Do you have a "gift closet"? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-16-2010, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not really sure where to post this.

I've heard people mention a "gift closet" before. In other words, they keep a stash of things on hand to give as gifts for birthday parties, new babies, etc. Maybe the gifts were purchased on sale, maybe they are just a standard item you like to give.

I think it is a good idea in theory, especially for parties when you don't know the child well (like school classmates). I think I'd prefer to pick out a special gift for close friends and family members, but I do like the idea of saving money on gifts.

So my question is this: If you have a "gift closet", what do you stock it with? What kind of gifts do you look for on sale?
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:39 PM
 
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I'm work on it One of my friends has introduced me to bargain hunting, and around xmas I got a lot of stuf ffor superb prices, and so I still have a handful of little toys downstairs to give away for b-day presents. I plan on keeping it stocked with 2-3 differnt toys - picking them up here and there when I see something for a great price.
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Old 03-16-2010, 08:39 PM
 
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I have a gift shelf in my closet. It is full of all kinds of things. Somethings I have bought just to put on the shelf, like a nice toy that is on clearance, other things I bought with the intention of using for my kids but then didn't so it goes on the shelf. I have everything from pg gift, newborn, toddler, preschool, and then some older kid stuff with only a few adult items in there. Baby blankets, hats, puzzles, trucks, dolls, games, dresses, candles....

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Old 03-16-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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oops. I answered the question in the title and not the actual question in the post.

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Old 03-16-2010, 09:02 PM
 
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I have a 'gift tote', and its contents are purely accidental. Leftovers from goodie bags and parties, presents to parties we ended up not making because of illness, stuff I decided not to give my own DDs. It's pretty full, but I seem to keep the stuff in circulation. It's a great idea in a pinch.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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I am working on it. I think the purpose of a gift closet should be to stock up on the types of gifts that are expected to be a little more generic. Like birthday parties for kids from school, or hostess gifts.

Although I may purchase a gift for my DF, my mom, my fave SIL, or my best friend early if I find the perfect item on sale, I don't think it is appropriate to give a "closet gift" to someone so important in my life. If that makes any sense at all.

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Old 03-16-2010, 11:04 PM
 
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I have a box with gift items. One of my favorite gifts is picture frames. I keep my eye out and when I see a pretty one on sale I get it and put it in the closet. Candle holders are another nice general gift.
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:43 PM
 
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I've always had one but am slowly getting rid of it. For me it is not a money saver; more a reason to buy things I really like or unique items I'm afraid I won't be able to find later.

Prior to having children I would purchase items I liked, sometimes with someone in mind and sometimes not. As a pp mentioned I would use them as hostess gifts, thank you gifts, etc.

When I had children I started adding children's items. Items I found on sale or things I've bought through online buying co-ops. Often items I've bought and liked for my children. The problem is, even when I had a recipient in mind, I often changed my mind or they wanted something else so I saved the item. This winter I donated tons of stuff from the closet. I never gave them as gifts and didn't think I would have anyone to give them to in the future. My husband says I've been donating more than gifting and the closet has to go...he is right.

But, I'm not sure I can break the habit. I've recently ordered several boxes of Mercurious window crayons and one-piece chopsticks. I figure I could always find someone who would like them. My children love both items so if nothing else we will use the window crayons and have the neighbor kids over to eat w/chopsticks

To answer your questions of what is in the closet...currently some of the items are:
several hand woven towels (I'm waiting to give them to someone who will appreciate all the work the woman put into them.)
several Family Pastimes cooperative board games and Selecta board games (Lately all the children have requested Star Wars/princess themed gifts so I haven't been able to give the board games. My children like them but as the kids get older I'm finding many of their friends do not like these types of gifts.)
picture frames
Several baby outfits (I waited too long to mail so I had to buy larger items and saved these.)
Lots of art supplies (makes great childrens gift if I do not have time to shop or my children can use the supplies)
a bunch of Crocodile Creek playground balls (it's a long story)

Wow...sorry for the long post!
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Old 03-16-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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I have a family friend who does this. When ds2 got his Christmas gifts from her in 2008, I thought they were a bit odd (not objectionable or anything - just...odd). I found out later that our terrible weather had prevented her from finishing her Christmas shopping, and she'd given ds2 stuff from her stash. It was kind of funny, really - he loved it all.

I don't have one. I keep thinking about it, but...I'm not that organized, and have nowhere to keep it. DD2 would probably end up treating everything as a chew toy.

