become traditions. For instance, when my parents were first married, my dad started the tradition of giving my mother two roses for every year of their marriage. Now, 42 years later, when their anniversary comes around the entire house is filled with roses.
I started something similar, but much cheaper, a few years back. Each year six of us go to Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores. My husband cooks, a friend brings fruit and snacks, another drives – everyone does or brings something to make the trip special, but I didn’t have a role. So I invented one. I bring a bag filled with latest in fun magazines, friendship bracelet makings or other crafts and always some little thing for all of us. I’ve purchased rubber bracelets surrounded with characters from a favorite cartoon, water-resistant tote bags emblazoned with pop culture references and even flavored lip balms. But this year I’m way behind; in fact, I just thought about this last night and we leave Friday!
So I’m adding another piece of advice to my gift giving: 3) Create a checklist for event dates and another for what’s already been purchased. If I’m good, I’ll even add dates 21 days before – standard shipping for those hard-to-get items – onto my calendar.
If you have a gift-giving system or any ideas for what to take with me for everyone this Friday I’d love to read them in the comments!