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An Anxiety Relief Hack That Will Make You And Your Loved Ones Feel VERY Good – It’s Called The Gifting Closet

Happy Friday, my sweet plum pals! Today, I wanted to fill you in on my all-time favorite money-saving and stress-reducing hack: the gifting closet. In my case, “closet” may be a little bit of a generous term – “two shelves in the hallway built-in” is more appropriate – but it’s the best way I’ve found to make folks feel loved and seen without spending a ton.

I don’t know if you also internalized the “never show up to someone’s house empty-handed” rule or if you’ve ever panic-purchased super overpriced baby books/wrapping material/cards while en route to a baby shower (guilty). But adding a little stockpile of potential presents has removed a ton of unnecessary anxiety from my life. And I don’t know about y’all, but it’s been a particularly tough couple of weeks for so many of my loved ones – when it rains, it pours – but being a thoughtful and supportive friend is WAY easier when the store is just at the end of the hall, you know? So yes, while I hope to save you some cash and to take a little load off your shoulders, I also hope that you’ll be inspired to brighten a friend’s day – it feels like we all kinda need it right now. 🙂

via a thoughtful place

Step One: Plan Your Occasions

Having a stash of potential gifts for newly engaged friends is top of mind for me, but folks with children may have totally different priorities. (I’m constantly shocked by the number of birthday parties that kids are invited to!!!) What kind of things do you have coming up over the next year? Some notes to jog your memory…

Events: It’s nice to have something on hand for birthdays, engagements, housewarmings, baby showers, graduations, retirements, bridal showers, weddings, and anniversaries.

Just Because: This is a great catchall for all types of thoughtful presents – think of teacher appreciation, greeting gifts for new neighbors, “thank you” presents for your friends who watch your pets at the last minute (Just me? Too niche?), grief gifts (be sure to check out Velinda’s ideas here, too), welcome home presents, and host gifts.

Holidays: You know the big ones, but Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, Purim, Eid, Easter, and Galentine’s Day (know it’s a joke holiday, but it’s absolutely worth celebrating) are the first ones that come to mind. (Any others?)

via the home edit

Step Two: Shop Your House

A big caveat for my shopping lovers: do not buy things just to fill up your closet! You have plenty of time to stock up and make it special, but you’re going to want to start by looking at your own house. Are there any unused products or vintage pieces that deserve a new home?

Full transparency: my gifting closet started accidentally when I missed the return deadline on a few of these Capri Blue reed diffusers. The scent is SO GOOD but it just felt like a miss for my home (kind of like how perfumes smell different on different folks). But instead of feeling like a bum who can’t manage their time, I was SO grateful to have missed the return deadline when a neighbor who loves candles and diffusers volunteered to watch my cat at the last minute – a diffuser packaged with a bottle of wine and a few bath bombs in a vintage basket made the perfect “thank you” gift. My closet grew from there – it was so fun to shop my own house and look for goodies that could be repurposed as presents in the future.

via kelly nan

Step Three: Keep an Eye Out

Once you’ve taken inventory and know what you already have, the fun of expanding your gifting options can ACTUALLY begin. 🙂 There’s no rush to stock up all at once here – take your time, keep an eye out for sales, and actually think about the events you have coming up (no need to buy kids’ toys if you don’t know a kid, I am not trying to build a pipeline for the casting director of Hoarders here). Make a special note of your friends unique tastes, too – one of my best friends LOVES bolo ties so I always keep an eye out for those when I’m shopping so I’ll be Leslie Knope-level prepared for her birthday/Christmas/a promotion/a rainy day.

All that said, if I were building my closet again from scratch, here are the slam dunk presents that I’ve given in the past and the types of things I’d keep an eye out for…

Guaranteed Winners

1. Textured Ceramic Jar Candle Sandalwood & Tobacco | 2. Match Striker | 3. Write On Pen Set | 4. Gia Rectangle Claw Clip | 5. Indigo Blue And White Striped Pedestal Planter | 6. Wood Stone Tray | 7. Salida Bottle Opener | 8. Garden Scissors With Pouch | 9. Oil Diffuser

We’ll talk about this a little later, but the real key to these gifts is to pair them with a “live” buddy – so like, YES, bring your friend a beautiful bottle opener…alongside a nice 6 pack. Bring a tray WITH a crusty baguette from the grocery store. Grab a vase and then add a little floral arrangement. Fill up a vintage jar with a homemade treat or a salt scrub or a bath bomb. You can really get personal here and it’ll make it seem like you spent hours shopping for the perfect gift instead of a few quick minutes pulling from your own personal stash 🙂

A few things to note: candles and scents can be such great gifts, but try to keep the packaging neutral – in this case, a ceramic or stone or terra cotta jar will make it feel a little more elevated than the standard glass-with-sticker packaging. The same thing goes for trays, match strikers, vessels, jars, and planters. While I’m usually a fan of a maximalist moment, gifting decor can be VERY tricky so it’s best to keep it simple.

Beyond decor, there are a few other surprise slam dunks that I’ve found – hair accessories (especially simple clips like these – no shame in splitting up a pair!), nice pens, and elevated basics (like this vintage corkscrew) can really put a smile on people’s faces. I also love keeping some nice salt and sage on hand for housewarmings (if you also want to buy a smudge stick to gift, please purchase from an Indigenous vendor – Sheyenne from Whispering Winds is my favorite!).

For Culinary Types

1. Stoneware Mug | 2. FIVETWO Ultimate Apron | 3. Chop Whitewash Wood Bowl | 4. Helms Gold Cheese Knives (set of 3) | 5. Minimalist Measuring Cups | 6. Drink Rocks | 7. “Cook This Book” Cookbook by Molly Baz | 8. Stud Decanter | 9. Assorted Airtight Silicone Lids (set of 5) | 10. Trio Marble Serving Board | 11. Teak Measuring Spoons | 12. Old World Italian by Mimi Thorisson

Again, the pairing is key – these stoneware mugs are SO luxe and weighty and expensive-looking despite their tiny price tag (only $7.99 for 2!) and would be SO GREAT to gift alongside with some nice coffee or tea. I’m also a huge fan of the apron – I find that folks LOVE wearing them but rarely purchase them for themselves – and this one from Food52’s line is so good. It comes in a few other lovely colors, too 🙂

And while these are all new, it’s fun to keep an eye out for vintage bowls, carafes, decanters, cookie jars, and goblets when you head out to the flea market or thrift shop. I feel like these vintage wooden pineapple bowls, this AWESOME carafe with a racehorse stopper, or this sweet little spice jar would be super great gifts.

For Self-Care Lovers

1. BIG MOOD Bath Soak | 2. Dr. Jart+ Dermask Water Jet Soothing Hydra Solution | 3. KNC Beauty Collagen Infused Lip Mask Set | 4. Turmeric Botanical Bar | 5. Nécessaire The Body Ritual | 6. Honest 4-Ounce Organic Body Oil | 7. Goodnight Set Sleep Mask & Gua Sha | 8. Superfood Latte Sampler | 9. Prima Bath Gem 25mg CBD Bath Soak for Relaxation & Recovery

Does part of my gifting shelf look like the checkout line at Sephora? Yes. Am I ready to show up at your house with a bunch of face masks when you’re having a bad day? ALSO YES. I usually just stock up on a ton of these sheet masks at Target, but you can really grab anything that strikes your (or your pal’s) fancy. There are a ton of tiny and easily storable gifts to scoop in this arena – though these ones above are our tried-and-true favorites 🙂 – so I’d recommend just holding out for sales or bundling opportunities.

For Kids

1. Straw Constructor STEM Building Toy | 2. Paint-Your-Own Wood Tea Set Kit | 3. LEGO Marvel Spider-Man | 4. Small Security Blanket Bear | 5. Green Toys Submarine | 6. Give It A Swirl Tie Dye Kit | 7. ‘If I Were a Puppy…’ Book | 8. 60pcs Magnet Building Tiles | 9. Nail Polish Set

So uh, I don’t actually know any kids (which I think is normal for someone with almost exclusively childfree friends!) but I do always have at least one baby book (looking at you, #7) for showers on hand. That said, it seems like y’all DO know kids, so we pulled some EHD-favorites for ya in case your child keeps getting invited to their classmate’s birthdays and you’d rather not break the bank at the last minute while you’re en-route to parties.

