Monday, February 1, 2010

You Gotta Give It Away

One of my mostest-favoritest things in the world is to put together little gift baskets or care packages for my friends and family. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, looking for the perfect pieces to fill up a package of goodies. I get all giddy tying bows and tags on all sorts of items and then stuffing them into a cute container of some sort and finishing it all off with a big puffy bow. And then to see the look of surprise on someones face as they unwrap and discover all the surprises tucked away - well, let's just say it gets me all excited to do it all over again.

 There is nothing better than seeing the look of appreciation on someones face when they realize that you have made a litte extra effort to make their day extra special. But let's be honest - it can be really expensive to fill up a basket with all full priced gifts. So what's a girl to do?

Fillers, decorations and special touches - all from my gift tubs.

Stock up on items throughout the year! Shop the discount, clearance and after holidays sales and use those coupons on the perfect little fillers for a gift basket. Then keep one or two medium sized tubs of gifts in the garage or craft closet. That way you are not caught last minute spending more than you anticipated.

Here's how my gift package process goes:

If possible, I find out a bit about the occasion, the likes of the celerated person, if there is a theme and if the person has a need/want.

Then I will usually pick out one of the need/want items from that person's wish list and match a basket or container to it's size. I try and have 3-6 baskets and a few other containers (mini buckets, serving trays, bowls, etc.) on hand at all times. That way I can put together a beautiful gift at the last minute.

All sorts of fun fillers!

With the main gift and basket in hand, I scour my gift bins and pick out items that match in theme and if possible in color as well. If your basket is too deep to see smaller items, stuff some tissue paper in the bottom to give items more height. Fill in all the gaps and don't forget to include a short handwritten note tucked away in there.

Set of four cloth napkins paired with a ceramic fall leaf ornament.

Here are some ideas for inexpensive fillers to keep tucked away in your gift bins:

~ Tealites and votives
~ Small decorative packs of kleenex
~ Lotions, hand soaps, and bath scrubbies
~ Cute pen and pencil sets
~ Stationary, note pads
~ Monogramed napkins, notepads, teatowels
~ Stuffed animals
~ Little charms, berries or ornaments for every season
~ Coin and makeup purses
~ Recipe cards
~ Placemats and cloth napkains
~ Picture Frames
~Cozy socks and gloves, baby clothes

I have found all of these items (and more) for $1 or less a piece!

If you want, wrap the whole basket with clear or patterned cellophane paper and top it all of with a big bow. (Come on back all this week to see some baskets I'll be putting together and some of my all time favorite tips for making gift giving special.)

With a little creativity, you can express to someone your love and appreciation in a beautiful way.

Some of my favorite gift baskets I've ever put together cost over $30 full price.... but by shopping for the items on clearance, using coupons, and taking advantage of sales, the actual cost was $4.75! Can I get a woo hoo!!!!

Wilton brand Silly Feet for cupcakes and muffins - on sale for 75 cents.

Time to think outside of the box for that next birthday party. Just think of all the people who could use a fun pick me up gift basket.

~ Birthday boy or girl (of all ages)
~ Anniversary couple
~ Bride-to-be
~ Mommy-to-be
~ Your sweetheart and kiddos

You don't even need a reason to celebrate. Just bless someone with a package that says "you were on my mind"

~ Someone who has lost a loved one
~ A child who is facing a hard time
~ A Teacher, Pastor, or Friend who has been there for you and your family.
~ A thoughtful neighbor

Today I encourage you to branch out in your gift giving. And when you do, remember these tips:

~ It does not cost a ton to express a ton of love. There's no need break the bank :)
~ Be creative with the filler items. The most unexpected items can bless someone's life in a tremendous way.
~ Enjoy the process! Pray for the person you are making the gift for. Go the extra mile and include words of encouragement that are from your heart.

So now that I have gone on and on about giving gifts, I do think it's about time to give you my faithful readers and followers a gift as well!

I've put together a fun giveaway that will hopefully not only bless you, but that you can use to bless someone else as well! 

Here's all the fun goodies the winner will receive:

~ Set of four file folders that say "When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family hapinesses." Isn't that so true?
~ Paper mouse pad. Isn't that too cool? No need to look for a notepad next time you're at the computer - it's right under your mouse :)
~ Printed packing tape. Cuteness!
~ Patterned binder clips. Clip together your coupons in style!

And two items that you can bless someone else with:

~ Cute as a Button notecards. Write someone a simple note of love and encouragement.
~ Mary Engelbreit Cherry Muffin Cups. Who wouldn't love to receive cupcakes or muffins in these darling wrappers? Don't cook? fill a muffin wrapper with candies and slip into a clear baggie tied with a ribbon.

