Christmas Gift Planning

Christmas Gift Guide 2011

As part of our Christmas Guide for 2011, today we want to share with you some hints and tips on Christmas Gift Planning.

Wouldn’t it make Christmas so much easier and less stressful if we could have all our gift buying planned and organised in plenty of time?

Well we’ve discovered that by following 4 important steps you can successfully plan your gift purchases in advance, leading to happier, worry-free Christmas giving.

Here are the steps:

1. Start Early and Be Prepared

Those boy scouts had it right! (or was that the Mounties?) Anyway, it will make your life a lot easier and less stressful if you start your Christmas planning early. As of today, there are 86 days to go until Xmas and it is not too early to start thinking about your gift buying now.

2. Make a Master Gift List

We will go into more depth about this important step very soon, suffice to say that using a list like this can take you from procrastination and panic to calm, cool and collected. We promise.

3. Prepare a Budget

Did that make you shiver a little? Preparing a budget isn’t the most fun part of Christmas planning, but if you want to look forward to a relaxed, happy, guilt-free and worry-free holiday time, then this step is essential.

4. Research Online

You are now able to find information and pricing on just about any gift you may want online (even handmade goods), so this makes the research step of gift planning very simple.

With your master gift list and budget close by, you should spend time researching prices and options for gifts online. Then once you have finalised your choices you can either buy directly from the websites or go directly to the physical retail store with your list in hand. No more stumbling from store to store in a daze of Christmas panic… just in and out with your list and that’s it!

Vintage Christmas Card Image

OK, so those are the four steps, but how actually do you go about making a Master Gift List and Christmas Gift Budget? Here are some tips…

PREPARING THE MASTER GIFT LIST

Start by listing all the names of people you will have to buy gifts for. Make sure you include:

  • Immediate Family – children, wife/husband/partner, parents
  • Extended Family – grandparents, aunties/uncles, nephews/nieces etc
  • Friends & Neighbours – for looking after the cat etc.
  • Colleagues/Co-workers/Customers – including secret santa gifts etc.
  • Professionals – teachers, doctor etc

Once you’ve got everybody listed then next to that note down any gift ideas you might have for that person (or leave a space if you are drawing a blank). This doesn’t need to be too specific eg. dvd, novel, jewellery, homemade sweets, children’s school calendar etc.

Next to that you will want to note down your budget and/or cost for the gift(s).

And next to that, an indication of whether the gift will be delivered in person or if it needs to be mailed (and if so, by what date).

You can make this list up on your computer or there is this very handy printable…

Master Christmas Gift List

(click through for link to pdf. document)

… but I’d probably prefer a good old notebook or journal. Then it’s easy to pop in your handbag or in the car for when you’re out and about (in case you need to jot something down), plus you can keep it from year to year which could come in handy.

CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS GIFT LISTS

If you are the parent of children who are still at home, especially young children, you might want to keep a separate gift list just for them.

With children you often want to spend the same amount of money on each child, and you might even want to make sure that they have around the same number of gifts to open. A master gift list is a great way to keep things like this organised (just make sure to hide it from prying little eyes!)

Overall, the idea of making a Master Gift List seems pretty straightforward and useful. Definitely worth a try this year.

Santa's List

PREPARING A CHRISTMAS BUDGET

Having a general budget for your Christmas spending is also essential. By doing a budget you will be able to prioritise and record your goals for Christmas in financial terms and that is GOOD.

It can be hard to remember sometimes, but Christmas is only ever as “commercialised” as people want it to be, and it can be a happy and joyful time on any budget. It’s therefore up to each family to decide for themselves what’s most important to them at Christmas, and prepare a budget that reflects this.

For example, for one family the annual Christmas holiday may be more important than Christmas gifts or social events, and so their budget should be focused on this. For another family it might be most important to give to a charity at Christmas, and so this is where they should put most of their resources.

Doing a Christmas budget will mean that you’re more likely to end up having the kind of Christmas you really want as well as avoiding the stress, upset and guilt of over-spending.