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Old 03-17-2010, 12:36 AM
 
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I have a small area of my closet for gifts. Most of the gifts are for birthday and/or holiday gifts for friends and family. I don't look for items but normally see them when I'm just shopping or looking around. I got DH's niece a beautiful journal for $4.99 yesterday at Marshall's. This is a Christmas gift.
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:58 AM
 
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I have one closet that has some gift items - a number are for giving to the kids in the future, some for their cousins or little friends. Some are nice things DH or I have received that we will never use, so they sit there until they are either given to someone who may like them or donated.

I currently have a game for kids (scored a few free games over Christmas with the Hasbro coupons on Rice Krispies), some childrens books, a ratchet set, two pair of little boy shoes (I ordered them online for DS and his feet are too wide ), a couple toys for the kids for Easter, some trinkets and stickers, mini playdoh, you get the idea.

I have a consistent group of people that we buy Christmas/birthday presents for, so I'm always on the look-out for appropriate stuff for them. I even bought my friend a baby gift before they were even trying for their first - it was too perfect for her! (And she did LOVE it ). But I don't have much of that sort of stuff on hand right now.

I did use up a bit of the closet at Christmas - I never ended up going shopping for the swap game my DH's relatives play, so I raided the gift closet and came up with something adequate.

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Old 03-17-2010, 04:05 AM
 
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I have in the past, but not at present. I shamelessly re-gift, so it would hold presents that would be re-gifted in the future - duplicate books/DVDs/CDs, toys and games and stuffed animals, fancy sets of bath bubbles/soaps, kitchen items, pantry gifts (jams, oils, vinegars), small craft kits. Occasionally, I would find things on sale - good items for teacher gifts or classmate's birthday parties and stock up.

I agree that it's nice to buy a personal gift, but during the primary school years, I found gift-giving almost non-stop throughout the year. There were so many birthday parties for children that I didn't really know (either did my kids, for that matter), or events for teachers/instructors/coaches (Christmas/end of school year/end of season/end of summer camp).... It made a lot of sense to stock up and have something ready.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:02 AM
 
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We live near a processing centre for Scholastic books, so I stock up a box at their sales two or three times a year for children's birthday parties. For close friends and family I agree with the op, it's nice to look out something special.
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Old 03-17-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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I have a gift box or two. It actually mainly has gifts for DS in it and a few for DD. I will sometimes find things at a great price that I know he would like, but he doesn't need a gift right at the moment, so I might buy it and save it for a just because gift or a holiday gift. Same for DD though there is not that much for her at the moment since she is still so little.

I will also sometimes use one or two of the gifts I got for DS for another child around his age, I also have a bunch of small hostess gifts we bought when we were in India, which are nice, and I have a bunch of baby clothes as well since we got a ton for both DS and DD that we never used and still have tags on.

I have things like coasters and small decorative boxes and bowls from India, automoblox and kid kinex and some melissa and doug stuff for toddler/young children and baby clothes in my stash of gifts.

That being said I do tend to look at what I have before buying a gift, but if there is something specific I want for someone I go out and get it, since the stuff in my gift area can be used for almost anyone.

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Old 03-17-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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I have a shelf of things in the closet that I can go to in a pinch. It has several M&D Craft sets I got on clearance, miscellaneous toys and games, a few baby items, a few co-worker items, etc. I mostly use it when we get invited to a classmates party or I am running low on time. Not sure if it truly saves money, but I hate gong last minute and paying full price or more for something that I could have spent the same and gotten something much nicer if I had done it beforehand and not last minute.
One thing that was nice was I had a bunch of the M&D craft sets and when we got the new baby and people came over to gush over the baby I would pull out a craft or something small from closet for DS so he didn't get too jealous. So it was nice to have then.

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Old 03-17-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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I do! It wasn't on purpose, we have a couple of giant toy sales here twice a year, where you can get toys and books at ridiculously discounted rates. I ended up buying a whole bunch for birthdays and Christmas, since most of my friends kids are born from October-January. I had a bunch left over. I tend to get neutral, but fun things like Lego, marble mazes (huge hit this year) dress up clothes, art/craft supplies, Dinosaurs, boxed booksets, outdoor toys. I went the first time with a friend and between the both of us, we fill up my CRV. The second time, I went with my mother and bought two wagons full of books, mainly for my kids. *G*

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Old 03-17-2010, 06:41 PM
 
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I did have a gift closet, but the stash is almost depleted and I'm not sure I want to start up again.

