Tag Archive | gift

Creative Gift Cards

If you’re like me, it’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas presents! Especially if you have people who are difficult to buy for, like I do. Every time I walk through the mall or get a catalogue or circular in the mail, I look through it to try to get ideas. I don’t know if it’s the creative person in me or what, but every year I feel pressure to get or make the perfect gift to give to everyone on my list. That’s why I start thinking about it before summer even starts. (I have a sickness, I know!)

Most people would never think a gift card would be a perfect gift for someone. Usually it is something you give to a person you don’t know as well or as a last resort when you can’t find anything else to give them. Or sometimes it’s what the person requests. After my sister’s shower, my brother claims that he and his fiancée are going to register for just gift cards so its easier to take all the presents home. (He’s not going to get his way, but it’s nice to let him think he is!)

So what happens when you decide you want to get the person a gift card? Most of them come in a paper holder with the store’s name across the front. If you don’t wrap it or put it a card or gift bag, the person knows what you got them. How do you make a gift card look thoughtful and unique as opposed to something you just picked up at the last moment?

It all started this past Christmas. Normally my sister, brother and I (or some combination of the three) go in on a gift for my parents. And when I say we, it’s usually my idea and then me getting the present, picking out a card, wrapping it and bringing it over Christmas morning while the other two write checks. (Can you tell I’m the oldest and Type A??) This year, I left it up to the other two to come up with an idea for a gift. So when two weeks before Christmas rolled around and there was still no idea, I decided to step up. What if we got my parents gift cards to 11 of their favorite restaurants and one butcher/deli/grocery store that they go to down the shore? My parents like to dine out and I thought that this would be a nice gift. But why 12?

Since I know they go to dinner at least once a week, I figured they would enjoy a free meal each month. I divided the gift cards up so that the shore restaurants and butcher/deli/grocery store ones fell into the summer months and the ones around home were for months during the winter when they spend more time around home. Once that was done, I went through my Cricut cartridges and found icons or phrases for each of the months. Here is what I did:

January – champagne bottle for the new year

February – double hearts for Valentines day

March – pot of gold for St. Patrick’s Day

April – Easter bunny for Easter

May – phrase Happy Mother’s Day

June – phrase Happy Father’s day

July – chef complete w the grill for 4th of July

August – phrase Happy Birthday for my dad’s birthday

September – wedding cake for their wedding anniversary (I think it said the happy couple)

October – Pumpkin for Halloween

November – turkey for Thanksgiving

December – phrase Happy Birthday for my mom’s birthday

I cut them all out at an appropriate size for each gift card and then attached them to the front. While they were decorated, I felt like it needed a little something. So I went to Michael’s and bought a lined wicker basket and some of that Easter grass to take up some of the space at the bottom. I also bought some ribbon for the big bow at the top and to attach all of the gift cards and some cellophane to wrap the basket. The last thing I purchased was an angel to be the topper.

Here are some of the pictures (the rest can be seen at my other blog – scrapsecrets.wordpress.com):

January

MarchJulyDecemberInsideFinished

We could have just given my parents the gift cards undecorated and I know they would have been just as appreciative. But, I think the little extra effort decorating them shows that a lot of thought was put into the gift. It’s just one way to make it look like you didn’t pick up just any old gift card to any old place. You can do the same thing for a birthday party or a shower.

Another unique way to give a gift card is to buy or use a bunch of boxes that are lying around your house. Place the gift card (wrapped or unwrapped) in the smallest box. Then place that box in the next size box and wrap. Continue for however many boxes you have. I bet that when the recipient looks at the box at first, they won’t guess that it’s a gift card!!

Occasionally I will wrap a gift card in wrapping paper, like I would any other present. For a fun effect for a gift card to one of your child’s friends, have them help you make the wrapping paper. Take a couple of layers of tissue paper (you can get large packs of white tissue paper at the dollar store and keep them on hand) and some stamps and go to town! If the kid’s birthday party is themed, try to find appropriate stamps and mix in the Happy Birthday or Party stamps. If the child likes a certain animal or cartoon character, go with that theme. This will make your present stand out from all the others!

These are just some ideas for ways to decorate an otherwise boring package for a gift card. I’d love to see or hear what you come up with! Feel free to leave a comment or a link back to your blog about what you did. Thanks for stopping by!

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Around the Clock Shower

If you are looking for a shower idea for a couple who has either just bought a house or is moving in together for the first time, this might be a great theme! It will help the couple get those special things they need for the house while still giving the guests creative reign.

How it works is that you divide the day up into specific hours. You can do a 24 hour round the clock shower, but for those guests who get after midnight to the early morning may have quite a challenge (minus lingerie!) My recommendation is to start the hours at 6 am and make it go to midnight, separating groups of people into 3 hour spans. 6 am to 9 am, 9 am to noon, noon to 3 pm, 3 pm to 6 pm, 6 pm to 9 pm, 9 pm to midnight. Then take the guest list and start assigning people time frames. If there are people who you think will go in on gifts together, say a mother and daughter, make sure to give them the same time span so that they can do so.

I would also include some ideas as to how the registry can be divided up into the different time frames. A great way to do this is to include a poem and list examples. Here is a good website with a few poem ideas http://www.amazingbridalshowers.com/featured/around-the-clock-shower/. My suggestion for after you write the hours that the guests are responsible for are to include some gifts from their registry. With a three-hour span, guests shouldn’t have any problem coming up with ideas for the bride!

Once guests start coming into the shower, make sure to divide the gifts by time frame. This way the bride starts with early morning and works through to the late evening. You can either include a little tag with the time frame for each present (that way whomever is in charge of diving the gifts up will know what pile to put them in) or just make sure that the presents are put in the correct pile. If you go with the tags, make sure to bring extra tags – there’s always going to be someone who forgets to include the tag!

If there are a lot of people at the shower, dividing up the gifts like this also gives a good stopping point. Chances are the bride (and the bridal party!) are going to be exhausted and the guests may get a little bored. Once you have finished one time frame, play a game (like the BRIDE game – see previous post) to get the guests involved. No one likes to sit for hours on end watching the bride open her gifts! And I am sure the bride will enjoy a break to get a drink or maybe eat a little snack – after all, opening presents is hard work!

That takes care of the presents part of the shower. What about invitations and decorations? As for the invitations, a clock would be the perfect idea. It goes wonderfully with the theme, but it can also be functional. You can include several clocks to denote the time frame the guest has. Sites like Vistaprint have lots of ideas and offer some free items. But they are massed produced so they don’t have that homemade feel. Sites like Etsy offer homemade designs and can often be customized. You can find lots of great ideas there!

If you are doing assigned seating, you can decorate the tables according to the time frame the guests have. For example, seat all the guests with the 6-9 am time slot together and do something creative with coffee mugs. If that won’t work, you can make or buy inexpensive clocks and instead of having the tables numbered, each table can have a different time. So instead of table 1, it would say 1:00! This way clocks are incorporated in the invitations as well as the centerpieces. No matter what you do with the invitations and decorations, try to tie them together. It helps to keep the party more cohesive and guests have a definite idea of your theme!

Moving on to the food! One suggestion would be to have a couple of different tables to go along with the different time frame. (again, you can decorate them with the clocks to denote the time!!) For example, there can be a table with coffee and mugs and have the clock say 6:00. The next table can house breakfast pastries with the clock reading 9 am and the next has fixings to make sandwiches and reads 12:00 and so on. This gives the guests lots of food options and stays with your Around the Clock theme!

I hope these ideas inspire you to be creative in planning an Around the Clock shower. There are so many more ideas that you can come up with! Good luck and good planning!