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Category Archives: custom gift basket

Holiday Help: Budgeting, Shopping & Traveling – Part 2 of a 4 Part Series

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If by now, early October, you don’t yet have a list of persons you’re planning to give gifts to this holiday season, take a moment and read our Holiday Help: Getting Started – Part 1 of a 4 Part Series.

In that post, I ask a number of questions to help determine your Christmas 2016 ‘who, where and when’ .  Gifting can quickly get complicated in our mobile, merged, multi-generation families and a bit of upfront planning and discussion can make the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of gifting much easier to handle.

As we proceed to budgeting, shopping and traveling recognize and accept this:  your plans are just plans. Even if your Getting Started list is perfect and fully discussed, there are hundreds of variables that will impact your acquisition of those gifts and the travel to your celebratory locations.  Here are a just a few:  weather that hampers travel, unexpected financial emergencies, unanticipated illness or injury (even the simplest of illness, injury at the wrong time can become an issue), the ability of online retailers and delivery services to meet your expectations and more.

So, why do we plan and budget?  Because without a plan, your sanity, relationships, stress level and financial control are all a free-for-all;  a plan, even with the undesired need to adjust it is healthier for all involved and puts you in the driver’s seat.

Starting with the who’s on your gift list, quickly brainstorm what you’d like to give that individual and an estimated cost.  Do the same with the travel.  If you need help with estimating the cost, use online tools but recognize some online pricing is designed to lure you into an immediate purchase.  Resist that temptation until you completed your budgeting.  Force yourself to put a gift and dollar value next to everyone person’s name on your list. Next tally up your spending based on those quick estimates.

If the total amount to be spent is within your budget, great.  All you’ll need to do is stick to your plan when you shop.  But for most of us, we tend to be more generous than we can wisely afford.  If this is true of your list and estimate, start by sharpening your pencil, do a bit more research on options and pricing, and possibly re-think another gift.

As you’re looking for ways to reduce your spending ask yourself whether there persons on your list that spend time together that could be given a great group gift?  We tend to think of individual gifts but many times a group gift is enjoyed more.

Now you need to get those gifts.  so start by planning your shopping.  Get the items within your budget that might have limited availability first.  Then plot your acquisition strategy to maximize your time, mileage and patience.  Before driving 35 minutes to the mall make sure you’ve identified all the mall gifts that need to be obtained.  While online shopping tends to be easier than the old fashioned brick and mortar store, you might benefit a stroll through a few of them.  I often find inspiration and new trends when I’m in a physical store and it always helps me to get into a festive holiday mood.  Observing brick and mortar pricing and selections can also help refine your list and budget. Use your judgement to determine if the current day’s price is likely to be the best price or will there be a sale?  If so, will that item still be available?

Determine if your ‘acquisition’ style is to spend a full day shopping and getting it all done or if you’re a slow and steady style shopper picking up one thing here another here and comparing both to online options. And as always do investigate and evaluate the retailer’s return policy.

Don’t forget about the ever popular Small Business Saturday which this year is Saturday, November 26, 2016.  SBS is the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and has been named and promoted by American Express since 2010.  We all know that Black Friday is the crazy early morning, late night shopping spree that historically follows Thanksgiving. Also online shoppers will hit the keyboards and tablets heavy on the Monday following Small Business Saturday know as Cyber Monday.  Pay attention to a store’s pre-Thanksgiving prices and specials.  Big Box and online retailers will start to reveal their deep discounts on a handful of items to get your attention (and business) 7-10 days before Thanksgiving.  At the same time Independent retailers  will reach out to you via emails, post cards, radio ads, event marketing to get a slice of your attention (and business).  Use your leverage as the buyer to get the best price from an independent retailer – ask if a particular item will be discounted after Thanksgiving and if so do they have a sufficient number or are they willing to discount the item in advance?  At Gifts To Go, we’re hosting a Holiday Open House with several discounts for same day purchases.  We also hold two week long sales on our popular Willow Tree items of 20% and will honor that discount during our Holiday Open House as well.

Start planning that holiday travel now as well.  Especially if you’re traveling by air, train or bus or renting a car as it will feel as though the entire country is traveling with you.  Seats will quickly become scarce and expected them to be pricey.

Finally, if you’re cooking or entertaining, get your menus planned and shopping lists created as the grocers will also be competing for your business and a plan will let you take advantage of great sales especially on non-perishables.

As with any well organized project, a good plan guides your actions and better equips you for those pesky adjustments that will most assuredly happen along the way to your envisioned holiday celebration.

By next month, you’ll have acquired a number of gifts and be ready to focus on shipping and gift presentation.  Here’s to a great plan!

 

 

 

 

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Can’t Thank Our Clients Enough!

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We are honored to have been voted one of  five Local Favorite Retailers in the City of Surprise and want to thank our shoppers and shippers for having faith in us and returning time and time again to purchase our products, use our services and to share life’s ups and downs in a friendly environment.  In our mind, that’s what being a local gift shop and post office is all about.

We accept this honor humbly along with what we both hope for and fear will be increased scrutiny and raised expectations.  Gifts To Go has intentionally developed slowly so as to get to know our patrons and to evaluate each step toward our ultimate goal of offering a comfortable, convenient gathering spot where life’s joys and sorrows are embraced within the context of local retail establishment.  So, while we’re proud today we’re also buckling down for the next steps along the development.  Thank you for your recognition and please continue to tell when we’re putting smiles on faces and if we should misstep along the way.

 

 

 

 

Letter To Satin Ribbon

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May 23, 2016

Dear Single and Double Faced Ribbon,

It is with heavy heart that I advise I will not be using you in my bow-dacious bows.

Your silky sheen will no longer adorn my baskets or gift wrapping.  I’ve not mastered your use despite your simplicity and beauty.  I’ve given you my best efforts and countless hours all  for years for naught.

I’m not a quitter but I’ve discovered the versatility and ease of use of wired ribbons which were previously only available in limited colors, fabrics and patterns and always costly.  With time all things change and the selections are vast and pricing much improved.  Perhaps supply and demand has created this solution because maybe people than I have called it quits with you.

When I’m not using wired ribbons, I find my go-to choices are vibrant grosgrains.

Wishing you all the best in the pile of no-longer-trendy gift embellishments.

Sincerely,

Tammy at Gifts To Go

Procrastination: Friend or Foe?

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Came across an interesting tweet this afternoon which posed the question whether procrastination furthers or hinders creativity.

The original tweet is https://twitter.com/grantdraws/status/460764353961013248.

As a student and as an employee, I admitted to being a procrastinator, explaining it away as doing my best work under pressure. Now as a business owner, I  do the more interesting tasks before I focus on the less intriguing.   But, I assign and meet deadlines for the undesirable tasks because they must be done in order to keep the business g(r)owing.

The tweet struck another chord, though, as I now describe myself as a ‘ponderer’ or ‘muller over’ when it working on new custom basket designs.  Gifts made for actual persons and orders are easy for me; the creativity stems from a conversation, in person or through email, with the customer.  Even with just a snippet on information, I’m able to focus on the recipient and reason for the order.  I’ve been told that my creations show great insight into the gift giver, the recipient and the purpose behind the gift.

My problem arises when as a result of wanting to grow the custom gift basket line, I need to fill up our shop with custom gifts for shoppers to both browse on the shelves and purchase not because they ordered it but because once seeing it they realize it fills a need in their world to put smiles on someone special’s face.

When I don’t know who is going to purchase it nor who is going to receive it, I spend too much time and energy trying to gather and display items, struggling over which container to select, the color and fabric for the bow, how it should be wrapped and on and on.  I strive for stunning and practical selection of items to include and a presentation that wows but expend lots of effor to  work, re-work, do and re-do every step of a basket design when there is no person or story attached to it.

Would appreciate your help in creating these stories, givers and recipients so I can fill the shop with delightful gift options by answering the following few questions that will prompt my creativity and gift problem solving.  Thanking you in advance.

Gift Giving Quote for the Day and Beyond

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We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” ~Winston Churchill

If you’ve visited Gifts To Go you know I intend to make a living helping people give; by helping them find the exact right sentiment to express what they want to say about a particular human situation.   I then help them prep the gift for presentation with wrappings, bows and bags and all the things that agitated The Grinch.

Sometimes the gift-giver can put the exact sentiment into words and we just look for a something to express the feeling.  Many times the giver arrives looking for a something that will give them words to express the sentiment once they’ve uncovered the item that calls to them.

Neither approach is unusual.  Our lives are not defined by the one gift or even the something that represents the sentiment.  Our lives are defined by the series of interactions we’ve had with other individuals.  A single gift will never significantly alter the recipient’s response to a set of human interactions whether that’s during a lifetime or a short relationship.

This approach is especially relevant as we enter summer graduation and wedding season. Those events are generally the kick offs in a life long game of gift-giving. As you ponder your upcoming gift challenges, I wish you good choices but also acceptance of what you select and no regrets in terms of your budget or (lack of) timeliness.  After all, as we say, gifts are all about putting smiles of faces and I’m sure that’s what yours will do.

 

If you’re ever in our neighborhood, please stop in to introduce yourself.  We’re at 11340 W Bell Road, Suite 128, Surprise, AZ and can be reached at 602 403 0646.  And if you’re looking for a gift basket please check out the Gallery on our site.