Holiday Shopping

NYDJ Gift Box | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on November 28, 2017

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I haven’t made a secret of the fact that I don’t love gift cards as a gift. Everyone knows that the holidays are coming, so start shopping early! Here are my top 5 tips for early holiday shopping.

I really enjoy NYDJ products, and so was really pleasantly surprised to see this option for a gift card from their website.

This gift card is extra! NYDJ gets all of the points for presentation here. You receive a beautiful box with a purple ribbon to tie it closed, and when you open it, you get a presentation of a gift card for $124 (standard price for NYDJ items), and a measuring tape so that you can be sure to order the right pair for the perfect fit.

This is a next-level gift card. The presentation alone brings an air of importance and consideration to the gift, even though buying it was as simple as buying a basic one on the cardboard backing.

This is the kind of elevated experience that I want from brands. The gift card + measuring tape here isn’t earth-shattering, but the presentation is wonderful and is beyond what we have come to expect.

Every brand should be trying to reach “beyond what we have come to expect.”

Congratulations to NYDJ on this effort. I hope it is intensely successful.

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5 Tips For Jumpstarting Holiday Gift Shopping

by Jamie Sanford on September 9, 2013

Thanks to Alexandra Franzen for the prompt.

I officially started my holiday shopping last week. Yes, I have 4 gifts purchased already.

A few years ago, I realized that I was absolutely killing myself with stress around the holidays, trying to find gifts at the last minute, resorting to gift cards way too often. I started shopping early and I haven’t looked back since. To help you get started, use this list of what to do before you start!

1. Make a budget!

I wrote about my holiday gift tracker spreadsheet in 2011, and I have not changed it since. It’s so easy to use (available to download in the post), and really keeps me on track, especially when buying multiple gifts for a single person.

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2. Start noticing the little things about your friends and family.

Your friends and family probably drop hints about their likes and interests all the time. Make notes in your phone or datebook when you pick up on this, it will make for a starting point to finding the perfect gift.

3. Maximize opportunities for savings.

If you haven’t already, join flash sale sites and start trolling for gifts. No shame in saving some money! You will have to work hard to not start shopping for yourself though, believe me. Look to the right column on this page for links to invitations to all of my preferred flash sale websites. Black Friday may also be another opportunity for something special – last year, I purchased amazing Lorac palettes online from Ulta, for $11 each! I will have a Black Friday shopping guide up on the site closer to the date.

4. Don’t forget about host/hostess gifts!

You will inevitably have a few events to attend where a gift for your host or hostess will be appropriate. Shopping early for non-perishables is an easy way to avoid the stress of having to stop and find something on the way to the event (and don’t try and tell me you haven’t done that before). Now is the time to shop for giftworthy bottles of wine or champagne, which you can generally get a discount on when buying in bulk. You can also check out a lovely selection of gift baskets on Amazon, which provide a lot of options for contents and price. Buy a few of these with some gift bows (like these ones that have fiber optics!), and stick one on before you leave.

5. Enjoy the process. Have fun!

Unfortunately, I see more often than not that people see their holiday shopping as a chore, and not as the joyous experience it is meant to be. The holiday season is meant to be lovely and fun, and a time to get together with your friends and family, and drink egg nog and have a wonderful time. Gifts are traditional, and they should also provide a joyful experience for all involved. I promise you, starting your shopping now will definitely make the process more enjoyable. No one ever likes being rushed, and you KNOW you will be holiday shopping each year, so take the time to think about it early, save yourself the drama, and all will be delighted.

If you have early holiday shopping tips, please leave them in the comments!

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Etsy Gift Finder for Your Holiday Shopping

by Jamie Sanford on December 14, 2010

Someone pointed this out on Twitter the other day and I have to share it here.  The Etsy gift finder is completely brilliant, but does require use of good judgment.

So you visit the site, and you choose a Facebook friend and it provides gift suggestions based on the information they’ve given in their Facebook profiles.  My test subject is one of our favorite guest bloggers here at The Daily Wishlist, Kelly Kreth.

Kelly’s profile is really robust, so this page continues long after my screenshot here, but you get the idea.

I asked Kelly to comment on the results that came up for her:

“While I think the FaceBook/Etsy Gift Finder is a genius idea, it is better in concept than execution. After Jamie did mine and I found it way off base, I tried it on some other friends and it equally missed its mark.

Considering there are tons of profanities, dark and perverse status updates and pictures of the darker side of life on my FB page, the fact that the gift finder found dachshund pillows and tunic shirts that only a grandma in the Midwest would wear is disconcerting. I’m glad my computer is not allowed to purchase presents for me. Also, while I would never get a Kindle or any kind of e-reader, if I did, I certainly wouldn’t cover it in dachshund-themed coating.”

So clearly, the gift finder can give you some guidance, but you still need to have some sort of mental filter in place.  I used it for my friend Alex too and found some things I would definitely buy for her.

