Holiday Gift Guides
This cup was a  pinch  to me and fits an entire bottle of wine. Besides gift cards, this is what teacher want for Christmas.

This cup was a pinch to me and fits an entire bottle of wine. Besides gift cards, this is what teacher want for Christmas.

Recently, I was asked if I was going to put together a Thoughtful Pinch Gift Guide for the holiday season. My immediate reaction was, “Holy Smack Me In The Head With Flattery!” I’m so grateful that my friend Wendy asked me that question because not only was it a huge compliment, but she got me thinking about this awesome idea! I wasn’t sure if I could put together a gift guide but I knew one thing, it was definitely time to collaborate.

After reflecting on what my gift guide would look like, I came to the conclusion that even though I could spend many hours looking over gift guides (I can’t get enough inspiration), I usually never buy anything that the experts recommend! I blame this insanity on my tendency to over-think. For example, you can consult a gift guide for ideas on what to give someone who travels, but I feel like the traveler already has all that they need for efficient, fun and easy travel. My voice of reason is too reasonable, too practical. I CAN’T STAND IT! I don’t want the person to have to return or exchange my gifts because it creates work. It’s a type of thoughtfulness that I call insightful*. The chances that the traveler does NOT already have the travel re-lated item that I want to give them is 50/50. So why can’t I live dangerously and take the chance? If the recipient doesn’t have the item, then I would be the hero for giving them a perfect gift - something that they could use to make traveling fun, easy or more efficient. What kills it for an over-thinker like me is that dumb 50% chance that I will miss the mark. But it’s time for a change!

My holiday gift guide is pretty simple: gift cards for everyone. Profound, right? The exact opposite of what you’d expect to hear from a person who calls herself a thoughtfulness curator. If you’re jumping on the gift cards bandwagon, here are a few tips to consider when buying them as thoughtful pinches:

  1. Consider how many people are on the gift list and determine how much to spend on each person. I have a few different lists but one list is specifically just for educators which includes: teachers, faculty (director, assistant director, counselor, administrative assistant, bus driver), religion teachers, ballet teachers, hockey coaches, piano teacher and tutors. All in all, it adds up to forty-two educators. If I bought gift cards for venues that were specific for each person on the list, it would be very thoughtful but also time consuming and harder to manage.

  2. If cost is not an issue, your goals or inspiration for how you want to present the gift cards should dictate the final outcome. i.e., prim/proper, funny, practical, whimsical or spiritual etc. For me, my inspiration is cost. Black Friday had me at $1 per pair for softie socks. Anything I choose to wrap or use in presenting the gift cards will be multiplied by forty-two (educators). I wish I could personalize the presentation of our pinches for each recipient because that would be super duper thoughtful. However, traditionally, I mass produce my teacher gifts - everyone gets the same thing. I’m sure some would deem this as a lack of creativity or a cold approach but I like to think that no matter what - I touch lives with my mass-produced pinches.

  3. So far we have the gift card and the inspiration for how we will present the gift card. Now is when creativity happens. How am I going to present a gift card to these educators with a pair of $1 softie socks? Easy! Here’s one scene I thought of: soft socks, cup of hot cocoa and an Amazon gift card. “Relax at home while you shop for what you want.” I could put a pair of socks, hot cocoa mix and a gift card into an extra large disposable coffee cup. The cup would include the typical plastic coffee lid and the cardboard sleeve that protects us from burning our hands while we hold the cup. Maybe I’ll write the teacher’s initials on the sleeve. If I go this route, I will use this recipe to make the cocoa mix.

  4. Now, if your situation is reversed - meaning you have a small gift list but have multiple gift cards that need to be presented in a special way, the lei is always fun.

Families picked up gift cards in all sorts of denominations to give to the hockey coaches and I attached them to the leis. The coaches got to go on a shopping “vacay”.

Families picked up gift cards in all sorts of denominations to give to the hockey coaches and I attached them to the leis. The coaches got to go on a shopping “vacay”.

An inexpensive photo/gift card album is another way to present multiple gift cards. For one of my besties, I was already a month late in giving her a birthday gift (no judgement please?) plus I wanted to say thanks for many special things, so I personalized her pinch of gift cards. I started with a glittery photo album, then typed up some fun lines that tied in the gift cards, taped the gift cards to construction paper, included some 4x6 photos and then finally wrapped the album with a chartreuse colored ribbon because Frankie is a Packer fan.

The album can be as fancy, as detailed, as Pinterest-worthy as you want. There is no limit to what you can do. Or more importantly, there is no standard that you have to live up to - give it your special touch.

My holiday gift guide for educators is basic but it has a lot of potential to produce unique gifts. With that said, it is time for some collaboration because many of us love to be inspired. I am currently preparing a few more holiday gift guides and I’ll be ready to share them with you this week. I’ve reached out to some contributors and I look forward to featuring some hot gift guides from some cool gals or is it cool gifts from some hot gals? Either way, stay tuned. I’m living dangerously these days because I’m actually going to follow some of the contributors’ tips - so watch out!



*insightful is a type of thoughtfulness and will be further discussed soon!

MN Holiday Gift Guide

MN Holiday Gift Guide

Simple; Uncomplicated

Simple; Uncomplicated