Father Christmas

CHRISTMAS GIFT BUDGETING

In terms of specific gift budgeting for Christmas, here are a few things worth noting:

  • You can either start with your master gift list, estimating an amount that you want to spend on each person, or you can start with your budget and divide this up amongst the names on the gift list. Either way you might have to keep adjusting things to ensure that you end up with both a total amount that is affordable and reasonable, and a gift list that you are comfortable with.
  • The value of a gift is not the price you pay for it – it is the thought and feeling and preparation you put into it. Beautiful or creative presentation also adds to the perceived value of a gift.
  • Remember to include the cost of gift wrapping supplies (cards, gift tags, paper, sellotape etc.) and postage costs in your gift budget.

A Joyful Christmas

So that’s some words of wisdom we have discovered about Christmas gift planning… if you have any tips or tricks on how you manage your Christmas gift buying we’d love to hear them as well ♥

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A Christmas Guide for 2011

I know, I know!!  It is ridiculous to be talking about Christmas this early in the year. I am sure you will NOT want to be hearing about xmas gift buying etc. just at the moment. But because we want to be able to bring you so many great resources and guides for Christmas this year… well I’m afraid we are starting early!

Christmas Gift Guide 2011

There are now 89 days left until Christmas… and over the next couple of months we are planning a series of posts that we hope could help make some of our Christmas gift buying and organising a little bit easier.

First off, we want to start with general tips on Christmas Gift Planning, like making up a master gift list, setting your budget etc.

Then we are thinking of doing a series of Christmas Gift Guides:

  • for neighbours, co-workers and friends
  • for aunts/uncles and other miscellaneous relations
  • for grandparents
  • for children
  • for women
  • for men
  • for different interests & personalities (gardeners, creative types, pet lovers etc.)

These guides will feature gifts from The Paper Package (after all, they are the only ones we know much about!) but also homemade & handmade gift ideas and (where we can find the information) lists of the “most popular” gifts for each category.

We also want to share with you some other Christmas-sy stuff like:

  • xmas decorating
  • xmas food + drink
  • teacher gift ideas (for the end of the school year)
  • secret santa gift ideas
  • free printable gift tags and cards
  • creative xmas gift wrapping
  • last minute gift ideas

and anything else that comes up in the meantime!

So, apologies for scaring anybody with the Christmas talk, but the earlier we start planning the more relaxed our Christmas will be (or that’s the theory anyway :))

Christmas Gift Guide 2011 "Clear the way for Christmas"

A post on Christmas Gift Planning will be up on Friday… until then we’d love you to check out the first of our Christmas Gift Boxes for 2011 to be added to the website (there’s only 3 finished so far). And we’d be really interested in your thoughts & ideas on what you think makes a great Christmas gift basket or hamper…

Great Gift Ideas from O-Check Design Graphics

o-check design graphics

If you’re like most people you might suffer a little bit of stress around choosing gifts… stress that comes from not knowing whether the recipient of your gift is going to love what you’ve got them, or hate it and pass it on to the next unlucky recipient as soon as possible.

That’s one of the reasons why we are so enthusiastic about selling and using O-Check Design Graphics products in our gift boxes – we think they make really fantastic gifts that will definitely not be “re-gifted”. And here’s some reasons why:

  • Their products are original and exclusive. In fact many of them are limited editions. This means they are not the kind of thing you will find in every stationery or gift shop throughout the country, let alone at the big chain stores. It’s really exciting to open a gift and find something lovely that you haven’t seen before.

gift ideas from o check design graphics

  • They are practical as well as beautiful. Not everybody gets obsessive over stationery (although many people do!), but it is something that most of us use at work or at home… memo pads, notebooks, key rings, pencil cases, journals etc. etc… even expandable rulers!

o check design grpahics ruler

  • They have a specific and cohesive style. Which means you can easily guess whether your gift recipient will love them or not. We think of them appealing to people whose personal style leans towards vintage but simple. Nostalgic but not gimmicky. Romantic but not cheesy. In other words, people with taste like ours! (Good taste we like to call it :))

gift ideas - o check design graphics - harmony journal

  • They are environmentally friendly, using recycled products and soy-based inks along with quality, natural materials such as linen, leather, wood and metal. So if this issue is important to your gift recipient or yourself, you can be reassured that this manufacturer is environmentally aware.