Being said, I LOVE having adult coloring books, fun markers/crayons/colored pencils, journals (these are my favorite), puzzles, and cool playing cards on hand which could all probably do double-duty as a kids’ gift in a pinch! This gradient puzzle is my all-time favorite thing to gift (I have six of them in my apartment right now, no joke) and it seems like it’d be a blast for people of any age. Also a huge fan of these Strawberry Thief playing cards (there are a ton of other classic Morris prints, too!) which are another awesome elevated basic.

And All The Trappings

Do we all hang on to every nice gift bag we receive, or is that just a weird thing that my family does? In any case, there’s no reason to rush out and grab a whole bunch of bags/wrapping paper/bows/ribbons right now. Build up that collection slowly over time!

1. Vintage Finnish Pedestal Bowl | 2. Tiny Vintage Brass Basket | 3. Mid-Century Collapsible Basket

Being said…I love a vintage basket, box, or pedestal bowl for gifting. You grab some tissue paper, slide your gift in there, give it a little zhuzh and MAN, you have a beautifully presentable present!! There are wildly affordable container options all around ya – vintage baskets are SO cheap when you buy them in person – so just keep your eyes peeled the next time you head out on a shopping trek. The holidays are right around the corner, after all 🙂 (HOW?!)

Step Four: Then Organize It

When it comes to organizing your gift closet/shelf/bin/container under the bed, less is more. You don’t need a million specialty products – just something that can corral your gifts and trappings! If you’re a small space dweller (or trying to hide presents from the other people in your household), consider throwing everything into one big suitcase. If you already have some plastic bins, use those! But if you’re looking for something a little more elaborate or organized, all of the following have nearly perfect ratings from people whom I assume are VERY well-loved by their friends and fam.

1. Hanging Gift Tote Organizer | 2. Elfa White Mesh Gift Wrap Cart | 3. Grey Wrap & Tote Organizer | 4. Customized Gift Wrap Center | 5. White Elfa Utility Mesh Gift Packaging Over the Door Rack Solution | 6. 20 gal. Clear Weathertight Trunk

If you can’t tell from the earlier photos in the post, that over-the-door organizer is a HUGE deal in the gifting closet blog world. I’m planning on organizing a walk-in closet in my apartment soon (installing shelves and everything!) so this is actually one of the first items on my to-buy list as the reviews are GLOWING.

But there are a ton of other options if such over-the-door storage isn’t your thing. I’m so impressed by the construction of #2 (you KNOW Leslie Knope had one of these carts in her hoarder house!!) and the size of #3. There are solutions for all kinds of homes! Hooray!

flea-gift-wrap-760
photo by sara ligorria-tramp for ehd

Step Five: Gift It

We’ve started to go over this, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the best, most thought-out physical gifts have five parts (we all know that experiences are a whole different ballgame!!):

  • Something solid: You know, like a mug or a tray or a book.
  • Something consumable-ish: Bread! Pens! A bath bomb! Cheese! Wine! Markers! Just something that the recipient can actually use or enjoy. (I’d also argue that “a plant” could fit into this category, but it felt weird to call that “consumable,” so here we are.)
  • Something thoughtful: A heartfelt note in a card means EVERYTHING…or you can take a page outta the EHD playbook and gift a compliment jar, which is an absolute tear-jerker every. dang. time. 🙂
  • Nice presentation: I talk a big game but transparently, this is still where I struggle. I didn’t have a bag or basket on hand a few weeks ago, so I literally handed Jess her unwrapped Christmas presents and was like “HERE YOU GO, NOW OFF ON YOUR WAY!” (Also YES, I was EIGHT MONTHS LATE. And I had her gifts the whole time!! I just kept forgetting to *gift* them!!) But actually putting effort into wrapping or presenting your gifts shows the recipient how much you care, which is really sweet. (I’ll do better this year, Bunge!!)

There you have it – the five steps to creating the gifting closet of your dreams. Save money, reduce stress, feel organized, and gift better – what else could you ask for?? If anyone else has any tips or favorite storage options, please drop them below – I’m excited to hear from you 🙂 Happy weekend. xx

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: Ban.do Overall

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Rusty
11 months ago

Aaaah, yes! In the times before I was controlled (#freenowbaby!!!), I had a “present drawer” in a big ol’ chest of drawers. It was totally a life-saver and you’re so right about it reducing stress.

I’m glad you did this post, because now I can re-start a practice from the past that was sooo very helpful!

Another great, step-by-step post, Caitlin. Thanks 🤗

kk
11 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

 before I was controlled (#freenowbaby!)?? What? Explain please…

Rusty
11 months ago
Reply to  kk

K… this year, I finally escaped an abusive relationship , decades long. So, now I’M FREE, BABY!!!😀
It was essentially coercive control and physical. Nothing was in my name and I could not go anywhere or do anything or see anyone withput him being present, eavesdropping, approving first.
If I dared to have agency over myself, I was punished.
💥There. I said it. I’ve come a long way in a few months by being able to state it, point blank, and not cry as I typed yhe words.💥
So … #freenowbaby

HerselfInDublin
11 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

That sounds awful Rusty, congratulations on getting free. You’ve just made #freenowbaby my favourite hashtag of the year! Best wishes for your new life and a thriving future.

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

That’s so wonderful!!

GN
11 months ago
Reply to  Rusty

Will you share your ideas for items you gifted? I can never have too many!

HerselfInDublin
11 months ago

Each to their own, but this is a no for me. I like to buy cards and presents for a specific person, I can’t do generic things that might work for several people. My way can be a lot more work – and I definitely have the advantage of not having small kids or three jobs or other very time-consuming responsibilities – but I manage it by buying fewer presents. I only give Christmas presents to family *not friends* (my friends know this). Instead I give personal presents to friends on their birthdays. Having said that, if I see something and think “Oh that would be perfect for Mary” and Mary’s next birthday is eleven months away, then I will definitely buy it and hoard it. I also believe I end up spending less on presents because I tailor them rather than see them as a budgeted-for item. For example, a friend of mine was having a tough time at work so I bought her a mug that had a shape that was perfect for hugging in both hands, so she could have a little comforting tea/coffee moment if things got too much for her at work. That mug was… Read more »

Tarynkay
11 months ago

I love that this gift closet works for other people. It is always interesting to hear about different social expectations. It is not a thing that works for me personally. I do have two kids. They are (or were, prepandemic) invited to a ton of birthday parties. But they both loved going to the store and picking out a gift for the birthday kid. It’s a great opportunity to practice thinking about what someone else would like to receive. So my kids are a big reason that I don’t do this. I also like to pick out gifts that are very specific to the person. The other thing is that in my community at least, no one is expected to bring a gift anytime they come over. If I invite someone for a meal, they will say, hey, what can I bring? But that would be strictly food. I would neither expect nor want to be given a salad and told to keep the decorative salad bowl for example. That would quickly get overwhelming. Though if I bring someone a meal bc they are sick or just had a baby, I will sometimes leave it in Tupperware and say, don’t… Read more »

SS
11 months ago
Reply to  Tarynkay

My kids are the first to jump in with a “what should we bring?” But they’re just as happy to shop from the “bin of giftable stuff in mama’s closet” for the birthdays they’re invited to. It helps with the decision overwhelm, too, the one time I took my 7 year old to the (tiny) toy store in town he took 20 minutes to examine every single thing before declaring that he couldn’t pick and wasn’t sure. I think a big part of his indecision was that the super cool things he kept picking up were way out of his budget. Just a different take from someone else with kids :).

Angie
11 months ago
Reply to  Tarynkay

I have dealt with anxiety for years. This would not work for me. On the contrary, it would cause me so much anxiety. It would be just too overwhelming.

Beth
11 months ago
Reply to  Tarynkay

Bringing a gift any time someone comes over, even to dinner, isn’t really a thing where I live either. I always feel awkward when I am attending something outside of my town or with friends that have moved to my town more recently, because I never know if I should bring something or not. Same with birthday get-togethers/parties. Most of my long-time friends don’t do/expect gifts at parties, but if I show up with nothing, I know I’ll feel really bad if other people did bring something (and I’ll feel awkward if I do bring something but no one else did- gotta love social anxiety).

Rusty
11 months ago

Yep… this, too.
I bought things specifically for individuals or a family gift, rather than generic.
As far as host/hostess gifts, I mistly took a foodie thing I made, like a jar of homegrown and home made pesto, rapenade and the like.
I didn’t rwally buy generic.

Jennifer
11 months ago

I’m totally with you on this too–I love picking out specific gifts for my family and close friends vs. keeping a supply of generic stuff in a closet. My “hack” is to keep a private Pinterest board where I save items for later and with notes like “for Susan’s birthday” or “mom xmas.” For a long-distance friend who recently moved into her new house, during a recent Zoom video, I made a mental note of the color scheme in her kitchen; then later found a tea towel on Etsy with a modern dog print (she has several fur babies) in an orange-and-teal pattern that will go perfectly. I think she’s gonna love it!

Beth
11 months ago

I’d love to take your approach, but I also live an hour away from any stores (other than Dollar General and our local grocery store). I think this is a great solution for those of us that can’t as easily just stop by a store on our way home from work/take a quick trip to a store. I don’t gift to many people for holidays/birthdays (besides my immediate family members), and I used to take a lot of time planning out the perfect gift for those few I do buy for, but my family started sharing Amazon wishlists, etc. a few years ago, and we all mostly stick to those items. That way, we know each gift is something the other person will actually use and enjoy. The exception for that is Christmas stockings- my siblings and I do my parents, and we spend quite a bit of time tailoring each for my mom and dad.

Linda
11 months ago

The submarine #5 of the Kid´s list is a TOTAL WINNER! I needed two for my twins . They always fighted over it when they were 1y. It is a submarine, a boat, a pouring can, houseboat, swimming farm, … such a great open toy! With 7yrs they still take it to the pool or in the tub. Fill it with some little playmobil people or animals = even better. And a very nice gift for any age between baby and 6y, I would say. plus it is “green” plastic.

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Linda

Em’s kids love it too!

Amy C
11 months ago

I keep 3 copies of Dallas Clayton’s “An Awesome Book of Thanks” on hand at all times. I work in a large organization and my role intersects with many different departments. This is my go to gift for people retiring or moving on in their career or education. The last lines ‘thanks to the end and thanks new beginnings ‘ resonates with so many people going through a transition.
https://www.amazon.com/Awesome-Book-Thanks-Dallas-Clayton/dp/193559737X/ref=asc_df_193559737X/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312095946443&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=12172486357547189192&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1025659&hvtargid=pla-548862592474&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=60223809097&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=312095946443&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=12172486357547189192&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1025659&hvtargid=pla-548862592474

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy C

Such a great idea!

11 months ago

I think it’s such a good idea to have a few “generic” gifts on hand that can be gifted in a pinch!! I would highly suggest supporting local makers or shopping on Etsy (you can also filter on there to find makers local to you on there if you don’t have local markets or vendor fairs in your area). Support a small business and the local economy AND get a much more unique gift then at a big box store:)

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Allison

Totally! Being prepared just gives you more time to research and buy from places that you truly want to support. It alleviates the “I have to use amazon because I need this gift tomorrow!” issue. I’m very guilty of that.

Erika
11 months ago

To jump-start stocking up on gift wrap, I totally recommend joining Minted More. It’s 30 bucks a year and once a year I get a box with a bunch of gift wrap, ribbon, tags, gift bags, and blank cards (plus some other stuff). It’s all super cute, and it’s definitely been great to have on hand when you’re in a pinch (especially for birthday and thank you cards). You get a discount on Minted products too but honestly I mainly just use the membership for the gift wrap set and the holiday card discount.

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Erika

O this is cool!

Jenni
11 months ago

I love this idea in theory but don’t think it would work in real life for me. We downsized last year for simplicity of life purposes (1/2 the house we used to have!) and to have a water view rather than a wall in a neighborhood view. We don’t regret this decision AT ALL, but it also means that storage space is for necessities only. Also, my daughter LOVES picking out personalized gifts. So we just plan ahead and I give her a budget to spend. Finally, I love cooking and baking, so if I’m going to someone’s house, I tend to take something homemade or a bottle of wine if it’s last minute.