It seems as the kids are getting older (dd is turning 5) they have such diverse interests that it's important to shop for the individual rather than try to make something from the gift closet work.

Things I had in the closet, craft kits, bath toys, art supplies, clearance barbies, books, puzzles, for adults I had some bath sets, candles, picture frames, stationary...

We stopped exchanging gifts with adult siblings, and most of our friends are married and done having babies so we don't have many adult gift occassions any longer.
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:44 PM
 
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I think this is more of a Storage and Organization question than a Parenting one, so I am moving this over there.

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Old 03-17-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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I've never heard of that!

When I've found things (like the Haba wooden grasping toys) on sale for cheap, I've bought several to put away and attach to new baby presents in the future . . . but I normally knit the actual gift, and that's just a little something extra. I don't like the idea of keeping random things on hand for random people, and even if I don't know the child whose birthday we're attending, my kids do -- and they like to pick out presents for their friends.

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Old 03-17-2010, 09:31 PM
 
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I do and it has been so handy!!

I shop the Target 75% off every January and pick up board games for super cheap (I'm talking typically only 1.74 a game!!). I try to get ones I know my kids loves, I've gotten hullabulloo (this has been a huge hit as gifts), memory games, monopoly games, and also puzzles. (puzzles I can find as low at 50 cents on clearance for board ones and even boxed ones!!).

If I find books on clearance I put those away as well. On the toy side I pick up things like 5 packs of cars. (This is an awesome thing to find after almost EVERY holiday as well). Cars are NEVER old with boys and my kids' friends range from 1-7. I also have picked up some super hero type figures on the 75% off so that we stay in a semi "hot toy" stage. (I typically don't have girl toys in the stash but have gotten some Polly pockets and my little pony things for free with coupons and stashed those and always given those out in sets).

I've loved that when my son has brought home all these invites now that he is in kinder I can say SURE! and just have him shop from the closet. He loves it and knows that he gets to go to more parties this way

Another thing is that I watch out for clearance gift bags and keep tissue paper always in stock as well.

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Old 03-18-2010, 01:19 AM
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no.

but i did have signature wrapping paper and stationary in a box in my closet so i would always be able to wrap whatever i found.

i have this tendency to do "spontaneous" gifts. i see something and go "that reminds me of sara" and so i buy it and i go home and wrap it and then give it to sara the next time i see her. i'm totally, totally random like that.

for special occasions, though--like holidays and birthdays--i try to give "experiences." i prefer to get movie passes or play passes or zoo passes or dinner out or whatever. i'm a gift-card queen to be honest. which is why my personalized stationary comes in handy--i just pop the gift card into my personal stationary and voila! done.

here, i've been giving random gifts to our practitioners ("because it's tuesday, and you're doing an amazing job!") and also to our friends ("because we love how you drive!"--one of our friends drives us around when we need it). for the practitioners, it's been coffee cards at the very local coffee shop, and for our friend, gas cards. they are pleased a punch--aparently it's much more of an american thing to do.
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:20 AM
 
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I have one paper box in the top of the family office closet for gifts intended for others outside our home. I am not actively adding to this any longer because we are exchanging gifts less and less.

I have a secret spot for gifts I buy DD in advance that she cannot see or get to. She is 8, about to turn 9. I used to have a large drawer that was too heavy for her to open that was packed with fun items I would find here and there randomly. We gave away that old, heavy furniture a few years ago and I had a heck of a time finding a new spot for her purchased-ahead gifts. About that time, she also became far more interested in specific items as gifts. So, I only buy a little in advance now. I generally go out on Black Friday with the intention of getting her items for Christmas, her birthday, and Easter. Those generally only cover a three month timeframe (Easter changes, of course) and her tastes are less likely to change that quickly. By the time Easter or her birthday arrives (whichever comes last each year), the secret spot is empty until the next November.