gift ideas from o check design graphics

  • They really have an inherent warmth and charm all of their own. Their journals are reminiscent of hardcover books your parents or grandparents would have read, while the travel/postage imagery, french wording and inscriptions on many of the items are quirky and interesting.

gift ideas o check photo album

  • They perfectly suit the particular style of gift wrapping and presentation that we use at The Paper Package. Simple wrapping papers, natural twine, vintage motifs etc.

gift wrapping - o check design graphics

So, now we have convinced you of how great these products are, you might like to check out the  O-Check Design Graphics gift ideas we currently have available at The Paper Package.

But we also wanted to share with you some products we have on order which will be available for gift ideas this Christmas (to keep in mind for the Chrissy presents :)):

Owl Hard Cover Notebook

Christmas gift ideas from The Paper Package

This is an elegant book bound notebook with 144 lined pages – perfect for someone to fill the bookcase with stories of their own! Has a fabric cover with a lovely vintage owl silk screen print.

Christmas gift ideas from The Paper Package - Owl Hardcover Notebook

Wood Pencil Stand

Gift ideas from O-Check Design Graphics | Wood Pencil Stand

This stylish wood product will help organise your office or study so that you can conveniently find all of your pens and pencils! The simple, clean design complements any desk arrangement, so it also makes a flexible gift idea.

gift ideas from O-Check - Wood Pencil Stand

Boxed Christmas Tag Set

Christmas gift ideas - Boxed tag set

The Noel Tag set is a beautifully packaged set of 25 Christmas themed gift tags. The set comes in an originally designed wood gift box and has 25 tags in total – 5 each of 5 different designs. Each tag is 6 x 10cm and has an endearing image and sentiment.

Christmas gift ideas - boxed gift tag set

Christmas gift ideas - boxed gift tag set - O-Check Design Graphics

If you would like us to let you know when any of these products become available, or would like any further information regarding any of our gift boxes or items please don’t hesitate to contact us.

And finally, if you like the style of O-Check Design Graphics, they also make available monthly downloadable wallpapers for your desktop. I have just put the September one on my computer – and it really is lovely…

O-Check desktop wallpapers

P.S. O-Check’s signature tagline is Spring Come, Rain Fall. How perfect for New Zealand in September!

Baby Gifts ♥

It might have something to do with the arrival of spring, or the fact that it’s nearly 9 months since New Year’s Eve, but we’ve chosen baby gifts as our featured products at The Paper Package this month. And after much internet browsing (masquerading as “research”) we’ve discovered the following handy tips and ideas for how to choose the best baby gift…

Note to readers: if you have no need to purchase a baby gift in the near future you might want to skip this post and we’ll see you next week 🙂

WHAT MAKES A GREAT BABY GIFT?

There are SO many great baby products to choose from nowadays that it is really hard to decide on the best thing to buy. To help narrow your choice, these are the three most commonly cited factors you should try to take into consideration:

1. Uniqueness

You don’t want to give the same gift as everybody else. It will be a disappointment for both you and the person you are giving the gift to. Obviously you won’t know what everybody else will be purchasing for the new baby, but try to keep in mind how popular the item is and whether the recipients are either likely to get it from other people or have it already.

2. Practicality and Usefulness

It’s also important to take into consideration the circumstances of the family. With some families or expectant parents having a new baby is going to be a financial strain. In these cases it is probably fair to say that the more useful and practical the gift the better.

Baby Gift Ideas - Vintage Baby Clothes

There is also the time factor to take into account… even families that aren’t financially-strapped WILL be time-strapped. So while that vintage lace baby outfit might look gorgeous, if it needs special washing it will either become a mess pretty quickly or will never be used at all.

3. Thoughtfulness

As with any other gift choice we really believe that it is “the thought that counts.” Gifts should be given and received in the spirit in which they were intended. So if you keep in the front of your mind the person you’re giving the gift to, and the circumstances you’re giving it in, you are sure to choose something appropriate that will be gratefully received.