So here's how to enter the first ever "too Blessed to Stress" giveaway:

1. Leave a comment below and share your best gift giving tips and ideas. Name goes in drawing one time.
2. Become a follower. Name goes in drawing again! Already a follower? Your name is already in once :) Be sure and leave that comment for another entry.
3. Tell your friends to come on over and follow. For every ten followers, everyone's name goes in again! whoop whoop!
4. Grab my button and place it your blog. Name goes in again. Be sure to come back and tell me about it so I can enter your name one more time.

That's 4 ways to enter this darling giveaway. Can you tell I'm excited? {{giddy smile}} I told you I love gift baskets!

The official ending date is Saturday Feb. 6th. The winner will be announced on Monday the 8th.

Thanks for stopping by "too Blessed to Stress" and I hope you'll be back often!

This post is linked to the following lovely blogs: Making the World Cuter,  and Cottage Instincts. Head on over to see many more inspiring posts!


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for leaving a sweet comment..yes, I did make the hanging.

    You are right it is so much better to pick things up through out the year when you see them..and when they are on sale all the better.

    Thanks again Tami @ A Girls Gotta Nest

  2. Emily,
    Thank you so much for leaving a comment on my blog. I love new visitors!!

    I signed up to follow so I won't miss a thing going on over here.

    hmm, my tip for good gift giving.
    Well, I'm not sure this is what you want but....

    on my birthday one year, instead of waiting for everyone to give me gifts, I decided to buy all my family gifts instead. It was so fun. And you cannot be disappointed about what you did not get, because you got the gift of giving and that is the best gift of all!


    barbara jean

  3. Hi, Emily! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    I am loving your blog! "Too Blessed to Stress" is sooo true! I'm following so that I don't miss anything!

    Amanda @ Homegrown Country Girl

  4. Thanks for coming by for a visit...I hope you will come again. Luv your giveaway...please count me in...I'm a new follower:) My best gift giving tip is to buy all during the year at deep discounted prices, then the gift that you are giving is a much nicer gift box is always full!


  5. Thanks for stopping over to the Borrowed Abode!

    This past Christmas I made a bunch of my gifts for people and attempted to reuse/recycle a bunch of supplies while doing so. It was so rewarding and everyone loved their gifts!

  6. Great post on gift baskets, I love to get them. It's so fun to open it and find all the little surprises inside.

    Thanks for you sweet compliment on my Starbucks Bottles and Drink Caddy! Reusing containers and turning them into something fun and personal is my favorite way to add my own touch to gifts.

  7. Emily, Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. And I'm so honored you want to feature my post. I actually have another gift basket post coming up this week, so I do hope you'll stop by again.

    Now for my gift giving tip.... I find that cost doesn't matter as much as the amount of thought you put into a gift. Homemade items are always good, or perhaps something the person collects.

  8. Also, I am now following you. So happy I found your blog!

  9. This is such an wonderful post. My goal this year is strictly homemade gifts in 2010 and this post is right up my ally. This is such a wonderful giveaway to help bless someone else. I just love it!!

    Thanks for visiting my blog!! You have a great blog here!!

  10. I am a follower now!! Have a great day!

  11. THanks! I love these. My favorite gifts to give are always homemade- they are always enjoyed the best!

  12. This is such a great idea! Gift baskets certainly make gift giving fun and less expensive! I save tissue paper and gift bags from gifts I receive and re-use them. I also enjoy making gifts for people.

  13. My best gift-giving idea is to really think of the recipient. I usually go unique or practical - like a custom label on a scented jar candle. For good friends I like treating them to some kind of outing, like a show. I like making memories! Thanks for the giveaway!

  14. Hey thanks for stopping by my blog today. I love seeing new faces. I am just curious how you found me. Giveaways are so fun. Maybe one of these days I'll do one of my own.

  15. I love giveaways! Ok, my best tip is to make it! There are so many great ideas in blogland! I buy what I need to make them at thrift stores (baskets are usually super cheap there!)or at a craft store with their 40 percent off coupons!The dollar stores have cheap things to create with as well!
    Rebekah @ allthingzrelated

  16. I wrote about your giveaway on our blog sidebar!

  17. What a cute giveaway! I recently posted (on my second blog) about a babysitter gift that I put together. Here's a link:

  18. I love taking regular balloons and blowing the up just a little bit and tying them up with the ribbon to dress up the out side of a package! It is super cute! : )