Gift Giving Suggestions and Tips

Tis the season to be jolly…and to do a lot of shopping.  While some people don’t get into the gift-giving that comes with the holiday season, many people do at least exchange small trinkets.  However, there’s a certain amount of stress that goes with giving gifts, especially if you don’t know what to buy a person or are on a limited budget.  However, there are a few ways you can make your Christmas gift giving a little easier.

•    Make a list of everyone you’re buying gifts for, what your budget is, and what you’re going to get them, if you know.  This will help ensure you don’t spend way more than you were planning, and it will also help save you time.  You won’t be wondering aimlessly around the mall looking at things—you’ll have a plan!

•    Shop early if possible.  Waiting until the last minute means dealing with crowds and facing the possibility of not finding what you want.

•    Shopping online also makes the holiday season less of a pain.  However, again it’s very important to shop early.  Otherwise, you may have to either pay for fast shipping or wait until after Christmas to give your gift.

•    If you have family or friends spread across the country, it’s usually convenient to send a Christmas centerpiece with flowers, a poinsettia, or even a fresh, decorated Christmas wreath from a local florist.  In the DC Metro areas, check out MyFlorist’s Christmas flowers, centerpieces and poinsettias.

•    Don’t be afraid to ask someone for gift ideas.  It’s better that you ask than get them something they already have or don’t need.

•    Keep all your receipts just in case, especially when buying electronics (something may be defective), fragile items (things can get broken while being shelved in the store), and clothing (not all brands are sized the same).

•    Food is always a good gift, especially if you know what someone likes.  Desserts, cheese, and candy are hard to beat.  Be certain the person doesn’t have a medical condition and needs to avoid certain food, of course.  A bottle of wine is also a good gift for some people.

•    Gift cards aren’t always a bad idea, and they aren’t always seen as impersonal.  For those who often eat out, a gift card to a restaurant would be appreciated.  College students might enjoy a gift card to Starbucks.  Instead of guessing what books someone might want, get them a gift card to a bookstore.

•    You don’t have to buy all of your gifts.  If you knit or crochet, make someone a hat, scarf, or blanket.  Scrapbooks are great gifts, too, as are original pieces of art.  Get creative!  Sometimes, in fact, handmade gifts are much more personal and touching than something bought at a store.

Flowers & The Economy

Classic
Classic

As the US government pushes the record-making $700 billion bail-out for the banking sector, and a $25 billion loan to carmakers, our confidence as consumers takes a tumble. We, as a nation, are cutting back, learning to live on a cash basis. Fuel and food prices are going up and we hear “economic depression” on the news and around the water cooler. So in this economy, who can afford luxuries like flowers? If we put aside certain events like weddings and funerals and Mother’s Day where flowers are often necessary to express our feelings, what else warrants such decadent spending? Let’s do a Top 10 list of Why Flowers Are Always Affordable:

  1. Flowers bring us back to Mother Earth. They are alive. Touch them and you can’t help but feel more connected to the universe.
  2. Flowers are easy to order online and have sent almost anywhere in the world, usually within half a business day. So they are great for last minute gifts or far away loved ones.
  3. Flowers never go out of style. They can express a gracious business thank you or a fun nudge to say, “Hey, I’m still thinking of you.”
  4. Flowers soothe us. The aroma, the delicate beauty and the gentle spirit of flowers give us those “Stop and Smell the Flowers” moments away from the financial and technical stress in our everyday lives.
  5. Flowers give us a lot of bang for our luxury buck. For the same price as a dozen beautiful roses you could fill up your gas tank, buy a pair of slacks, or pay your cell phone bill. But you wouldn’t get the “Ooh’s and Ahh’s”.
  6. Flowers dress up a room and make us feel loved. Those of
    us who have been unfortunate enough to stay in the hospital
    for more than a couple of nights without getting flowers know it’s just not
    right.
  7. Flowers encourage and cheer us on. You can congratulate someone with a card or you can show them how proud you are – expressing even deeper levels of feeling – even more with flowers.
  8. Flowers are romantic. Red roses are still a requirement
    for any important evening that involves romance.
    Having roses delivered to her office or home before you pick her up can set
    the right tone for the night.
  9. Flowers give us bragging rights at the office. Not that we’d actually brag. It’s a given that someone thinks us awesome.
  10. Flowers are a luxury. Having a fresh floral arrangement in any room of your house is like sleeping on Egyptian cotton, wearing silk or sipping a fine wine. They are sensuous and beautiful like a summer breeze through the trees with sunlight on our faces and freshly cut grass between our toes.

Balance your checkbook. Pay your bills. Check your investments. And then send
some flowers
.