I have something tucked away in my closet that I refer to often. Here is what is does for me:
- saves me time
- stretches my money
- prevents last minute shopping trips
- gives me incentives to help motivate my children
- keeps me feeling prepared
- enables me to take advantage, at short notice, of opportunities to serve others
- provides me with unique, creative ways to show love
- makes me well prepared for weddings, birthdays, graduations, new baby and other occasions
I am talking about my “Gift Box”!
This is just a discarded grocery-store apple box, but it is what I put in it that counts!
Whenever I shop, I cruise the clearance racks. I have a purpose—I am on the look-out to stock my gift box. If I see a quality product that is marked low price because it is off-season, or for other reasons, I consider it. I want top-quality gifts, not “dollar store” things. If I find something great, I buy it and stash it in my gift box, replenished to meet the next need.
When is the best time to shop? The week after a holiday will offer some excellent bargains on seasonal merchandise. Don’t go the day after the holidays such as Easter, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, however, because it takes the stores a bit of time to drastically reduce it. When it goes to 75% or even 90% off the retail price, then I am ready to shop!
Change of season also provides great bargains. In January, all the winter clothes go on clearance making way for summer clothing. You’ll see that happen again in July and August, as the stores clear out their summer merchandise. This is a great time to pick up seasonal clothes, a baby sun hat or a beach towel, for example, that can make a nice gift.
Look at merchandise with a creative eye. Plain red, burgundy or gold Christmas decorations, tableware, or wrapping paper can serve as Valentine’s party decor. Solid or floral pastel items from Easter, such as tablecloths, dishes, arrangements can be lovely all year long. Just avoid the dead give-aways—motifs such as bunnies, pumpkin faces, or candy cane stripes. Another idea: outlandish jewelry, hats or shoes can be a fun dress-up play gift that kids will love!
Can it be remodeled? I once bought several white super-soft bunny stuffed animals to stash in my gift box. When I needed a baby gift, I just exchanged the Easter-themed neck ribbon to either pink or blue ribbon to make an expensive (originally) and much appreciated baby gift!
Can it be used for a different purpose? A bed comforter that is too bright or unusual can be a fun picnic quilt to sit on. Give it for a wedding gift, complete with plastic picnic dishes tucked inside the plastic-zippered quilt bag. Include a picnic label so the receiver knows how to use it.
I love to buy “liquor bags”! I don’t drink but these bags (sold alongside the gift wrapping or tablecloths) are very fancy—made of velvet or metallic thread tapestry, decorated with tassels or sequined, and closed with a drawstring. Most people who don’t drink, (nor give liquor as a gift), just overlook those elegant bags seeing them only as what their label declares. But when they end up on the clearance rack for next to nothing, I buy all of them as long as they are gold, silver, red, etc. and not specifically Christmas-themed! They make lovely gift-wrapping bags for small items all year long, that will make the receiver “ooh” and “aah”.
Another great buy I stumbled upon was a clearance sale post-Christmas on candles in big glass jars with lids. I sorted through them and selected the most multi-purpose fragrances. These large, quality candles with a $15 price tag were marked at 90% off. . .just $1.50 each! I give these for house-warming or friendship gifts, and they make a hit. I also bought extras, (30+) to store away as an emergency light supply just in case.
Time to get out there and go shopping to fill that very handy “gift box’!
May I recommend: