You can get candy AND give back…
I love FEED (the foundation established by Lauren Bush Lauren to help feed citizens in underprivileged societies). I love the motto and the style behind it.
Even better I like the practicality of the products available on the site. Hence my blog of their FEED Trick-or-Treat bag. At $18 it’s a great deal and even better, your purchase pays for 40 micronutrient servings, which offer children the vitamins and nutrients they need to stay healthy.
So if you have a little trick-or-treater in your life, invest in the bag and take care of other kids too!
Say Thanks with a Memory…
I recently had a blog-style rant on what I termed the “Art of Thank You”. Now I’m jumping off my soapbox and sharing one of my fave ways of receiving a thank you.
Use your words (in a card) and add some PHOTOS!
It works for graduation gifts (a photo of the graduate) and appreciation for party attendance (wedding, birthdays, retirements, and etc.).
Just send your digital images off to an online photo printing site (like Shutterfly or Snapfish) or use your local Walgreens which offers the same type of service. Because you can print in small numbers (and it’s no longer so in demand), it’s pretty inexpensive.
Below are some of may faves!
I cannot believe it’s been three years. After more than a year of overthinking, I started this blog during the Federal government shutdown of 2013. I figured – when else would I have at least a week to devote to it and I’ve been pretty much blogging ever since.
I’m Still Inspired.
Because “thank you” means everything.
Confession. I am offended rather easily by what I perceive to be ingratitude and I don’t think I’m the only one. But there’s an easy fix and it’s “thank you.” While I am traditional enough to enjoy a lovely thank you card, I can appreciate a phone call or text too. But to say nothing when you receive a gift is rude.
Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way that have helped me and now I’m sharing them with you.
- Timing is critical. In other words, don’t wait too long to send a thank you – whether it be a note or message. When I was a kid my mother used to make me phone in a thank you to my aunties right after I received their gifts in the mail. The same principle still works. Different occasions have different timeframes (for weddings I think you have a year), but my advice is not to let the grass grow under your feet.
- Keep your message simple and personal. You don’t have to wax poetic nor be verbose in your thank you notes (or texts). I think that authenticity is best. So if you’re appreciative just say so. I guarantee that it will be well-received.
- In other words – don’t go overboard. You don’t have to overshoot your thank you. I remember when my father died a friend sent a card with two books of stamps. It was an ideal and appropriate gift for me since I was planning to send thank you cards out to people who had sent me gifts and cards. When I called to thank her she made it clear that she did not want a thank you back from me using the stamps lol. I could have ignored her but I didn’t. She knew that I was grateful from the call and sending her a thank you would likely have been been going overboard.
When to send a thank you:
- For a gift. In general, if someone gives you a gift, I think that you should send a thank you note. However, there are modern ways to do this. I know someone who posts a message on Facebook and tags us all in thanks. Not traditional, but the message is sincere and immediate.*
- For an experience. If someone goes out of his or her way to do something nice for you I believe that it’s appropriate to drop a card in the mail or send an e-card via email. This is especially true if you appreciate the gesture.
*Exception: With some of my family and friends who have become family, we have a tradition of gifts for birthdays and other occasions. I would be sending notes constantly. So I think that this is the exception to the rule.
Stay tuned for ideas on creative ways to say “thank you.”
“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” -Nora Ephron
This quote is from one of my favorite movies You’ve Got Mail. It’s now an oldie but definitely a goodie – hello dial up. It’s also proof that a good ideal is timeless including the idea of gifting a “bouquet of newly sharpened pencils.” Only Nora Ephron could write such gloriousness (yes I made up that word).
But either way, I’m sort of like Joe Fox, the movie’s protagonist played by Tom Hanks who sends this lovely message to Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan rocking a delightful pixie). Fall makes me think of school supplies – pretty notebooks and great folders. Trapper Keepers and Lisa Frank binders. Lunch boxes and new backpacks.
So as you’re shopping for school supplies, make a gift out of it. Here are some ideas:
- A new backpack full of notebooks.
- Wrap packing twine around a stack of colorful composition books.
- Add a gift tag to the lunch box du’jour.
- Throw some colorful Chapstick or colorful Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers in a pencil pouch instead of just pencils.
- OR gift a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils. Bonus points if they have the student’s name on them (see Oriental Trading for ideas).
Falling head first into this cliche…
I gotta say, I love the whole “Christmas in July” concept. It reminds me to get going so that I’m not panicking in November. In case you’re wondering, I’m that annoying person who likes to have her Christmas gifts purchased by October. I’m not a perfectionist I swear – but I like to have time to find great gifts before things get picked over.
