About ten years ago a mentor recommended that I start a gift closet. Or more specifically, a designated space in my home where I would keep a stash of gifts. What a wonderful friend! I cannot tell you how many times this has saved me when I needed a last-minute hostess or birthday gift.
Basically, I just look for things on sale and stockpile when I find a great deal. (Also the way I buy most of my groceries.) Some of my favorite gift closet finds are bath products, scented candles, books, unique photo frames, cool mugs (tea, cocoa or coffee added at presentation time), gift cards, gender-neutral baby items, and toys in the age-range of my boys for birthday party invites.
As our family increases, I learn more and more how necessary it is to be prepared. Last-minute scrambles just make my blood pressure go up and my nerves shorten. I also tend to spend a lot more if I wait to the last minute. My gift closet gives me the time to hunt a bargain and allows me to be just a little more prepared.
I am very excited that our remodeling project is going to allow me to have an entire closet designated for this purpose...I am going to be SO organized >insert contented sigh here< once this little project is complete. I will be sure to post photos.
I also keep a gift binder that reminds me of the gifts that I have given in the past. I will blog about this on another day.