Receiving gifts has never been one of my top love languages, but when it comes to giving gifts? I’m all in. I always enjoy surprising friends and loved ones with small tokens of appreciation, and when it comes to formal occasions, such as birthdays and holidays, I’m most definitely prepared in advance.
Sure, I’m naturally a pretty organized person and like to check things off my list ahead of time. But a few years ago, I adapted a technique that has taken things to the next level—creating a little “gift stash” in my apartment.
Because I stockpile gifts for each of my family members as pieces catch my eye, I usually only need to purchase a few finishing touches come December.
Before you begin envisioning a hall closet filled to the brim with perfectly wrapped presents, let me assure you that my system is by no means ultra-fancy. Rather, I have designated a medium-sized fabric box with a lid as my “storage container.” Inside are pieces that I pick up throughout the year—often on sale, if I’m being honest—and keep on hand for special occasions.
Sometimes I purchase things with a specific recipient in mind, like the Meghan Markle coffee table book I scored over the summer and plan to give to my royals-obsessed mother this Christmas. I also like having chic but relatively generic items on hand—such as candles and entertaining accessories—to use as impromptu hostess gifts. And now that many of my friends are getting engaged, I’ve added a few bridal-themed trinkets to the mix. These will be extra useful to mail out in a pinch, as even my Type A self can’t predict these situations in advance!
What’s also been particularly useful about this system is that I don’t often find myself having to shell out a ton of money at once as the holiday season approaches. Because I stockpile gifts for each of my family members as pieces catch my eye, I usually only need to purchase a few finishing touches come December, which means that my bank account doesn’t take too big of a hit as Christmas nears.
While such a system may not work for every recipient—young children, for example, are constantly growing and also have changing hobbies and toy preferences—it’s been super effective when it comes to the adults in my life. Of course, there will always be the unexpected event or milestone that merits a present, but even then, I usually at least have a cute gift bag on hand (I tend to purchase those in packs and keep them in the bin with some tissue paper, too!).
As always, you can cater your own storage box to reflect your gifting preferences and needs. Bake cookies for your neighbors every winter? Stock up on festive cellophane bags when they’re discounted in early January and keep them on hand for the following season. Have multiple school-aged children? Gather a few small tokens, such as cheerful notepads or picture frames, and stash them away to use as teacher gifts. You’ll likely find that it’s worth carving out a tiny bit of storage space for these items if it means less scrambling later in the year.