Gift Wrap from the Container Store

by Jamie Sanford on December 9, 2011

I would love to think of myself as someone who takes hours and hours to wrap gifts to perfection. Unfortunately, I’m not as coordinated as that would require, so I end up using gift bags a lot. This year, I am boxing up gift bags and tissue paper on the bottom of boxes, which are then filled with gifts to send to my family.  I will put everything in its proper bag when I get there.  Not too exciting.  I got a catalog from The Container Store though, and it has inspired me to want to try harder…next year.

Let’s start with cute wrapping paper.

Tiny Ornament Collage Paper, 12′ x 30″, $8.99.

Festive Felines Gift Wrap, 10′ x 30″, $7.95.

Ooh, this wood grain one is so chic. Wrap Sheets Woodgrain Pkg/2, 22″ x 34″, $7.49.

I have to post the deer one, naturally. Fab Deer Gift Wrap, 10′ x 30″, $7.95.

This is cute, even though it does look to me like one of those pictures to test color-blindness. Very Merry Dots Gift Wrap, 8′ x 30″, $9.95.

Cute boxes that don’t require wrapping are perfect for making you look like an amazing gift-wrapper with minimal effort.

I could put something in here, close it up, label it and I’m done! Set of 3 Rectangular Boxes, $24.99.

For tinier gifts, themed takeout containers are perfect. I also love that boxes like this can be re-used. Peppy Mints Takeout Container, $3.50.

If you must resort to gift cards…

Holiday Kaleidoscope Gift Card Pouch, $1.95.

Perfectly Plaid Gift Card Pouches (set of 2), $2.95.

Loot from the Hoot gift card holders (set of 2), $2.95. You can also check out the entire Owl Item Collection on Not So Basic Black here.

Finally, the labels!

Lace Gift Stickers (36), $2.99.

If you want everything to match, you can get that at The Container Store. Very Merry stickers (36), $2.99.

I love the idea of that wood grain wrapping with a cute little sticker featuring some of our arctic friends. Arctic Friends stickers(36), $2.99.

Tell us about your gift-wrapping style in the comments!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Track Your Holiday Gift Spending

by Jamie Sanford on November 10, 2011

Let’s get into some holiday preparation ideas for the holidays!  I am going to revisit some of my gift-giving tips soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to share the spreadsheet that I use for tracking all of my gift purchases.  If you are like me and try to buy holiday gifts all year, the tracker is the best way to remind yourself that you already bought a gift for Cousin Sally, back in February.

So, here we go.

So, it’s a spreadsheet, it isn’t rocket science.  However, as simple as it looks, it took me a while to get all of the columns and formulas that I wanted, so here it is.  Let’s break it down.

The first columns are the very basics.  I think that filling this in early in the calendar year will create a little mental reminder that you’ve committed yourself to shop for gifts all year and not just at the last minute.

In addition, defining an absolute budget will help you stick it it.  One of the biggest problems with early shopping is that there is a possibility that you will find something else for someone after you’ve spent your budget.  If you can return something you have already bought, then fine.  If you can’t, then you need to remember the item and go back for it in the next calendar year.

There are 3 columns for gifts to purchase for each person(s).  In this area, you describe the gift, list the price, and note whether or not it has been purchased.  As you can see here, the cells are blue.  Once I have a gift that is “done” (i.e. in my possession), I go ahead and make it another color so I can gloss over it.  When I have completely finished with obtaining gifts for a person(s) on the list, the whole row gets a single color.

And of course, the budget tracking portion of the spreadsheet.  The columns will automatically add up in the “total spent” column, and “remaining in budget” will show you what you have left, if any.  It will show a number in parentheses if you have a negative remainder!

I would love to hear if anyone ends up using my little creation to track their holiday gifting and spending, but mostly, it is designed to use all year, for birthdays, anniversaries, baby gifts, Hanukkah and whatever other gift-giving happenings are in your life.

Track your holiday gift spending here with the spreadsheet in Google Docs.

Good luck!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Gifts for Ancestry Research Buffs

by Jamie Sanford on January 6, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve received an email with a gift challenge, but I received this one from YZ yesterday.

I have a manager that will be leaving. I just need an idea of a gift that she can use. She has been doing a lot of reach on her family tree (ancestry).

Any thoughts for that special gift?

Ms. Z didn’t provide me with any sort of budget for the gift, so I’ll try to cover a variety of price points.

If the person you are shopping for has a lot of documentation related to their family history, archival-quality scrapbooks or albums might be a great choice for them.  These acid-free products will provide a great storage space for the album and will allow for continued viewings of those items.  This is the Big Book archival album and is available for $66.59 from Light Impressions.

Light Impressions also has a large array of albums and scrapbooks in other price points, including additional insert pages and other accessories.

If your gift recipient has a sense of humor about their genealogy interest, there is an array of items available from T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, mugs, aprons, posters, binders, tote bags, mouse pads – there are many things to choose from.

Prices on these items on Zazzle range from $0.95 to $39.95.

I like the idea of giving someone a magazine subscriptions, since it’s the gift that keeps on giving all year long.  Family Tree Magazine costs $27 for 1 year, and Family Chronicle Magazine is $27.95 for a year’s subscription.

I’ve already showed my love for in a previous post, which you can read here. The site also offers family tree creation software,  which is available from for $47.91.  There’s also a more basic version available for $32.63, also from

The other website I found with a paid membership to join was  I don’t have experience with this site and so cannot vouch for it, but from their website it doesn’t look like they have any international records.  A gold membership for 1 year costs $199.99.

I hope this helps to give some ideas on what to give as a gift to someone who is interested in researching their family’s history.  Ancestry research has recently become very exciting for me and I think I might need to pick up some of these items for myself!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }