Yes, folks, the artificial Christmas trees are already on display for sale at various stores, right alongside the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations. Sure, merchants are spurred by a sluggish economy and the need to move merchandise, but that’s not the only reason this greenery is popping up amongst fake pumpkins, huge inflatable ghouls and witches, and cutouts of Pilgrims eating turkey. They want to spread out that “holiday rush” — the big crunch that comes during the last month before Christmas.
There really is something to be said for such a tactic. It benefits both the merchant and you, the consumer, by relieving some of the pressure. When it comes to holiday gift baskets, this is a great option, as long as you remember a few simple guidelines when ordering. Gift baskets are often thought of as a last minute option that is especially good for the hard-to-buy-for recipient on your list. However, they are really an opportunity to customize a very memorable gift that can linger in that special someone’s mind and heart for years to come.
That being said, keep these factors in mind when ordering:
- Perishables — Unless you have an extra refrigerator for storing items that won’t last long at room temperature (cheeses, some chocolates, fresh fruits, etc.), avoid such items as part of the gift basket.
- Include something lasting — Having something in the gift basket that won’t get eaten or flowers that will wilt and be thrown away assures that a part of your basket arrangement will be “the gift that keeps on giving.” Teapots, mugs, artificial flowers (instead of real ones), and plush toys are a few options. The basket itself can be a lasting part of the gift; sometimes it’s not even a basket but a metal tub or other shape such as a watering can (great for the gardener on your list), or a wood chest, or a wicker or metal sleigh, and many more.
- Theme — You might be thinking “Duh! The theme is Christmas!” However, you can get a bit more refined than that. The theme can be one for children, young adults, or more mature folks, for people who are artists, writers, bankers, carpenters, plumbers, teachers, firemen, and a host of other professions. The theme can also be one that is more fun or more serious, more secular or more religious, etc. It could be a way to introduce someone you know to tea or give that tea aficionado a special treat of fine teas.
- Customize — Instead of a pre-assembled gift basket, you can select the items to include. This helps you address any dietary, religious, or other preferences. Gluten-free, vegan, diabetic-safe, Kosher, and so on. Customizing assures that there are no perishables, that something lasting is included, and that the right theme is portrayed — a way of tying together all of the above.
Ordering early can assure that you can get all of the above just the way you want them. While that last minute addition to your gift list (there always seems to be at least one for us) can be covered by that equally last minute order, the early orders will be taken care of and off your mind. A bit less stress during the holiday rush!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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