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How to Create a Gift Cupboard

Sadie Holloway likes giving practical yet thoughtful gifts to loved ones. She enjoys hunting around for the best presents she can find.

Keep your gift cupboard stashed with an assortment of fun, affordable gifts and you'll never be caught empty-handed when a special occasion pops up!

Keep your gift cupboard stashed with an assortment of fun, affordable gifts and you'll never be caught empty-handed when a special occasion pops up!

What Is a Gift Cupboard?

If you have a social life of any kind, you probably end up giving out a few gifts on special occasions every year. Birthdays, Christmas, Mother's Day, and Valentine's Day are just a few of the predictable occasions where you can plan ahead and buy a present well ahead of the celebration's date.

But what about those occasions when you are caught off-guard, and you need a gift, pronto? You get invited to an impromptu dinner party, a friend is throwing a wedding shower for a mutual acquaintance and you just got the invite, you forgot a relative's birthday—these are all good examples of why stocking a gift cupboard is such a good idea.

A gift cupboard is a special place set aside in your home to keep a well-organized assortment of presents for random special occasions. The best gift cupboards have a variety of good quality items in them that would be enjoyed by almost anyone.

The items are not so generic that they are utterly void of any personality. Nor are the presents so specific that you could only give certain items to certain people on certain occasions.

A candy-making cookbook is perfect for your gift cupboard!

A candy-making cookbook is perfect for your gift cupboard!

20 Ideas to Start Building Your Giift Cupboard

These 20 gift ideas are fun, affordable, and suit a variety of special occasions, making them perfect additions to your emergency giveaway cupboard.

In addition to suggestions for what to put in it so that you're never caught empty-handed on a special occasion, learn tips on how to wrap your offerings, as well as store them and keep them organized, so you'll always have that perfect little something for the perfectly unexpected occasion.

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  1. Shortbread cookies in a decorative, keepsake tin
  2. Box of deluxe gourmet chocolates
  3. Bottle of red wine. Wine is one of the most popular gifts to give away because it's appropriate for so many occasions: dinner parties, sporting events, thank you gifts
  4. Vinegar and oil bottle. A beautiful glass bottle that holds balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil is a lovely offering for people who like to entertain.
  5. Pretty notebook or journal with a novelty pen or pencil attached
  6. Silver-plated picture frame
  7. Scrapbook or photo album
  8. Inspirational or motivational self-help book
  9. Coffee mug with two sachets of gourmet hot chocolate
  10. Coloring book and set of markers or colored pencils
  11. Travel-sized board game
  12. Copper cookware or cookie cutters. Almost everyone who enjoys cooking secretly covets copper pots and pants. That's why a small gift such as a small copper saucepan or unique cookie-cutter shapes is an ideal surprise for cooks, foodies, and aspiring bakers.
  13. All-season glass ornaments. A sun-catcher or sparkly glass ornament would look lovely hanging in a light-filled window in any home.
  14. Decorative ceramic pot. Things that can be used to store items or showcase plants and fresh flowers are always appreciated.
  15. Scented candle
  16. French press coffee maker
  17. Lavender essential oil spa gift set. Lavender is one of the most beloved scents for creating a restful, relaxing environment.
  18. Gourmet hot sauce, red pepper jelly, or antipasto.
  19. Specialty cookbook: how to make candy, ice cream, or cocktails
  20. Chenille throw blanket in a neutral color. This gift is perfect for parties and social events during the fall and winter. By choosing a neutral color with a minimal design, your gift will match almost any decor. And who doesn't love a warm and fuzzy blanket for a cozy night with a good book?
Photo frames make lovely gifts for any occasion.

Photo frames make lovely gifts for any occasion.

Tips for Keeping Your Gift Cupboard Organized

Make sure your gifts are well-organized and stored properly, so they don't get damaged. Here are some more tips to help keep your stash of goodies organized and ready to please the fussiest of recipients!

  • The best items are the ones that can be easily pre-wrapped and have a good shelf life. By shelf life, I don’t just mean things that won’t spoil too quickly. I also mean things that aren’t so trendy that they'll go out of style within 12 months. The best giveaways are timeless, practical, and beautiful.
  • Don’t go cheap when picking out items for your gift stash. There’s nothing wrong with filling your cupboard with affordable, low to moderately priced presents so long as they are good quality and won’t look like cheap and tacky items from the dollar store. You want your gift cupboard to be a reflection of your good taste and thoughtfulness.
  • For edible gifts such as cookie tins, boxed chocolates or tea, make sure you attach a note of the "best before" date so that you don’t give someone a stale, gross food item by accident. How embarrassing! The items in your stash should always be fresh and nicely packaged. They should look like they were purchased just for the special occasion you’ve chosen it for.
  • Make sure your storage spot is cool, dry, and away from other household items that can leak or spill onto your nicely wrapped gifts. Instead of putting your items in a cupboard, you could store them in a drawer or large storage box. As long as they're in a clean, cool, dry place away from water and sunlight, the wrapping and packaging should stay shiny, bright, and relatively dust-free. The last thing you want is to pull out a present and find out that the packaging has faded or the cellophane wrapper is covered in dust. Food gifts should always be stored in airtight plastic or metal containers. This will help ensure that scented gifts such as soap and candles won’t contaminate the edible items in your gift cupboard.
  • Keep a box of assorted special occasion cards and envelopes in your cupboard as well. And don't forget to keep ribbon, wrapping paper, tape, and scissors handy too. Having everything organized and easy to find will have you out the door and off to your special event clutching a wrapped prezzie in no time!

The best gift cupboards take time to build. You don't need to fill it with all 20 of these items, all at once. Make your gift-buying list carefully, make a budget, and start to build your secret special occasion stash one item at a time.

Homemade preserves---a yummy gift idea!

Homemade preserves---a yummy gift idea!

Your Stash of Gifts Is Ready for Almost Any Occasion!

Here are some of the many people or special occasions that some of the above items would be suitable for:

  • Your child's teacher
  • The party hostess
  • Special helpers: babysitters, housesitter, dog walker, piano teacher, tutor
  • Wedding showers
  • Thank You gift
  • Valentine's Day
  • Birthday
  • Housewarming party
  • Graduation
  • Get Well Soon
  • Going away party
  • Sympathy gift
  • Cheer Up
  • "Just Because"

By keeping an inventory of delightful items, you'll have no problem picking something out to brighten just about anyone's day!

© 2016 Sadie Holloway

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