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Jenni

All great ideas! I know I just really need to be a better planner.

Suzanne
11 months ago

Growing up, my mom had a gift closet. We lived out in the country, so going to the toy store was a trek. Target and Amazon didn’t exist then, so we had to go to an actual toy store. My mom would stock up during big sales at the toy store she liked, and we’d get to help. Usually, that meant a lot of art supplies, books, and board games. I love this idea, but never implemented it. Instead, even though I had access to Target and Amazon, I also had a local independent bookstore and toy store that had wonderful items and salespeople to help pick out unique gifts. Plus, they did free gift wrapping! I did have go to gifts, so the trip to the shop was relatively quick. As for hosting gifts, I’m less inclined to give these. While I appreciate the thought, I want less stuff and expect many of my friends feel the same. In those cases, I do focus more on consumables. It’s so hard, because I know how lovely it feels to receive a gift, but then after that, I’m often thinking, “now what do I do with this?” Gift giving is easiest… Read more »

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne

something for everyone!

Zoe
11 months ago

I’m very much in the boat of a few folks here who love to buy specific presents for specific people. *And* I have a similar stash to Caitlin I shop from for last minute gifts. Mine has gift bags I received that are nice enough to reuse, baker’s twine + brown craft paper for wrapping, and beautiful little vessels I found at goodwill + cleaned out jars. Also: presents like soaps or candles I received and am unlikely to use. Then I shop my garden and stash 🙂 My cost per gift is usually under $5 and it does make me feel super relaxed and on top of it.

Emily
11 months ago
Reply to  Zoe

Totally agree on re-using wrapping and bags. Growing up, my family used newspaper, but where I live now, that’s not the done thing. But I hate throwing out useful things, and I love pretty wrapping, but would rather spend that extra few dollars on the gift.

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Zoe

So smart:)

Karla
11 months ago

I prefer to keep a virtual gift list on Amazon for friends and family, a secret gift board on Pinterest because not everything is on Amazon, and a note on my phone with lists for all my people and the random suggestions/ideas I pick up from them throughout the year. It makes shopping when it’s time rather easy.

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Karla

I keep track of what my friends and family love too! My memory is nonexistent when it comes to present time so it’s insanely helpful to be like, “O right! Sara loves jerky!”

Emily
11 months ago

I hear the folks who only do custom gifts, but I don’t think gift stashes and thoughtful gifts are mutually exclusive. I have a gift closet and love it for these reasons: 1) Often I want to bring a small hostess gift to someone I don’t know super well. Turkish dish towels and beeswax candle are my favorites. 2) Sometimes I come across something that is on sale that is really beautiful and cool, and I can be opportunistic about buying it. 3) We go to a large amount of birthdays in our area, so we can’t go as a family to personally pick out every gift, and the kids don’t always know what the other kid wants. 4) I have small gifts for my kids for when they are especially good or need a pick me up. 5) I do re-gift when we get doubles etc. As long as the item is something I would give anyway, it makes more sense to me to hand deliver it to someone who can likely enjoy it than to send it off to the donation pile where it might or might not be discovered. 6) There are often donation drives near me,… Read more »

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Emily

Agree!

Loretta Alexander
11 months ago

Wait! Stop and think about how much of this is meaningless wasteful junk. Consumerism for it’s own sake. Rolls of paper, plastic bins to keep all this stuff in. Don’t collect random stuff for “Just in case”. This is why we can”t have a nice planet.

Rachel S
11 months ago

It’s interesting how different friendship groups have different ideas about gifts. In my circle there is no expectation of a present for any occasion because no-one wants more stuff. Usually to celebrate (covid notwithstanding) we’ll go out and buy the person a drink or share a meal at home and that’s it. No-one would ever expect a housewarming or hostess gift. It’s very freeing!

For kids birthdays I either explicitly ask the parent if there is something the child wants/needs or we get a copy of our child’s current favourite book. I hate the idea of giving someone something they don’t want/need.

