Christmas gift ideas
by Debbie Alford
I know a science professor who has commented that in the past, if her young son was invited to a birthday party, the present had to be bought from Safeway or 7eleven or it just didn’t happen.
You can’t get away with that for very long and you certainly won’t get away with it at Christmas time.
For all the fun that Christmas can be it brings with it a lot of stress. It is hard to find time to shop for food, and even harder to spare time for things which aren’t necessities. The problem is that Christmas gifts are necessities but they are troublesome about it.
I know that when I choose a gift I like to put a lot of thought into it so that I select something that is meaningful and that the recipient will love. When you have a long list of people to buy for it can take up a lot of time.
You probably have some idea of what you would like to buy your friends and family. Just give me your list. I will find prices, shop for the gifts, buy them, wrap them and even arrange their delivery.
You don’t have to battle with queues or fight over the last product on the display. You won’t have the sore feet and blisters that you usually end up with, nor will you have the huge headache when you get home.
Instead you can go home and mix yourself a Christmas cocktail and relax knowing that everything is being taken care of.
Just to make it even better, here is a little cocktail you might like to try. It is called the Chocolate Raspberry Martini and you are going to love it.
Chocolate Raspberry Martini
Chill your ingredients beforehand. Rub the rim of your chilled martini glass with cocoa then pour in the liquids and enjoy. Drop a fresh raspberry into the bottom of the glass, too, if you like. It will look as good as it tastes.
So what will it be? Queues, headaches and stress or home with your shoes off and chilled cocktail in hand? I know what I would choose.
Merry shopping–free Christmas to you!
by Debbie Alford
Each Generation seems to create subcultures of their own and sometimes it can be hard to relate to their wants and needs, especially when buying a gift.
Other generations grow up experiencing things that we have only heard of or are just beginning to understand. Although we might not join in their passion for all things electronic and technological, we do want to give them something that they will appreciate and enjoy.
These days most music is downloaded via the internet, and an iTunes voucher or a credit at any similar online music and application store has replaced the record voucher we used to give.
Gen Y also seem to be more aware of their health and diet so a subscription or vouchers for home delivered organic produce or natural personal care product ranges are often well received.
There is a definite trend to move away from wine or confectionary related gifts, with more of a focus on vouchers for massage and alternative therapies and anything that promotes a cleaner, healthier lifestyle.
With more television cooking shows than ever, including reality shows like Master Chef, young people are encouraged to experiment more with their cooking. Recipe books by celebrity chefs or spice and gourmet food baskets will tantalise their tastebuds.
Still on the cooking theme, good quality cookware or kitchen appliances or any nifty new kitchen gadget that you come across will also work, as would a bench-top herb garden or bean sprouting kit.
Books are still a popular choice for gifts, and there are many choices depending on the individual interests of the person you are buying for.
by Debbie Alford
Do you want to give a gift to someone who has everything? Do you want to give a gift to someone who always seems to be rushing from one task to the next task without making headway? Some days are like a juggling act no matter how organised you are.
I take care of all of the details that fill up your day. I get rid of the clutter from your lives so that you can actually get out and enjoy yourself.
I can mind your house, feed your pets, organise your special events, pay your bills and fix up your paperwork. You can use me by the hour or book a set time each week.
Just think of me as a gift voucher that your loved one can redeem when he or she needs helps. (I fancy myself printed on up-market paper, of course!)
I come in very handy during those stressful times in life. If your friend is having a baby or moving house they will bless the moment they met you if you share my services with them. You know what a difference I can make in a life. Why not give me at Christmas to someone who could do with a hand?
Call or email me, would love to hear from you!
by Debbie Alford
Gift hampers are suitable for any occasion and making them yourself will add a personal touch that will certainly impress the receiver. Creating a clever hamper can be surprisingly easy with a few simple tips:
1. Set a budget. Purchasing all your little goodies for your hamper can add up so set yourself a budget and don’t forget to include the cost of delivering it.
2. Think of a theme and brainstorm ideas of what to include. This is where the fun begins. Here are some suggestions:
Wine Lovers Basket – bottle of wine, fancy cheeses, bottle opener, glasses, a wine journal.
Coffee Lovers Hamper – assorted coffees, plunger, chocolate coated coffee beans, biscotti, coffee appreciation book.
Car Care Hamper – car wash, polish, chamois, sponge, tyre gauge, car magazine subscription, toy matchbox car.
Movie Hamper – vouchers to a cinema or DVD rental store, popcorn, jaffas, book – ‘1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.’
Chocolate Addicts Hamper – anything and everything chocolate! Include chocolate sauce, hot chocolate and a chocolate cookbook.
3. Chose your basket or container. You can use anything – a terracotta pot, wrapped box, colander, ice bucket or wicker basket. The more imagination you use the better the gift will look.
4. Lay out some cellophane, place the empty basket on top and line with tissue paper.
5. Assemble the items in the basket so that they are pleasing to the eye. Make sure that the labels can be seen, too.
6. Gather the corners of cellophane, tie together with a big ribbon and add a gift card.
7. Deliver your item personally, by your favourite courier or carefully packed in a big box and sent in by Australia Post.
I love to give gift hampers and watch the look on the recipients face as they dig into the treasure trove to see what other goodies are stashed inside.
Well it’s about that time of year already – you know the time when you really should start thinking about Christmas. What? Surely not; but as the management of department stores will tell you, Christmas planning starts in October – well the decorations are out already, so it must be!
Whether you are happy about it or not, now is the time to get the thinking caps on and explore ways of letting your clients know exactly how much you appreciate them. You might do this at other times of the year but for now we will concentrate on the festive season.
According to research a handwritten Christmas card and envelope are the most appreciated items received by clients and customers. This is something your staff could help you with too.
A donation to charity on a client’s behalf is not often viewed favourably. According to Flying Solo “Some people who receive this sort of gift think that you are too busy and they are not important enough for you to spend the time selecting an appropriate gift.” Of course this isn’t to say that it wouldn’t be appreciated by some – maybe make further enquiries about your client’s favourite charity if you wish to pursue this.
What about a hamper? Rather than a “Christmas hamper”, often full of little packets of shortbread and jams, why not source a hamper with goods supplied or produced by a local business. For others there are websites who will produce personalised labels for beer or wine. Perhaps you have a photo of your client or their logo that can be used (rather than your logo) – a thoughtful touch.
Another idea is to organise a local massage therapist for a seated massage session for your client and staff in their office. Perhaps a gift certificate for a champagne breakfast or a wine tour or even a package of time from a personal concierge would be appropriate for some clients.
Perhaps you have thought of some interesting gift ideas – would love to hear about them.
Remember, that if it starts to get ‘all too hard’ or you find yourself running out of time – give me a call, I’ll help you!
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