TYPES OF BABY GIFTS

There are a number of different options or types of baby gifts you can choose from – and here are some of the most popular…

Note: we have no affiliation with any of the products and/or stores mentioned in this post (apart from our own of course :))

Expendable Gifts

Basically here we are talking nappies. A lot of gift guides on the internet seem to think that disposable nappies are the be-all and end-all of baby gifts – because they are so practical and will definitely be used. Personally I’m not so sure… it feels a bit like giving someone a sack of potatoes instead of a box of chocolates. Sure it might be more practical – but where’s the fun? We say you can do better (and don’t get me started on those “nappy cake” things – ugh).

Practical Gifts

These are much better gift ideas because they’re either practical and beautiful, like lovely soft merino…

baby gift ideas | merino wraps

Soft, Natural Merino Wraps ($69.95) from www.naturebaby.co.nz

Or practical and cute, like this woodland themed dinner set  we just happen to sell 🙂

baby gift ideas

Woodland Dinner Set ($39.50) from www.thepaperpackage.co.nz

Or practical and stylish, like this super-handy change mat/wallet thing…

baby gift ideas

Skip*Hop Pronto Change Wallet ($78.95) from www.bellybeyond.co.nz

Toys and Books

Toys and books are another popular new baby or baby shower gift. It is great to browse for these online because it is so convenient and there is so much choice. Here are a couple of great online stores we found:

IQ Toys

We liked this store because it has a buying guide for 0-12 month babies which is great if you’ve lost touch on what is popular for babies (and how quickly you forget!)

This is one of their recommended products for this age group:

Baby gift ideas - Lamaze gym

Lamaze Spin and  Explore Garden Gym ($52.99) from www.iqtoys.co.nz

They also sell a great range of books for babies and children, and they do e-gift vouchers for when you’ve left it all a bit late.

Handy Tip: If you do decide to give a book, it’s an especially good idea to include an exchange card whenever possible. It’s very easy for new parents to end up with more than one copy of the same book.

Mummade and Felt

For genuinely handmade NZ toys you could take a look at www.mummade.co.nz or www.felt.co.nz. Both of these websites stock lovely, original handmade products, which are great for the “uniqueness” factor.

baby gift ideas

“Penny the Puppy” made by Lilly-Dee Designs ($27.00) from www.mummade.co.nz

And right here at The Paper Package we also sell a small range of baby toys, like this bright & colourful hedgehog…

Baby gifts | Hedgehog rattle

Hedgehog rattle ($29.90) from www.thepaperpackage.co.nz

Clothes

Clothing for the new baby is a traditional and popular gift idea. It’s usually recommended that you don’t buy the newborn size – but go for something a bit bigger that might last a bit longer. In this case you need to remember to think seasonally as well (ie. if buying the 6 month size of something, think about what the season will be in 6 months or so).

Some online stores with absolutely beautiful baby clothes include:

Dimples

baby gift ideas

Boys Striped Beanie ($39.95) from www.dimples.co.nz

Mokopuna

baby gift ideas

Wrap Merino Longsuit ($59.95) from Mokopuna

Father Rabbit

baby gifts

Hand knitted cotton slippers ($29.00) from Father Rabbit

Something for the New Parent(s)

It is also a nice idea to celebrate the arrival of a new baby with a gift that can be enjoyed by the parents, such as:

A TRADITIONAL BABY GIFT BASKET

Filled with toys, baby products, pampering treats for mum and yummy goodies to share.

Traditional Baby Gift Basket

Traditional Baby Gift Box ($89.90) from www.thepaperpackage.co.nz

Or…

A HELPING HAND

How great would it be to have a package of freshly made meals delivered to your door. This has to be one of the best new baby gift ideas! Baby Angel offers a great range of care parcels containing freshly made family meals and/or home help vouchers for new parents. You can check out their website and book products here:

www.babyangel.co.nz

Or…

HELP FOR DAD

If you are looking for a gift specifically for the first time dad a “new baby owners manual” could be fun and useful.

