As the curator of a small gift shop, I’ve witnessed a lot of panic. There’s the mad holiday scramble, of course, but I also see customers struggling year-round to find something at the last minute for a birthday that was almost forgotten or a hostess who’s offering her lake house for the weekend. So, I’d like to give you some pointers on present preparedness! I suggest you create a stash of diverse gifts you like now so you can avoid a shameful stop at CVS right before your co-worker’s shower. Here are the five steps I’m following at home:
1. Set aside a place for your present stash, such as the top shelf of a closet or a bin under your bed.
2. When you see something that’s a perfect match for a loved one, buy it now instead of trusting that you’ll remember where to find it at holiday or birthday time.
3. Focus on small, nonbreakable gifts that can be stacked to maximize your stash space.
4. Look for products that come in money-saving sets, which you can break up and give out as singles.
5. Choose goods that have a story so that even a last-minute gift feels personal when you present it (e.g., “She gets the wool from her own backyard sheep!”).
And now, here are my top recommendations for four categories of giving, most handmade and under $25!
For a Host/Hostess:
1. Screen-printed tea towels by Nell & Mary, available from Finely Crafted // 2. Painted chevron dishes by Nicole Porter Design // 3. Fried egg potholders by Red Stitch, available from Finely Crafted // 4. Cocktail dice by Leafcutter Designs, available from Finely Crafted
1. Botanical journal by Rifle Paper Co., available from Finely Crafted // 2. Acrylic Pylon earrings by Delusions of Grandeur, available from Finely Crafted // 3. Organic, vegan soap set by Prunella // 4. Beeswax bottle candle set by Deva America, available from Scoutmob
1. Fish corkscrew by Kikkerland, available from Rare Device // 2. Botanical coasters by Rifle Paper Co., available from Finely Crafted // 3. Flying saucer felt planter, available from Finely Crafted // 4. Flavored salt set by Beautiful Briny Sea, available from Fab.com
For Expecting Parents:
1. Mysterio Predicts newborn tee, available from Finely Crafted // 2. Alexander Girard Color book, available from AMMO Books // 3. Kids’ melamine meal set designed by Lotta Jansdotter, available from Finely Crafted // 4. Eensie Figurine bear pillow, available from Finely Crafted
Next time I’ll cover part 2 of building the gift stash: wraps and trims!