When I was young my mom had a prize closet. Really it was an antique wardrobe in the guest room, not a closet. The wardrobe had shelves inside that were filled with all kinds of goodies that we children were not supposed to see. Some of the contents were for us. Mom would pull out something special on a particularly stuffy rainy day. Other “prizes” were things she kept on hand to give as birthday presents or hostess gifts to friends. The prize closet always smelled lovely – like candles and lotions and things!
The above dresser is my version of the prize closet. It was actually my grandfather’s dresser, and when my grandmother passed away last year my family had it shipped down from Baltimore. I’m glad to have a larger piece of furniture from my grandparents, and I know my grandmother would have loved that it now houses gifts.
It has taken me 33.99999 years to finally have a gifting system in place. I used to have baskets full of old, wrinkled tissue paper and gift bags I recycled from gifts people gave us. While I still recycle both bags and tissue paper, I now also have fresh tissue paper and craft bags on hand if I need something a bit fancier.
Inside the dresser I have both a grown up and a kids shopping area. As I find things in the world that would make great gifts, I buy them and stash them away until I need something for a friend. I even have a mini gift card stash to some of the local coffee, ice cream, and food places in town.
Then when the party day comes I shop from home.
You might think this takes the thoughtfulness out of choosing a gift that is perfect for each person, but remember I still get to put together a gift – I just already own the contents. And it’s not like if I ever do have another gift in mind I can’t go buy that one ; )
This has been especially great for the kids’ parties that come up all the time. You know that feeling on a Saturday morning when you have a party at noon and realize you don’t have a gift yet? Yes, we’ve all raced to the store on the way to the party. No more! I just shop in my prize closet and have my gift ready in 10 minutes.
Recently I gave away most of my gifts, and I just re-stocked from Amazon. Here were some of the toys that I bought to give to our friends this year. (I hope those 4-year-olds don’t know how to read blogs yet!) This year’s theme is nature and bugs!!
And don’t tell Mazen, but if need be I can always give him one of these! I keep a few things on hand for him too ; )