Baby gift ideas - baby owners manual

The Baby Owners Manual ($26.52) from www.fishpond.co.nz

Or…

SOMETHING TO RECORD THEIR MEMORIES IN

Like this stylish Moleskine Baby Journal.

baby gift ideas - moleskine baby journal

Moleskine Baby Journal ($58.00) from www.thepaperpackage.co.nz

This is a really unique, useful and practical gift for new parents.

★ A fun thing to give along with this gift is a handwritten list of baby predictions. We found this idea on the internet and think it would be so great for both the expectant parent(s) and their friends and families to do ★

It would also be a good activity for a baby shower because it has to be done before the baby is born obviously!

Baby Predictions – get everyone to record in the baby journal or on a piece of paper their predictions for baby’s:

Hair Color:
Eye Color:
Weight:
First Word:
Favorite Color:
Favorite Subject:
Favorite Sport:
Favorite Hobby:
Future Profession:
Favorite Toy:
First Steps:
Favorite Food:
Favorite Drink:

Then just sit back, let the mum do all the hard work and see who was the best psychic. It will be so much fun to read over the predictions as the years roll on!

So… that’s it for our tips, hints and ideas for baby gifts. Of course we haven’t mentioned it because we’re officially opposed to gift cards, but gift (or at the very least) exchange cards are a good idea if you are really not sure what the new parents like or need. Most of the stores mentioned above do gift vouchers as do many other places – just remember to gift wrap it beautifully to make it seem special!

Happy baby gift buying!

baby gift ideas - moleskine baby journal

Hello Spring!

So after a pretty short (but for some days a very sharp!) winter, we are now officially 6 days into spring. And it’s started out so well with lovely sunny days and crisp mornings. The perfect time for all things new…

Like some new clothes maybe…

SPRING FASHION INSPIRATION

This is just for inspiration mind you… that Gucci handbag is over $6000 NZD!!

(this selection’s a steal, with the Miu Miu handbag only $1170 NZD (lol!!)

Add the perfect tint of pink for the nails

or pale blue

And that’s you all set!

Except some new bits and pieces around the house would be nice too…

SPRING HOME DECOR FRESHEN-UPS

The Lettered Cottage is the perfect blog for the fresh, clean decorating style that really suits spring. If you click through the image, their blog post has some great tips and ideas for home decoration (on a budget too!)

And some lovely spring flowers sprinkled around the house are always a real pick-me-up…

But if your house is like ours, before you get into the fun of flowers and homewares you might need to do a little bit of SPRING CLEANING (ugh).

If only the laundry looked this good, I might be more inspired to get on and clean (not really true – but I do like the laundry!)…

If you needed it – here’s some inspiration for cleaning the kitchen (SO sparkly!)

And some for the bedroom too…

Plus here’s one handy spring cleaning tip that doesn’t seem too hard – and apparently helps you get that well-deserved good night’s sleep…

(Easy instructions for a clean, fresh mattress from Make it Do).

But if you can’t be bothered with any of that, there’s always the alternative…

Or, even better, get someone else to do it… (and you gotta admit he looks like he’s enjoying it:)

Spring is also a good time to indulge a little of your OCD and get into some serious ORGANISATION (or at least enjoy looking at pictures of things that are really organised!)

Like these tidy desks…

Don’t you wish you could live like that?!

And of course we couldn’t do a blog post without mentioning FOOD…

Spring means fresh greens and perhaps some pastel treats…

Spring Minestrone soup from simplyrecipes.com.

And aren’t these Macarons the perfect shades for spring?

Plus, who can resist lemony cupcakes…

And finally, at The Paper Package we have recently added some gifts that have that lovely spring feel…

Like these Dandelion Fliptop Notecards from New York stationery company, Galison:

Or this lovely gift for women, the Dandelion Gift Set featuring a weekly organiser in the same design…

Or this cute Retro Housewarming Gift Box

Or finally, the popular Little Paper Package No. 2

Happy Spring everyone!