But you don’t have to actually SHOP right now, just get your holiday wheels turning.
Here are my “Christmas in July” tips:
- Make Your List. Start with a list. Write down all of the people you plan to buy gifts for this year. Include family, friends, teachers, and office mates. This will help you pick up small items along the way that are suitable for each person.
- Pick a Theme. Sometimes I go with a theme which makes it easier to buy gifts for everyone. You could do all sports, or jewelry/accessories for the ladies. You could also go with all gift cards in fancy boxes. Deciding on a theme sometimes keeps you sane and also helps if your family or friends do gift comparisons.
- Get Inspired. This is my clipping time. I browse sites like Etsy or yank pages out of magazines if I see items that I think will work.
- Start Looking at Cards. For everyone I can’t buy gifts for I like to at least send cards. But I’m picky as exemplified by this blog. So I start searching early.
A Great Spot for “Just Because” Gifts
I was in Orlando a couple of weeks ago and found myself in Charming Charlie. (I originally discovered the store in Chicago). I always forget just how great the store is for picking up cute and appropriate gifts for friends and co-workers.
That’s me taking a picture of these cute latte mugs (I love a latte mug.)
Gifts for Engaged Girls live there too. (See my previous blog for other ideas).
They also have pretty accessories for other gifts….like pretty jewelry trays and cute wine bags.
Dos, Don’ts and Recommendations….
Do buy from the wedding registry. The coupled registered for things that they wanted. Go ahead and buy them! It will be exciting if the couple has you over and you see your gift in their home.
Do know that cash/money always works. It’s just tacky to ask for it. But no bride or groom is going to be offended by a gift that folds in cash or check form.
Do buy a gift (from the registry) that’s commensurate with your relationship to the couple. If it’s a cousin you’re only seen once since you were three – go with a set of towels. If it’s your college roommate, do better.
Don’t go broke. I’ve seen some crazy expensive items on wedding registries. This is when writing a check really works.
Don’t make a donation to a charity unless they ask for it. It’s a great idea and I actually love it, but charities are personal. So stay away from it unless you have the inside track on their philanthropic activities.
Don’t get mad if you don’t get a thank you. Don’t get me wrong, it irks me too. But don’t let it ruin your relationship. This lack of manners is their problem, not yours. You’ve done your job by giving a great gift.
A Great Bridesmaid Gift is the Least that a Grateful Bride Can Do…
I’ve been a bridesmaid a few times and while it is an honor – it’s also a pretty thankless job. Mostly because the bride needs you and nothing is about you! So keeping that in mind, gifting a great bridesmaid gift (often at the rehearsal dinner) is a great way to say thank you.
Here’s are some tips…
Make It Useful
The best bridesmaid gifts tend to be ones that can be used on the day of the wedding, especially since the bridal party may not have the time (or the finances) to take care of some of those things themselves.
Ideas: Purses/Clutches; Pashminas/Wraps; Makeup for Wedding Touchups
Share An Experience
You don’t always have to give a physical gift. I have appreciated it when the bride paid for the pre-wedding mani/pedi or picked up the price of the makeup artist. A pre-wedding spa day or massage is a nice thought too (although a little pricey). But it could go along way to soothing bridal party nerves and anxiety and help everyone remember exactly why they’re supporting the bride.
Say Yes (and pay for) the Dress!
My aunt had a destination wedding and she didn’t do bridesmaid gifts. But she did pay for our dresses (and a whole lot of other things actually – she was the BEST bride). It’s a little pricey (again) but if you have a small bridal party, making this kind of gesture takes a lot of stress off of the bridesmaids and eliminates (IMO) the need for other gifts.
A Photo Finish
If money is a little tight, invest a little time in DIY and unearth a great picture of the two of you. Frame it up and put in a gift bag with a gift card to the bridesmaid’s favorite coffee shop.
The Worse the Bride, the Better the Gift
If you have turned into bridezilla at anytime during the wedding planning season, caused your bridesmaids anxiety to the point of hives and sleepless nights, called anyone out of their name, or taxed them worse than the Feds – go all out! They didn’t ask for great gifts, but they darn well deserve it and you know it. So handle your biz Miss Bride!
If you’re looking for a go-to bridal gift look no further. I’ve found that most brides don’t buy this item until the the last minute (or don’t actually get around to it) – making this a great gift.
It’s especially good for brides having destination weddings where they may not have all the comforts and conveniences of home near and dear.
Personalized Brides has some of the best options available (color and fabric) and even does sets that include slippers.