Occasions Catalog Preview

Hot off the presses and fresh to your mailbox, the 2010 Occasions Catalog has arrived! This is your all-year, go-to, keep-in-your-nightstand guide to giving. It’s filled with gift ideas for all of those year round gifting occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, thank yous, thinking of yous, and sympathy gifts. Plus, it’s chock full of great gifting tips!

Here are a few of my favorite selections from this year’s book:

The Bite-Sized Bubbly Box is a fabulous, versatile gift. It can toast an anniversary, a job promotion, or any other celebration. I think it’s perfect at a wedding as a non-alcoholic option for the wedding toasts!

Bite-Sized Bubbly Box

Bite-Sized Bubbly Box

The Top Notch Thank You Box is another favorite. This preppy design is so smart and sassy, it’s bound to become your favorite way to show some gratitude.

Top Notch Thank You Box

Top Notch Thank You Box

Our Logo Perfect Cookies are getting a lot of buzz lately. I think it’s because they are AMAZING! You can add any image to our decadent frosted sugar cookies to create an unforgettable party favor or promotional tool at your next event or celebration. Imagine the possibilities (or check out a few examples here, here, and here)!

Logo Perfect Cookies

Logo Perfect Cookies

If you don’t already have a copy of our 2010 Occasions Catalog, order your free copy now. You’ll thank yourself all year long!

Gifting Tip: When to Bring a Hostess Gift to Dinner (And How Much to Spend)

You’re standing at the door, about to ring the doorbell for a dinner party. Question: Do you have a host/hostess gift in your hands or not?

Well, it depends on the situation. Let’s break it down.

If you have a dish of food in your hand, an assigned side dish from the host, then there is no need to bring an additional gift. However, don’t bring a side dish unless you’ve been asked. The host has planned out the menu and your surprise addition could be more hassle than help as he or she scrambles to fit it into their plan.

If you have not been asked to provide anything for the meal, then it’s a good idea to show up with something in your hands to thank your host. It could be anything from a bottle of wine to a set of pretty hand towels, or my favorite—a tin of cookies.

If an invitation comes last minute, no need to panic about a gift. Take or send something a day or two later as a token of your thanks. Even a hand-written note will do.

How much should you spend on a hostess gift? I use this rule of thumb: If you were going out to dinner (instead of to a dinner party), the amount you would typically spend on an entrée is about how much you should spend on a gift. If you stick to that rule, your gift will always be appropriate because it will always be in your budget.

Speaking of dinner parties, I’m off to one now! And what am I bringing? I’ll give you a dozen guesses…

12 Cookie Basket

12 Cookie Basket

Gifting Tip Follow-Up: Open Presents Later

Luscious & Lovely Box

Luscious & Lovely Box

Thanks for the great response regarding my last gifting tip “Open Presents Later.” I got a few follow-up questions about how to pull it off as well as how to handle pushy guests who want you to open their present during the party. Here are some more pointers:

  • Have a table set up to gather the gifts, but keep it out of the center of the party. The party should be the focus, not the presents. The theory of “out of sight, out of mind” works very well for this purpose.
  • If a guest asks when you are going to open presents, explain with a smile that you’re going to do it later, after the guests have gone, because you want to focus on the party.
  • Sometimes you may have an insistent (or pushy) guest who is stuck on the old way of doing things. You could say something like, “I’m trying something different this time.” Especially in the case of a child’s party, you can explain that it’s easier for the child to open gifts without a crowd and at his/her own pace.
  • Perhaps it’s a family member who is insisting and you don’t want to offend? How about suggesting that they stay after the other party guests have gone and then open their gift (but not all of the others). It’s a friendly compromise.
  • Remember that a timely thank you note is absolutely a must! Each gift should be acknowledged as soon as possible.

It’s never too late to start a new tradition. I think you’ll find that opening presents later is a great piece of gifting etiquette to adopt at your next party.

Gifting Tip: Open Presents Later

Precious Present Box

Precious Present Box

You’ve been there, right? At a four-year-old’s birthday party, when the presents get opened as the partygoers sit around and watch? It never fails—minutes later at least half of the room is in tears, kids fighting over gifts and parents apologizing for the bad behavior.

If you’re hosting a party that involves gift-giving, do yourself and your guests a favor and open the presents later, after all of the guests are gone. It is good etiquette for young and old alike and for a few reasons. First of all, it keeps the focus on the actual party and the guests. Second, it avoids any awkward moments for your guests if there are duplicate gifts, or if there is a wide range in size or value. Nobody should ever feel bad about the gift they brought, especially as it compares to others. And finally, opening gifts later allows the recipient to enjoy receiving each gift individually with no time constraint, no moving quickly to the next gift and the next in order to have time for cake and ice cream and pinatas and karaoke.

Think about it—gifting is a very personal tradition. A gift is selected personally and should be received personally. During the party, have a table set up to collect the gifts as guests arrive and then leave them put until everyone is gone and the guest of honor has a chance to take a breath and focus on each gifts individually and at her own pace. Acknowledge each gift later with a thank you note.

It’s a good idea whether you’re four or forty. No more party tears or awkward apologies. Trust me, you’ll never regret adopting this practice.

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