Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Stirrings "Cocktail Connoisseur" Gift Set, perfect "emergency gift" for surprise holiday guests

If you have a teensy bit of room in your budget, I highly recommend purchasing a few small "emergency" gifts. Keep them on hand in case an extra person shows up at Christmas, or to fill in holes in your gift list on Christmas Eve when you are panicking.

Every year it seems like we have someone unexpected at Christmas - someone's boyfriend, girlfriend, or an elderly friend of the family. Rather than have them sit empty handed to watch us open gifts, we always try to make sure we have some things already wrapped to give away. We quickly sneak into the other room to write the person's name on the To part of the label, and "Santa" on the From part.

I also use my Emergency Gift supplies as hostess gifts when I travel or go to dinner parties.

If you end up not needing the gifts, you can store them in your gift closet for future emergencies. Or buy things you know you'll enjoy yourself - candles, soaps, cookies, etcetera.

I don't usually give books as emergency gifts because it's too hard to tailor a book to a person I don't know well. It's hard to come up with a reason to give a complete stranger a coffee table book on Alaskan sunsets, or the newest murder mystery - Maybe they've already bought it, or don't like mysteries. Maybe the subject of the book might offend them and I wouldn't know it.

Great emergency gifts include attractively wrapped chocolates (just hope the person isn't a diabetic); gift certificates to local restaurants, spas and movie theaters (for people who live nearby); blank writing journals; attractive soft gloves (perhaps from Target); candles; nicely scented soaps; gourmet jams; a scenic calendar. A nicely packaged bag of coffee or box of tea might be nice.

I always have a couple of moderately priced $6-$9 Christmas ornaments from Crate and Barrel or Pier 1 Imports wrapped and ready to go, too. If they don't get given away, I'll unwrap them and store them to enjoy on my own tree next year.

It could be a good idea to have a $15-$20 bottle of wine on hand too just in case.

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