For “big” things like 40ths, weddings, engagements etc we’ll pool money and get a voucher for a fancy dinner at a high restaurant or day spa. Easy!

emma
11 months ago

Yeah, I’m not into this idea. It just sounds like hoarding and fueling a shopping addiction. If you REALLY need a last minute gift, go to the grocery store and get flowers, or make sure to keep a nice bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge. If you live someplace very rural without many stores, they don’t expect you to turn up with a flawlessly wrapped store-bought gift! My grandmother is always gifting cut flowers from her garden, preserves, candied nuts (harvested from their trees), homemade pie, that sort of thing. A handwritten card can also go a very long way – to thank my dogsitter I often do a card with a little polaroid of the dog tucked inside with a gift card to a restaurant I know they love. In terms of holiday and birthday gifts, I keep a list in my phone and if I see or think of something that would be a good fit I write it down. Then I have calendar reminders for birthdays/holidays so when the reminder pops up I can pull up the list with a year’s worth of ideas. I generally try to make sure it’s something people actually want and… Read more »

Sheila
11 months ago

I’m on a tight budget so keeping an eye out for certain items at thrift stores is a good way for me to enjoy gift giving and keep costs down vs needing to buy at the last minute. Small vases or vessels that I will fill with a few flowers, vintage cocktail glasses that I’ll give along with a homemade cordial and recipes for using it, nice linen napkins or tea towels that I can use to wrap a fresh loaf of bread, pretty plates, platters or cutting boards that I can use when giving home baked cookies, cakes or a homemade cheese ball and crackers and tell the recipient to keep it or pass it on. Attractive, small picture frames that I can fill with an inexpensive photo print of the giftee or family. I also keep a stash of greeting cards. Not always easy to find a good sympathy card, a “get-well” card for someone who’s probably not going to, congratulations cards suitable for the tiniest milestones or the “sending a hug” cards that aren’t too sappy, so I try pick some up when I see them. I can’t say I have all this stuff organized in a… Read more »

Loretta Alexander
11 months ago
Reply to  Sheila

I like your ideas. Makes a lot of sense.

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Sheila

Wonderful Ideas and totally what we are suggesting. Shopping slow and meaningfully we make for great gifts when needed and reduce panic shopping:)

Michelle
11 months ago

Caitlin, this is an revelatory post ! I STRUGGLE with gifts outside of birthdays and holidays and have always wanted to be less anxious/better at it. Lightbulb moment over here, I’m so excited to start my gifting closet.

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Michelle

She always has the best life hacks!

Katie
11 months ago

Hey! Wanted to chime in that I love specific gifts AND have recently started doing this somewhat (with gift supplies in addition to the custom gifts) and it really helps. What I get: gifts for my mom and good friend that has helped me a lot (lots of occasions to give to them). Copies of favorite children’s book (The Day the Crayons Quit.). Couple cards on sale that say “Hooray.” Tulle. Colored tissue. Probably will also get a few bottles of Prosecco, some Trader Joe’s chocolates, and some smaller plates and cups from Anthropologie on sale. Usually I’m missing just part of a customized gift so having the stuff I use often is super helpful.

Admin
11 months ago
Reply to  Katie

that’s so great and what cute ideas!

Sarah
11 months ago

This sounds great. On Wednesday night after work, I was ashamed walking into my friends new apartment without a housewarming gift! What kind of Indian daughter am I arriving at someone’s house without a gift???!!!!!!! Ugh (Didn’t even have time to buy sees chocolate. lol SoCal Indian American and Never Have I Ever reference for my people). I have a pretty stationary drawer for whenever I gift things and a cupboard of old gift bags, ribbons, bows and tissue to reuse, and now I am so starting a box of gifts. Love the shopping your house tip! I just bought some socks with my Nisolo order to get free shipping and who doesnt love wool socks, so this will be the beginning of my “gifts box”. Thank you!

Joyce Garrity
11 months ago

I like to give earth friendly items. Re usable plastic bags/covers, eco friendly scrubbers, silicone potholders/ microwave food covers. For folks I know are eco minded, recycled jewelry, placemats too.

Rusty
11 months ago
Reply to  Joyce Garrity

Yaaay! Love this.🌏

April
11 months ago

I love giving gifts and I think there are opportunities for both super personalized and the “gift closet” type items discussed here. When I was kid, my grandmother’s friend, Mary, always had gift bags for visitors. Mary and her husband, Denny, were retired and lived on a very small budget in a tiny duplex and her gift bags, while not extravagant, were always so much fun to get. She knit slippers with pompoms and was an avid coupon clipper, so you’d get stuff like toothbrushes, candy, soap, etc that cost her little to nothing. Denny always had homemade fudge in the freezer that went in the gift bag, too. Those visits really made a lifelong impression on me, I always try to send visitors home with something or bring something when I visit, though I stick with mostly consumable-ish stuff and I consider the likes/dislikes of the recipient. I will say that plants are very specific, not everyone wants the responsibility so be sure your recipient is going to definitely want one. And grocery store flowers are great but if the recipient needs to cut and arrange and find a vase for them, it creates unexpected work, I always pre-arrange… Read more »

Sally
11 months ago

I do this by accident. I’ve got 16 nieces and nephews and after Christmas, or sometimes when I’m having a tidy up, I realise I’ve got some extra presents I forgot to give out. They sit in my back room but funnily enough I find generic presents a bit hard to give away. They quite often don’t seem quite right. I think I also like to buy presents in the main that I think/hope people will love, that are specific to them. And a big believe that a beautiful bunch of flowers fits many occasions, possibly because I love receiving flowers but would rarely buy a long living florist’s bunch for myself. And stops junk building in others’ houses.
BTW, can’t help but say that the verb of gift is to give, not to gift. Sorry, can’t help it- sends me insane anytime I see gift used as a verb, which seems to be a major PR industry/ influencer thing.

Tarynkay
11 months ago
Reply to  Sally

Yes! This bothers me as well. We already have a perfectly good verb for this! You give someone a gift, you don’t need to gift someone a giftable gift!

Sona
11 months ago

I’m chuckling reading this post because my husband has long had a “gift” closet. I put gift in quotes because this is really his RE-GIFT closet. He is the king of regifting, the tackier the gift the better. He also is fond of buying things in the “dollar” basket at the grocery store. Every year he amasses all of his gifts and wraps them up or puts them in used gift bags and passes them out to my large family (his in-laws) of siblings and nieces and nephews at our annual Hanukkah party. For years the nieces got press-on fake fingernails (easily found in the dollar bin). When my father died and we helped my mother clean out his office of 50 years, many items showed up at the next Hanukkah party. My husband has a great sense of humor and Uncle Jerry’s crazy gifts are legendary. He’s also fond of wrapping gifts in aluminum foil, which he calls the universal gift wrap. It’s shiny, you can’t see through it and in a pinch you don’t even need tape to seal it up. His co-workers at the annual white elephant gift exchange knew to be wary of the gift wrapped… Read more »

Pearl
11 months ago

This whole gift closet idea saved me when my kids were younger!!! Birthday parties, baby showers, weddings, teachers! I could just be so *seemingly* spontaneous with nice stuff. TJ Maxx is a great place to gather nice things. Dollar Tree used to have spectacular gift bags, I don’t know anymore. Nowadays, nobody I knows wants stuff, interesting coffee beans and no mug please! Yes to wine, no to glasses. I still save bags, cards, ribbons and interesting paper, however.

Kj
11 months ago

I think I am in the minority, but I hate giving gifts and I hate getting gifts (it actually causes me anxiety). I have too much already (usually spend time trying to get rid of stuff), and anything I want I just buy for myself. Of course I give gifts to my husband and teen kids but luckily I’m generally off the “gift giving bus” with a few exceptions (if a niece or nephew gets married or graduates college we send a card and check, etc….).

Susan
11 months ago
Reply to  Kj

I understand. I’m constantly trying to get rid of things, both because I live in a very small condo and because I want to be able to move at the drop of a hat. The minute I get a gift, I start thinking about who I can give it to…

Lia
11 months ago

I have a gift box similar to this that is mostly things that are duplicate gifts given to my kids or me that we won’t use. I put them aside, then give them out during the year. It works well when my kids have birthday parties and we don’t know the other child well. It does make life so much easier for me…love the gift closet.

I also keep old gift bags and reuse them, and I have the container store over the door organizer – it is great for more than just gift wrap!

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