When we go on vacation, which hasn't actually been in awhile, I tend to pick up gifts for people I know well and I pick up items for us that are every day items we would love to have and we treat those as souvenirs even though they generally have no telltale signs of being purchased anywhere specific. It is something we just know. We tell the recipient, "We thought of you when we saw this on our trip to _______." The gift generally is given at a regular gift-giving time (Christmas or birthday). Interestingly enough, I suppose, we tend to exchange gifts with different groups of people at different times. For example, certain friends only receive gifts randomly. Family members (kids) receive gifts at Christmas and birthday and no other times. Family members (adults) receive gifts on either Christmas OR their birthday, except my mom and dad because they were both born on December 28 and got gypped their whole lives (and told me all about it). I save the best gift for their respective birthdays and wrap it in birthday paper. My mom doesn't give a hoot about cards, so she only gets one if it is handmade with a gift card or something as part of it. My dad loves cards, so we always give him one. I have a big box of cards already and have had this supply for eons. I used to work for Hallmark years ago when they gave the employees the old merchandise.

I also have Christmas gift wrap and supplies in a special tote under our bed. (We take turns wrapping gifts on the floor in our master bedroom.) I keep regular birthday and other gift wrap/bags/tags/etc in the family office closet along with the gift box. I don't actively add to either of these, but the general gift wrap stuff is overflowing. We've started using some of these supplies in crafts! When we run out of Christmas wrapping supplies, I am switching us over to reusable items (fabric and decorative boxes mostly). I'll probably switch us over gradually, actually. We already reuse the same decorative boxes my mom gave us years ago over and over.

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Old 03-18-2010, 04:06 AM
 
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I have a gift closet. Some of the gifts in there are generic/meant for anyone, and some of the gifts are actually bought with people in mind-just when there was a great sale. I'm very very big on yardsaling, and during that season I buy almost all of my Christmas and fall birthday gifts. Then after Christmas I tend to get most of my spring/summer birthday gifts (though we don't really have many!) I regift as well.

In theory going out and getting that special something for that special someone is great. However when you're like me you have a lot of people you end up buying for (acquaintances at holiday parties, in laws, etc) and you're on a tight budget. That's why I use my gift closet.

My gift closet isn't really big. Its the bottom shelf in my pantry (an unused linen closet). I want to get a tote and put overflow into my unused shower though. Closer to Christmas things get pretty crammed and I have to get creative, and then for half a year I'm pretty bare again!
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:54 AM
 
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we don't have one now, but my old roommate and I had a box that she labeled (so the kids wouldn't know what it is, and get into it), "largesse to bestow for acts of noblesse oblige or natal anniversaries."

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Old 03-18-2010, 10:33 AM
 
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we don't have one now, but my old roommate and I had a box that she labeled (so the kids wouldn't know what it is, and get into it), "largesse to bestow for acts of noblesse oblige or natal anniversaries."
That's funny.

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Old 03-18-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by CorasMama View Post
we don't have one now, but my old roommate and I had a box that she labeled (so the kids wouldn't know what it is, and get into it), "largesse to bestow for acts of noblesse oblige or natal anniversaries."
That's freaking awesome.

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Old 03-18-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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I like to plan ahead, so I generally have items ready to go long before I need them. I already have a few Yule gifts finsihed and packed away. I keep an eye out for deals on specific items that I want as gifts for my family. Everything goes in boxes at the top of a closet, neatly labeled so I can easily find the items when it is time. I also keep a list of what I am planning to give everyone in the back of my planner.

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Old 03-18-2010, 01:58 PM
 
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I have a box in my closet filled with books and art supplies. I got the books at an annual warehouse sale and the craft supplies at back to school time. I intend for the things in the box to be used as gifts. I'll also pick things up here and there if the price is awesome. I keep an eye out year round for holiday/b-day gifts for the kids.

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Old 03-20-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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I've done this for years. It's saved us a ton of money when the kids get invited to several birthday parties per month (that's 3 kids times however many parties) - plus regular holidays.

I hit Target's 50 and 75 % off clearances for toys and games. And I always buy extra crayons, markers, paints, etc. at the back to school sales. Also craft type kits at Target and Hobby Lobby when they're on clearance. I also buy baby clothes when they're 80-90% off at Kohls for baby shower gifts (especially for DH's employees, seems like there's always someone having a baby that we need to get a token gift for, but that we don't know well enough to buy a "big" item)

There is a shelf in my closet that is designated to gift stuff- and it's usually spilled over to an area on the floor, as well. I don't mind that clutter- it's so nice not to have to run out and buy a $20 Barbie something or other twice in one month!

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Old 03-21-2010, 12:47 AM
 
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growing up my mom had a shelf in her closet that was a 'gift closet'. It had general kids items on it - nice set of crayons, a doll, wooden blocks, a slinky, etc...

Charlotte wife to B momma to Q 2/22/09
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