Just as it’s a good idea to keep some wrapping paper and cards on hand in case of emergency, it’s also a good idea to have a few gifts at the ready for last minute or emergency gifting situations. Whether it’s an office gift swap or an unexpected invitation to a holiday party, having a stash of small gifts on hand lets you enjoy gift giving at the holidays instead of worrying about when you’ll have time to run to the mall at the last minute. In traffic. With holiday lines.
The number one item to think about stocking up on is gift cards. Staples has so many amounts and stores from which to choose, including classics such as iTunes, Staples, and Starbucks and restaurants, movie theaters, and even airlines.
Think, too, about crowd-pleasers that would work for lots of people without feeling impersonal, such as soaps and lotions from Crabtree & Evelyn or a Buxton Wristlet. Coffee tumblers are another classic (perhaps paired with said Starbucks gift card). Bananagrams make a nice option for kids (I have a number of them squirreled away for emergency gifts myself) and magnetic poetry sets are a fun hostess gift alternative to a bottle of wine.
The key to having a successful emergency gift supply isn’t just remembering to stock it—it’s knowing when to use it, and when not to. Hostess gifts, office gifts, and unexpected gift exchanges are all good times to have something up your sleeve just in case you’re running behind on your shopping. But when it comes to close friends and family, skip the emergency stash and shop with them especially in mind.
For close friends and family, consider a personalized gift, like those at Create.Staples.Com. You can design a one-of-a-kind phone case, tablet case, and so much more by just uploading your favorite pictures and writing a special message. It makes a nice thoughtful gift for those special friends and family.
Anna Post is a nationally known etiquette expert, co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th edition and a member of the Staples Holiday Council.