Congratulations to Emily for her book title, "Things That Make You Go Hmmm..." In all fairness to all you budding author's out there, we couldn't decide on a best book title, so we placed our top five in a box and selected our winner. Thanks to everyone for playing and thank you to Kristen for sharing her great idea.
To our new party goers, today's title is as close to Greek as it gets. To our faithful returners, you know it's Wednesday - the day we invite Roger von Oech to whack our thinking.
Put your money away. Tomorrow we'll resume spending money when we feature a $10.00 gift idea, but today we'll look at gift giving from a slightly different vantage point. We won't actually pull a card from von Oech's deck, but if we did we would want #9, "Drop an Assumption; #19 "Challenge the Rules"; or #59 "Do the Unexpected."
Today we are going to challenge the belief that the best holiday gift has to be given on Christmas day or, if you're Jewish, on any one of the SEVEN days of Hannukah.
Let me preface this by telling you about one of the best gifts I think I've ever given. My parents LOVE fruit. My mom and dad are kind of health food fanatics. Fruit, granola, steamed or grilled vegetables, lots of homemade yogurt (no flavoring), and broccoli, broccoli, broccoli. I get the Harry and David Catalog every year, but their prices are high so I usually pass right over it and look for something in the $25.00- $50.00 range. One particular year I combined, giving them a Merry Birthday present and splurged on a gift from Harry and David. I subscribed them to the Fruit of the Month Club - meaning every month for 12 months, they got a delivery of the most juicy, succulent fruits of the season. According to my mother, the deliveries were always beautifully packaged and were accompanied with corresponding recipe cards.
To me, one of the nice things about this gift idea is that it was the gift that kept on giving... every month for the whole year my parents got an edible reminder of me in the mail. None of us has the money to splurge on Harry and David's Fruit of the Month, but I like the idea of "subscriptions." And, not necessarily store "company-purchased" subscriptions such as magazines, fruit, or movies. I'm talking about a homemade, "Here's-what-I'm-good -at-coming-to-you-once -a-month-for-a-year" subscriptions. And really... who says it has to be monthly? Maybe it can be an six times a year or even quarterly, committing you to a delivery only four times a year.
Now the fun part. Let's generate some examples. I'm not genuinely good at a long list of things, but even I could come up with an example for a special someone on my Christmas list (p.s. I would only give one or two of these gifts a season, otherwise you create a healthy amount of work for yourself). How about "Cookie of the Month" club? Each month I could bake a batch of my fun cookies, decorate them and send them to my Christmas recipient. Or, what about a subscription to, "Claudia's Craft Item of the Month" club? You can always find craft items on the cheap and wouldn't it be fun to get one a month for a whole year? Sticker of the Month Club? Accessory of the Month? School Supply of the Month? Tea of the Month? Place mat of the month? The list is endless.
Now what about all the things so many of you are good at? CD of the Month Club? Picture of the Month (photographed or drawn)? Greeting Card of the Month? Recipe of the Month?. My sister loves to read the same kind of books I do. I wish she would subscribe me to the "Ann Toran used Business Book of the Month" club. In a minute we'll brainstorm some more, but first another related idea...
Nordstrom's puts out an annual catalog. At the back of the catalog, for sale at outrageous prices, are unusual and one-of-a-kind gift items. This year for instance you can fight to purchase the one and only custom designed couch by Tory Burch (price tag, $15,000); an armoire designed and stocked by Juicy Couture ($15,000); or a family portrait session with celebrity photographer Sam Jones (Two photo sessions are available at $50,000 each).
I'm assuming none of us will be giving any of those items this year, but what about mailing someone on our list a Custom Made Catalog of items/experiences from which they can choose? They pick the one in the catalog about which they are most excited and you make it happen. The catalog alone could be fun to create and your gift would be the talk of the town.
If I was doing this for a friend, the catalog of choices might include: (1) Private Cookie Flooding Lessons, (2) An afternoon at Paint Your Pottery, or (3) Free Baby sitting.
If Richard was feeling so inclined to make me a catalog, it would want it to include items such as: (1) Dinner and a Broadway Show, (2) a Driving Tour of Fall Leaves, or (3) Complete One Handyman Project of My Choice.
How about our 15 year old son, Ricky? (1) An Overnight trip Fly Fishing with Dad, (2) An Afternoon of Car Shopping at the Car Lots of Your Choice, or (3) A Room Overhaul (deep cleaned, organized, laundry done, and maybe even a new item or two).
My friend Amy should give away a closet consultation. She's my fashion mentor (among other things). Laura, you could include a Picture Shoot in your catalog. Stacie, what about a massage as an offering in your catalog? Other items might include a picnic, a car wash, or a CD collection of your choice. The list of possibilities is long. Heck, one of your catalog offerings could even be one of your infamous "monthly subscriptions."
Let's have fun with this today. Let's put on our thinking caps and generate ideas for "subscriptions" or for items that could be listed in our personalized "gift catalogs"
Signing off until tomorrow...
P.S. Important Spirit of #218 Announcement! Tonight is the lighting of the Tree in New York. It starts at 8:00 EST and is on NBC. This is the perfect reason to gather your family and friends. Pop some popcorn, pull out a game, invite some friends over.... but seize the moment and make time for this great holiday season. It is a simple, simple, simple way to get some holiday cheer going. And, it's FREE!