Side note: I really love Etsy, and even moreso, I love the idea of supporting individuals when buying things whenever possible.  I bought a vintage item from a seller recently and it was a quick and easy experience.  I’ve also purchased electronic/digital items this year, including the design of the updated logo and header for this very blog – from Etsy seller Winchester Lambourne, who I would highly recommend.

Anyway, get going on over to the Etsy Gift Finder if you’re still shopping, let Facebook and Etsy help you find a gift idea for anyone left on your shopping list.  It won’t solve all of your gifting issues, but may help you get on the right track.

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Sunday Link Party!

by Jamie Sanford on September 20, 2010

Photo of the Week. I’m in St. Louis this weekend to see my one of my best friends, David FM Vaughn, as Lord Farquaad in the US National Tour of Shrek the Musical. I don’t have pictures from the tour yet, but I do have this one that I love, taken during the Broadway run of the show, one night while waiting on the stage for David to come out.

Confetti and the orchestra pit.

Confetti from the cannons and the swamp-i-fied orchestra pit.

Jerry Rodgers on Flickr has an amazing set of photos of the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, where Shrek is currently playing.

It is almost the end of September, have you started your holiday shopping yet?

Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine at the VMAs, wearing Givenchy and serving it. Gorgeous.

It’s gotta be short this week, I was away and it’s 10:30 and I’m ready for bed. Leaving for vacation on Tuesday, next week’s will probably be short as well.

I love Marcel, the Shell with Shoes On. Watch and enjoy.

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Shopping for Holiday Gifts? 5 Tips To Get Moving!

by Jamie Sanford on August 13, 2010

I asked a group of my colleagues the other night if they had started their holiday shopping and they were shocked that I had suggested it. I had a similar encounter on Twitter where I talked about having started my holiday shopping already and getting messages back saying things such as “WHAT?”  I knew immediately that I needed to offer my tips on fulfilling your holiday shopping list to my readers.

The Tree at Rockefeller Center.

This famous tree will be up in no time!

Why is everyone so surprised by this? There’s no reason why holiday gifts need to be purchased around the holidays, unless you’re shopping for someone who must have the absolute latest gadget—some tech toy purchased in July may conceivably be outdated by December, sure. But most other gifts have staying power. In addition, I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys going to a store after Thanksgiving.

So, I’ve purchased 3 or 4 holiday gifts so far, smallish things but I’m working through my list. It’s not as if the major holidays won’t come around this year, so why not start gift shopping now?

Here are my top 5 tips for getting into early holiday gift shopping. (Note that these ideas can also apply to your year-round gift shopping, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)

1.  Keep notes! Your friends and family probably drop subtle and not-so-subtle hints all the time about things they like and are interested in. If you think someone is consistently hard to shop for, remember this tip and it will be much easier in the future. My husband saves emails that I send him about things I like and revisits them later when it is gift time.

2.  Expose yourself to opportunities for saving money! I have been having a ball checking out the daily sales from the following websites. The first 5 are mostly focused on product purchases, but Groupon has daily deals on things to do or see in your area – and most of the experiences you can buy can be redeemed within long period of time, completely making this viable for holiday gift shopping.

Gilt Groupe
Beyond The Rack
Swirl by Daily Candy

Leave a comment below if there are other sites in this category that readers should check out.

3.  Set a budget. This process is much faster in general if you have a hard number in mind as a budget for each gift you are going to give. It makes snap decisions very easy, especially when using the deal-a-day websites. If it is above your budget, let it go. If it is below your budget, great – this can work especially well if you get a really hot deal on something. Keep in mind that smart shopping means that a small budget can go a long way!

4.  Go “shopping” in a real store, or at the mall. As much as I love the Internet, you can’t see everything online. There is a lot to be said for window-shopping, and it can really help to jog your memory—passing a display of perfume can remind you that your mother-in-law mentioned liking/wanting it. I highly recommend doing this memory-sparking shopping early in the week, at night. This is the time I find the mall to be the quietest. Feel free to take notes (or photos with your cell phone if you prefer), and order the items online when you get home. You might be able to find a much better price online, but the experience will help you nonetheless.

5.  Have fun! I know I’m not the only one who really gets a kick out of giving gifts that really makes the other person happy. I’ve been told that I’m great at finding holiday gifts (hence this blog), but for the most part, anyone can do it if you put some thought into it.  It really does bring a great feeling and it is worth the effort—there really is no need to default to buying holiday gift cards!

Here’s a great 30-second clip from 30 Rock, where Jack discusses the beauty of gift-giving. It pretty much sums it all up. The clip is gone now and I can’t find it anywhere. The best quote from Jack Donaghy is this:

“Gift giving is the purest expression of friendship. I’m going to think about what I know and like about you and that will lead me to the perfect gift, and you do the same.”

Please post your early shopping tips in the comments!

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